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Mother’s Day Getaway Ideas & Mother’s Day Weekend Escapes for New Moms
If you’re celebrating your first Mother’s Day, you’re about to discover that brunch is anything but leisurely with a baby in tow. Also, plants require water and cut flowers die and the water turns gross and slimy if you don’t throw them out right away.
If you’re planning on having travel be a part of your parenting journey, there’s no time like the present to get started. And the best present for any occasion is travel! A Mother’s Day getaway is a great place to begin traveling with a baby, especially when hotels and resorts roll out the red carpet during May.
This page will be updated as new Mother’s Day offers come in. It’s never too early to plan a wonderful Mother’s Day weekend and a future trip would make a great last-minute Mother’s Day gift!
Celebrate your very first Mother’s Day and bring your little one with you on a Southern escape to Barnsley Resort. Tucked away in northwest Georgia, this 3,000 acre resort has an exclusive partnership with Finnbin to provide new-parents with newborn ‘starter kits’. The ‘Oh, Baby!’ package gifts you with a Finnbin LITE bassinet box, a portable safe sleeping environment that has been known to reduce bed sharing, complete with a swaddle, washcloth set, baby wash, pacifier, booties, and more. The package also includes daily breakfast for two in Woodlands Grill, a handmade memory box for you to personalize during your stay, and a $150 spa credit which can be used to pamper new mothers with a massage, manicure or pedicure, or rejuvenating facial at the recently renovated Spa at Barnsley Resort.
Over the holiday weekend, Barnsley Resort’s Executive Chef Jason Starnes will be hosting a signature Mother’s Day brunch in the Georgian Hall, making for a memorable experience for the whole family.
Hilton Orlando wants to celebrate mom all month long. Every weekend in May, enjoy daily breakfast for two (a $25 savings), plus a 10% discount on eforea Spa services, 25% off poolside cabana rentals, two daily I-ride Trolley passes and more.
We stayed at the Hilton Orlando during our visit to Orlando last summer. We can attest that it’s a great hotel!
Bayfront Marin House’s “Mother of All Weekend Package”in St. Augustine is good for stays from May 1 – May 24. Stay two nights at a special rate of just $75/night in May. Spoil Mom with a bottle of champagne upon check in. The luxurious room at the historic inn will greet mom with house-made truffles. Then, a hot southern breakfast served in-room with a complimentary Mimosa and late check out.
Guests must mention “I’m Mom’s Favorite” when they make the reservation!
The “Mother’s Day Beach Escape” package is available for booking for stays between May 9 through May 13. The nightly rate starts at $327. Included in the package is:
Breakfast buffet for two at the historic Inn Dining Room
Two beach chairs and umbrella for a relaxing day under the sun
Proudly situated on a sprawling beachfront site in northeast Florida, the historic Ponte Vedra Inn & Cluboffers boundless luxury and picturesque views of the Atlantic Ocean. Featuring 249 lavishly-appointed guest rooms, oceanfront pools and nearly a dozen dining venues to enjoy, this posh resort seamlessly blends recreation with elegance.
The ideal destination for family vacations, Ponte Vedra Inn & Club offers a myriad of opportunities for adventure, including paddle-boarding, flat-tire beach bicycling, ocean kayaking, daily children’s activities and more.
Bottle warmer and sterilizer, changing mat placed in room
Special gift for the baby
2 hours childcare in Raposinhos Crèche per day
1st water experience for baby and parents
1 spa treatment for mom and dad – each 50 min relaxing massage
1 romantic dinner (babysitter included 2h) – 3 set course menu (beverage not included)
The Martinal collection of five star luxury family hotels spanning across Portugal provide the unique Baby Concierge program designed to make travel easy and enjoyable. The service allows parents to pre-order baby products, cribs, safety gates, and other necessary items that will be ready in the room upon arrival- resulting in a stress-free vacation preparation. The properties offer a variety of kids clubs full of exciting activities for every age group. Parents can unwind in the spa, explore the cities or explore the other amenities available while kids are happily entertained.
The Kimpton Hotel Washington‘s “Cheers to Mom” package lets you treat mom to a luxurious weekend away in Washington, D.C. Whether celebrating with or without their families, moms can enjoy a sumptuous and historic experience at Kimpton Hotel Monaco Washington DC. It’s close to all museums and attractions in downtown Washington. Built in the 1800s as the General Post Office, Kimpton Hotel Monaco Washington DC‘s historic architecture is truly stunning and furnished with regal design that will make mom feel like a queen.
Guests can enjoy a discount on rooms and suites for Mother’s Day weekend and surrounding dates as well as toast to mom at the hotel’s stylish restaurant Dirty Habit which now offers brunch daily. Toast mom with globally-inspired menu options by Executive Chef Kyoo Eom paired with Lead Bartender Drew Harrington’s creative libations.
