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The island is divided into three areas, each of which has a different environment. While The Sims does not have seasons, this loosely reflects them. While some of the island's activities are available in two or three areas, each area offers special activities that are exclusive to it. The areas are: a snowy winter area, a forest area, and a beach area. By default, each area has a resort lot, a campground, and a "bare-bones" lot. Resort lots will have rooms or cabins with beds and bathrooms, and an area near the entrance which contains a buffet table and a hotel desk where Sims can check in and get hotel keys - which will allow them to sleep in the beds. At least some of the rooms will have dressers. In addition to the bathrooms, they'll also have either toilet stalls or porta-potties. Campground lots will have tents or igloos that Sims can rent. They'll have showers, and will have either toilet stalls or porta-potties. They will also have either changing booths or changing tents. A "bare-bones" lot will have porta-potties, may have showers, may have changing booths or changing tents, and may have one or two tents or igloos. A "bare-bones" will have a rental shack, but will otherwise have fewer activities than other lots in its area.
The default lots are:
- Winter - Al Pine's Winter Wonderland, Penguin Acres Campground, Alpine Preserve
- Forest - Bear Essentials Lodge, Ranger's Ranch Campground, Wren's Fens National Park
- Beach - Palazzo Palms Hotel, Sunset Beach, Reclaimed Public Beach
Differences from other community areasEdit
- Sims can sleep if they rent an igloo or tent, or check in at a hotel desk and get a key.
- Players can save, at least if the Sims are on a family vacation.
- The townies, often called vacationers or tourists, are organized into families with real last names. Instead of coming and going at random, they arrive in the morning and leave at night.
- There are child townies, since vacationer families generally have at least one or two children.
- The townies are automatically flagged as greeted when they appear on the lot.
- Some lots have a maid as well as a janitor.
Dressing for the climateEdit
How the Sims dress depends on which area they're in. In the winter area, they wear winterwear; in the beach area, they wear swimsuits; and in the forest area, they wear their normal outfits. When Sims arrive from home, they'll be dressed appropriately, but when traveling from one area of the island to another, they'll need to change - and they won't do it on their own. Changing is not necessary, but Sims that are not dressed appropriately for the area they're in, for example, wearing winterwear in the beach area, may lose comfort more quickly.
All the default lots except Wren's Fens have dressers, changing tents, or changing booths that Sims can use to dress for the climate. When Sims are in the winter or beach area, the "Change to Normal" selection on a dresser will change them into winterwear or swimwear. If a changing tent or changing booth is present, they can use the "Dress Normal" option to change to their normal outfit.
When an adult Sim checks in at a hotel desk, the family is charged §40 for each human member, and each one receives a key. The key is good anywhere on the island, and allows the holder to sleep in any bed in any room. However, a key does not entitle a Sim to sleep in an igloo or tent - they have to be rented separately. If there are television sets on the lot, only Sims with keys will be able to turn them on and off or to change channels, though any Sim will be able to watch a set that's on. Other island facilities don't appear to require keys.
Checkout time is 11 AM, and the family will be charged for another day if they miss it. While the normal policy on Vacation Island is that pets stay free, except for the cost of their food, the automatic billing routine will occasionally slip and charge for a dog or cat.
- Buffet tables: All of the resort lots, as well as Sunset Beach, have buffet tables. The buffet tables are always stocked and serve salads and desserts as well as regular meals. You can control which type of meal a Sim gets by clicking on different areas of the table; click on the left for a salad, on the right for a dessert, and in the center for a regular meal. If the Sims visit the buffet table on their own, which type of meal they get is determined at random. Since each visit to the buffet table costs §25 regardless of what the Sim gets from it, eating from the buffet table is expensive. Budget-conscious players may not want to let vacationing Sims visit the buffet table whenever they want. If a Sim eats from a buffet table while their Hygiene is low, they may be infected by Montezuma's Revenge, a form of food poisoning. The disease is not deadly, but it will cause the bladder motive to decay more quickly, causing great discomfort to an affected Sim. The disease will go away by itself after a period of time, but try to keep the Sim's Bladder motive up.
- Grilling: All the default lots except Al Pine's, the Palazzo Palms, and Sunset Beach have grills. A Sim can grill six burgers for §20, and the griller uses his/her cooking skill. Therefore, this is a good deal if any adult family member has at least four or five Cooking points. A plate of burgers may be good for a couple of meals, but taking advantage of this requires deliberate action by the player. Sims can be directed to get burgers from a partially-eaten plate, but will not do this autonomously. The Vacationers may decide to grill on their own. The playable Sims will be charged for this unless the Vacationer is using a downloaded grill which has been fixed to prevent this. However, the playable Sims can be directed to eat those burgers, so it's not a total loss.
