The fall season for travel agents means the arrival of all the new glossy travel brochures. I had one of these new brochures sitting on my coffee table when a I saw a preview for the new season of my favorite TV show "Modern Family".
An all Incluisve family vacation by definition is a vacation package that includes everything your family needs rolled up into one price. Prices tend to be lower because you're buying everything as a package deal. sounds like a simple idea right?...but this is where it gets a bit confusing. There is PLENTY of conflicting and confusing information out there. Much of it is advertising spin to help separate you for your hard earned vacation dollars. So how do you know what you're getting for your money and most importantly, how to you find the best all inclusive vacation deal for your family?...The best way to figure it all out is by examining the base pricing:
Undated July 2019
Family friendly all inclusive resorts are found on some of the most beautiful tropical beaches of the world, especially in Caribbean and Mexico. At an all inclusive resort, all of your meals, snacks, drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), activities, entertainment, tips and taxes are ALL INCLUDED in the price of your hotel room. Airport transportation can also included in your vacation package price. As far as activities and entertainment, family friendly all inclusive resorts offer day long activities like sports, games, non-motorized water sports, specialized kids clubs and nightly entertainment.
Last week I was working one of our clients named Wendy suggesting family resorts that would be able to accomodate her family of 6. With four children ages 4-12, this is always a challenge. We struck out with availability and budget when it came to family resorts for next spring break so I suggested the idea of family cruises. Wendy emailed me back saying, "being trapped on a boat with our 4 kids sounds more like torture than a vacation".
Oh Wendy, and the rest of you out there...fear not! When it comes to children's activities and kids clubs, many people don't realize how much family friendly cruise lines have really stepped up their game as far as kid activities. Actually most cruise lines that cater to families offer more free Chidren's clubs and family friendly activities than most resorts.
All inclusive family resorts are ideal vacations for busy families because really, they are a no-brainer. Generally, with a few exceptions, all inclusive resorts for families are found on the most beautiful tropical beaches of the Caribbean and Mexico. At an all inclusive resort, all of your meals, snacks, drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), activities, entertainment, tips and taxes are ALL INCLUDED in the price of your hotel room. As far as activities and entertainment, most family all inclusive resorts offer day long activities like sports, games, non-motorized water sports, specialized kid's clubs and nightly entertainment. Non-motorized water sports often confuses people. Non-motorized water sports includes activities like snorkeling, small sail boats, kayaks, boogie boards...water activities that do not have a motor. Some resorts do require a refundable deposit to insure that borrowed equipment is returned properly. All you have to do is walk up to the water sports center, ask for your equipment and off you go. There would be extra charges for activities like jet-skiing, water skiing, and diving because these activites include equipment or boats that have motors.
All Inclusive Kids Resorts are a busy parent's best friend when it comes to planning a family vacation. These resorts provide a kid friendly atmosphere along with fun activities for every member of the family.
The inspiration for this article comes from a recent airport encounter. My family was stuck in line behind a very disgruntled couple with several large suitcases in tow. Actually these suitcases were more like steamer trunks. The poor man groaned very time their bags needed slide along as the line progressed. When they reached the check in counter, the woman was "shocked and appaulled" at the amount of money it was going to cost them to check their over-sized, over weight, collection of suitcases. The husband then mistakenly asked her if she really needed the contents of one of the largest and heaviest bags. She replied, "Of course Dear, I NEED all 35 pairs of the shoes I packed".
"Hotel reviews - are they for real?"...
Parents often request more than one hotel room from us when making their family hotel reservations. It may be that they have 3 or 4 children and need a family of five or six hotel room. It could be that they have young children with early bedtimes and they want a separate space so that the kids can sleep undisturbed. They may have teenager and need an extra bathroom for sanity sake. Mom and Dad may be looking for some "adult" time and "need to ensure extra privacy for themselves so that their family vacation can also become a romantic escape."
I used this gentle explanation once during a consultation with a hotelier. He wanted my opinions while desinging blue prints for construction of his family friendly resort. I could tell he just wasn't grasping what I was trying to say. Finally I was forced to spell it out for him and I said..."Listen, you need to build more connecting rooms because parents want to have sex while on vacation and do not want to worry about having their kids watch." Brutally honest and perhaps a bit too graphic, but at least my honesty got more family connecting rooms from that hotel chain that are now available to parents in need of a great vacation!