(BPT) - Sunny skies, sandy beaches and blue ocean waters always make for an amazing summer getaway, especially now as travelers are looking ahead to an exciting year of travel. Many are searching for their new ‘happy place,’ and a trip to the Caribbean with your family, a significant other or to reconnect with a group of your closest friends can be a great way to find serenity, relaxation and bring you to a happier state of mind.

To help you spend less time worrying about travel, and more time enjoying activities, here are a few tips to make your trip a seamless experience:

1. Pick somewhere that has thorough health and safety protocols

When picking a travel destination in 2021, finding a location that prioritizes health and safety and has protocols and guidelines in place can put your mind at ease. Always double check you meet the destination’s health requirements before traveling there (and keep an eye on any changing protocols that could impact entry or departure).

The Caribbean island of Aruba, also known as "One happy island," has been safely welcoming tourists (after a brief closure) since July 2020 and therefore has its health and safety protocols down to a science. Aruba has adopted the use of the CommonPass digital health app, enabling travelers on specific flights to upload documents and test results needed for entry, making the experience more seamless than ever before.

2. Know the best times to book to save money, so you can spend more on the fun stuff

When setting your trip budget, explore your options by finding good deals on flights and hotels but also on experiences — which many destinations incorporate in their travel packages. Once you are ready to book, according to Travel + Leisure, there is a correlation between the times you book and how much things cost. Get creative with a few of these suggestions.

  • Try booking flights at least three months in advance
  • Look to book Wednesday flights (this is typically the cheapest weekday to travel)
  • Complete your online bookings for hotels on Sunday or Fridays during the week, as you’ll find the best deals
  • Try to book your hotel the same week you book your trip (though note this depends on peak travel times/demand for lodging)

3. Pick a close and easy destination for less traveling and more vacationing

After a long year of being stuck at home, many are itching to explore the world again. But before you pull the trigger on a long-haul flight, consider a shorter flight that allows you to spend more time vacationing. Aruba is located just outside of the hurricane belt and is an easy flight from the East Coast, Midwest and South, perfect for easing back into travel. If you live in the Northeast, direct flights to Aruba are available from cities like Philadelphia, Newark, New York City (JFK and LaGuardia) and Boston. Other cities across the country offer direct flights like Charlotte, Houston, Dallas, Chicago, Minneapolis and Atlanta.

4. Know what amenities/bonuses are available

Many premium destinations are offering high-value packages with extras that can make your trip feel more luxurious. Before you book, see if your destination has any travel packages on their website that offer additional amenities. You may find that hotels have different incentives to take advantage of — such as complimentary dessert and bottle of champagne if you stay for a certain number of nights, activity credits or access to a private cabana. Some hotels may even throw in a bonus night or can set you up with a specialty concierge who can help elevate your dinner and activity experiences to be unforgettable.

5. Make wellness an essential element of your trip

Self-care is of the utmost importance now more than ever, and wellness travel continues to trend as people look to unwind and combat burnout.

Aruba is known for a number of unique wellness offerings, so consider your relaxation style. If you want to burn off steam for a burst of endorphins, give kiteboarding a try with Aruba Adventure Tours, as the island has trade winds that will help you stay present and give you a great workout in the sun. A watsu water treatment at the Moreu Facilitation & Healing Center takes a uniquely therapeutic "floating" approach to massage, using a form of aquatic bodywork to promote a state of deep relaxation. Or try out a treatment from the newly transformed ZoiA Spa at the Hyatt Regency, which pulls from Aruba’s plethora of natural minerals, crystals, herbs and oils for an all-natural facial experience.

Take time to find and enjoy 'your happy place'

When traveling this year, you may notice your mindset has shifted. The things that once seemed important may have changed as you rediscover and redefine what makes you happy. The island of Aruba is one destination that recognizes this and welcomes those to search for their ‘happy place’ — whether it is on the beach breathing in fresh ocean air, exploring beautiful parks or enjoying renowned wellness offerings. Find more information at Aruba.com.