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How to plan the ultimate vacation

Dreaming of pristine beaches, sparkling pools and sunny weather but don’t know where to start when it comes to planning your ideal getaway? From choosing the perfect destination to selecting your ideal resort, we compiled a comprehensive guide on how to plan the ultimate vacation in the tropics.

Aerial view of mountainous landscapes overlooking a calm bay
Choose the destination that’s right for you

First things first – where do you want to go? Your interests and travel style can help narrow down where you want to go. If you're seeking a classic sun-and-sand getaway, the pristine shores of Varadero in Cuba are a great choice. Looking for endless adventures and eco-exploration? The lush destination of Costa Rica is calling your name! If you like to dance the day and night away, Cancun's legendary Hotel Zone and its famous nightclubs have your name written all over it. Still unsure? Choose your vacation destination based on your astrological sign or check out our top picks below.

Our top pick: If you want to be the first to try out the trendiest new vacation hotspot, we recommend choosing Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo for your next getaway. This up-and-coming Pacific Mexican destination offers the best of both luxury living and laidback beach vibes and is one of the most exciting new destinations to visit. Azul Ixtapa Grand Resort provides the perfect home base from which to explore the area. Plus, when you’re not out and about you can try out activities like paddleboarding, surfing and kayaking.

Winding water slides with a pool at the bottom
Vacation Better without blowing your travel budget

One of the most important steps of vacation planning is making sure you stick to your budget. By choosing an all inclusive package, you’re already on track with everything included on your vacation, from flights to meals and accommodations. Plus, plenty of resorts offer additional inclusions that can help you take your budget to the next level. When you book with Sunwing you can look forward to special perks and privileges at no extra cost, from access to the best water parks down south at SplashWorld® Resorts to special pricing for kids at top-rated family resorts. Adults seeking a relaxing getaway without the kids can look forward to spa credits, gourmet dining and serene atmospheres at Relax Resorts™. Families travelling together can take their travel budget even further at SmileResorts™ with inclusions such as kids Stay, Play and Eat FREE deals, no single parent supplement fees and action-packed complimentary kids clubs.

Our top pick: One SmileResort™ you may choose to stay at Viva Wyndham Maya in Riviera Maya. In addition to all the regular SmileResort™ inclusions, the resort also offers plenty of action-packed fun that the whole family will enjoy like the unique Viva Wyndham Circus which offers trapeze lessons!

Lounge chairs by a pool overlooking palm-fringed beach
Find the perfect resort for your travel style

Depending on the kind of vacation you’re planning – whether it be a romantic escape, a family reunion or a getaway with friends – you want to make sure you pick a resort that offers all the amenities and services you may need. Get a sense of what kind of amenities you want your resort to offer to help pick the place best suited for your travel style. Luxury-seekers may opt for a property that offers world-class butler service, those travelling as a couple or a group of friends may want to stay at an adults only property, while parents travelling with tots will want to look for a resort that offers kids clubs and babysitting services. Plenty of resorts offer unique amenities as well, from wine and tequila tastings with experienced sommeliers to romantic beachside dinners and sprawling water parks that kids and kids at heart will love.

Our top pick: Planning an adults only getaway? Le Sivory Punta Cana by Portblue Boutique in the Dominican Republic is the perfect choice. This intimate resort only has 55 suites so you’re guaranteed a serene atmosphere and world-class service where you can focus on making memories together instead of looking for a quiet spot by the pool.

Spacious room with two beds and a Jacuzzi overlooking the ocean
Select the right room category

While you’ll probably be spending more time soaking up the sun beachside on your vacation than in your room, you still want to make sure you have a comfortable suite to retire to at the end of the day, preferably with an incredible view. Couples might want to choose a room category with a lavish Jacuzzi on the terrace, perfect for dreamy moments watching the sunset; while families may opt for more spacious suites where the whole group can stay together comfortably. From overwater bungalows to swim-out suites, there’s a spectacular room for every traveller!

Our top pick: If you’re looking for a resort with a wide range of accommodation options, Royalton Blue Waters in Montego Bay has all that and then some. This luxury resort offers spacious suites for all group types and sizes – including one, two and three-bedroom suites that are ideal for families. For an enhanced level of service, you can upgrade to Diamond Club™ for exclusive resort areas, preferred room locations and lavish butler service.

View from below of a group of people jumping off a boat into the water
Make plans to explore your destination

Sunwing Experiences excursions are a great way to explore your chosen destination and go off the beaten path. You can sail the high seas on a catamaran ride, zipline high above the treetops on a canopy tour or soak in the local culture on a city excursion. Regardless of which adventure you choose, excursions are a great way to make memories together on vacation and see more of your chosen destination.

Our top pick: You can try a host of unique excursions in Roatan, from scuba diving to island tours – and when you stay at Infinity Bay Spa and Beach Resort, the fun doesn’t stop when you get back to the resort. Explore all that the area has to offer with resort-offered bike rentals, glass-bottom boat rides and snorkelling (at an extra cost).

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