- Have a picnic: If there's a rental booth on the lot, Sims can rent a picnic basket and blanket for §99.
- Food carts: Penguin Acres, Sunset Beach, and the Reclaimed Public Beach all have hot dog carts. A hot dog costs §15, and doesn't satisfy hunger very well, though it's better than nothing. For a Sim who's not very hungry, a hot dog from a cart can be a good, quick snack; but in the long run, food carts aren't a very good way to keep a Sim fed.
- Abandoned plates: A Vacationer may abandon a plate of food in order to be Talked To by Vacation Director Kana. They won't go back to it, and if it's on a table, the cleaning staff will leave it there until it spoils. While Sims won't decide to eat abandoned food on their own, they will eat it if directed to do so.
- Pet bowls: If Unleashed is installed and the family has pets, the pets can eat out of any food bowl on the lot for §5.
All lots will have at least a few places where Sims can sit. All resort lots will have at least one sofa or loveseat, though Sims will not be able to nap on them. All the default lots except for Al Pine's and Wren's Fens have at least a few recliners. The main obstacle to keeping comfort up isn't a lack of places to sit, but getting the Sims to sit for very long. Adults can raise their comfort level quite a bit by soaking in a hot tub, and kids can get something of a boost by taking a bath. Adding fun items such as bookcases or televisions can help, as Sims will sit to use them.
Also, if the Sim on vacation is wearing an outfit unsuitable for the nature of the place they are staying in (for example, wearing Outerwear in the Beach area), the Sim's comfort need will decay more quickly.
All the default lots except for Wren's Fens and the Reclaimed Public Beach have either showers or shower/tubs. All resort lots, as well as Sunset Beach, have at least one hot tub. All lots will have sinks. Some lots have medicine cabinets, but Sims will not be able to brush their teeth.
All the default lots have either porta-potties or toilet stalls. In addition, each room on a resort lot has a bathroom.
Since no default lot has so much as a coffeepot, and Sims can't nap even if there are sofas or loveseats available, keeping energy up isn't easy.
Most lots have activities that Sims can do for fun, though some have more than others, and some do not have many that do not depend on a rental shack. Many lots have carnival games that Sims can play for tickets. Some have pinball machines or arcade games. Outside of the winter area, some lots have volleyball courts. Some have hot tubs or a bar, and the Palazzo Palms Hotel has television. Some lots have rockers that kids can ride.
Lots will usually have activities related to the theme of their area of Vacation Island. These activities depend on specific objects being present, and not all lots will have the same activities. Check a lot's article to see what fun activities are available there.
Winter-themed activities, such as the snowball fort, snow slide, and snowboard halfpipe, are only found in this area. If a rental shack is present, Sims can rent snowman kits.
Fishing piers and archery ranges are most common in this area, though they are not limited to it. Water balloon forts appear to be limited to this area. Wren's Fens National Park is the only lot in this area that does not have these activities. All forest lots have a campfire.
Swimming pools are only found in this area; two of the three beach lots have a pool. Pools may have diving boards and water slides. Volleyball is most common in this area, though it is not limited to this area. Two of the three lots have a volleyball court. If a rental shack is present, Sims can rent sandcastle kits.
Since being on vacation is a good thing, and everything looks nice, a Sim's room meter will always be full no matter what.
Pets go on vacation with their owners, so check Vacation Island lots for the presence and location of food bowls, pet beds, and other pet amenities. While Unleashed should add some to the default Vacation Island lots, they may not appear unless Unleashed or a later expansion pack was installed before Vacation. If they do appear, some of them may be in poor locations that are hard to reach or easily blocked. Also, most default lots will not have cat items such as litter pans and scratching posts, and many will not have pet beds other than doghouses - which cats won't use. The player will need to add these items to the lot in question.
Players can add chew toys to Vacation Island lots by having vacationing Sims give them to pets. Once a toy has been given to a pet on a Vacation Island lot, it should remain even after the family leaves and can be used by any other pet that comes to the lot. Pets can gain skills while on vacation. While vacationing Sims may have better things to do than train their pets to sit and stay, calling a pet over gives a slight increase in Obedience. Dogs can gain Housebroken skill. Cats can gain Hunting skill by going after mice and roaches. If pets eat from a food bowl, it will cost the family §5.
Pets can cause problems when Vacation Director Kana is about to give a Sim a Vacation Award. All Sims from the family will cheer for this, but since pets cannot cheer, the interaction may be canceled.