daughter plays in the sand at a resort


8 Things to Think About When Booking a Family Resort Vacation

Nov 25, 2013

My mother-in-law recently reached a milestone birthday, so a group of us — six adults and four kids under the age of six — opted to visit a resort in Mexico. Here's what we thought about while hunting for the "ideal" resort.

1. Proximity to the airport

After a flight, young kids may not be excited about a long trip on a bus to the resort. We narrowed our search down by choosing a resort within a 20-minute drive from the Cancun airport.

2. Kid-friendly resort 

When travelling with young children, it is crucial to pick a resort that caters to children. Many resorts have a kids' club, where the resort staff have organized activities for children of various ages. This gives them more options than just spending time at the pool or at the beach. A club like this also gives them a chance to meet and play with other children from other parts of the world.

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Some resorts even offer a special reception for kids as they arrive — at our resort, the four children had their own check-in lane and they were given the kids' club schedule, an activity book and a chocolate milkshake upon arrival.

3. Family-friendly rooms

When we travel, we prefer to book suites with two rooms so that the children can go to sleep earlier. The resort we chose had large family rooms that had a sliding door between the children's bedroom and parents' bedroom. Having a Jacuzzi and ocean view were bonuses.

4. Adult-friendly activities

It was important to choose a resort that had adult activities, too. This may include aqua aerobics, tennis, dancing, yoga/pilates on the beach or beach/pool volleyball. These activities are great for meeting other people, and they make for great opportunities to get to know the staff.

5. Food options

For families with young children, all-inclusive food and drink is a very convenient feature. Especially for young children! When researching the ideal resort, we chose based on both buffet and à la carte options (à la carte allows for more variability). Some resorts require reservations for their à la carte restaurants, so try to book them the day you arrive to avoid disappointment. Pre-booking is especially beneficial if you are traveling with a large group like we were.

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Our resort also had 24-hour room service with an extensive menu. When the children are very tired, especially after playing in the sun for over 8 hours, room service can be quite handy! Drinks at the ready is something else to look out for, to make sure the kids stay hydrated during days in the sun. So, look for resorts that offer a wide variety of non-alcoholic drinks for the children located by the beach and pool.

6. Nightly entertainment

Many resorts have live performances in the evening. Some might have dancing, singing and even acrobatics. These appeal to both adults and kids. They also give kids a chance to hang out with their new friends.

7. Size of resort

Since we were travelling with young children, we opted for a "small" resort that was easy to navigate by foot. The resort felt intimate, and we quickly became acquainted with staff, amenties and the lay of the land.

8. Unbiased reviews

Before investing a large sum of money on a resort that looks great on its website, check out the reviews and photographs taken by tourists who have actually visited. You can do this on sites like TripAdvisor. We chose our resort because of glowing reviews from families travelling with young children. We were also swayed by excellent service ratings. By describing our excellent experience at this resort, word of mouth can also help our friends and families choose a suitable resort that meets their needs.

Article Author Divya Chandra
Divya Chandra

Divya Chandra is a mother of two young children. Her hobbies include reading, yoga and travel. Her children also love to travel with their parents, and frequently like to share their interesting travel experiences with friends and relatives. Divya balances her family life with her part-time job as a paediatric dentist, and teaches at the University of Toronto.

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