Team Smarty recently attended the 2015 Social Media on the Sand Conference at Beaches Turks & Caicos. I cannot even begin to describe the happy dance we did when we got that amazing tropical invite delivered right into our inboxes!
Aside from learning tips and tricks on the latest trends in social media (the actual purpose of the conference!), I was super excited to scout out Beaches Turks & Caicos, as this is the #1 destination on my family’s travel bucket list. I’m a Florida girl, born & raised, and if you ask me if I’d rather go skiing out west or go to the Caribbean, I’ll pick the tropics any day. My kids have grown up going to Florida several times a year and I’ve been waiting for them to be old enough to truly enjoy the water like I do. This past summer, we did a trial run in the Florida Keys, kind of like our guinea pig snorkeling trip. My kids passed with flying colors – all four loved snorkeling, fishing, shelling, paddle boarding, basically anything and everything IN the water. So I know our next big trip as a fam will be to the Caribbean. And Beaches Turks & Caicos is a huge contender.
Now, my kids were not happy with me that they did not get to go on this trip. But I assured them that this is in their best interest, you know, so I can explore more on my own – wink, wink:-) Who am I kidding? This was the best excuse for a girls weekend masked behind a work “conference” that I’ve ever heard of! And we took 100% advantage of that opportunity!
OK, so here is what we discovered on our journey…
The first thing that struck me when we got to the island was the turquoise water, it was absolutely mesmerizing. This was the view from our conference chairs, life really doesn’t get any better than this…
The next thing that made me absolutely fall in love with this island was the rainbows. They were there every day, all times of the day. I have a very special thing with rainbows, it’s like a little hug from my Mom in heaven. I’m pretty sure she was there with me the entire time and that felt wonderful.
My absolute favorite time of day was Happy Hour, not necessarily because I loved this delicious libation only available on the islands…
…but also because of the most amazing sunsets, some of the prettiest that I have ever seen.
While on our work bender, we came up with some good travel tips when heading to Beaches Turks & Caicos. Because, that’s just how we roll. Here goes…
Smarty Tips on How to Do Beaches Turks & Caicos with your Fam:
1) There is a direct flight on American Airlines to Providenciales International, Turks and Caicos Island. Enough said.
2) Get your passports now , if you have not done so already. This can sneak up on you, especially if you have several kids to organize. Check out our Smarty tips on getting your passports here. This will save you hours of hassle!
3) Don’t overpack. No matter what, I always mess this up. Everything is very resort casual, so no need to pack anything but your Tkees and Palm Beach Sandals. Plus, you’ll be in your bathing suits 90% of the time, so pack LOTS of those!
4) Bring Walkie-Talkies. These are KEY and great for all ages. You’ll be on island time and wifi connection is not always the strongest, so if you bring this communication tool, you’ll be all set. Older kids want to go to the beach, while younger crew wants to do the water slides? No problem with walkie-talkies!
5) On your first day, walk around the entire property as a family to get your bearings. This piece of paradise is HUGE, with four villages, a 45,000 square foot waterpark, 20 restaurants, and a 12-mile beach. You will need to get acclimated for sure.
6) Take advantage of the ALL INCLUSIVE a la carte dining & beverages. This will make your vacay a “Yes Trip”. “Mom, can I have dessert?” “Why yes, son, you can have that with EVERY meal!” I had somewhat forgotten about the beauty of all-inclusive bliss since I hadn’t experienced that since my honeymoon. This will come into play especially if you have teenagers because they eat you out of house and home, as my mom would say. Well they can eat all they want here, it’s all included! And nobody will get tired of the same restaurants because there are 20 international cuisines to choose from.
7) Grab some extra fruit or bagels at breakfast for snacking kids. Breakfast was my favorite meal because the fruit was so juicy and everything was in season. Packing up extra for your kids will come in handy – you can just throw in your beach bag and have at all times.
8) Order alcohol with your frozen beverages. This might sound silly, but I’m pretty sure my first 2 dirty bananas were virgin, because I failed to ask for the topper. All frozen and umbrella drinks come Shirley Temple style unless you tell them otherwise. So don’t forget that! That leads me to…
9) You MUST order a dirty banana cocktail. OMG, this was the best beach drink I’ve ever had.
10) Plan an off-site excursion one day. The resort has great snorkeling trips, paddle boards, kayaks and such. We booked a snorkeling excursion with Caicos Adventures. This was hands down one of my best snorkeling outings to date. The boat is new, clean, roomy and the guides are so fun and knowledgeable. We went to West Caico, which was a gorgeous 30-minute boat ride from our marina. It was incredible – we found an impressive collection of conch shells, sea turtles, puffer fish, angel fish and more.
11) Beaches is the PERFECT multi-generational family reunion travel destination. Whether you have your sister who just had her first born, your brother who has kids in high school, or your grandparents in tow, there is something for everyone here. Beaches has camps for kids of all ages, a Teens only gameroom, endless water activities and outings for any age. Everyone can retreat to their own special village and meet up when they want to.
12) Last but not least, do your research. Check out Beaches Resorts often, they runs specials all the time. It’s also helpful to work with a travel agent. Travel agents are often the first to know when a special is coming. Gone are the days where the travel agents get a commission on your trip. You actually save $ when working with a good travel partner. Our Smarty travel experts, tried and true, are Two Sisters Travel. These ladies are Beaches experts and can whip up an amazing family trip in a skinny minute. So give them a jingle, or a simple click. They are actually running a special promotion right now for a June 2016 Beaches Negril trip. More details on Beaches Negril here.
Team Smarty had a B-A-L-L! We are so thankful that our friends at Beaches Resorts picked us to come hang at the coolest conference ever to hit the sand! We’ll be back for sure for #socialmediaonthesand2K16!