Aruba - First Family Trip South - Summer Continued
This was our first trip to Aruba. It was also a first trip south on a week-long vacation for our kid. When planning this getaway we wanted a one-stop place with the least hassle for us. This one of many reasons we have chosen to stay at the all-inclusive resort. The package we got through our travel agent included a non-stop flight and transportation from and to the airport and Tamarijn Aruba.
At the resort, all meals and drinks are included. This was great for traveling with the toddler that can be picky about what she wants to eat. You can get or order just about anything and they will have it done. Tamarijn resort is actually known to be more family-friendly than most. And we were able to order plain chicken and veal as well as pasta every day. The selection of food for us was great as well. And they also do not water down their alcoholic beverages. With all these included, we did not have to think about where we going to eat or how to get there and what type of food and service we would get with a child.
While those are great pluses for the resort, their services throughout the hotel were not so great. The bell boy service leaves a lot to be desired. It was slow to not existent. When we first arrived there was no one in the lobby to greet us or take our bags even though we were arriving at a provided coach services. Even after checking in at the front desk we had to request and wait for someone to take our bags to the room. Usually, that would not be too big of an issue since we would have a couple of carry-ons and shoulder bags. But this time we had a lot more large bags and one tired and cranky toddler.
At breakfast and lunchtime, we received quite an inattentive service. It did get better over time and we also found out why some tables got immediate services and others didn't. Tips. I get that in regular restaurants tips are part of the experience and provided much-needed income to the wait staff. However, when you are at an all-inclusive resort you have already paid a large sum to have all of that taken care of ahead of time. One of the main reasons we chose to be there was so that we can leave our wallets behind and take only camera and room keys. This seems to elude a lot of 'regulars' as they continue to tip on top of that at every meal.
One of the benefits of Tamarijn hotel was the large number of specialty restaurants on premises. Again giving us plenty of choice with little travel. During dinner at these restaurant, unfortunately, we also experienced very slow service. At a couple of places it took over an hour for our food to come. A hungry and short fused toddler did't want any of it. Out came our snacks and iPhone with cartoons and games pre-loaded. Which was a savior during the meals and also flights.
With all this you would think we did not have that much of a great holiday. But we did. These things not withstanding, it was a good time had by all.
The rooms are all ocean facing. Can hear the ocean at night. Which is great to fall asleep to and wake up. The ocean was clear once you get in a few feet. The weather also got better after a couple of days where it was hot during the day but not as humid, and cool nights. On one of the nights it was very clear and we were able to see the Blood Moon/Lunar Eclipse perfectly in the sky.
There are Pelicans flying overhead constantly diving into water after fish. They are followed by seagulls that pick up left overs. And there are a lot of fish. In the evening they start jumping out of the water. One of the day's one of them flew so close it slapped my cheek. There were quite a few folk with snorkeling gear swimming around.
As some reviews on Tripadvisor have mentioned, the beach is eroding. The middle portion of the hotel strip is ok for now, though the further edge has no send left, just bare rocks. The hotel avoids mentioning it to arrivals when booking rooms.
If in the area bring swim shoes, since that is the only way to get into water. It is very rocky at the shore and in the water. Save your toes and enjoy swimming much more with a pair of water shoes.
Also there is a pipe in the middle of the water. And no sign of any sorts to let folks know about it. Ran over it with my knee while holding on to the kid. All ended alright. But that is a terrible set up.
To get away from the rocks and pipes in the waters by our hotel we took a trip to Eagle Beach in search of a better beach. It was much better. It was all send walking in and in the water. And the water was clear to the bottom. We had a great day swimming, relaxing, and for some us, napping on the beach. We saw a guy on what looked like hydro skates. He was doing flyboarding, similar to the guy on the show "America Got Talent". And them some other folks trying it out.
We were pleasantly surprised on last few days of our stay with a Cirque de solei type of circus show. It was very good with fun entertainment and great acrobatic acts. Another show that we all enjoyed the synchronized swimming. It was performed by the local swim team and it was well done with good music and moves. Kiddo loved it.
As we found out on the way back to get out of Aruba is quite a task. You have to pass two customs AND two full security checkpoints. And I mean taking your shoes and everything else and putting everything on the conveyor belt for the second time. And the kicker, when you first check in and drop off your luggage, you are not done with it. You pick it up before going through the second checkpoint of customs and security. By the end, we were exhausted since its a bit more hassle to do it with a kid and more bags. On the plus side, when we arrived back home we did not need to go through customs. Straight to the baggage claim and taxi.
7 Cool & Useful Things You Can Do With Airplane Mode
When airplane mode is enabled, you’ll often see an airplane icon in your device’s notification bar.
Enabling airplane mode disables Wi-Fi on your phone. However, on most devices, you can enable Wi-Fi after enabling airplane mode.
Turn off cellular data usage
By turning on airplane mode, all of the cellular signals will be blocked. But Wi-Fi will be working so you can connect to that in-flight Wi-Fi network. Some devices also allow you to enable Bluetooth when airplane mode is enabled.
The first time I came across the Knee Defender, I thought it was an interesting idea that might be useful. Though at the time I did not know/understand how beneficial it could be to have this gadget along with you on a plane. That is until I had to flight several times on business.
