If you can I would really recommend going all inclusive even if it means saving a year in advance (like I do) and paying off every month especially if it is just you and the kids. Yes it’s a family holiday but you need a holiday and some mummy time too, so going somewhere like self catering where you have to cook and clean and do all the things you would normally do at home isn’t really ideal, especially if you only go on holiday maybe once every couple of years.
I love all inclusive becauseit means I don’t have to wake up early to cook breakfast and then worry about what the kids eat (or don’t eat) normally all inc will have a hot and cold buffet so the kids can try what they like and you can fill your belly without worrying about washing up the dishes after and basically it’s just a lovely stress free start to the day.
Another great thing about AI is that some places actually have an all day snack bar where you can get all those things that kids love but we try to steer them in a healthier direction. The 2 hotels I stayed at both had things like hot dogs, burgers, pizza, chicken and chips and various other goodies which is great for us mummies with small kids who eat at particular times. Me and the kids always got our lunch from there as well as nibbles when they were hungry I also ended up getting the kids dinner from there as my kids eat dinner at 5 and dinner in the restaurants didn’t start serving till around 7 which is the kids bedtime.
A lot of AI hotels tend to have some kind of kids club (and they’re normally free woop woop!), now these are perfect for 2 things 1, The kids getting to interact with other kids their age and make new friends and do fun activities and 2, mummy time, this is the time where you can just do whatever you fancy (within the hotel grounds) until you are ready to collect them. So if you wanna go gym, go back to bed, lay out on the beach and top up your tan or just hang out at the bar the world is your oyster (for those few hours) also depending on the age of your kids you can actually leave them there all day and the kids club staff will even take them for lunch and dinner. With the younger kids you can bring them anytime during the day and then collect them at lunch time then you can bring them back till around 4/5 if you fancy and some places even have some kind of Pyjama club where on certain days you can drop the kids at the club and they will watch them in the evening so that you can maybe go to one of the adult only restaurants or have a couple drinks.
If your kids are able to stay awake to go the restaurant in the evening for dinner it’s great as once again you have the freedom of trying whatever you like without having to 1, worry about the price 2, worry about cooking/washing up. These all inc places tend to have a few restaurants on site so you can choose what kind of meal you fancy and it’s always nice to dress up a bit and go for something to eat and not worry about how you’re gonna get the kids home. I managed to get to the restaurant twice once just because it was my birthday (Cali fell asleep before desert) and another time just because Cali was still awake and hungry and it was ‘casual Friday’ so we didn’t have to make a reservation or dress up.
Room service was a life saver for me, as both Cali and RD would fall asleep 7pm on the dot I couldn’t go to the restaurant to eat food and although the kids were happy to live off a diet of chips macaroni cheese and ice cream I wanted more variety, so every night I would order room service and there was no limits and best of all it’s free!! They would even make me up cocktails and bring them to the room it was great. I’d order enough drinks to last the night and while the kids were sleeping I’d eat my feast and sometimes I’d even order for an extra person knowing full well my child was asleep (yes I did pile on the weight but it was worth it ha ha)
I just think its fab being able to go to a bar and order some fancy cocktail without thinking oooh this one’s a bit pricey maybe I’ll just have a glass of house wine instead. Also if you’re staying somewhere with a kids club then the bar is normally ‘the place’ to socialize and have a bit of banter with both the bar staff and guests. Besides drinking alcohol the bar is also great for filling up the little ones sippy cups with whichever juice they fancy so you don’t have to worry about running out to the shops to stock up on your munchkins favourite juice.
Great for getting the kids to sleep
AI hotels tend to cover a huge area so they’re great for getting the kids to sleep. Every night I would put RD in his nightclothes, strap him in his buggy and just go for a wonder through the hotel grounds, maybe stop for a chat along the way, then by the time I got back he would be completely knocked out. Then I’d pass by the bar and grab one last cocktail to take back to the room.
Good TV channels
OK so I know you don’t go on holiday to watch TV, but when you’re travelling with small kids and they’re asleep from early and you’re grounded for the night you want something decent to watch while you’re snuggled up in bed going through your selection of cocktails you ordered via room service and snacking on crap you know will make you fat and spotty. I found AI hotels tend to have pretty decent cable TV channels and I watched a lot of cool movies and American TV shows so I wasn’t completely bored out of my brains while the kids slept.
Everything you want to do (apart from like spa treatments) is normally free. This is great if you’re into water sports. I tried water skiing, kayaking and even the banana boat which I would never go near if they were not free. I even took RD out on the hobbycat and he loved it.
Basically AI means relaxation and no stress for you and fun activities for the kids and you come home feeling like YOU actually had a holiday.