Complimentary brunch for mom at the hotel’s luxe restaurant and bar, Dirty Habit DC..
Option to reserve in-room spa services for moms such as a 50 minute Mother-To-Be Harmony Massage or Antioxidant Vitamin C Facial using all-natural Kerstin Florian products.
Other things that new moms will appreciate include the complimentary option of a crib or pack and play delivered to the room, and a slew of other baby-friendly amenities that can be delivered to the room free of charge such as mini-fridges, humidifiers, nightlights, outlet covers, and resources for babysitting services if the parents just need a break.
Rates for the “Cheers to Mom” package start from $179 per night, bookable for stays May 9 – May 12.
After our very first family vacation, I was moved to create this website with a mission to inspire, motivate, and help families travel with babies, toddlers, and young children. And a trip to Mexico or the Caribbean with a baby or young child is a wonderful way to escape the cold and fulfill that New Year’s resolution to spend more time with family.
A recent study by Leger and Valneva determined that nine out of 10 Canadian families plan to travel together this year. For 40% of these families, it will be their first family vacation. And 18% of the families looking outside of Canada or the US for their first trip are choosing the Caribbean and Latin America, including Mexico, as their family vacation destinations.
I often suggest a family vacation to Mexico or the Caribbean with a baby as a great first trip. It’s (relatively) easy to get there. It’s affordable, thanks to the number of packaged vacations and accommodation options. And—for the most part—these destinations are safe, clean, and welcoming to children.
Recent headlines about Zika and other mosquito-borne diseases are alarming, but mostly not dangerous unless you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant in the near future.
But all travel with babies and toddlers requires a good deal of planning. These destinations can present unique challenges that can be stressful if you’re not prepared. So I’ve put together these tips for travel to Mexico and the Caribbean with a baby or toddler in tow.
Feeding a baby at home can be stressful and frustrating, so the notion of feeding a baby on vacation with different food and water can be EXTRA stressful and frustrating. Depending on the stage your baby is at with regard to solids, it may seem just as much work as at home or possibly more… But, in some cases, possibly less!
Travel with a Baby Pre-Solids:
A baby who is still exclusively breastfeeding is the easiest to bring anywhere, since really you just need to make sure that mama is well-fed and properly hydrated. But these days, formula and baby bottles travel just fine. If you’re not sure if you can find your preferred brand, bring all your formula mix in your carry-on. After baby is past three months, you can use most kinds of bottled water to mix formula (less than less than 200 mg/litre of sodium, no more than 250mg/litre of sulphate),and if there’s no microwave or kitchenette, you can sterilize baby bottles in a hotel room.
Travel with a Baby Post-Solids:
Today’s baby food in the foil pouches is SO much more portable than the (heavy, fragile) glass jars I had to lug. Packing a box of instant cereal always ensures a healthy meal.
Once they’ve graduated to finger foods and more complex meals, here’s where eating in Mexico and the Caribbean with a baby can get a little tricky. Scrupulous and vigilant hand washing is essential. But, there is a strain of E. coli bacteria called Enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC) that is the most common cause of diarrhea in travelers. It is typically found in food that is not adequately cooked as well as in contaminated water and ice. Most large resorts have their own in-house water purification systems. However, a quick consult with your doctor or pharmacist prior to your trip is advised. Discuss your travel vaccination options, since certain vaccines are indicated for children as young as two. If you are at all worried while you are there, stick to the old Peace Corps. adage, “If you can’t peel it or heat it, don’t eat it.”
My kids loved grazing from the buffets, and choosing their meals as they got older. I did take note of the possible additions of salt and/or sugar that I would never include at home. But things like plain rice and pasta, bread and butter, and grilled meat and fish—all staples for my kids once they started solids—are abundant and very convenient from resort buffets and restaurants.
With all that said, Mexico and the Caribbean with a baby can be wonderful places to enjoy fresh, locally-grown, tropical fruits and veggies. We would mash banana and avocado in Mexico, my son adored fried plantain in Jamaica, and I’m certain my daughter’s passion for mango is a result of our Caribbean vacations.
Mexico and the Caribbean with a Baby: Sleeping
Depending on where you’re traveling from, one of the best things about traveling to Mexico and the Caribbean with a baby is the lack of (or minimal) time change. It should be easy enough to stick to your usual nap and sleep routines… Although, your baby might have different ideas! Mine would frequently be reluctant to nap in the room. Often they would nap in the stroller or on the beach in the shade.
