I am not going to lie, I was pretty nervous to go to Aruba even a decade later after all the drama the island has received. Plus, this was my first time flying out of the country alone to meet my girlfriends for a bachelorette trip. One of the things I did before this trip was to get Global Entry TSA. That was a game changer for flying. I had read aruba had really long wait times at their airport on the weekends, but by having precheck, you can skip all of that and save about an hour. I am all about savoring my island time! So I filled out all the paperwork, did my fingerprints, and BOOM within a couple weeks I was cleared for global entry! I also suggest using the app on your iphone: “Find my friends” it made me feel 100% more safer knowing they all had my location at all times.
The Island was definitely crowded with tourism, and it seems to be a favorite spot to vacation for the retirees too :). The food was very good, and actually relatively inexpensive. I flew in on a Friday and flew out on a sunday, so I didn’t get to experience the island as much as I would have wanted to.
Below are the highlights from our trip and things I wish I would have known beforehand!
I Loved the whole set up here. Huge property with pools and beach. Rooms were nice, ground floor ones Id request next time. The bar had firepits at night and played live music. We ate dinner here one night overlooking the pools, make sure to sit outside!
We stayed here one night strictly to have beach access for two days at Flamingo Beach. I would only stay at this hotel if on a family vacation and request the beach view side. More details on flamingo beach below!
Breakfast: Linda’s Dutch Pancakes– SO GOOD! get there early. Smaller place, and we waited about 30 minutes. Acai Bowls: Eduardo’s Beach Shack– I never made it here and was so bummed, the reviews and locals said it is amazing. And If you know me, I would eat an acai bowl daily the rest of my life if I could! Dinner:Papiemento– Beautiful outdoor set up! The entire place is the outside of an old house, the seating is around the pool and there are trees everywhere. The food was great and lobster was in season!
Things to do: –Visit Flamingo Beach! – Spend the entire day or your entire vacation here in my opinion! You have to either be staying at the resort, or get their early to buy a day pass for access to flamingo beach. A ferry shuttles people over every 15 minutes during the day from the hotel. Apparently they only sell a select amount a day for the island, so make sure to get there early. They have a bar and food on the island.
*Know before you go: BOOK BUNGALOWS for the day! Call the Renaissance Hotel to reserve. They are booked months in advance. They are the coolest spot overlooking the beach where you can relax on your own hammock over the water! Also bring quarters to buy food for the flamingos.
I have been very consistent with my skincare regimen for almost a year now, and I recently switched to a cruelty free product line that I am LOVING! RDKL, which you can find here! I think the main thing for clear skin is to stay consistent with whatever products you are using! I ALWAYS wash my face before I go to bed and first thing in the morning. Below is my entire process. Make sure to watch the full video for details behind the scenes and to see Lainey’s first skincare debut :). You can click directly on the video to purchase the kit!
Am Routine, use the entire RDKL line:
1. Wash with FRESH
2. Apply Youth Toner
3. Apply Life serum
4. Apply Moisturizer
5. Dab Glow on cheekbones after makeup
*Game Changer: I have been getting HYRDAFACIALS regularly for the last 6 months. I have seen a huge difference in my skin since that as well. Mainly I have noticed my skin discoloring has faded, I have more of a warm glow tightening to my skin, and I haven’t had any random breakouts. I go to PrimeMD in Brier Creek NC, but many medical spas offer this service!
*Other things to note: I have been taking care of vitamins regularly for 6 months, they have a survey you can take on their site to personalize it. I make sure to include a fish oil and astaxanthin (both good for the skin).
*And of course, I drink only water all day, besides a green tea in the morning, to keep my skin hydrated. I try to keep my workouts consistent during the week too! I notice if I eat something really greasy, my skin is immediately affected. If your looking for clean eating in that space, make sure to check out my best friends blog @sweetpotato_sneakers !
We have vacationed to Turks & Caicos for 3 years now at various months of the year and we fall more in love with the island each time! This was our very first family trip out of the country with just the four of us (a three year old & one year old). There are pros and cons to each month. The best weather seemed to be this last month in early April. We first visited in September, which is a hit or miss for hurricane season but we lucked out and the island was very deserted at that time. Another month we went was January and we ended up staying there an entire week because our flight was delayed back home due to a snow storm. Unfortunately the weather was stormy our last few days in January and the wind + the ocean current was so strong we couldn’t even go on the beach. In April the weather stayed in the 80s daily, maybe rained for 15 minutes in the afternoon if that, and we did a simple Thursday-Monday trip. I felt that time frame of 4 nights was perfect (especially with kids). Traveling from the east coast, you can get a direct flight from Florida and be there by lunch time!
Below are all the reasons why we love Turks & our favorite spots:
1. The beaches: Grace Bay Beach was voted the #1 top beach in the world. If that doesn’t make you want to visit there, I don’t know what will. It is the clearest water I have seen, and there are barely any waves, which makes it the ideal family friendly spot! The sand is white, not too hot, and easy for sandcastle building.
