Choosing the best resort for your family vacation can seem overwhelming but can actually be quite simple. Some simple steps to get you closer to your family vacay:
Choose Destination – Do you feel like chillin’ out in Mexico, Jamaica, Aruba, Dominican Republic, Turks… This is your biggest decision and once you decide this, the planning gets easier!
How many stars? – Star ratings are used to classify resorts based on amenities, level of service and quality of food. Here is a basic breakdown:
1 Star – Very, very basic. Simple accommodation only.
2 Stars – Modest accommodation offering a few amenities and services.
3 Stars – Average best describes some 3 star resorts. Offering a reasonable range of services and amenities.
4 Stars – Above average resort offering an extended range of facilities, amenities and services. A 4 star resort will satisfy almost any traveler.
5 Stars – Generally a superior resort offering a wide range of facilities and amenities.
Proximity to airport – Take into consideration how well your children do on car rides and how restless they will be after a long flight. However, you will also want to take into consideration how close you want to be to an airport for the noise factor…you are on vacation afterall 😉
Reviews – The best reviews and recommendations you can get are from someone you know and trust that has been to a specific resort. If you have no personal recommendations to go by, read reviews of the resort from multiple sites and people. Read the feedback and base your decision on the parts of the reviews that are important to you. Now with that being said, know that you will always have those that can’t find anything nice to say about anything so take reviews with a grain of salt.
Can the resort accommodate your family size? Families come in all different shapes and sizes and many resorts can accommodate this by giving you a suite or adjoining rooms. Be sure to check the options available to you.
Resort size – There are small cozy resorts and sprawling huge resorts. Neither one is better than the other it just depends on what you are looking for. We have stayed at both and I love the feel of a smaller resort as you tend to see the same people and get to know the staff better but I will admit that larger resorts are cool as some have a train that take your from point A to point B and they tend to had a bit more to do and explore.
Building style – Resorts can differ in the type of accommodations they provide. You need to decide what works best for you. High rises can offer great views and all kids love elevator rides but anytime you forget something… back up the elevator you go. Smaller 3 -4 level buildings can make the resorts more spread out (which means more walking) but you can quickly access your room and the resort seems more quaint.
Children’s programs – Almost every resort offers some form of kid’s club. This is where you can drop your kids off for a couple hours to have some structured fun and Mom and Dad can RELAX!! Club ages differ from resort to resort so be sure they can accommodate your children’s ages.
Nightly Entertainment – Hands down one of our families favourite things about a resort! We never miss the nighttime show and have always found them very entertaining for the whole family. Some resorts bring the kids up on stage to be part of the show which they will love. The shows usually start fairly late so jammie up the kiddies, grab some good seats, a drink for the parents and enjoy!
Food options – We have always agreed that we won’t stress about the kids eating while on vacation as it is a vacation for everyone! Choosing a resort with multiple restaurants is important but really the buffet is usually where it’s at. Many resorts offer a “kid area” in their buffet restaurant with kid friendly foods. A beach grill is always an added bonus to grab burgers and hot dogs during the day without having to leave all the fun. Do you have food allergies in your family? Check out our tips about travelling with a child with an anaphylactic allergy.
Pool or beach? – You might think that all resorts MUST have a beach but this is not necessarily true. There are a very few that have “beach access” which means you will need to walk quite aways or take transportation to the beach. We focus a lot on the pools when choosing a resort as really all we require in a beach (other than there being one) is that it have sand, swimmable water and beach chairs. If you plan on spending time at the pool, be sure the pool meets your needs. We tend to look for a resort with multiple pools (children’s pool is a bonus) or a large pool that flows through the resort.
Hopefully these points can help you on your way to planning your next escape to paradise with your family! Happy travels!!