How (Not) to Be a Travel Writer
I just got back from five days in the Bahamas with seven of my closest friends, had the time of my life, and felt compelled to write about it. I wanted to share the immaculate beauty of the water. The glowing hues ranging from aqua to azure. Totally amazing. I grew up going to the beaches in Galveston, Texas, and still go to this day because I love the beach, but on a good day in Galveston the water is brownish-green. So I really want to convey the exquisiteness of the Bahamian seas.
In order to do this blog post justice I looked up “How to Be a Travel Writer” and was surprised to learn how many steps are involved. Twelve to be exact. Step number one is: be aware of the low pay in travel writing. Got that covered! I run my own website for no pay, so low pay is a step up. Yay for me!
We stayed at the all-inclusive, adults-only Sandals resort on Paradise Island, which I highly recommend. The property was always clean, never seemed crowded – unlike other industries who like to overbook, Sandals doesn’t appear to do that.
There was a private island you could get to by boat every hour and that was loads of fun. I’m sure this had everything to do with not feeling claustrophobic over at the main property, not to mention, day-drinking in the sun takes a lot out some people. (Amateurs!) I would guess around 50% of the guests went to bed by 10:00pm.
And the snorkeling at the island was effortless. Tropical fish were easy to find and I even got to swim with two sea turtles. The island also has an outdoor restaurant and a swim up bar. But here’s my advice on this, even though Sandals’ resorts are all-inclusive, tipping makes a difference, especially when you are a captive audience because there’s only one bar and one restaurant on the private island. Be prepared to pay extra for good service. (Or pack a soft ice-chest and bring over everything from the minibar in your room.)
Next on the “how to travel write” list is: do not expect to find full-time work as a travel writer. Whew! Personally I find traveling to be frustrating and could not do this full-time. Once you’re there, fine, but the to-and-from can be horrendous. Like how I lost our travel documents for our return trip. Panic at the airport. Did you know some countries charge a fine or lock you up for a few days if you can’t provide them? Bonus about the Bahamas, it was no big deal, they were of the, Leave, but come back, mon, philosophy.
The only problems we encountered were dining. When you have eight people in your group be prepared to wait for a table. Couples and foursomes got in quicker, but again, this is when tipping helps. Something else, when the waiters are off work – they are off work. Even if their shift ends in the middle of your dinner. Our longest dinner was two and a half hours at the Italian restaurant, Casanova. But the did keep pouring the wine, so bonus there.
Let’s talk about the food! While service may have lacked at certain times, the food did not. Here’s what I ate for dinner. Italian steak, lobster, shrimp, Hibachi steak, more shrimp, American steak, and macaroni and cheese balls. Yum, yum. For lunch I kept things healthy by always ordering the Cobb salad. I will be taking a break on Cobb salads for a while.
As for excursions, the most talked about was the boat ride to Exuma. But did you hear about the music festival that went horribly wrong? This happened the week we were there. It was dubbed Coachella for the Rich because tickets were $1,200 per. Exuma is known for their white sand, clear water, and untouched presence. But after seeing the reports of the entitled ones living like refugees, we scratched this from the list. In fact, we didn’t do any excursions except for two in our group who made the unfortunate decision to go deep-sea fishing on a windy day. Tip number one, get the weather report the day before booking this. Tip number two, watch how much you drink the night before. And tip number three, the resort has a nurse’s station, should you need a prescription of some sort.
Most important on the list of “how to be a travel writer” is the travel writer’s overall experience and recommendation. I would go on this trip again and again. Some people may want to see other Sandal’s locations, and for them, several people mentioned how nice the Sandals Jamaica location was. I’ll probably stick with the Nassau location, but upgrade to the butler service next time. On a scale of 1 – 10, I give the Royal Bahamian an 8, but that was mostly because of all the time I spent laughing with my friends.