July 20, 2023

10-Year Anniversary Trip to Jamaica

Posted in: Story of Us, Travel

Ten years ago, we were recent grad school graduates who got married shortly after. Weston’s parents paid for our relaxing honeymoon at Sandals Antigua. We enjoyed it so much that we said we were going to another Sandals resort for our 10-year anniversary. We dreamed of being so financially secure that we could afford that type of vacation ten years into our marriage. Right after returning from our honeymoon, we started making a plan to pay off our student loans and personal debt. In just 4 1/2 years, we had paid off $135,000 and were finally debt-free. If we had not put in the hard work and sacrifices then, I don’t think we could have made our 10-year anniversary dream come true.

When it came time to plan our trip, we reached out to Ashley Fuller from ET Travel and she did all the hard work of planning a trip for us. We told her we couldn’t decide which resort to go to, but we had already been to Sandals Antigua and to the Bahamas so we wanted to go to any of the other ones. She gave us a few options based on total travel time (including travel time from the airport to the resort) so that we could maximize our relaxation time. We chose Sandals Montego Bay and we loved every minute of it!

I brought my camera with me just in case I wanted it, but I actually took all of our photos on my phone and my waterproof camera. I’m glad I left my camera in the bag so that I wouldn’t get into work mode on our vacation!

Traveling without Kids

This was our first kid-free vacation just the two of us since the kids were born. We had planned a trip to Vermont just the two of us after Camryn’s first birthday in 2020, but had to cancel because Covid restrictions prevented Alabama travelers from entering Vermont. The next year, I was pregnant with Collin and it was a rough pregnancy. Then Weston’s dad passed away. Then we bought a house. We didn’t get to take a trip together then either. Last year, our jobs kept us so busy that we didn’t even have time to think about a trip for just us. We were determined to make it happen this year. We had to since it was our 10-year anniversary!

We have taken family trips every year since the kids were born and we frequently traveled to Mobile to see my family. While packing for Jamaica, Weston and I marveled at how much easier and faster it was to pack for two people instead of four. At the airports, we didn’t have to be on guard watching our kids and tending to their needs the entire time. It’s an entirely different adventure traveling with adults versus traveling with kids. Don’t get me wrong, we love traveling with our kids! It was just nice to have a break.

Thanks for the “window. seat,” Delta.

Our trip wouldn’t have been possible without all the grandparents pitching in to help. My parents came to Selma and brought the other two grandkids to have mass chaos and endless fun. Weston’s mom came over for the last leg of the trip and stayed up until we returned home at 1:30am. God bless grandparents!

We FaceTimed the kids each day we were gone and my parents sent us photos to make the separation easier on all of us. One of my favorite photos of the kids while we were gone is Camryn and Collin with their suitcases. They got their suitcases out of the closet, strolled them around the house, and said they were going to Jamaica. I’m surprised we didn’t cry at all except for the night before we left. We were putting Camryn to bed and she started crying and begging us not to leave. Then she said I could go, but Daddy needed to stay haha.

Sandals Montego Bay

Sandals Montego Bay was the first Sandals resort, which we learned upon our arrival. We chose one of the butler suites and let me tell you, that’s a completely different experience than our honeymoon. If you want to truly relinquish responsibilities and have someone wait on you for a change, get the butler suite! They gave us a phone to call or text our butler whenever we needed something. We had two butlers during our stay, Mel and Antonio. They made reservations for us at the restaurants, reserved cabanas on the beach stocked with coolers and towels, brought food and drinks to us on the beach, handled all the details regarding our excursions, and so much more. They even had a fun anniversary surprise in our room on the last night!

Another fun perk of booking the butler suite is it comes with a private airport transfer! It was so nice to have a car all to ourselves traveling to and from the airport instead of riding on a huge bus with 50 other people.

Our room couldn’t have been more perfect. We walked out to a sitting area and soaking tub that was just a few steps from the beach.

Everyone we encountered was so happy, friendly, and pleasant! They always asked if we were on our honeymoon or if we were celebrating a special occasion. No one believed us when we said we were celebrating 10 years of marriage! Throughout our time in Jamaica, we were {lovingly} called many nicknames. “Teenagers,” “Lovebirds,” “Sunshine,” “Pretty boy,” “Boss,” “Big Boss,” and Weston’s least favorite – “Frat boy.” Weston didn’t do anything other than exist to earn the nickname “Frat boy.” We were literally just floating in the water haha. I guess he just has that look?

While we were floating in the ocean, my arm suddenly started burning. I didn’t see any jellyfish or any fish near me, but my arm was stinging and swelling. I still don’t know what stung me, but the pain and swelling only lasted for an hour or so.

A couple got married while we were in the ocean! The entire beach applauded them as they walked back to the resort. It was so sweet!

I had in my mind that I wanted to try the viral heart photo and it was much harder than expected. First of all, that hole has to be a lot deeper than you’d think. Second, of course I would choose a spot that has concrete under the sand, so I could only dig so far. It still wasn’t enough for the photo and finding another spot in the shade was not an option. The only choice I had was to build up. The entire process took about 45 minutes. We did get a cute photo, but it was a lot more work than I wanted for a vacation haha.

Can we just take a moment to appreciate all the beautiful foods??


We always try to do something adventurous on our trips. Since we’ve never been zip-lining before, we made sure to book an excursion that included zip-lining. Our excursion was a 3-in-1 that included horseback riding, zip-lining, and river tubing.

Travel tip: If you have to leave your personal belongings somewhere while you’re traveling, take a picture of it’s location so you remember where to go. We also did this at the Birmingham airport so we could remember where we parked!

We arrived early for our excursions, so we checked out the ocean swings, hammocks, and people-watched by the pool.

One of the guides took a liking to us and made sure to take tons of pictures with my waterproof camera!

Zip-lining was our favorite part of the day! It’s a lot more involved than we expected and the lines are also shorter than we thought. The last line we did was the longest and the most fun! We were all going so fast that it took two braking systems, a guide, and a padded tree to stop us. It was awesome!

River tubing was also different than we expected, but I’m glad all the tubes were connected. It made it much more relaxing for everyone except the poor guide that had to row everyone backwards. I can’t imagine the strength and endurance it takes to pull that many people!

I normally do not get in water if I can’t see the bottom. I really wanted to jump in the water with some of the others in our group. There were people that couldn’t swim that were jumping in the water, so I figured if they could do it then I could do it. The water was so refreshing and I immediately wanted to jump again!

We had such a fun 10-year anniversary trip and we are already planning our next getaway!

  1. Douglas Shelton says:

    Thanks for sharing your adventure with us!

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