One of my favorite activities that I look forward to every day is answering all of the "ASK MOM" questions that appear in my inbox. This week I came across a very thought provoking question that I'd like to share about family vacations with three kids...
My husband and I are considering having a third child, but his concern is vacations and family friendly places with families of five. Do you know of any family vacations in Europe for a family of five? And what are you recommendations for an affordable trip to the Caribbean?
Obviously the decision to bring any child into the world and add a member to your family is a huge one. There are plenty of very important considerations that parents need to make. The good news is that vacation planning does not need to be added to your list of concerns.
At Vacationkids, We've witnessed so many travel industry changes since we opened our virtual doors in 2000. One of the most exciting changes we've seen is that our industry has come to the realization that today's modern families no longer fit the old definition of "2 adults and 2 children under the age of 12".
This makes me excited on a professional level because I have more options to offer my clients. It also excites me as a mom. I too, am the mother of three kids so this topic is very near and dear to my heart.
Hotels all around the world are now offering more and more options for bigger families. In many resort locations there are regular hotel rooms that offer family of five options. In hawaii for example, there are plenty of family of 5 condo style resorts and hotels that will allow 3 kids 17 and under to share with their parents.
For parents looking for a truly relaxing, worry free vacation, the an all inclusive family of five vacation is the way to go. When you pay for an "all inclusive family of five hotel room"...all of your family's meals, drinks (alcoholic and non), snacks, hotel activities, evening entertainment, kids clubs, tips and taxes are all including in that price. Although there are a few exceptions, most all inclusive family of five resorts have an age requirement. 3 kids under that age of 12 are allowed to share the same room with their parents.
Even Disney has taken this trend of affordable family of 5 friendly room options to heart. Disney has always offered all types of Deluxe and moderate options for larger or multi-generational families visiting the theme parks. Their newest value-moderate resort is the Art of Animation and it will actually sleep families up to 6.
All of the family friendly cruise lines also offer family of five cabins. The price you pay for your cruise cabin also includes all your meals, many shipboard activities, evening entertainment, kids clubs and most taxes. We can include gratuities and sightseeing port options too. Family of five cruises are fun for all types of families. Disney cruise lines offers baby care on board for infants as young as 12 weeks. Carnival and Royal Caribbean offer toddler care for ages 2 & 3 respectively. All of the cruise lines offer age appropriate kids, tweens and teen clubs so there are plenty of activities to keep the kids busy. This of course, gives mom and dad time to relax and have fun too.
Family of five cruises offer particularly great savings for families with teenagers. Hotels and all inclusive resorts delegate price according to age where the cruise lines do not. With teens sharing a family of five cabin with their parents, they pay lower 3rd, 4th or 5th passenger rates comparable to children's pricing. For any parent who has had to feed teenage boys, the thought of them being able to eat as much as they want on board without have to pay for it is priceless!
For families with early bedtimes or parents looking for a little "romance", many hotels, all inclusive resorts and cruise ships are now offering guaranteed adjoining rooms. This means parents pay for a specific room category with a private room for parents connected by a door to a room directly next door for the 3 kids.
Even in Europe we have plenty of family of 5 options. Generally European hotel rooms are comparably smaller to American hotels. Still there are options for family suites and guaranteed adjoining rooms. In addition, for families looking for privacy and more space we can offer apartment stays and villa rentals. Remember, cruises aren't just for the Caribbean. Family cruises are an excellent and economical way for families of five to see a great deal of Europe during one great vacation.
True, there is an extra expense involved paying for a third child on vacation. Still with our smart shopping, advanced planning, flexibility and even layaway payment plans, we can help to ease this burden for parents.
So I do hope we'll be welcoming this particular family to the family of 5 club soon!