Cebu-Bohol Adventure: Crimson Resort and Spa

A beach resort was first on my list when I was planning our Cebu-Bohol adventure.  Among those that were recommended by friends were Shangri-la Mactan, Crimson Resort and Spa, Moevenpick, and JPark.  Since my considerations were for the resort to be kid-friendly and budget-friendly, we opted for Crimson Resort and Spa in Mactan.

crimson azure view

Reviews from TripAdvisor mention that some lost their way going to the resort.  Even some taxis where said to be unfamiliar with the location.  Getting lost with two kids in tow would be quite terrible so I decided to arrange for transport from the airport to Crimson Resort. We had to pay more than double than what a regular taxi fare would cost but the convenience was worth the extra bucks. Upon arrival at Mactan Interntional Airport, we were welcomed by a hotel representative who then ushered us to our car. The drive to the resort took around 20 minutes only.

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Check-in time was at 3 pm but we were told that a room would be available right after lunch. We were free to use all the facilities though while waiting for our room. We took our bag with our swimming gear and left the rest of our luggage with the bellman. We had to rent lockers near the fitness hall to keep our clothes and valuables in. A deposit of 500 pesos for each locker was required but was returned also after we surrendered the keys.

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Feeding Frenzy at the Beach

After changing into our swimsuits, we headed straight to the beach. The beach front was smaller than I pictured it to be. And true to the reviews I’ve read online, the beach was quite rocky.  Still, we enjoyed our REALLY SHORT dip in the sea – really short because the little girl freaked out when schools of fish swam around us. It was fish feeding time when we hit the beach.  There was a basket of bread available and the li’l boy and I were happily throwing bits and pieces of bread around us.  I was truly enjoying our real-life feeding frenzy, so it was with a heavy heart that I left the beach.

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Infinite Fun in the Infinity Pool

We spent the rest of the morning in the three-tiered infinity pool. Two pools were 2-ft deep while the third one was 4-ft deep. Since the kids had their floaters, we were able to stay in the last pool which had a spectacular view of the sea.

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The water was pleasantly warm (hubby wished it were cooler though) and I could have stayed there all day long.  There are scheduled pool activities throughout the day.  There was aqua zumba both in the morning and in the afternoon. Hubby and I joined both although I had to keep an eye on the two kids swimming (uh-oh…helicoptering still!).  A game of water polo was also offered but there were only a couple of swimmers who wanted to play.

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I found out the next day that there were also activities for kids in the kids’ pool. Had I known about those when we checked-in, I would have brought the kids to the other pools instead.

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3 tips that will help you spend wisely while you’re away

If you’re an intrepid globe trotter, you’re probably already familiar with the tide of expenses that pop up beyond the arrivals gate; instead of budgeting your hard earned cash, you may have the tendency to save more to deal with your desire for a champagne lifestyle whilst touring cities and lush, regional locations, buying the best of everything to complement your desire for excitement. And while you’re certainly free to indulge in a few weeks of opulence if you can afford it, for those of you who can’t and watch every cent as it rolls out of your hands, life abroad is a little tighter. Don’t be discouraged though, like your high flying, big spending cousins, the thrifty traveller can easily unlock the pleasures of the globe, with prudence and aplomb. How? Read on.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Don’t Fail to Plan

Failing to plan is the best way to lose track of your money while enjoying the sights and scintillating delicacies of an international bazaar of travel destinations – one impulse buy becomes another, an impromptu coach tour leads to monuments and fee-based attractions you didn’t anticipate, let alone budget for. Before you know it, you’re a week in and your cash has dwindled to an alarming amount, demanding an emergency influx of cash and the re-organising of what were essential stops. To avoid this scenario, plan where you’re going, what you’ll see, how much it will cost and whether you need to cover transportation. If you’re a spontaneous soul, anticipate your own personality and set a few dollars aside for those extras you just HAVE to do, see, own or eat.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Be Money Smart

Keep your cash stashed in different locations on your body – though the criminal elements is near invisible in many European and Asian countries, it is hardly rare. Protecting yourself from a hard place will ensure your money stays where it belongs; as an extra precaution, be careful of using your credit card for anything or passing details on. Where possible, pay with cash and use an ATM, or pre-paid Cash Passport to ensure the best protection possible against credit theft and fraud. While this isn’t related to spending directly, it can severely affect how much cash you have to throw around.

Beach Huts by Simon Howden / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Beach Huts by Simon Howden / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Avoid Hotels

While hotels are chock full of everyday comforts, they aren’t normally budget friendly. You have a few alternative here, depending on your personality and expectations for a trip away – hostels, bed and breakfasts, camping or private accommodation. While there is no right answer, researching and measuring testimonials against insider advice will ensure your safety and sanity; additionally, the above options are considerably more social and enjoyable than an isolated hotel experience. If you’re a camping fan, be mindful of weather conditions, environmental warnings, social implications and possible dangers before setting up camp – sometimes it’s best to have a solid roof over your head for the want of a few extra dollars!

