Call me Senorita DaniGirl

by DaniGirl on August 9, 2012 · 9 comments

in Away we go, Reviews, promotions and giveaways

It was an ordinary Friday, the last day before my summer holidays began, and I was just on my way back from lunch and getting ready to sail through my last few hours before three glorious weeks of holiday time when I checked my e-mail. And my jaw dropped open. I may have stopped breathing for as long as a minute as I re-read the e-mail again, and again. And one more time for good measure. And then I blinked a few times. I might have squeaked a bit.

After I shook my head a few times, the words started to sink in. My incredible friends at Fisher-Price and Mom Central Canada have arranged for the #FisherPriceMoms team to go to (are you ready for this?) the Mayan Riviera for four days next week! We’ll be staying at the spectacular (and I do mean SPECTACULAR) Azul Beach House, a gourmet-inclusive resort just a little south of Cancun. (You know, where the HURRICANE passed. YESTERDAY. I feel a little like Garp when he bought the house after the plane hit it. I was worried about hurricane season last week, but not so much now.)

Anyway, I am digressing all over the place and barfing capitals because I am SO! EXCITED! Here’s what’s on the agenda for us next week:

Ambassadors will:
• Meet the Riviera Maya’s preeminent authority on the Mayan culture to learn about family life in Mexico and how meaningful exposure to other world cultures can be for a young child’s social and cognitive development.
• Gain cultural knowledge about how children play the world over.
• Experience the wonderful amenities at this gorgeous hotel property.
• You will also receive a deep dive into the “Joy of Learning” and it’s evolution within Fisher-Price.

How cool is that? The trip is in FOUR DAYS!!! Wait, let me show you the link again so you can gaze admiringly at the sand, the sea and the un-farking-believable beauty of the place: Azul Beach Hotel.

So, clever bloggy peeps, now that I can tell you about this (and oh how I’ve been dying to do so!) I have a bunch of questions for those more experienced in international travel than me. (Oh, the scramble to apply for a passport that expired in 2000 after our honeymoon in Paris! A blog post for another day, indeed.) I’m especially curious about currency. Last time I travelled internationally, we used travellers’ cheques. How quaint is that? Should I bring a wad of Mexican pesoes with me? Or just use my ATM card when I’m there?

Also, tipping – how much and to whom? Since it’s all-inclusive (yet another new experience to me – never been to a resort either!) I assume I have to tip generously and to just about everyone? Is there much point in bringing $US?

Also, international roaming data plans – yes or no? Holy guacamole, I cannot believe how much you pay for so little! I seem to use about 75 to 100 MB of data a month. The best roaming plan for my iPhone is $50 for a month, but that’s only for 10MB. Eep, I can blow that with five photos! I’m thinking a combination of buying wifi at the resort and using the roaming plan for airports, etc but yikes. Any insight there?

Okay, I have dozens of other questions, but I will save them for now. I can’t wait to share more with you soon. Very soon – in FOUR DAYS!!!

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 gus&otto August 9, 2012 at 7:01 pm

I’ll tackle just one of your questions. Money. We’ve been to Mexico three times in the past 4 years – 1 time to Cancun and 1 time to the Mayan Riveria.

Your choice of currency is USD or peso. You can buy USD here and then convert to pesos at the front desk of your hotel. You’ll get dinged twice on currency, however. Tips you can leave in USD. You can also buy items in USD, but you’ll get your change in pesos.

Your best bet is to check out trip advisor (the travel forums) to see if there is an ATM at your hotel. Figure out how much you think you’ll need for the whole trip and then withdraw pesos directly from your account.

We take enough money for tips and small souvenirs. If you’re doing an excursion or think you’ll buy something bigger, just put it on your credit card (note: call your credit card company before leaving to let them know that you’ll be out of the country).

Bring small bills for tipping. It’s not required at an all-inclusive, but appreciated. Depending on your resort, it may get you better service. We usually tip the maid daily, our servers at meals, and then anyone who gets a drink for us or bartenders. Usually $1 USD for drinks, $1-2/daily for the maid, and $2-3 for breakfast/lunch and $3-5 for dinner (sometimes more depending on the service ie buffet vs sit down meal, how messy our toddler is, how good the server was with our kids).

Have a great trip!

2 Sara August 9, 2012 at 7:24 pm

I have no helpful answers because I’ve never been to Mexico but just wanted to stop by to say SO COOL and have a blast!

3 Anonymous August 9, 2012 at 9:16 pm

Hey, this will be so fun! 🙂 Awesome news!

Okay, the questions:
1. Currency: I’d bring a bunch of USD 1 dollar bills. Use these for tipping. For anything else you need (souvenirs, emergency sunscreen), you can use your credit card. But do try, if possible, to buy all your souvenirs from the shop all at once so you don’t get hit with a bunch of extra charges. Now, all of this applies only if you don’t actually leave the resort. Once off a resort, the local currency is usually required if you want to pick up fruit from a street vendor, etc. You can pick up local currency from the front lobby of the hotel. It probably won’t be the greatest exchange rate, but it feels safer to me than getting a wad of money at the airport if I’m travelling alone.
2. At an all-inclusive, you don’t need to tip everyone, all the time. For example, if the same bartender is always working, then I would leave a good tip once a day rather than a small tip each time. I find it easier and don’t like carrying my purse around all the time. Some all-inclusives are no-tipping (which I love!), but most do require that you have some bills on you if you want that bartender to get to you before closing hour! 🙂
2. Wifi: Most press trips like this will ensure that media and especially bloggers have internet access in their rooms at no cost, or marginal cost. If there is no Wifi in your room, buy an international plan for your iPhone for texting so you can keep in touch with your family and don’t use it for anything else. There is always a computer or business center in the resort where you can buy internet access by the time increments for other needs. Likely, you won’t have time to touch your computer to blog because they will keep you so busy that you simply collapse into bed at the end of the day.

I hope this helps! Have a blast!

4 coffee with julie August 9, 2012 at 9:18 pm

Poop! I did it again – I am not Anonymous … it’s Julie 🙂

5 DaniGirl August 10, 2012 at 7:41 am

Great answers everyone, thank you!

(Julie, we are destined for commenting problems on each others’ blogs. Maybe we should just, you know, talk face to face??? Crazy radical idea, I know!)

6 Coffee with Julie August 10, 2012 at 10:51 am

What does “face to face” mean? This does not compute.

7 DaniGirl August 10, 2012 at 1:30 pm

Maybe we could rely on the 10 yr olds as a telegraph system?

8 Nadia August 11, 2012 at 1:02 am

Enjoy the trip. You will love it.
We took USD and asked the hotel to change it to dollars. Also usually there is free wi-fi at the lobby. Even during breakfast we would sit as close to the corner which is closest to the lobby and we would get the free wifi there too. And get skype. We chatted w everyone on Skype. Also get Whatsapp if you dont already. Its the best 99 c you will ever spend. As long as you have wifi, u can text anyone as long as they have WhatsApp too. And you get confirmation that your text was read. Enjoy. Try to get away from the constant checking of the iPhone and just enjoy the vacation and perks…. Oh and please use the kids club if it looks up to your standards and enjoy some nice dinners where you are not constantly yelling at the kids to behave and save the bad behavior for home. Enjoy the nightly shows too. Last tip – grab zip lock bags. At breakfast take extra fruit and croissants and u wont have to worry about going back to get food in midday when you are at the beach. Just dont waste!!!

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