By Crystal McCormick
Ever spent what seems like hours on your vacation explaining the wonders of nature to your kids, only for them to shrug and ask, “Do they have Wi-Fi here?” How about the futility of trying to force them to cherish a particular travel experience while they pull out a new-fangled video game device and ignore your pleas?
The line between experiencing a family vacation that brings you closer to one another with unforgettable memories and a trip that will leave you frazzled, confused, and angry, is dangerously thin. With kids in tow, you’ll need to find a destination that has family-friendly fun built-in, with all the necessities to keep your family running like a well-oiled machine.
Luckily, many all-inclusive resorts aim to keep the whole family well fed, well-rested, and entertained. But what exactly should parents keep in mind when deciding on accommodations?
Survey and Entertain
Survey the Services
When traveling sans family, you might not give certain amenities like on-site laundry services and 24-hour room service a second thought - but when taking a vacay with the little ones, these services can be lifesavers.
Before you know it, a week’s worth of clothes can end up in a soggy and soiled pile in just three days. Ever had your jet-lagged toddler wail for breakfast at 3 a.m.? It’s not pleasant. How about baby-proofing the room or having a safe and comfy crib available?
When booking your stay, double-check that a resort’s amenities cater to the needs of kids. Many family-friendly resorts offer a wide assortment of baby products for traveling families, making the stay truly all-inclusive for little tykes as well.
Looking to keep your kids entertained throughout the day, and hopefully tuckered out at night and ready for a solid eight hours of sleep? Then there’s nothing better than a variety of fun-filled activities at your all-inclusive resort.
While most have ample activities, some like Moon Palace Cancun take the experience to a new level with playrooms for young kids, lounges catering specifically to teens’ preferences, and a litany of shows and other activities just for your children. Not only will the kiddos get to have fun with people their own age, but it just may give you enough time to fit in a spa treatment!
Eat and Enjoy
Take Advantage of Family-Friendly Dining
Most of us would agree that a well-fed kid is a happy kid. Conversely, a hungry kid can be mistaken for the main attraction in a bull-fighting ring. When choosing your all-inclusive resort, look for options and variety that will keep both adults and kids from getting bored.
Most restaurants at family resorts and hotels offer a kids’ menu, and that’s always a good (and usually familiar) place to start. But even better is a buffet, one that will give finicky eaters more choices (and potentially healthier options like fresh fruit). If your brood is traveling in the Caribbean, use the opportunity to expose them to a variety of tropical fruits and vegetables at buffets like the Buccaneer Reef buffet at Moon Palace Jamaica.
Also make sure to ask if the resort kitchen will accommodate special requests (for your picky eaters) and diet restrictions (for those with allergies). You’ll also want to double-check if the restaurant has convenient family-dining hours, to avoid feeding the little ones too late in the evening.
Enjoy the Moment
Any vacation can have its trying moments when it feels more stressful than relaxing – especially when traveling with kids. From temper tantrums to teenage attitudes, even the slightest of an eye roll can quickly send a parent into vacation meltdown.
But, at those times when you wish you had left the kids home with grandma, take a deep breath and remember that one day you’ll look back on these family vacations – and wish you could have had many more with them. After all, isn’t that what you tell them?