Our family just got back from an all-inclusive resort in Mexico. I did research ahead of time and there were definitely things I’m glad I brought along. Other families looked over and said, “what a good idea” to many of my possessions.
So here are 4 tips about how to make your all inclusive family trip a success.
1. Pool Toys are a Necessity! When I started packing my husband thought I was crazy for everything I was insisting go into the suitcase. I didn’t end up packing everything I wanted because of this. And you know what? Those pool inflatables I didn’t put in the suitcase I ended up paying triple at the resort to have.
Here’s a list of what we found entertained our kids poolside:
- inflatable tubes
- water guns (small ones from Walmart)
- sand pails and shovels
- water wings for the toddler
- swimming mat for the baby (post example thread)
- Frisbee (the kids used this in the pool and on the sand to play catch– this was used the most)
- sunscreen and aloe (we used 50 spf, reapplied, and still we burned!)
2. For the Best Service, have more $1 than a Strip Club! We read this advice and I’m so glad we took it. We had about $100 in singles and used them all to tip the poolside service. Needless to say, we had GREAT service. Each time Pedro came back with food or drinks, he eagerly offered us even more. He was happy to do this knowing we would reward his excellent service with a couple of dollars each time. He even made sure to tell us where he’d be working the next day. It was clear that we were getting priority service, and this made for an exceptional poolside experience.
3. Bring an umbrella stroller and leave the bulky stroller at home. I mentioned this last year (Cruising with an Infant) and will say it again. The umbrella stroller is so convenient. It fits easily into a shuttle (especially if you need two of them). It’s convenient to push a little one down to the pool and you can also prop it horizontal for nap time. Those bulky strollers just aren’t necessary if your vacation is primarily by the pool!
4. Consider Excursions. Yes, they are free for those under two (in most cases), but that doesn’t mean they will feel like a vacation. Seriously consider which excursions will be right for your family. For our family, traveling with two infants, we spent the majority of the time at the resort and only did one excursion (to swim with the dolphins). While it was a great experience, I did also spend an hour in the hot sun with two kids under two, so that the older kids could partake. To say it was hot and difficult is an understatement. I hoped before taking the trip to do more, but in the end I’m glad we kept it simple for hauling the family around.
5. Bring what you need and save yourself the headache. I started packing early so that I wouldn’t forget anything and I would argue that having it all with me made things easier. I didn’t have to make any runs to the store for a necessity. If a child whined of sunburn, I handed them aloe. If a toddler whined he was hungry, I had a plethora of snacks (I had some if the husband or older kids whined about hunger too :). I had ample diapers, medicine just in case, and plenty of clothes even though there was laundry service in the room (but no detergent). My advice to keep the calm, and stay sane, bring it with you!
Hopefully these tips ensure you have a great vacation as well!