Most of the time, flying for pleasure, I try to get ready to relax and have no need to drag the laptop or anything like that. So even though the space in the seat is small, I manage well enough. However, flying during business hours, I had to get some work done while in-flight. Out comes the laptop. And flying economy class, you already have little room between you and the seat in front. That room seems even smaller once you open up the laptop. And then it happens. The person in front is thinking what I am usually thinking on such flights and that is relaxing. So they press the button and push their chair backwards. Some passengers even assume there is no one behind them nor care and try to push it all the way. Making it very uncomfortable for the neighbor in the back and forget about one trying to see things on already half closed computer. This is also the moment when, thinking back to it, it would have been great to have the Knee Defender.
So scanning the web for cool travel gadgets, I once again came across it. This gadget seems to be too good to be true. It is simple in design, just a couple of pieces of plastic, and is quite small in size as seen in the picture comparison to a house key size.
Knee Defender™ helps you stop reclining seats on airplanes so your knees won't have to. It is adjustable to help provide as much protection as you need. This gadget has been selected as an effective and even essential product from the large pool of available travel gadgets.
Another gadget for airplane travel featured on GadgetDuck is the Scanner Bag. There are quite a few things to consider when packing your carry-on. Most importantly make sure it abides by all TSA Regulations and Recommendations. With all of these things to consider, going through the security check point can be never racking and bothersome. The Scanner Bag makes it a bit easier by keeping all of the things that you would need to take off and pull out of your pockets and dump somewhere in one spot. Your cell phone, keys, jewelry, pen, iPod, iPhone, coins, Blackberry®, and whatever else that might set off the detectors can all be packed safely in the bag. Moreover, since it attaches to carry-on there is no chance of leaving anything behind. The bag stays with the rest of your stuff before and after the scan so you can just pick up your carry-on up and go without delaying to put everything back where it was.
Why good to have on a trip:
- Keep what little space you have in airplane seat
- Save your knees and your eyes when working during flight
- With Scanner Bag, speed through beginning of security check
- And get out of there just as fast
While flying to the business meeting that I mentioned in the previous post, I got reaffirmation just how uncomfy airplanes can be. It is especially more so these days with a lot less extras available on planes. There were no blankets on the seats, no giving out of headphones to listen to music and or videos. We did get a tiny bag of peanuts and pretzels.
Awhile back I came across Magellan's site that has a large variety of travel supplies. It has clothing, accessories, gadgets, trial-size items, guides, and much more. The latest portion of the site that I found is the Get Comfortable En Route collection. It is an awesome gathering of things that would make a flight a lot more comfortable, clean, dry, and relaxing. As part of its listings this collection, of course, also has headphones. I have mentioned noise-canceling headphones in several of my entries (10 Travel Gadgets for the warm weather travel, Noise canceling headphones - life saver for travelers?, How Do Noise Reducing Headphones Work?) and just how much of a benefit they are for a relaxing and more enjoyable flight.
Travel Pillow is a great idea to have along to not strain your neck or end up on someone's shoulder while relaxing or taking a nap. I have one and usually take it with me for a long flight, though I did forget it for this one.
On the flight back home, the plane did not even have a built in video player in the back of the seat. So it was up to you to entertain yourself and hopefully you have some airplane travel gadgets. I had a laptop with me that provided something to do and get good use out of the time, however it did not last long as the battery was drained. So having a portable multimedia player is also a great idea to have. And once I upgrade my phone from a media phone to a smart phone when I am up for a renewal, I will have multimedia player with me anywhere I go. Can't wait. Though for now, it was a good book and some Sudoku puzzles the rest of the flight
This week I was on a business trip for a great big small company sales conference.
While out and about one of the sales reps pleasantly surprised everyone when she turned on some music. It was surprising since the music was loud and for the most part clear, yet it was not coming from a boombox. It was from an iPhone that was connected, at least at that time, to a set of small rectangular speakers. Quite a few people were interested to find out what kind of speakers those are and how come she had them with her on a business trip. Her answer was very interesting and both cool regarding the gadget and insightful regarding its application.
The speakers that she had along were Jawbone JAMBOX. The 12-ounce box can produce extreme high and low frequencies from a small dome speaker. The Jambox promises up to 10 hours of continuous play. She brings this little gadget, which is about 6x2x2 inches, to meetings with clients. That is such a great idea. What is a better way to lighten up a mood of another business meeting and break the ice than with some good music. Music revitalizes, divert, and entertains. The client coming into the room with one expectation, but a greeted with a much better one.
This speakers can be connected either through Bluetooth or wires. Since the sales person already has her iPhone with her at all times, her music is also there waiting to be released. It makes a great accessory for a trip to lighten the mood and share the tunes.
Comment below and let us know if you use any gadgets to entertain the clients or yourself that might be a bit of a different tune
Why good to have on a trip:
- compact size
- great sound
- easy connectivity, can be used with no wires
- music lightens the mood and great to share
Did You Know?:
Music has the ability to strengthen or weaken emotions. It can calm, inspire or energize you. It transcends language, culture, gender and age. Music affects us whether we know it or not. Music can help you concentrate or distract.
The folks on this list have quite an extensive travel itineraries and a whole lot of miles under their belts. In the article the provide some of the essential travel items that they always take a long on their journey. I found this post very interesting as it included some of our favorite items to take a long as well.
Matthew Kleinosky, one of the travelers on the list, always has a water filter with him while traveling as well as a water bottle.
From another frequent traveler: "My first aid kit and my Swiss Army knife (in checked bags): I've used the knife to open items, to eat, and for other useful functions..."
Another one takes along earplugs to tune out "loud, unhappy children." While that is great, I like to not only tune out but also tune into some enjoyable relaxing music. And that is where noise-canceling headphone come in handy as they do both and work great to get you through the flight, train ride, or just the wait for both.