Deborah Dickson-Smith of family travel blog Little Nomads shares her top tips for picking a kid-friendly resort on your next trip…

Lots of resorts and hotels claim to be family-friendly, but the key to a happy, stress-free family holiday lies in the detail.

There’s nothing worse than arriving at your hotel after a long flight to discover the kids’ club doesn’t accept children under two. Or your accommodation consists of one room that you have to whisper in and watch TV with the sound down while your little ones get to sleep.

The best advice I can give is to prepare and do research. So before you go…

  1. With or without kids? Decide what kind of holiday you want with your kids. Do you want to laze by the pool with a big fat crime novel while your children go wild at the kids’ club? Or do you want to play with your kids and explore your chosen destination with them? Or a combination of the two? Think about it…
  2. Rooms: Check that the hotel offers suites or adjoining rooms, and ask what deals they offer families. Sharing a standard hotel room with two kids is doable but not really enjoyable – especially for a week. To test out your level of endurance, get the family to camp out in the living room for a night and see how much you enjoy it.
  3. Cooking: It’s best to choose a room with a kitchenette, or at least a microwave, so you can prepare meals for the kids in your room and avoid eating out every day. It’s not just a matter of expense, the kids won’t want a full meal three times a day so it’s useful to be able to make them sandwiches or 2-minute noodles on occasion.
  4. Bottles and baby paraphernalia: If your baby is bottle-fed you’ll also need a microwave or a bottle warmer to warm bottles. Have a plan in place as well for sterilising bottles and dummies. Make sure you request a cot and it’s worth asking if they also have highchairs
  5. Nappies: If you don’t want to take supplies for the entire length of your stay, then find out in advance if there’s somewhere nearby you can purchase them. I once spent an entire day in Bali searching the shelves of all the local mini-marts trying to find some.
  6. Kids Clubs: They may have one, but what age does it cater for? Some kids’ clubs don’t cater for under-2s at all and it may be even harder with older children. Ask about what activities they have planned for kids of different ages – especially older ones. Remember, they’re on holiday too and may not relish the idea of spending all day colouring in. Some resorts will have two to three different clubs for different age-groups.
  7. Babysitting: Ask how readily available babysitters are and how far in advance you have to book them. It’s also worth checking credentials – especially with younger kids, so that you can feel comfortable leaving your kids with a stranger and enjoy your night out.
  8. Restaurants: Check out the kids menu and buffet options. Some resorts charge $1 for each year of your child’s age (which seems reasonable) and some provide free food for all kids under 12. It’s also worth checking if there are any family friendly restaurants nearby so you’re not stuck at the resort buffet every night.
  9. Activities and Entertainment: Especially with older kids, find out the range of activities available at the resort that you can all enjoy, whether that’s surfing, sailing, volleyball, kayaking or wet weather entertainment such as movies and video games. Some resorts will provide DVD players and even games consoles in your room, with a range of DVDs and games for hire at reception. A DVD player is a much better (and cheaper) choice than in-room movies – you can even take your kids’ own favourites with you.
  10. Health: Ask about the nearest medical facilities and how quickly you can access them in an emergency. Whether that’s a broken limb or Delhi Belly it’s comforting to know that there is a doctor available a quick phone call away. Oh – and make sure you choose the right travel insurance.

This guest post was contributed by Deborah Dickson-Smith of Little Nomads. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Cheapflights Ltd.

About the author

Oonagh ShielContent Manager at Cheapflights whose travel life can be best summed up as BC (before children) and PC (post children). We only travel during the school holidays so short-haul trips and staycations are our specialities!

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