But even if baby jet lag isn’t an issue, knowing you have a safe place for baby to sleep might be. Not all hotels and resorts are equipped with appropriate or safe cribs or cots, so your own baby travel bed might be worth the investment if you think you’ll be traveling a lot. Co-sleeping and travel may also be challenging; you’ll need to ensure the hotel bed and bedding can be made safe for baby.
A trick I found that helped normalize our travel sleeping arrangements was to bring our crib bedding from home. Often I’d just take the sheet right from their bed and stuff it in our suitcase before we left. I think the familiar feel and scent of their own bedding was comforting. I’m sure it helped them to fall asleep in a strange bed.
Mexico and the Caribbean with a Baby: Playing
The beaches are like the world’s biggest sandbox, so playing in Mexico and the Caribbean with a baby is usually lots of fun. But one of the reasons we love these destinations is also the biggest danger to our children: THE SUN.
Beach and sun safety and protecting baby’s skin from the sun is essential. We often slathered our guys in sunscreen and let them crawl around in just a hat. However, we always secured shade in the form of an umbrella or palapa. Babies under six months can’t wear sunscreen, so not only do you need shade, you also need UV swimwear and look into portable baby UV tents and umbrellasas well. Hats are a must; get ones with ties instead of Velcro if your baby hates them like mine would from time to time.
Water safety is also your highest priority. Not all resorts have (or have enough) toddler-sized life jackets, and most don’t have infant ones at all. These are good investments if you love the water. Finding the space in your luggage and bringing your own is wise. But no flotation device will protect your child more than your own vigilance. Always be within arm’s reach when you’re in or near the water.
Fun floaties and small sand toys don’t take up much room in your luggage. They are good to bring along if you’re not sure if your resort will have some to play with on-site. I’ve been surprised at how many don’t! And a bucket and pail at a hotel gift shop has given me more sticker shock than any car or electronic toy.
Mexico and the Caribbean with a Baby: Getting Around
Chances are you’ll be flying with baby to get where you’re headed, but once you’re there you still need to figure out how you’ll get around. Most package vacations include hotel transfers, and they’re usually via a coach bus where a car seat is not necessary. But if you think you’ll want to get out and explore, even a little, it’s worth the hassle to bring your car seat along.
Travel with a Baby and Car Seat:
We made the (relatively small) investment in a travel car seat, which we also used in Grandma’s car at home. Travel with a car seat is a pain in the butt, but even if it sat in our hotel room unused, we have never regretted bringing ours along. And frankly you’re taking a chance if you rent a car seat from a car rental agency. You have no idea of that car seat’s history, or even if it will be legal or clean.
Public Transportation with a Baby:
In some places, public transportation is modern and clean and air-conditioned. In some places it is NOT. Taxis are hit and miss in a lot of smaller destinations. If you come across a good one, take your driver’s contact information! If you want to go sightseeing or do a day trip, you’re better off hiring a taxi or private car. You can go at your own pace and install your car seat. It probably won’t cost much more, either.
Getting Around on Foot:
Getting around Mexico and the Caribbean with a baby on foot can also be challenging since sidewalks and roads are not always what we would consider stroller-friendly. Umbrella strollers are great for zipping around airports and most hotels, but if you’re hoping to hit the beach and stroll around some local towns, it’s worth the effort to bring along a decent stroller that can handle rough roads. Our jogging stroller was awkward and heavy and bulky, but we loved having it with us since it handled cobblestones and jagged pavement with ease and–since my kids were comfortable in it–we could walk around and meander for much longer than if they were in a smaller stroller.
A soft carrier or sling is great to have to get through the airport and to keep baby close for naps. However, you both will overheat if you use it for any length of time during the mid-day heat, even if you’re out of the sun.
Have a question about vacations in Mexico or the Caribbean with a baby, toddler, or young child in tow? Please get in touch! Leave a comment here, or reach out via Facebook or Twitter.
As a first-time mom, I was very uncomfortable with the thought of leaving my daughter in the care of someone other than a family member whether we were home or away. But once my son came along, I understood the need. BIG TIME.
First-time parents don’t necessarily need a resort with a lot of bells and whistles (yet). But those who have two and maybe even three little ones? THEY. NEED. A. BABY. CLUB.
Resorts with Baby Clubs in the Caribbean & Mexico
Most resorts offer some form of private babysitting, or can refer you to a local agency who can help out. But having the convenience of a place to drop off little ones, even just to get them into some air-conditioning for a little bit, can mean a real vacation for you and your partner too.
This list is a work in progress. But, I’ve compiled all the resorts with baby clubs in the Caribbean and Mexico and listed them by country…
Cuba still struggles sometimes with the perception of less-then-appetizing food or somewhat haphazard amenities. But, Cuba is awesome for families. It is safe and clean. And, while the number of resorts that can accommodate large families is somewhat astounding (ie – very very few) it actually has quite a lot of resorts with baby clubs.
