Great All Inclusive Family Vacations

How to Book Fun All Inclusive Family Resorts

Open up any travel brochure or search the internet and you will find hundreds of all inclusive family vacations to places like Mexico, Jamaica, Cuba or the Dominican Republic. If you look at the pictures, one resort looks just as good as the next and it is difficult to tell the difference. But those who have visited an all-inclusive resort can attest to the fact that there are good resorts and mediocre resorts and choosing the right resort makes all the difference to your vacation experience – especially when you’re traveling with your family.

Note: If you like this article, check out our list of five of our favorite all inclusive family resorts  or our review of Atlantis Paradise Island Bahamas.

An image of the kids club at the Sandos Caracol Eco Resort in Riviera Maya, Mexico - Great All Inclusive Family Vacations

A kids club like this one at Sandos Caracol Eco Resort can be an important amenity for younger children. Parents can relax while children participate in fun supervised activities. Photo by GREG OLSEN

Family-friendly amenities

Traveling with kids is a unique challenge and the best all inclusive family vacations happen at resorts that understand the needs of families. Here’s a checklist of things to consider when you are looking for a good family-friendly resort.

  • Family-friendly sleeping arrangements: Look for resorts with guaranteed adjoining rooms, villas or suites that accommodate children and adults in the same unit. Make sure to put room requests on your reservation in advance of your arrival.
  • Kid-friendly food: Buffets are great for kids. A resort with an ice cream parlor is also a big plus.
  • Kids’ activities: Playgrounds, water parks and supervised kids’ clubs with activity programs can help to keep kids happy and busy. Be sure to check the age ranges for the kids club. If you’re travelling with teenagers, you’ll want a resort with a teen club.
  • Vacation nannies and babysitters: An extra set of hands can really help to ensure parents get a break during the vacation too.
  • Decide on a destination first, and then look at the resorts offered in that destination.
An image of the mascot at Occidental Grand Cozumel in Cozumel, Mexico - All Inclusive Family Vacations

Some resorts that cater to families even have mascots to welcome children on arrival like this one at Occidental Grand Cozumel. Photo by DEBBIE OLSEN

Other Considerations for All Inclusive Family Vacations

  • Look at the location of the resort. Is it right on the beach or a few blocks from the beach? Is it right in the heart of the action or is it situated along an isolated strip of coastline? If you plan to explore the city, an isolated locale will make it more challenging – especially with children. If you’re planning to stay on the resort, an isolated locale shouldn’t be a problem as long as the resort has all enough amenities to keep your family happy.
  • Look at the list of resort amenities and see what is included and what costs extra. A resort may have many amenities or just a few. Some resorts have bicycles, archery, basketball courts, tennis and beach equipment included and this can be fun for families. Some family-friendly resorts have over-the-top amenities like water parks or even circus school.
  • Check the number of restaurants located at the resort. If there is only one restaurant, you might grow tired of the food after a few days. Does the resort offer à la carte dining where you can order from a menu or is it always buffet-style? Does the resort limit your à la carte dining? Nicer resorts will generally have more à la carte restaurants and more opportunities to enjoy them.
  • Check the star rating. While this rating is not uniform from one company to the next, it can serve as a guide when selecting accommodations. If you are reserving a two star resort, expect it to be clean and comfortable, but potentially dated and lacking in amenities. A three to four star resort is considered moderate, while a five star resort should be top notch in terms of comfort and amenities.
An image of the water park at Sandos Caracol Eco Resort in Riviera Maya, Mexico - all inclusive family vacations

Some family-friendly resorts have wading pools and some have full-on water parks like this one at Sandos Caracol Eco Resort in Riviera Maya, Mexico. Photo by GREG OLSEN

Advice About All Inclusive Family Vacations

  • Narrow down your choices and then consult with friends who have been where you are going, a travel professional, and the Internet to see what other visitors to the resort have to say about it. Two good websites to check resort reviews from recent guests are tripadvisor and Debbie’s Caribbean Resort Reviews.
An image of a sail boat at an all inclusive resort in Mexico - all inclusive family vacations

Sail boats, hobby cats or paddle boats can be a fun amenity for teens who want to have a little adventure right on their resort. Photo by GREG OLSEN

Last But Not Least

  • Once you’re at the chosen resort, make sure you kick back, relax and try to have as much fun as possible. No resort will be perfect, but a positive attitude makes all inclusive family vacations fun for everyone. We’ve taken our four children to five star resorts and two star resorts and we’ve had fun times at both.

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