I recently returned from an all-inclusive vacation at Paradisus Playa Del Carmen in Mexico. I have two young girls (3.5 years and 22 months old) and the thought of going anywhere with them (even to the grocery store) can seem daunting! But, as foreign as the concept may seem, Paradisus Playa Del Carmen made travelling with my girls not only enjoyable, but a vacation we will never forget (in a good way)!! Here are my top 7 tips for travelling with young kids and actually enjoy it!
Tip #1: Kids Club!!!
I am expecting this tip to stir up some mixed reviews, but for me and my husband finding a resort with a kids club is a must! Don’t get me wrong, I love building sand castles, splashing in the pool and exploring the resort with my kids, but I also like, and need, adult time in order to truly feel like I am on vacation.
If your kids are under the age of 4 it can be difficult to find a place that offers childcare. Paradisus Playa Del Carmen offers daycare services in a separate room for children 12 months to 4 years old. I love that my girls were together during the times we dropped them off at the kids club. My younger one napped there every day for 2.5 – 3 hours too!!! The older one even asked to go to the kids club almost every day instead of the activity we ad planned for them.
Tip #2: Staying Active
Staying active while travelling is important to me. It’s not so much about my size or concern about losing my fitness, but more about the time for me. With 2 young kids, exercise allows me to put my headphones in and just zone out. Even when we are on vacation, travelling with young kids is not very relaxing so I make sure to sneak away, usually during nap time, to get a workout in and regroup. I loved the facility at Paradisus Playa Del Carmen as there was ample pieces of cardio machines and strength training equipment and they also offered group training classes such as spinning, bootcamp and yoga. Everything was kept very clean and inviting.
Tip #3: Meal times
Meal times at home are tough so one of the things I was really looking forward to on vacation was not having to cook different dishes at every meal time to try and please everyone. Well… meal times on vacation were just as chaotic, if not more so at times, than at home. BUT, again, one of the best things about this resort was that the kids club was open until 9:30 pm. About half of the time we would bring the kids to the buffet to eat, drop them off, then my husband and I had nice relaxing dinners at the various restaurants they had to offer. The food was incredible, but I think the Indian restaurant, Vento, was my favourite.
Tip #4: Relaxation
Finding time to relax is an absolute must. It’s really the only thing that allows me to come back from vacation feeling like it was an enjoyable experience rather than just parenting in a different location.
There are different ways to relax like lying on the beach chairs while the kids play in the sand, taking turns with hubby to sit by the adult pool for 30 min to get some kid-free time, or like mentioned above – drop the kids off at the kids club!!
But, my ultimate favourite was taking advantage of the Yhi Spa! Paradisus Playa Del Carmen offers exquisite spa services and the facility is top notch!
Tip #5: Sleep
Any time we travel sleep is always disrupted. Whether it be the kids going to bed later, nap routine is out of whack or someone’s snoring wakes everyone else up, it is almost to be expected that sleep will be a challenge.
Some of the key points I like to share with other parents when they are planning to get away with their little ones is to expect poor sleep and do your best to plan accordingly.
If you can, I always suggest booking a hotel with a separate bedroom. Paradisus Playa Del Carmen offers a variety of rooms where you can have one bedroom closed off from the living area to a two unit suite. We chose the one bedroom suite and it certainly made sleeping arrangements easier for everyone.
By getting a room with a separate bedroom, not only will you have a little more privacy, but it allows for the parents to have a separate place to go once the kids go to bed. It also helps to keep a similar bedtime routine as home where the kids go to bed in one area and they parents kiss them good night and see them in the morning (in a perfect world maybe 😉).
We take this one step farther… Our youngest daughter is still in a crib so we find some area in the room where we can put the crib and hang sheets around it so it feels like she has her own room apart from the older one. Anything you can do to make it resemble sleeping at home will help!
Tip #6: Size Matters
It’s true ladies… when it comes to resort size that is. The Paradisus Playa Del Carmen was the perfect size (IMO). Everything on the resort was within a reasonable walking distance with our young kids. We did bring a stroller, but we only used it when we were walking around with the youngest one every morning at 6 am in order not to wake the older one. They even had stroller parking outside of the restaurants so there was never over crowding.
If you have ever been to an all-inclusive resort before then you probably know the feeling of waking up a an ungodly hour just to reserve a spot by the pool. This was never the case at Paradisus Playa Del Carmen! The curvy shape of the pools allowed for ample chairs by the pool and whether we switch from beach to pool and back, there was never an issue with getting a prime spot no matter what time of day it was.
Another factor that I would never have considered was that the resort building were only 4 floors high. This allowed for quick elevator rides, easy stair walking and it didn’t take away from the beauty within and surrounding the resort by super tall buildings.
Whether you wanted to go to the fantastic beach, one of the many pools, the water park or any of the awesome restaurants, everything was just a short walk away!
Tip #7: Family Concierge Upgrade
If you have some expendable funds then I would HIGHLY suggest opting in for the Family Concierge Upgrade!! This upgrade truly made our vacation wonderful! We were assigned our own personal butler who made reservations for us every night at one of the incredible al a carte restaurants (otherwise it is difficult to get a reservation), he set up a special surprise for the kids in our room every day (balloon animals, treasure hunt, bubble bath) and ensured that our stay was everything we could wish for and more. There is a whole separate area of the resort just for concierge clients which included an exclusive lobby, a separate pool and area on the beach and a restaurant for breakfast and lunch. We were absolutely spoiled and it’ll be hard to vacation any other way!!