What to Look For in an Inexpensive Family Resort

Having kids changes the family dynamics in lots of ways, including vacations. Thanks to today's family-friendly all-inclusive resorts, you won't really miss those romantic getaways. Eat, sleep, and play all in one place and find adult-only time too. These days more resorts than ever are offering even more family-friendly amenities. You'll find options from baby gear rental to kids' clubs. The key to any great vacation is good planning. How can you tell which resort has the options that suit your family best? Do your homework well in advance before booking. Network with other parents at school, daycare centers and at community events. Look at vacation experiences shared by your friends on social media. Make use of the way family-friendly resorts advertise. Visit travel sites with forums. A commercial on TV can spark an idea, and as soon as you start searching online, you're sure to get vacation deals and offers from around the globe. Narrow your choices to two or three and research those thoroughly. The following seven tips can help you make your final decision.

1 - Safety First

Make sure your destination is safe for the whole family. Nearby beaches should be safe and swimmable. You may need to avoid steep cliffs and rough surf if you have young children. Check to see if the staff will childproof your suite. This is a true test to see if the resort really is child friendly. Kiddie and toddler pools are important for water safety. If the resort has a kid's club (many do) ask about counselor training and kid-to-counselor ratio. Counselors should be trained in water safety and CPR.

2 - Comfortable Accommodations

You don't want to spend your vacation tripping over one another. Connecting rooms are great for large families. So are cabins. Suites with separate living and dining areas are especially spacious. Preplan sleeping arrangements, and make sure bedding is adequate. Sleeper sofas are great for having more living space during the day. Ask about the availability of fold up cots and cribs if needed.

3 - Kid-friendly Amenities

Many resorts go the extra mile and provide conveniences like strollers, baby tubs, and changing tables. This means less packing and less hassle for you. Laundry services or a washer and dryer in your unit is a big convenience for families. You can pack less clothes. A 24-hour room service can be a blessing with tired toddlers at night. Many resorts offer kids' clubs. Ask about the kind of activities that are included in kid's clubs and if they are a separate charge.

4 - Dining Options

Make sure the resort's restaurants have a kids' menu. Find out if they accommodate special requests like fruit and cereal for lunch or special diets if needed. Buffets are good for finicky eaters. Also, check to see if dining hours are kid-friendly. Most kids don't want to wait until 7:30 pm for dinner.

5 - Family Entertainment

Although family vacations are a time for togetherness, kids and parents should have opportunities to be away from each other. Resorts have found some creative ways to do that. They do this with kids' clubs and programs. Some provide supervised activities like snorkeling, exploring, and sports. This gives moms and dads a chance to relax on the beach or by the pool alone for a time. Kids programs should accommodate different age groups. Teens will enjoy things like crafts and video productions. Also look for inclusive activities to spend time with the kids. Miniature golf, paddle boats, beach volleyball, and cooking classes are some examples. Some resorts offer mother and daughter spa treatments.

6 - Beyond the Resort

While it's great to have everything in one spot, vacations are about a change in scenery. Look for a resort that gives you a chance to explore the area. What's the nearest town like? Is there shopping, dining, and nearby attractions like an aquarium or nature center?

7 - Time for Adults

It's great to spend time together as a family, but the best family resorts give adults a little alone time? Many resorts offer a babysitting service. Check the features offered. Are they easy and reliable? Ask how they qualify their sitters. They should be certified in first aid and CPR. Are there bars, lounges, and other adult activities available at the resort or nearby? Just a stroll on a quiet beach can be romantic and rejuvenating for parents.