Sure, before kids, you could pretty much throw a dart at a map to choose your next destination. But those little people in your entourage are a little more demanding. You want to make sure you pick a spot where they'll be safe, one that has enough fun activities to keep them happy and (if you're really, really lucky!) might offer baby-sitting services. Just a few minutes of pre-trip investigation, says Shelly Rivoli, the author of Travels With Baby
, can save you from a major post-trip headache.
Know Before You Go
There's nothing worse than pulling up with a half-asleep toddler and finding out the hotel doesn't have a crib for you. Call ahead to reserve one (or however many you need) and to make sure they have the right size for your tot. Many hotels now offer programs with travel cribs, bath toys and babyproofing materials. If your dream hotel doesn't offer exactly what you're looking for, see if there are rentals
available in the area.
While you've got the hotel on the phone, ask about children's programs they may offer and whether or not they cost an additional fee. Rivoli says that many won't accept kids in diapers or even in pull-ups—and some may only be seasonal (in the winter at ski resorts or during school breaks in other places). Other good things to find out: Is there a kiddie pool? What are the rules? What's on the kids' menu? Are there video games in the room?
Do Your Research
If you want some grown-up time, you have to know who's going to be taking care of your kids. Does the resort offer a nanny to accompany you on day trips? What is the hourly rate for a babysitter? How long has the babysitter been with the resort? Always ask for references—and actually use them!
Think Location, Location, Location
Keeping the distance between where you stay and where you play is key when you are lugging around strollers, a diaper bag and tons of toys. You want places where you can just walk out the door and go. A beach vacation has the built-in entertainment of the water, and camping has the excitement of having nature all around you. Rivoli says that even in a city, you should find a conveniently located hotel so you don't have to load the kids in and out of the car every time you step outside.
In the end, picking the right hotel or resort is all about convenience and safety. Ask the right questions and you'll be able to bask in the sun with your favorite gossip mag. Aah, where do we sign up?!report abuse