Punta Cana seems to be the place to be, as all the resorts with baby clubs in the Dominican Republic seem to be located here.
While the mega-resorts can seem huge and a little overwhelming, knowing there’s a well-regarded baby club on site that will happily take your baby or toddler for a little while might give you a chance to explore some of it.
Jamaica may be pricier than some other Caribbean destinations, but if you factor in the things like potable tap water, good medical care, and great food, and maybe padding the budget a bit is worth it.
Mexico and its warm and wonderful family-friendly culture has many destinations with their own appeal, plus so many different accommodation options that are suitable for families. They have some amazing resorts, and some of those resorts offer included baby care (or in the instance of Club Med Ixtapa Pacific, available at an extra cost).
Given Mexico‘s size, there are actually not that many resorts with baby clubs, and with the exception of Club Med’s Baby Club Med and Melia Puerto Vallarta, the minimum age to participate starts at one year.
If you’re looking to book your first family vacation, it’s perfectly normal to be more than a little daunted. This list of the best resorts for babies and toddlers will help you dip your toe into family travel waters.
Travel with a baby is not just different.
And it keeps getting better.
Any of these resorts will offer a wonderful family vacation for every member of your family.
When it comes to resorts that go all out for families with babies and toddlers, Beaches is really hard to beat. Once you recover from the sticker shock, take note of everything that’s included in your vacation; in Beaches‘ case it’s literally everything. Beaches Turks and Caicos is their flagship resort, with three “villages,” a number of accommodation options, and over twenty restaurants to choose from. The beach is truly glorious–calm and clear and a shade of blue that’s impossible to describe.
Beaches Negril and Beaches Boscobel in Jamaica are also amazing resorts that maintain their Jamaican flavour while offering many amenities for families.
But it’s their partnership with Sesame Street that really sets Beaches properties apart as the best resorts for babies. The nannies that care for the youngest guests are truly wonderful at their job. They are incredibly caring with the littlest babies, and so fun and kind with the toddlers. And then there are activities like baking cookies with Cookie Monster and Story Time with Elmo.
Your kids will try to ditch you and you’ll want to stay and play. I did!
Check out the Trip Advisor reviews and pricing for the following Beaches resorts:
They offer an included baby club for guests as young as 12 months. There’s no Cookie Monster or Big Bird, but Grand Palladium does have a relationship with a blue dog named RAGGS, who stars in an an Emmy Award-winning, live action and animated musical preschool television series originally produced in Sydney, Australia. I’d never heard of RAGGS, but my son enjoyed the stuffie and CD we received as promotional items.
We adored Franklyn D. Resort & Spa. Simply adored it. I thought it would be weird having a nanny–essentially a stranger hanging out with us while we were on vacation. Perhaps this was the perception of the nanny-less.
Located in Runaway Bay, about a 30-minute drive from Montego Bay airport, Franklyn D. is a magical place where shoes are optional most places. Your vacation nanny stocks your room with snacks, tidies up, and helps you with the kids. Additional nannies (one for each child, even!) can be hired for the very reasonable cost of $25 US per day. Extra hours outside of the daily 9-5 are only $7 US/hr.
The rooms at FDR are all incredibly spacious–perfect for larger families. Cribs and high chairs are no problem, and we even had bed rails on our king-size bed. The resort itself is incredibly casual, with a tidy pool and toddler-safe beach, top shelf liquor and delicious food at the buffet meals (held at family-friendly times), and the option for adult-only space and dining.
But, by far, the best thing about FDR is their staff. The nannies are all so lovely and caring (and patient!) but everyone from the bartenders to the gardeners and everyone in between were warm and friendly and fun. My kids were four and one when we visited, and we all still pine for our little slice of home in Jamaica.
I was stuck for the longest time thinking Club Med resorts were for swinging singles. It took just one afternoon in their Petit Club at Ixtapa Pacific when my daughter was a toddler to realize that the service Club Med provides to parents is pretty incredible.
Their Mini Club Med for children aged 4-12 is included at the resorts that offer it. A few select locations in North America (Ixtapa Pacific in Mexico, Punta Canain the Dominican Republic, and Sandpiper Bayin Florida) offerBaby Club Med services and amenities for infants 4mos. to 2-years-old, and Petit Club Med for toddlers aged 2-4. The daily care and activities are provided by G.O.s that are usually taking baby or child development in university. They are wonderful.
Petit and Baby Club Med services must be registered for once you check in to the resort. The daily fee is, on average, around $100 USD. It’s probably best to budget for that in advance after booking your trip. But, keep in mind, kids four and under stay free. The Baby Club Med on-resort amenities provided by Club Med to guests, like a room that has baby-appropriate food and snacks available, a baby and toddler section of at the buffets, as well as cribs/cots and change tables in the rooms, are complimentary.