(Outfit Minnow Swim)
We always stay at the Grace Bay Club. This is mainly due to the high level of service we got on our first visit and we have continued to receive outstanding service ever since. When I travel with kids, and in general, I want to know the place we are going to is consistent and accommodating to all our needs. Grace bay is 5 stars in our book. We have stayed in all the properties at the resort. There is an adults only pool there and we stayed in that area during our honeymoon. We prefer the Villas now with kids because you have your own kitchen and laundry area. (Best advice I ever got for traveling was to do all your laundry before you go back home!) Highlights Grace Bay Club has to offer:
-Kids camp on site daily
-Hot tubs, swim up bar, and pools
-Pools and beach chairs easily accessible, very private and quiet resort.
-On site Butlers that cater to your family, they can do all the grocery shopping for you before you even arrive.
-The best on site dining on the island, easy to eat with kids and live music on the beach.
-They provide roll-away cribs to the room.
-Sunsets unreal, large balconies
Hats- Southend Surfshop- Wrightsville, NC
(suits: lspace, bag saltsuit)
(outfit babybreez) * You can now use Code: BECCAINGLE for discount at checkout!
3. Food We stay close to “home” when eating on vacation, because once you find a good spot why mess it up by trying something else? We did venture out one year about 20 minutes away from the property, and became disappointed it was not as good as the other restaurants we are repeat customers. All the places we love, are within walking distance of our hotel- Grace bay club! Also when traveling with kids, we try to keep everything as simple as possible. Every morning we had the complimentary breakfast overlooking the ocean at the Grill. Turks has some of the best lobster I’ve ever tasted (Note it is only in seasons August-April 1st). Below are our favorite restaurants on the island that have never disappointed in service, food or atmosphere.
* Coco Bistro– Hands down favorite atmosphere, you feel like you’re in the middle of a rainforest. My favorite here is the dessert. If you cant get into the restaurant, the airstream in the parking lot is open for dinner & has really good churros!
* Coyaba– This is my husbands number one choice over coco bistro, and for me it could be a tie. Coyaba hits the nail on the head with every food you try. They bring samples throughout your meal for you to try as well, atmosphere is cozy half-inside half-outside with an Italian vibe. The wine is the best I’ve ever tasted, but very expensive too! I guess you get what you pay for, and here I’ll pay all night long. We were able to meet the head chef, who was busy but took the time to meet some fans! This is such a hidden gem.
* Infiniti Restaurant & Raw Bar at Grace bay Club- We love this place for several reasons and usually eat here multiple times during our stay. For one, its super convenient, on the resort property. You can dine several areas of the restaurant and have a completely different feel! One option is to have an intimate dining experience by sitting by the beach (with kids this is great because they can play in the sand while you dine). The view of the sunset is amazing. Another option is to eat at the longest infiniti bar. And a third option is to eat in the lounge area, where they serve full menu, by fire pits and listen to live music! This place has my favorite surf and turf entrée.
4. Plane travel/Packing list
*Recently I have become obsessed with packing cubes from amazon. There are several options, but I use these here. It really making packing with kids and organization a breeze. I did various colors for each kid and myself so I could easily locate things.
*Also any beach travel trips, I keep their clothes pretty simple since most the time they are in bathing suits. I go with neutral tees and sweats, and then load up on swim stuff. I have found that if they are wearing the same thing, there are no arguments. Brands we are loving currently and you see the kids in from our trip below:
* Island Vibes Tours– We have done this every year we have gone. They pick you up right on the beach in front of the resort. You can do half day options or full day. We have always felt like the 9am-1pm half day option was ideal, and with the kids they come back just in time for their naps. They have no age restriction for the boat, and since its very big and water calm we feel very safe with them on there. You go snorkeling for about 30 minutes at the beginning, then they take you to a private beach for an hour, then they catch live conch and fix a lunch for you.. They have a slide off the top of the boat that they stop for about 30 minutes on the way back and let people take turns. There is also unlimited rum & punch for the parents :).
*Provo Ponies-We rode horses on our honeymoon and I cant wait for the kids to experience it but the minimum age requirement is 5. You get to take the horses through the beautiful water of turks on a private island, and it still is the highlight of my honeymoon.
*FlyBoarding- We have done this twice now! There are two companies on the island that offer it, Tours by free & TCI Flyboarding. We have had great experience with both. We ended up using a different company this year because one was closed for a few weeks while we were in town. I did like the location of TCI flyboarding company better with kids, its right in front of the blue haven resort. Tours by free is off a dock in a marina so hard to keep an eye on the kids from falling in. If you’re use to snowboarding or skateboarding- standing in the water on these power jets will come easily! The whole experience is less than 20 minutes, but if you’re like my husband he could go an hour. It is definitely a leg work out!