10 Reasons To Go On An All-Inclusive Family Vacation

Beaches Turks & Caicos
Before I had a child, my favorite vacation involved a $2 bus ride to a hut on the beach in Tulum with no electricity. I scoffed at the timeshare my parents had and the moms hanging out in the lazy river with thermoses full of wine. Now that I have a one year old, that lazy river (and free childcare provided by my parents) sounds pretty great.

So when I was invited on a press trip to check out the newest Beaches all-inclusive family resort at Turks and Caicos, I was more than a little excited. It was my first time on an all-inclusive vacation of any sort and I think The Key West Village at Beaches Turks & Caicos may have ruined me for other vacations.

I brought my son, my sister and lots of sunscreen. We had a really great time and it made me realize why all-inclusive vacations exist in the first place. All of the adventure parts of vacations that I used to like now seem like major nuisances with a child in tow.

Here are Ten things I learned about all-inclusive vacations over the course of a five day trip.

1 No Logistics Stress. At All.
Beaches Turks & Caicos Key West Luxury Village Grand Opening

I can’t say for any other inclusive resorts, but Beaches does a really great job of helping you enjoy your time off. I never needed a wallet or purse in the five days I spent in Turks and Caicos. Our biggest concern was which of the 19 restaurants on the premises we planned to stroll up to and order from.

2 Never Worry About The Check
Cash ATMThere is something both liberating and disturbing about being able to just walk up and order whatever you want at whatever time you want. Of course, you’re paying for all of this in a (hefty) daily fee, but you don’t have to worry about the cost of every item on the menu, because it’s all included. There is no waiting for the check as your child’s wails/tiredness become increasingly apparent. At the end of the meal, you can just say thanks and walk away.
(Photo: Tax Credits)

3 Accommodations For Picky Eaters
Max eating WatermelonIt’s untenable to prepare enough food to bring with you to feed your child for a week. But purchasing meals for small children on vacation can be a real bummer. Once you get your head around the sometimes $20+ you can spend on a dish while on vacation, you have to just sit helplessly by as the kiddo just takes a sniff at the food and says “naaah.” At Beaches, kids under 2 are free, so I didn’t feel too bad about Max deciding that he would make entire meals out of watermelon for days on end. Also, there were so many options on the premises (far beyond the standard buffet), that all sorts of diets and tastes can be accommodated.

4 No Mid-Vacation Budget Worries
BEaches Turks & Caicos
When I left the resort, I had a fee of $8.60 for a toy I bought my son in the gift shop. I can’t remember the last time I hadn’t accrued various impulse costs and expenses during a beach trip.

5 Just Relax. Really.
Beaches Pool Turks & Caicos Key WestThere is something really compelling about being able to enjoy yourself without counting the pennies you’re spending every minute/day/hour. Drinking and eating by the pool is less relaxing when you think about every $14 Mai Tai you’re ordering.

6 Solutions For Indecisive Vacationers
Beaches Lazy River Turks & CaicosAt Beaches, the beach, a water park, multiple pools and a room full of Xboxes was all a quick walk away. It turns out my son was most interested in the beach and the little foot shower outside the beach. But wherever we ended up, we were always about a five minute walk away from our room, which takes the stress out of planning logistics and fun while out of town.

7 No Lines
Max on the waterslideA lot of the amenities at this resort were geared toward older children. There was a pretty extensive water park, an army of Sesame characters wandering the premises and hosting events, and an entire building devoted to video games. If you hauled your kids to a place exclusively geared toward any of those things, you may spend the better part of your day waiting in line in the hot sun. But I never saw a single line for any activity while I was in Beaches. Strolling up and enjoying a water slide or a Dance Dance Revolution competition whenever the mood strikes is pretty nice.

8 Beach Beach Beach
Beaches Turks & Caicos Key WestI guess there’s a reason the place is called Beaches…. Every building was walking distance from one. I’ve never been to Turks & Caicos, but it was probably the nicest beach I’ve ever been to, mere steps from our hotel suite. Completely white sand, clear blue water and fish happily swimming around you. A perk that my son enjoyed? Super calm waves. A perk that I enjoyed? Waiter service on the water. Ordering Pina Coladas on the beach is something I will never get tired of.

