Family Vacations – Information and Recommendations

Families traveling together, including parents, children, grandparents and other related members has become a popular vacation trend. Resorts, hotels and cruise companies have taken note of this trend by improving their accommodations for families and the activities for children and adults.

Cruise Lines who cater to families have added staterooms that can accommodate four or more guests in one room and added more adjoining and connecting staterooms. They have improved the children clubs and daily activities, based on ages, and have improved the activities for teenagers by adding dance areas just for them.

The same can be said for the hotels and Resorts in the Caribbean and Mexico. Many have rooms that can accommodate four or more in 1 or 2 bedrooms and family suites. They usually include special supervised programs for children, based on age, as well as planned activities for all members of the family, and in some areas, such as Cancun, excursions to parks and archeology sites that appeal to all ages.

When planning a family vacation it is important for families to follow these guidelines. Plan in advance, and depending on how large a group, try to do it between six months and a year. Ask questions and get answers for the type of accommodations you need, what is available, how many guests does the resort or hotel allowed in a room, do they have connecting or adjoining rooms and are children “free” when travelling with adults. If this is an all-inclusive resort ask if they offer children “stay & eat free”, or are there any discounts offered for the family.

The programs that the resorts have for children and adults is important, you want to be sure there will be lots of activities for them to choose from. The types of restaurants, are also important, you need know they have some that are “child friendly, and that there are restaurants for adults only, so the adults can have a romantic dinner, if they wish. Finally many resorts in the Caribbean and Mexico, include transportation between the hotel and resort, ask how many passengers the vans take, to be sure families can travel together.

For this article I chose two of my favorite “family Resorts, both on the island of Jamaica. The first, Beaches Negril is on a beautiful 7-mile beach that lends itself to the many water activities available, Canoes, Kayaks, Sail boats, Hobie-Cats, Banana boats, Windsurfing, Hydrobikes and Scuba-diving and 2 huge Water-slides. The land based activities include, Table Tennis, day and night Tennis with lighted courts, Shuffleboards, Fitness Center, Billiards, Croquet, Board Games and the exclusive Red Lane Spa, which carries an array of treatments for relaxation and rejuvenation.

The family groups have many types of accommodations to choose from as there are a range of rooms and suites to accommodate small to large families. There are standard rooms, junior suites and one to three bedroom suites, that accommodate up to 12 guests, some with Butler and Concierge Service.

Sesame Street characters, are a trademark of all Beaches Resorts, they mingle with the children day and night. Other activities include the XBOX 360® Game Garage, a favorite of both adults and kids; Pirates Island a 18,000 square-feet water park with a Lazy River that goes around the island, Spiraling tunnels over 200 feet long, Arched bridges, Water cannons, Plunge pool and a pool-side grill. The “Kids Camps” are dived in age ranges, they have counselors who organize activities to entertain the the kids.

My second choice is Breezes Trelawny, about an hours drive from the Montego Bay Airport. This resort has an enormous kids pool complete with a 124 ft. water-slide, an aqueduct shooting water into the pool, a fountain that sprays streams of water into the air and an incredible 124-foot water-slide. There is a rock climbing wall, and a circus, which gives lessons on the flying trapeze, trampoline, and juggling. This is the most popular activity for both adults and children. There are four tennis courts- all lit for night play, basketball, Hobie-Cat, windsurfing and kayaking with instruction offered free. Scuba Diving and jet skiing are available for a Fee. After dark there is Bubbles Disco.

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