Going to an all-inclusive resort is a great idea for a vacation with a baby! Staying at an all-inclusive resort with a baby requires a little more upfront planning and thought. With the right preparation you will find your vacation will be easy and enjoyable, but it will most certainly be different than traveling without a baby! (Isn’t that always the case now?)
Planning a vacation with a baby can be stressful and time consuming, but effective planning can really make a big difference on how much you enjoy taking your baby on vacation. Our tips for taking your baby to an all-inclusive resort below will help you get the most enjoyment out of your family vacation.
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7 Steps for Planning Your All-Inclusive Vacation with a Baby
1. Obtain Your Passports & Visas
Once you’ve chosen your destination, pull out your 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, determine whether or not the visitor’s visa is issued upon arrival at the airport, or do you need to get your visa in advance?
Keep in mind, that even babies need passports.
2. Choose the Best Baby-Friendly All-Inclusive Resort for You
Finding the right baby-friendly all-inclusive resort can be a time-consuming part of your trip planning, but it is also the most important. We know that new parents don’t have a lot of extra time, so to help out we have done a lot of research for you. We highly recommend these baby-friendly all-inclusive resorts, which are not only excellent resorts for adults, but also offer some amazing amenities for parents traveling with babies or toddlers.
When choosing your baby-friendly resort, consider the following:
Cribs and high chairs: Many of our recommended baby-friendly all-inclusive resorts provide the essential baby travel equipment, such as cribs and high chairs. If your baby resort does not provide this equipment, you may need to pack your own travel crib or travel high-chair.
Once you’ve booked your all-inclusive resort, 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 stayed at the Grand Palladium Kantenah Resort & Spa. Upon check-in, we were originally given a rickety old wooden crib that we were not comfortable with, so we asked the front desk for a pack-and-play by showing them a picture of one on our phone. They were happy to oblige and brought one to our room right away.
Another great option is to rent your baby equipment from a reliable local company.
Baby Pool: Is there a dedicated baby pool, or at least a kiddie pool at the resort? Babies love playing in pools, and you’ll have a much more enjoyable time with your baby at the all-inclusive resort if they have a pool for little kids. Look for a pool with very shallow areas, kiddie slides, spraying water, etc.
Quality of the Beach: Also, pay close attention to the quality of the beach and the water. If the beach at your all-inclusive resort is too rocky or the waves are too rough, you may not have much fun playing with your baby at the beach. Reading Tripadvisor reviews for your resort is a good way of finding this information.
Indoor Play Area or Baby Club: Baby skin is very sensitive to the sun and it’s important to have a place where you can give your infant relief from the sun, especially during the peak hours for UV exposure. Your default place for shade is your room, but sometimes it’s nice to have an area out of the sun where your baby can play.
Many resorts offer a kid’s club, but pay close attention to the fine print. Many kid’s clubs are only for older, potty-trained kids. But there are a select baby-friendly all-inclusive resorts which open up their play areas to infants. For example, the Finest Playa Mujeres resort, just north of Cancun, has a Mini Club, with a special play area for babies.
Hotel Room Configuration: Try to find a variety of pictures of your 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.
If there isn’t a great spot for a crib, consider travelling with a PeaPod Plus travel tent. This portable tent fits just about anywhere (including your suitcase). We travel with a PeaPod Plus and we like how you can zip up the flaps on the side to prevent your baby from seeing you in the room.
If your baby-friendly all-inclusive resort provides a crib or pack n’ play, you may wish to bring along a Slumberpod sleep tent. This travel miracle allows both baby and parents to get a much better nights sleep.
Many of our recommended all-inclusive resorts for babies offer 1 and 2-bedroom configurations, which is another way of ensuring a good sleep for everyone.
Balcony: Trust us, having a balcony at your baby resort can be a life saver! Sharing a hotel room with an infant can be very challenging, especially if your baby is a light sleeper. If you have nowhere to escape to, you’ll be relegated to whispering to each other in the dark, for fear of waking your sleeping baby.
Having a balcony to escape to, enables you to talk freely without fear of waking your baby.
Size of the baby resort: If your baby sleeps in their stroller, you may wish to stay at a large all-inclusive resort with lots of pathways to help you walk them to sleep.
Restaurants/meal times: Many all-inclusive resorts will have both buffet and a-la-carte restaurants, so make sure you are happy with your dining options.
Most importantly for parents visiting an all-inclusive with a baby is to check that the restaurant hours are appropriate for your family. For example, if you baby is an early riser, ensure that there are viable food options available at the time you need them.
Also watch the seating times for dinner. If your baby goes to sleep early in the evening, you’ll want to go for dinner early in the evening. Many restaurants at all-inclusive resorts don’t open until 6PM.
One amenity we like to see at a baby-friendly all-inclusive resort is 24-hour room service. This is so convenient for the nights you don’t feel like going to the restaurant with your baby, or feel a little hungry after a 3am feeding. The Azul Resort in the Mayan Riviera is one of our recommended baby-friendly all-inclusive resorts to offer 24-hour room service.
Babysitting service: Taking a vacation with your baby to an all-inclusive resort is a wonderful family experience. As amazing as it is to share these memories with your baby, you will still be in a romantic tropical paradise.
Yor all-inclusive vacation is a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with your partner after the life-changing experience of having a baby. Staying at an all-inclusive resort with a babysitting service or nanny service allows you to have some romantic time together. Spend an afternoon at the spa or have a romantic sea-side dinner for two, knowing your baby is in good hands.
Distance from airport: After a long day of airplane travel, this final logistical detail is important. If your resort provides transportation, it will likely be in a large 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!
3. Find baby-friendly flights
As every baby is different, there is no one-size fits all solution for finding the best flight for your baby. When trying to find the best flights for your family vacation, spend some time thinking about the reality of your choices before you commit to a flight.
