Going someplace I’ve never been… Feeling both excited and anxious. How did people travel before the Internet? I’m sure they were a lot more reliant on travel agents. But I’m an independent woman. I don’t want to rely on what someone else thinks I would like. I want to choose. So it was time to check online to learn as much as I could about Sint Martin/St. Maarten.
I read about the shopping on the Dutch side and the quaint coffee shops and stores on the French side. Great beaches all around the island. Recommendations to go on a boat tour around the islander out to a smaller island, like Pinel. There were tons of fancy hotels and resorts to choose from as places to stay, but I wanted something more intimate, and where I might actually interact with someone from the island, instead of just with other tourists.
So I checked out vacation rentals through Home Away, Trip. Advisor and a European site IHC – international house shares. Some of the places to stay on St M are booked months in advance – one place I’d explored before I ever got a ticket was fully booked summer of 2014 for the whole month of February 2015! I needed something on the lower end of the economic scale, suitable for a single traveler… but not in a seedy part of town. If I was 40 years. younger, a foot taller and 80 pounds heavier – and changed my gender, I wouldn’t worry about what neighborhood I’m in. But I’m a SWF… senior and traveling alone. So I need to feel safe.
I also decided I need to feel safe about paying for a private booking. I ended up choosing to got with the Trip Advisor site. I could read reviews of what other travelers had thought, and I could pay with a guarantee. The condo near Orient Beach I’m staying in had a wonderful review written just a few days into the week stay of another family. They described the hosts as wonderful and helpful, the accommodations as delightful, the location as perfect.
I can’t wait until I’m actually there to experience it for myself later today!