Check out the Trip Advisor reviews and pricing for the following Club Med Resorts:
Meliá Hotels International is a Spanish company that currently operates more than 370 hotels in 43 countries and four continents under nine different brands. Meliá Hotels and Resorts is perhaps their most accessible chain, offering a wide range of luxury levels for guests of all ages. They have a number of all-inclusive resorts in North America that offer either a baby club or kids club (or both), several in Cuba, three in Mexico, one in the Bahamas (Melia Nassau Beach), one in Jamaica (Melia Braco Village), and Melia Caribe in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
Sleep usually is easier to figure out once your baby becomes a toddler. EXCEPT when you’re traveling.
Chances are they will outgrow their travel crib or portable cot much sooner than their crib at home. If you’re shopping for a portable toddler bed for travel, you will want it to be big enough and last long enough to justify the expense.
Here are our recommendations for the Best Toddler Travel Bed:
The Shrunks has kind of cornered the market when it comes to inflatable travel beds for toddlers. Their beds do not contain phthalates, BpA, or lead and they don’t squeak. The design includes raised sides so your child feel snug and safe and is less likely to roll off of it. The Shrunks original beds are compatible with standard crib sheets and blankets and they also offer a full twin size. Each inflatable travel bed comes with an electric pump and carry bag. The twin bed weighs just over 10lbs and the regular size weighs 6.6 lbs. When deflated, the bed and pump fit into the carry bag and can be easily packed.
The Shrunks sell a number of custom accessories separately, and extend a 2-year warranty on their products. The maximum weight capacity is 150lbs, so you can get a lot of use out of this purchase. Online reviews for this and all The Shrunks‘ products are very favourable.
If you (or your toddler) would prefer a more traditional-style cot, the Regalo My Cot is a great choice. It can support the weight of a child up to 75lbs. Its steel construction is very lightweight at just four pounds. The nylon cover is washable and it includes a cotton fitted sheet and a carry case. According to reviews it is easy to fold and unfold, and in its folded state can easily fit into a suitcase for travel.
Although the Regalo My Cot is affordable and durable, they do caution that it’s not meant to be stepped or jumped on. Its hammock-like effect helps restless sleepers to stay on the bed, but if they do roll off it’s very low to the ground.
The Joovy FooCot is another great camping cot-style toddler travel bed that is lightweight, durable, and affordable. It is for children up to 48″ tall or 75lbs, and folds up into its own carrying case. There is also a storage pocket that would be handy for a flashlight or book or sippy of water. The cover does not remove for washing, but it can be spot-cleaned. One reviewer said regular crib sheets fit just fine, but Joovy does sell cot sheets for it as well.
The Joovy FooCot weighs just over six pounds, and the dimensions when folded into its carry case are 24.5″x8″x6″ — plenty small enough to fit into a suitcase or overhead bin. It comes in a variety of fun colours and reviews suggest that kids find it comfy. Most reviewers are very happy with this purchase.
This portable toddler bed for travel is kind of a compromise if you’re not too sure about an inflatable toddler bed and don’t think your child is quite ready for a camping-style cot. I like the idea of this bed also being used as a play space and possibly to assist with co-sleeping younger babies safely in a (king-sized, obviously) hotel bed. The Milliard Portable Toddler Bumper Bed looks pretty cosy with 7″ high bumpers and soft velour fabric lining inside. The cover is machine-washable and a fitted sheet is included.
The Milliard Portable Toddler Bumper Bed is just over 10lbs and folds down to 25″x27″x14.5″ inches–not tiny but may be ok to pack for a road trip. Once folded you can store stuff inside, like pjs and a teddy. Reviews are very favourable and suggest this is an ideal toddler travel bed for younger children making the transition from crib to bed who aren’t comfortable with the idea of a blow up bed or a camping cot.
If you’re looking for a portable toddler bed you don’t necessarily need to stick to products specifically for children. The IDeep Ultralite Portable Camping Cot is a full-sized cot that can support the weight of an adult up to 240lbs but only weighs 4lbs and folds down super-small into it’s carry case that’s 18″ by 6″. The hammock-style is similar to the toddler cots above, so falling out would be no more of an issue than with either of those choices.
The IDeep Ultralite Portable Camping Cot is a bit more expensive than the children’s options mentioned previously, but you will have use of it for a very long time and for more than just your child. According to online reviews, it is pretty easy to set up. But, pay attention to how it disassembles into its case. One reviewer had difficulty with it on uneven ground. But, if you’re using it for home or hotel use, that is unlikely to pose a problem. And if camping is your jam, you’ve got another bed to use!