Does your baby sleep well in public and/or in unusual places? An overnight flight may be a great fit if your baby is a good sleeper.
What time does your baby like to nap? Finding a flight which departs an hour or so before your baby’s nap time is a good strategy for choosing a flight with a baby.
Ultimately, there may seem to be no perfect flight for your all-inclusive vacation with a baby. Don’t stress… traveling with a baby is easier than you think, and you’ll be surprised at how well your flights go!
4. Arrange Transportation to your All-Inclusive Resort
Many resorts or tour company include transportation from the airport to your resort. If your resort does not include airport transportation, check out Suntransfers, which offers front facing child seats for babies 9 months and up.
5. How to Pack for an All-Inclusive with a Baby:
A good place to start is our baby travel packing list, however some key items to consider are:
- Sun safety for your baby: Most all-inclusive resorts are located in the tropics, which means your baby’s tender skin will be exposed to the most intense UV radiation on earth. As you prepare for your trip, be sure to read and follow our 8 Sun Safety Tips for Babies.
- Should I bring a car seat? If you are only taking the transfer bus from the airport to your resort, you will not need a car seat for your baby.
If you have plans to leave the resort, things get a little trickier. 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.
This is a complex topic which we explore in more detail in our post, 5 Things to Think About BEFORE Traveling with Car Seats on Airplanes.
- Should I bring a stroller? A lightweight travel stroller can be especially good if your all-inclusive resort is large and if you can get your baby to sleep in the stroller. Don’t forget a CoziGo stroller cover to block the light to help your baby nap on-the-go! Also make sure to check for any restrictions on stroller size with your airline.
We cover using a baby carrier vs stroller when traveling with a baby or toddler in this post.
- How many diapers and wipes should I pack? Depending on your destination, you may not be close to a town where you can purchase extra diapers and baby wipes.
If your resort is away from a town, or if you are picky about the brands you use, then you should bring more diapers and wipes than you will likely need. A good rule of thumb is to bring 1.5x the diapers and wipes you would typically use over the number of days in your trip (including the travel days).
- 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?
Well, yes, but if you are traveling with a baby who is on solid foods, having a few baby food pouches or jars with you can save you during unexpected delays. You can use them to feed your baby on the plane, bus rides or at other times when food isn’t accessible.
Our daughter didn’t love food pouches, but we always brought 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.
- Reusable plates, bowls & cups: If your baby likes to toss their plates, etc. on the floor, you may want to bring your own reusable plates and cups so your baby doesn’t break the dishes at the resort.
We used a reusable baby plate for our daughter at our all-inclusive resort and thought it worked very well. Remember to use bottled water for washing these items if your destination doesn’t have safe tap water.
- Ziploc bags: It may seem to simple, or even silly, but bring plenty of ziplock bags!! We would take advantage of our resort’s breakfast buffet to stock up on baby-friendly foods and snacks for the day. Ziplock bags 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.
- Sippy Cup: If your baby is drinking milk, bring along an extra baby sippy-cup or two. Filling an extra sippy cup at the breakfast buffet ensured we had milk available for our baby throughout the day for snack time and before bedtime.
- Beach essentials: This may go without saying, but you can’t go to a beach without beach toys! We have a list of the best beach essentials for toddlers and all the best beach essentials for babies.
6. Tips for a Successful Travel Day with a Baby:
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.
- 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.
- 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 with our baby, 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 Mexican 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 than we thought we would need as we got through them all! Make sure you eat or get rid of any fruit & vegetables before you clear customs.
7. Don’t Forget these Essential Items for an All-Inclusive with a Baby
Just a few last things to consider… You’ll be happy you have these essential items along on your trip!
- Baby Friendly SPF 50 Sunscreen
- Baby sun hat
- A travel-friendly beach tent
- Plastic beach toys – give a baby a shovel and pail and they will play happily for hours!
- Avon Skin-So-Soft Bug Guard – suitable for use for the whole family
- Swim diapers
All-Inclusive with a Baby FAQ
Most all-inclusive resorts allow babies or children, but not all do, so it’s very important to research the details before making a reservation. Secondly, just because a resort allows children, doesn’t necessarily mean that it is baby-friendly. Save yourself some time and effort and check out these baby-friendly all-inclusive resorts.
Policies will vary from resort-to-resort, but typically babies can stay for free at family-friendly all-inclusive resorts. This makes sense given your infant will not be hitting up the all-you-can-eat buffets or the free booze. Be sure to check your all-inclusive resort’s baby policy prior to booking.
Not every all-inclusive resort offers child care. Even if you find a family-friendly resort which offers child care, not all of them offer child care for infants. If you are interested in child care for your baby, consider a staying at a resort like the Franklyn. D Resort & Spa which offers a full-time nanny for your baby.
Almost every country in the Caribbean has built its economy around tourism. Chances are good that if there are a large amount of all-inclusive resorts in an area, that it is safe to travel with your baby there. Personally, we love visiting Mexico with a baby, but there are many other excellent travel destinations in the Caribbean.
International travel always carries a certain level of risk, so please check the travel advisory published by your home country for the country you are considering visiting.
Yes, absolutely you can vacation with a baby, in fact, our entire website is built around helping parents travel with their babies! If you are considering taking a vacation with your infant, we have a ton of resources for traveling with a baby.
Unfortunately, Sandals Resorts are for adults only, with no children allowed. The good news is that Beaches Resorts are part of the same family of hotels as Sandals, and upholds the same high standards. Beaches Resorts are known for being exceptionally family-friendly and have a long list of baby-friendly amenities.
We hope you have a wonderful time on your beach vacation to an all-inclusive with your baby!!