As many of our loyal readers know, we went to Mexico (Part 1 & 2) this past August. Along for the trip we brought our then 10 month old daughter, Sarah. We didn't have grandparents, friends, or another family to split childcare with. It was just us 3! And in all honesty, it was a wonderful time. Looking back, one of, if not my favorite weeks of all of 2017.
Below are some tips that I put together for those that are thinking about going to an all-inclusive resort with babies, or have already booked their trip. As Sarah gets older, I hope to create more of these guides.
As most parents know, having a routine for babies is critical to everyone's happiness. Going on vacation with a baby is no different. Each day, try and put your child down for naps at the same time, eat at the same time, etc. I know that this isn't always possible. But that is why it is important to have a game plan, and be flexible.
For example - most days, we would eat breakfast, then go back to the room and get changed into our suits before heading to the pool. When tropical storm Franklin came in, Sarah was tired after breakfast (maybe the dark clouds and rain?). So we walked around for a bit, then she went and took an early nap.
Following along the lines of having a daily routine, having a routine for meals is equally important. Each restaurant should have high chairs for babies. You simply can ask the host or hostess for one when you arrive.
Buffet’s are great, because they have such a variety of options. It is easy to find something that your child (and you) can like. At a la carte restaurants, if you don’t see something that your child would like, don’t be afraid to ask them to make something special. Most places would accommodate this request. Usually something simple like chicken, rice, and veggies isn’t hard for them to prepare.
An important detail to remember is that some restaurants don’t open at night later than many restaurants that you might be used to. When the restaurants in Mexico opened at 6pm, we were waiting to get in and get seated.
Most rooms at all-inclusive resorts will have balcony’s, but not all. Having a balcony can be great in case you put your child down for a nap, but still want to spend some time outside. Please note that if you decide to book a resort through an online travel agency or a “deal”, many times these rooms are going to be inferior than if you used a travel agent.
If you child is still sleeping in a crib/pack and play, you can request to have one in your room prior to booking. However, the resort can’t guarantee that it will be availabe. To play it safe, we would recommend you bring your own. Even if you do get one, you can’t be guaranteed the quality that the crib/pack and play might be in.
We had most success putting our pack and play in the small entryway by the door. It was dark for Sarah to sleep, and we could have a light on to read/watch tv and not wake her. We also brought a white noise machine which we all use when we sleep.
A highlight of any trip to an all-inclusive resort is spending time by the water. For infants and young children, plan on spending more time in the pool than than the ocean.
Plan on bringing some water floatation devices or toys for your child to play with. It can be tiring holding an infant in the water, so having a place for them to sit in can make a world of difference in the enjoyment levels. We would sit Sarah in our device, and just walk up and down the pool with her. Occasionally we’d stop at the swim up bar :)
Depending on your resort, you may or may not have to play the towel game. This is where people get up early and put towels on chairs around the pool to save spots. Some resorts are cracking down on this, but it still happens almost daily.
Most resorts have some sort of children’s/teen center. Babies are usually too young to be able to be dropped off by themselves. However, if a parent goes with them, they offer a nice change of pace to spend time in.
Some essential gear that I would recommend:
1) Water flotation device. We got ours at Target.
2) Noise machine. Our whole family sleeps with them, so having them on a trip is a no-brainer.
3) Swim diapers. We would probably go through 3 a day, so you want to make sure you have enough.
4) Sunscreen. The sun in Caribbean is strong. Constant reapplying is key.
5) Baby medicine. Even though you hopefully won't need it, it is important to have on hand.
6) Cheap stroller. You are free to bring any stroller, or no stroller, but we found a $20 version from Target worked great.
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