9 Me Time
Max ball pit
The thing about vacation with kids is there’s not really a lot of downtime. Kids don’t sleep in just because you’re on vacation. In my case, my son always sleeps much less when he’s not in his own crib. During the day, chasing after a kid in the sun is more interesting than your own apartment, but no less tiring. At Beaches, they had really nice daycare options with well equipped rooms full of age appropriate toys and sitters available for nights. My son was obsessed with the infant room.

10 Amazing Staff
Beaches staff Turks & Caicos
The location we visited was amazing, but the thing I was struck most by was how much everyone we encountered seemed invested in our trip being a success. No one was maneuvering for tips or just trying to push us through a restaurant. During the trip, the press people I arrived with were mixed among families who had paid their way and every single person who worked at Beaches — from the waiters to the lifeguards, cleaning staff and valets — was so friendly and sweet and accommodating, it really made our trip. I don’t know what kind of training or standards they have for their team, but I was definitely impressed. We may have gotten a few more smiles because my son played peekaboo with every single person he saw, but the friendliness was at a pretty high standard for the whole trip.
Max playing peekaboo

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  • JenH1986

    Your kid=Gorgeous. That is all.

    • keanesian

      Aw. Thanks Jen!

  • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

    I want to go to there and Max and his peekaboo face is my favorite thing EVER!

  • Bethany Ramos

    So cute!! We really like to vacation all inclusive and have a kid-free vacation planned in October. :-) We haven’t done a family resort yet, but it’s definitely on the radar for the future.

  • http://overthecuckoonest.blogspot.com/ Kay_Sue

    the moms hanging out in the lazy river with thermoses full of wine

    I’ve become this mom.

    I like the idea of an all-inclusive vacation. We always budget pretty strictly for our beach vacation because we very quickly realized the first time that we can break the bank with impulse purchases over the course of a week.

    I don’t know that we will ever be able to afford one, but a girl can dream.

  • SunnyD847

    Cruises with kids are also great. We’ve done 2 European cruises with our girls and both were awesome. The kids can go to the kids’s clubs or teen hangout spaces by themselves, so we got to eat romantic dinners together. They can get food whenever they want. The ships have tons of entertainment options. Plus you wake up in a new city without the hassles of packing and driving or taking a train.

  • Valerie

    Your son is adorable and this looks like such a great trip! I’ve never done the all-inclusive thing but this makes it look very appealing.

  • SA

    We’ve done all-inclusive as a couple, but not yet with the kid. I do LOVE that there is no vacation money stress as EVERYTHING is paid for upfront. Been eyeing the Beaches resorts b/c of the whole Sesame street thing. Question – you may not know – over two is the cost the same as an adult or is there an age-scale or something?

  • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

    This is really interesting. I’ve never done an all-inclusive or even gone to a beach for vacation at all really, other than a day trip to Malibu while visiting LA. We’ve always been more the ‘explore a city’ types. But, with a kid, I am starting to understand the appeal. My mom was talking about organizing a giant family vacation (like, there would be 14 of us) somewhere beachy next year….we’ll see if it happens but it’d be a very different type of vacation than I’ve ever experienced, so it’ll be interesting if it does.

  • Natasha B

    First, your son is beyond adorable. Second, ok, you talked me into it. I’m going. Sounds ahhhhmazing.

  • Maria Guido

    I’m officially jealous.

  • Rachel Sea

    I have never been able to afford anything like that, but when my friend was getting married we rented a vacation house in Palm Springs for a long girls’ weekend. We had nothing to do except make cocktails, lounge, swim, eat junk, and whistle tunes on our novelty penis straws. I have scarcely been so relaxed in my entire life.

  • Natalie

    There are occasionally all-inclusive vacation on Groupon or Living Social. I know there is one on Groupon to a place we went to in St. Thomas about 10 years ago that was AWESOME. I read the Groupon a million times and it seems like an incredible deal, and the real, all-inclusive deal. I still can’t afford it, but my sister might go!

  • SA

    Also, check out CheapCarribean.com. We used them last time and the site was totally on the up & up. Some good deals!

    • SA

      SORRY!! Fingers got away from me CheapCaribbean.com

  • journalgal2

    We did our first family all-inclusive to Mexico this winter (my daughter is 4). It was the best time ever. I think she loved it the best of all. Highly recommend!

  • anon

    Did you leave tips at the end?

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