Do you have any tricks of the travel trade to share? Let us know below in the comments!

Choosing Car Rental Service for Travelers

Most people who go on vacations rely on public transportation or hotel shuttle services during their trips. Though this may seem to be the most economical means of transport, it would actually be more reasonable to rent a car or a van if you are travelling as a family. Renting your own vehicle during your vacation provides you freedom to explore and to see the sights without being hindered by schedules and lack of public transport.

When choosing a car rental company, here are some of the things you need to consider:

Reliability. When choosing car rental companies, one should opt for those that have been able to build their names through the years such as www.usave.com which has been in the rental car business for over thirty years.

Convenience. Companies that allow pick-ups and drop-offs in airports are the most convenient but can be more costly as well. If travelling with the family though, the extra cost is well worth it. Another convenience car rental companies offer are online reservations which allow travelers to book rentals with ease. Some have even taken online reservations to another notch by offering downloadable mobile applications that enable travelers to reserve car rentals using their mobile phones.

Affordability. Economical service is most important to travelers who shoulder their own expenses. Many car rental companies offer various discounts to businesses, individuals and families. All you have to do is find the one that offers the best deals.

These are just three things you may want to consider when choosing a car rental company for your vacation needs. Once you’ve made your choice, do remember to read the fine print and check for hidden charges before signing a contract of lease.

A Guide to Choosing Your Travel Guides

Travelling to any foreign land can be both exciting and unnerving at the same time. As one eagerly looks forward to seeing new sights, exploring unfamiliar places, and immersing in an entirely different culture, the thought of being in a strange land with nameless faces can leave a queasy feeling in one’s stomach. This anxiety can be alleviated though by familiarizing yourself with the terrain and the culture of your travel destination through travel blogs and travel guides. Here are three different travel guides you should refer to before and during your trip.

Online Travel Guide. Before you fly off to your much-anticipated vacation, do let your fingers do the walking first and check out online travel guides. Doing so would give you an idea what to expect during your trip. It is also prudent to know any precautions you must take while in a foreign land.

Published Travel Guide. Travel guides vary from publisher to publisher, choose a travel guide that fits your own travel style. If you love adventure, you may want to choose one that shows off the beaten track sites and budget lodgings. Some guidebooks also include translations of commonly used phrases which can prove really useful when going to a place where English isn’t as widely used.

Personal Travel Guide. Once you’re in your travel destination, you may want to consider hiring the services of a tour guide. You may have to allot quite a portion of your budget for this but ensures you that you get to see all the wonderful sights the place has to offer. Just be sure you hire a reputable tour guide to avoid getting duped. It would be wise to ask your hotel concierge for referrals.

The Best Travel Spots When Travelling With Children

If you have read my previous post, you’d know that I dream of travelling with my husband and my children when they are a little bit older. I have always dreamt of travelling and even wanted to learn How to become an au pair so I could travel a bit when I was younger but unfortunately never had the chance so travelling with the people I love most would be amazing. You’d also know that I’ve been reading travel blogs to learn more about places that we could visit someday. Since I do plan to gift our children with an awesome family trip in a couple of years’ time, I’ve been looking up on the best travel spots to take the children to. Here are some of the best places where kids and kids-at-heart can all enjoy a fantastic vacation:

Hong Kong. This is actually the trip I have been saving for basically for two practical reasons, proximity and affordability. It’s just a few hours away so I won’t have to worry about the kids getting bored while on the plane and travel expenses are within our means. What’s more, we all get to go to Disneyland and Ocean Park.

Orlando, Florida. There’s the Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure, Sea World and Wet ‘n Wild Water Park. What more can kids want?! The “Theme Park Capital of the World” is definitely on top of our list and should be on yours too if you already have children. There’s also more to Orlando than just theme parks, the entire family can also bask in the sun along Florida’s coastline. Cocoa Beach and Daytona beach are among the most popular but families travelling together may best enjoy going to Apollo Beach or Canaveral National Seashore.

Copenhagen, Denmark. Home to the second oldest amusement park in the world, Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen is also on our must visit travel wish list. Wouldn’t it be spectacular to take a ride on a wooden – yes, wooden – roller coaster than has been around since 1915? Tivoli Gardens also has manicured lawns with fountains and flower beds that make it just perfect for a stroll. Also, I’d like my children to see the Little Mermaid statue and to explore the land where one of our favourite authors, Hans Christian Andersen, lived. I almost forgot to mention that Legoland is just a few miles away.

We are thinking of buying a caravan so it’s easier to travel the country and have little weekend trips away too but we will have to look at a reputable caravan loan broker before we make any decisions.

These are just three of my dream destinations. I also want to take my children Egypt to see the pyramids and ride on camels, to Lapland in Finland to visit Santa’s home, to Australia to see kangaroos running freely and to swim with the fish in the Great Barrier Reef, and to many other places where they can discover how beautiful the world is. I seriously doubt that I’d be able to save enough for all these trips but I do hope to instill in my children a love for travel so they will someday yearn to visit these places too.