So you’ve decided to take the leap and book that first all-inclusive vacation with your child in tow… but how do you know what to look for in a resort, and what to bring with you? There are few important questions that you need answered before booking anything. Check out our guide to the 8 answers you need before you book an all-inclusive vacation.
What’s My Baggage Allowance?
Before you book a flight, check with the airline about your baggage allowance along with what, if any charges there are on extra checked items for children. That super-hot deal you desperately want to book might not be so great if you are going to be charged an arm and a leg for your child’s essential equipment. Call and ask what the fine print is on children’s items, stroller limitations, and carry-on baggage. Most airlines will allow you to bring a stroller past security and right to the gate of the plane, but some only allow umbrella strollers because of size restrictions. Checking a car seat for free is likely no problem, however if you have a second checked item (like a portable crib) you may have to pay extra.
Do I Need A Car Seat for the Transfer?
Despite varying car seat regulations, I always ensure my child is in a car seat for the transfer to the resort. If you aren’t planning on bringing your own, call ahead to the transfer provider, or request one through your booking agent. Push for answers about exactly what kind of car seat will be used. I was once told there would be a car seat for my 2 month old son on our transfer to an all-inclusive hotel in the Mayan Rivera, and when we got into the shuttle it was an upright booster seat meant for a toddler!
How Do I Access Power?
Do your research on electricity and outlets in the country you are visiting. Go online and get some answers about the voltage used in that country, and ensure you have the correct adapter if needed. This can be very important for moms who plan to bring an electric kettle to sterilize water, or those who use an electric pump.
Where is the Food?
Once you have kids, a fridge in your hotel room is imperative. Although all-inclusive resorts usually include one in every room, there are some that don’t. For younger children keeping milk, formula, or breastmilk on hand is a must. And for older kids the ability to have snacks close by instead of having to walk a kilometer to the buffets could save your sanity. If a fridge is not listed as a feature of the room, call the hotel. You don’t want to be surprised when you arrive.
What are the Health/Disease Concerns in That Country?
What diseases should you be concerned about in the country you are traveling to, ie Zika, malaria etc? What vaccines are available for you, and are any recommended for your children? Is your child’s health at risk if they are not old enough for a vaccine? Write down a list of questions you have about health and vaccines in the country you are planning on visiting and ask your doctor to answer all of your concerns. Don’t leave anything to chance.
What are the Sleeping Arrangements in Our Room?
One of the most difficult things about traveling with a child is the sleeping arrangements. If your room at the resort is just one big space, you could be banished to sleep when your little one does, or risk waking them with the slightest noise. To find answers to this predicament, look up the room layout online or get the all-inclusive to recommend what room would be best for your family. Consider ground level rooms, which often have space outside the patio door where you can relax and chat close by, without fear of waking sleeping children. Also look at the space in room differently than is intended; that walk-in closet could be big enough to fit a portable crib and double as a tiny bedroom. And speaking of cribs, find out if the resort provides them, or if you need to bring one!
What Activities Can We Expect?
If you have a baby then the child-friendliness of a resort is less of a concern, but if you have a toddler or older child, it plays a big part in the overall happiness of your vacation. How spread out are the facilities? What activities does the hotel provide for children, if any? Is there child-minding? Is there a kid friendly section of the pool? Is the resort known for drunken debauchery? These are all questions you will need to find the answer to before booking your all-inclusive vacation.
How Do I Plan For the Weather?
Just because you are going to a typically hot country does not mean it will be sunny every day. Do your research and get answers about the weather before you book. Make sure you know when rainy season is, so you can pack appropriately. Alternately, you may want to avoid the hottest time of the year if you have small children, as it could be too hot to be outside at peak times.