How to Plan an All-inclusive Family Vacation

Do you select all-inclusive hotels/resorts for your family vacations, especially to places in the Caribbean and Mexico? We do!

If we’re visiting a resort with onsite activities and restaurants, all-inclusive is a perfect fit because it gives us more control of our vacation budget. Also, our son is a creature of habit when it comes to eating and his overall schedule. All-inclusive resorts allow us to reasonably schedule onsite meals and activities and not worry about transportation time to and from local attractions and restaurants.

Here's what we consider when selecting an all-inclusive resort for a vacation:

  • Onsite activities for the kids and parents - seek resorts offering a mix of kids activities and activities that parents and kids can do together.
  • Kids Club - call to check the ages of kids permitted, club hours, staff-to-kids ratio, and request a schedule of a typical day's activities. Do a quick search on to see what's being said about the club.
  • Restaurants - ensure that onsite restaurants have kid menus, with healthy food options. Try to pick a resort with multiple á la carte restaurants (not just the big buffet dining establishment) that are family-friendly.
  • Pools - look for resorts with multiple pool areas/separate pools for kids as well as zero entry pools and/or wading pools. Separate children's pool areas are best, because swim-up bars and adult poolside activities can translate into a pool party atmosphere too risque for kids. (Trust me, you don't want to have to shield your kids' eyes from the bikini contest.)
And, here are five articles to help you plan an all-inclusive family vacation and suggestions for all-inclusive hotels and resorts...
1. All-inclusives: What you should know
"Traveling with kids is hard, which is why many families choose an all-inclusive resort for vacation. Use these tips to help you ask the right questions when picking a resort." San Antonio Express-News

2. All-Inclusives Made Easy: 10 Steps for Planning Your Trip
"Booking an all-inclusive in the Caribbean can be all-consuming. To simplify the process, follow these 10 steps to finding and reserving an all-inclusive." The Washington Post

3. Great Family Vacation Spots (Video Clip)
'Parents' Magazine details some of the best all-inclusive family vacation spots." WNBC TV

4. Beaches vs. Baby Club Med
"If you want to enjoy a food-, booze- and babysitting-rich getaway that lets you lock your wallet in the safe, you may want to look into all-inclusive resorts. We compared the leading contenders: Beaches Resorts (an offshoot of Sandals) and Club Med."

5. Kids and the Caribbean
A reader gets suggestions on all-inclusive resorts for toddlers in the Caribbean. The Washington Post

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