These portable bunks are not for toddlers under three but if you are avid campers and/or need extra beds frequently, the Disc-O-Bed Portable Bunks are a great–albeit heavier and bulkier choice. The bunks can be assembled separately or even as a couch. Together they weigh around 45lbs and each bunk’s weight limit is 200lbs. These portable beds for travel may last your children well into their teen years.
Most parents end up choosing the Disc-O-Bed Portable Bunks because of the increased weight and durability of these travel beds. The reviews are all mostly favourable, and accept the increased cost as worthwhile. Even some shorter adults claim they have a decent night’s sleep on them in a pinch.
The total weight of the two bed rails, the pump, and the carry case is around two pounds. So it is a really easy way to ensure a safe sleeping spot for your toddler. Most online reviews for The Shrunks Inflatable Bed Rails are favourable, although some complain of leaks that seem to spring up from nowhere. A patch is included with the rails. However, traveling with an extra patch kit or even a roll of duct tape can save the day mid-vacation.
The Bed Buddy Bed Rail Guard is also a travel bed rail but it is made out of foam instead of being inflatable. It does squish down to fit in its carry case, and it weighs less than a pound. It installs under the fitted sheet to create a barrier and the foam is free of BPA, phthalates, and flame retardants.
The Bed Buddy Bed Rail Guard is not sold in pairs, so if you want a barrier on either side you will have to order two. They are light but they do take up a bit more space than the inflatable ones. The online reviews are almost entirely positive. Please note that it takes a few minutes for the foam to expand to its full size after being compressed.
Many thanks to Jesse Neugarten, founder of Dollar Flight Club, for this guest post.
One of the big barriers to entry for travel is the expense. And obviously, adding a small person to your travel party increases that expense! Hopefully these money-saving tips for booking flights with babies and toddlers will help.
Money-Saving Tips for Booking Flights with Babies & Toddlers
It’s a lot of fun to travel around the world with your kids. (It’s at least a little bit stressful, too, to be fair.)
But beyond that, taking international trips with your children is great for their development. They get to see more of the world and experience other cultures, which gives them valuable perspective.
Unfortunately, vacations aren’t cheap. A family of four pays more than $4,500 on an average trip.
When you’re traveling internationally with your family, airfare can be extremely expensive if you don’t book the right flights.
Jesse’s Quick Cheap Flight Story:
Jesse originally started Dollar Flight Club to let his friends and family know when he found a super cheap flight, like the time he flew from New York City to Stockholm for $290 roundtrip. Since then, Dollar Flight Club has has sent hundreds of thousands of people to awesome destinations.
Jesse used to live in San Diego and was planning a trip to London. The fare was $1,100 USD from San Diego International Airport, but he found one for $380 roundtrip from Los Angeles. So he drive the 2 hours up to Los Angeles to catch the flight and only paid $380 (+ gas) for the whole trip, rather than $1100 USD. This can be replicated all over the world with your family!
Follow these money-saving tips for booking flights so you and your family have more money to spend when it counts:
1. Stop over in other cities
Flying direct is nice. But it can be expensive.
Adding stopovers in other cities can save you hundreds of dollars. Not only that, if you plan it right, you get the opportunity to see an additional city with your kids while actually paying less to travel to a single location.
However, we know that layovers can be challenging with a kid or two. However, we think it’s well worth it to save thousands of dollars on airfare. If you want to survive a stopover, definitely give these a try:
Before you land, take a peek in the backseat pocket in front of you for the airport map. Check to see if there is a children’s play area. Many airports have outstanding play areas like Chicago O’Hare, San Francisco International, and Seattle-Tacoma International which will make your layover 100x better.
Be creative with games to pass time and have fun.
Find an empty gate so your kids can be louder and run around without annoying other travelers
Stay hydrated! It’s easy for kids and adults not to drink enough when traveling. You tend to get dehydrated much faster in the air.
2. Use Google Flights and Momondo
The more you’re willing to search for cheap airfare, the more likely you’ll be to get a good price.
Cookies are little digital devices that websites use to track your activity. When you keep checking flight prices, travel sites know you’re about to make a purchase.
Clear your browser cookies to get cheaper airfare.
4. Book your flights in advance
Generally speaking, airfare gets more expensive the closer you get to your departure date.
One study found that buying tickets 54 days ahead of takeoff yielded the best prices.
That’s not to say you won’t be able to find better deals earlier or later than that. But it’s something to keep in mind.
5. Use a VPN to see if you can get better deals
Your physical location might play a role in the prices you’re being offered.
If you subscribe to a VPN service, sign into random servers and search for flights to see if you can get better deals.
