You are all super awesome 🙂 I’ve been getting over a cold for the last few days and seeing all of your comments (even as I posted a little less frequently) really cheered me up – so cheers to you!
…Now on to the thing I’ve been daydreaming about while drinking tons of tea and bundled in blankets… The Caribbean! Since I recently shared my typical travel planning method, I figured I’d give an example for my upcoming trip to St. Kitts and San Juan. Today I’ll post the St. Kitts segment of my trip, and tomorrow I’ll post the San Juan segment. See my planned itinerary and costs here.
St. Kitts Segment
1. Brainstorm/Gather inspiration/Get Recommendations.
For this stage of the planning, I started at the easiest place – the official St. Kitts tourism website. I flipped through their photo album for inspiration, and then looked at the list of activities they recommended. I scrolled through the long list of suggestions – it provides links to some of the tour companies or restaurants/bars, which really helped with the planning process.
I also took to Pinterest to get ideas. I love that site for the sheer visual awesomeness of seeing photo after photo of beautiful exotic locations. I found less than I expected when I just searched for St Kitts, but searching for Basseterre (the capital) helped to include some additional results.
Here are the things that tickled my fancy – in no particular order (all costs converted to USD):
- Spa massage
- Golf at the oceanside golf course
- Hiking or zip lining through the rainforest
- Day trip to Nevis
- Sailing/snorkling day trip
- Hiking to Mount Liamuiga Volcano
- Horseback riding along the beach or through the rainforest
- Basseterre / Caribelle Batik / Brimstone Hill Fortress tours
- Fairview Great House and Botanical Gardens
- Train ride around the island
- Dinner and drinks and days at the beach with my friend – this will happen without planning 🙂
Obviously, attempting to do all those things would be exhausting and expensive (some are free, but most average $100). So I need to pare it down a little!
2. Narrow down choices into feasible options.
A. The spa massage is definitely on the list. It is my annual travel tradition, so I’ve been looking forward to it for months!
B. My friend recommended visiting Caribelle Batik, so I will probably do that. Other than the cost to get there, I think that it is free to tour the grounds (not sure though).
C. I really want to see the rainforest, but I don’t need to see it three different ways. So I will probably either do the horseback ride or the zipline, no need for both.
D. The train ride around the island looks wonderful and relaxing (they have both open air and air conditions sections, and they serve complimentary tropical alcoholic beverages…. yummm)… it does look like they have a tour that allows you to see the fortress and the botanical gardens, so I might try to do that tour.
Those are my top priority activities. I would love to do the volcano hike, snorkling, or the daytrip to Nevis, but I also don’t want to overwhelm myself and run out of time to visit with my friend!
3. Tentatively schedule and plan itinerary with top priority activities.
This one is going to be a little more flexible than usual. I’ve checked online / called ahead to a couple places and asked about their availability for the week I’ll be down there. They all have quite a few open spots, so I’m not too worried about missing out if I don’t book ahead of time. In fact, several places provide similar tours, so if one place is booked, another might be open. I checked Viator, Caribbean Journey Masters, and St. Kitts Scenic Railway. For the massage, I considered the JW Marriott, but there are also some local places in Basseterre I might consider instead.
Since the island is small but still requires some transportation to move from place to place, I’ll try to fit my schedule in around my friend’s classes. I’d rather not pay for taxis everywhere, so if a tour includes pickup from a central location, I’ll be more likely to book that over other tours.
4. Create list of alternatives or possible activities.
This one is easy once I went through steps 1 and 2. The activities I would include next on my list are the snorkling excursion or the daytrip to Nevis, rather than the volcano hike. I’d like to spend more time in the water or seeing different towns, rather than in the same area of the island as the other planned activities.
So that’s about it! Super simple