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Going to an all-inclusive resort is a great family vacation! If you've gone to an all-inclusive resort pre-baby, you know the drill: plane ride, customs, bus ride, welcome drink at resort… ahhh... time to relax with a week of sunshine and unlimited food and drink.
Travelling with a baby will require a little more upfront planning and thought. With the right preparation you will find the trip will be just as easy and enjoyable, but it will most certainly be different! (Isn't that always the case now?)
Planning a vacation can be stressful and time consuming, but the planning can really make a big difference on how much you enjoy your trip. The tips we provide below will help you get the most enjoyment out of your trip.
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Booking your all-inclusive vacation
Once you've chosen your destination, pull out those passports and double check the expiry dates. Make sure you have at least 6 months remaining after the date you will return home. Next, determine if there are any visa requirements for your destination. If so, is it issued upon arrival or do you need to get a visa in advance?
Choosing your all-inclusive package/resort:
Finding the right resort will be the most time consuming part of your trip planning, but it is also the most important. We have done the research for you and can recommend the following 6 Baby-Friendly All-Inclusive Resorts which offer some amazing amenities for parents with small children.
When choosing your resort, consider the following:
1. How child-friendly is the resort?
Cribs and high chairs: If they are not made available by the hotel, you may need to pack your own travel crib or fabric high-chair. Once you've booked your package, email the hotel and confirm they will have a crib available during your stay. Be sure to ask what type of crib they have available. In Mexico, we were originally given a rickety old wooden crib that our daughter did not like, so we asked the front desk for a pack-and-play by showing them a picture of one on our mobile phone. Thankfully they had one!
Beach/pools: Is there a kid pool and/or baby pool? Consider the quality of the beach and the water. If it’s too rocky or the waves are too rough it may not be much fun!
Indoor play area: Sometimes it’s nice to have an area out of the sun where your baby can play. This is also a nice option if the weather is bad, rather than being stuck in your room for the day.
Room configuration: Try to find pictures of the room on the hotel website. Will there be a spot to put the crib? Keep in mind that having the crib next to the bed is not ideal, as your baby may have trouble sleeping if they can see or hear you.
Balcony: Trust us, this can be a life saver! If your baby needs to nap in the room or goes to bed early, you can still enjoy being outside and talking freely without fear of waking your baby.
Size of resort: If your baby sleeps in the stroller, you may wish to stay at a large resort with lots of pathways to help you walk them to sleep.
Restaurants/meal times: Many resorts will have both buffet and a-la-carte restaurants, so make sure you are happy with your options. Also, check that the restaurant hours are appropriate for your family. For example, our daughter is an early riser, so we didn't want to have to wait 1-1.5 hours before we could get her breakfast.
Babysitting: If you want a night out alone, check if a babysitting service is available.
Distance from airport: This detail is important. Your tour company will transport you to your resort in a bus or van, filled with people staying at different resorts. It will then drop the guests off at each resort, starting with the closest to the airport. If your resort is the furthest from the airport, guess what… you are last to get off. What could be a 30 minute drive direct from the airport could take as long as 90 minutes!
See our recommendations for 6 Baby-Friendly All-Inclusive Resorts.
2. What are the flight times and duration of flights?
What time do the flights there and back leave? Do you really want to be at the airport at 5am for an 8am flight? Choose the flights that will work best for your baby’s schedule (i.e. when they are happiest or when they are most likely to nap).
3. Is transport included in package?
Does the company offering the package include transportation to and from the resort and airport? If not, you may need to bring a car seat if you will need to take a taxi vs. a shuttle bus.
Preparing for your trip
Packing for your trip:
You can find Baby Can Travel's packing list here, however some key items to consider are:
1. Should I bring a car seat?
Will you take a taxi while you are there? Is a car seat legally required or are you comfortable having your baby in a taxi without one? This is a personal decision that only you can make.
2. Should I bring a stroller?
A stroller can be especially good if the resort is large and if you can get your baby to sleep in the stroller. Check the airline restrictions on size.
3. How many diapers and wipes should I pack?
4. Do I need to bring any food or items for feeding?
Why do you need to consider this? An all-inclusive should have all the food and drinks you need, right? Keep reading... :)
Food pouches: If your baby is on solid food, having a few baby food pouches or jars with you can save you during unexpected delays. You can use them on the plane, bus rides or at other times when food isn't accessible. Our daughter doesn't love these, but we always bring some for emergencies as she will eat them if she is really hungry. Also, make sure to pack enough for the trip back home. You never know when you might encounter delays.
Plastic plates/bowls/cups: If your baby likes to toss their plates, etc on the floor, you may want to bring plastic ones as the resort is likely to have breakable dishes. Alternatively, you could purchase a reusable place mat. Use bottled water for washing these items if your destination doesn't have safe tap water.
Ziplock bags: Bring plenty!! They are very useful for storing muffins, fruit, bread, etc. which enables you to have food available throughout the day for your baby to snack on. We would take advantage of our breakfast buffet to stock up on snacks for the day.
Milk: If your baby is drinking milk, bring along an extra sippy-cup or two. Filling an extra sippy cup at the breakfast buffet ensured we had milk available for snacks and before bedtime.
The main things to consider for your travel day are how you will get to the airport and what to bring in your carry-on luggage.
1. What's the best transportation option to get to the airport?
If you aren't bringing a car seat with you, then taking a taxi to the airport may not be an option unless you can find one that has a car seat available. It may be easier to drive your car to the airport or have a friend drop you off. We find it's especially nice to arrive back home, hop in our own car and go home.
2. What should I pack in my carry-on luggage?
Pack enough formula, food, diapers and wipes for your travel day, plus a little extra as you may encounter delays. On our latest trip to an all-inclusive, our travel day was much longer than expected. It started with a 45 minute flight delay, followed by a 1 hour wait in line at customs then ended with a 1.5 hour bus ride to the resort. This was all on top of getting to the airport 2.5 hours early plus a 5.5 hour flight! Thankfully, we had packed more snacks then we thought we would need as we got through them all! Make sure you get rid of any fruit/vegetables before you arrive at customs.
See our recommendations for 6 Baby-Friendly All-Inclusive Resorts.
Have we missed anything? We'd love to hear any other tips for taking a baby on an all-inclusive vacation! Leave your comments below.
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