6. Airlines that offer discounts for flights with babies and toddlers
When you’re traveling with babies and toddlers, there are a few other tricks you can utilize to lower your costs even more.
For example, some airlines offer various discounts and allowances when you’re flying with infants.
If you’re flying domestically in the United States, you’re generally allowed to have kids 2-years-old and younger sit on your lap for free.
If you’re flying internationally, you may be able to secure discounted tickets for kids 11-years-old and younger.
Some airlines, like Southwest, sometimes offer reduced airfare for kids on domestic flights. You just have to ask.
For a smooth trip when you’re flying internationally, look for availability on Singapore Airlines, Japan Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Etihad, Virgin Atlantic or Emirates, all of which are known to be child-friendly airlines. Just make sure the price is right.
The above money-saving tips for booking flights with babies & toddlers will help you find cheaper airfare. (Sign up for Dollar Flight Club and we’ll do all of that heavy lifting for you! But more on that later.)
There’s no point in spending more money on airfare for your family vacation than you have to. By using the above tips and tricks—and booking on kid-friendly airlines—you should be able to reduce your travel expenses and have an enjoyable flight.
Unfortunately, finding the best airfare deals can be an incredibly time-consuming endeavor.
That’s exactly why I founded Dollar Flight Club—to help parents like you find great airfare deals without having to waste countless hours searching for tickets.
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7 Tips for Sun Safety for Babies and Toddlers + What to Bring to the Beach
Truthfully, my first instinct when it came to my daughter was to keep her in a bubble, safe from dirt, germs, bugs, and anything else that I couldn’t control. But here’s the thing: we love the outdoors, the beach being a particular favourite. So, I had to come to terms with the fact that my baby would get dirty, put things in her mouth, and taste a handful or two of sand.
I’ve loosened up enough to let my children loose on the beach, but of course I’m still concerned about their safety. With a whack of beach vacations under our belts with tots in tow, I’m happy to share my tips about keeping babies, toddlers and little kids safe and happy beside the surf.
#1 – Get Made in the Shade:
Coolibar Travel Umbrella
Your days of lazing in the blazing sun are over.
The number one tip for sun safety for babies and toddlers is to protect them from it! Be sure to set up shop under a beach umbrella or palapa, and adjust your arrangements as the sun moves. Shade is especially crucial for the littlest babies, as those under 6-months-old are too young for sunscreen.
There are lots of baby beach tent and travel beach umbrella options, at many different price points.
#2 – We All Scream for Sunscreen:
Green Beaver Sunscreen
It’s no longer an option, sunscreen is a necessity for every member of your family over 6-months-old.
The higher the SPF factor, the better, but choose children’s formulations for the younger set, and avoid putting it on baby’ hands (you know where those hands always go).
SPF swimwear is also great and is the easiest way to keep kids’ skin safe from the sun. Green Beaver‘s organic sunscreen formulations are effective, and the available pump spray makes them easy to apply. Coolibar’s SPF swimwear for infants and toddlers is adorable, as well as safe.
#3 – Drink at the Big Drink:
Have lots of fresh water and other fluids on hand. Playing at the beach is thirsty fun and it’s important to keep everyone hydrated.
Extra water also comes in handy for the inevitable mouthful or eyeful of sand.
If nursing, offer extra feedings and make sure to drink enough yourself! If you’ve got bottles of milk to keep cool, you’ll need an isulated bag. It may as well be cute, so that’s why we love the Lunchie!
#4 – Avoid Hat Tricks:
Luvali Sun Hats
Protect little scalps and tender eyes by making sure sunhats stay on. Look for ones with good, strong Velcro but sometimes you need to go the route of the string.
Make sure you have extras on hand. Hats do have a mysterious way of disappearing when you’re not looking.
No matter the fun you’re all having, it’s important to dry off, shake off the sand, and take a break.
The suns’ rays are strongest between the hours of 10am and 4pm. These are ideal times for a snack or lunch in the shade, and then a nap indoors. You’ll head back to the beach refreshed and ready to play!
The more intricate and elaborate the beach toys you bring, the more you’ll have to carry and keep track of. A few buckets, and a beachball are really all that’s needed.
When your beach babies are old enough, have them pitch in to help carry the load.
In the meantime, Bogg Bags are an awesome alternative to a pack mule. They are sturdy, big, and you can hose ’em off!
#7 – Arm & Eye Co-ordination:
Salus Marine Infant Life Jackets
With kids, things can happen in the blink of an eye, and you don’t want that blink to happen at the beach. A watchful eye is essential at all times, not just at the water’s edge, but to avoid ingesting seashells, stepping on something sharp and/or prickly, and the like.
Toddlers with a tendency to bolt should be relegated to full-time life jackets. Remember that PFDs, water wings, and other floaties are not a substitute for supervision. Even strong swimmers should be within arm’s reach while in or near the water.
Salus Marine‘s line of life jackets and PFDs are excellent options to keep your little one safe by the sea.
Shopping for a Baby Beach Tent or Travel Beach Umbrella?
Shade is absolutely the most essential piece of baby beach gear required if you’re planning a family beach vacation.
One resort we stayed at in Mexico had a great beach, but not much shade. There were some lovely palm trees, but the shade the trees offered was inconsistent. Since my children are now bigger and we spent most of our beach time actually in the sea, this wasn’t a big deal. But with a baby or toddler who’s probably not wave jumping, but more likely sand digging or (fingers crossed) napping at the beach, you want stable and consistent shade from the sun’s rays.
So, if you can’t count on your resort having appropriate palapas or beach umbrellas available, your best bet is to bring your own. YES, I’m suggesting you add One. More. Thing. to your already massive pile of luggage. But if the beach is where you’re headed with a baby or toddler in tow, you NEED shade.
Here are some options for a baby beach tent, portable sun shelter, or travel beach umbrella that are lightweight and easy to travel with…
Best Baby Beach Tent & Portable Sun Shelter Options:
I have specific criteria for what kind of baby beach tent or portable sun shelter I’ll recommend:
It can’t be completely enclosed, even with screen/mesh “windows”
It can’t have a play pool or other water feature. (Hello, fear of drowning?!)
It MUST actually be portable, which to me means that it folds down to a reasonable size and weight for carrying and travel
This little tent with a full bottom is big enough for you to join baby inside for a nap or a private spot to nurse. It folds down into an 18″ disc – not much bigger than a dinner plate. One complaint about this tent seems to be the sense of minimal air flow with the front flaps drawn. However, most reviews for this compact baby beach tent are favourable.
As much as I love the beach, I wanted to wrap my kids in a sun-proof, sand-proof bubble. Had it been available, I can honestly say that the bbluv Nido or Nido Mini would have been my baby beach tent of choice. I love that it is contained, so the newly-mobile would have difficulty sneaking away. I also love that you can angle it to achieve the shade you need while still keeping the top open for maximum ventilation. According to reviews, it is easy to set up but takes some practice to fold up. It folds down tiny, to a 16′ disc and weighs just over 3lbs.
This is a spacious shelter that measures 9 by 4.5 by 4 feet. There’s plenty of room for a family nap or just to spread out your stuff. There’s two interior pockets for stuff you need to keep handy, and two zippered mesh windows for airflow. It folds down into a carry bag that’s just 22″ by 4. It’s very light–easy to pack into a carry-on if need be. The only complaints about this sun shelter seem to be around staying put on windy days. Some suggest a cooler with ice would be enough to weigh it down, but this baby beach tent includes bags that you can fill with sand to help keep it in place.
This compact and basic beach tent has no bells and whistles. Lightweight and inexpensive, it’s a simple pop-up. It comes in four fun colours, and the fabric has a UV rating of 50+. It could comfortably fit one adult to sit inside with baby. A few complaints about the Sunba Youth Beach Tent are that it’s difficult to fold down (some say it’s fine) and that, if there is no breeze, it can feel hot inside. Apparently the stakes it comes with are quite flimsy and may need extra weight to keep it from blowing away.
The Sunba Youth Beach Tent folds down to a 19″ circle and weighs just over two pounds. Since it’s not expensive and is so easy to toss in a suitcase, this may be one of those “just in case” things to bring on a beach vacation.
The Texsport Portable Beach Cabana doesn’t have a floor. Which for some might be a drawback. However, this is a great option if you plan on making use of lounge chairs and just want to make sure you’ve got some serious shade. Because it’s so versatile, you’d get more use out of it than just trips to the beach.
It’s nine feet by six feet by 68 inches high, but weighs only 5.5 pounds. The weather sheield offers UPF 50+ protection and is flame retardant. It rolls up into a carry case that’s approximately two feet long and six inches in diameter. So, it’s not tiny, but it is very portable considering its size. Reviews for the Texsport Portable Beach Cabana are very positive, most touting its size and durability.
The Zomake XL Pop Up Beach tent comes in three fun colours and pops up on its own in seconds. The fabric offers a protection rating up to UPF 50+ and its large enough to fit two adults inside, along with baby. The sturdy mesh sides provides good ventilation, and it’s windproof up to 25 mph. There are two built-in sand pockets and four fixed bands to use on the beach in windy weather. Also inside are storage pockets to help keep you organized and add extra weight.
Considering its size, it’s just over five pounds and folds into a 35″ circle. Most of the reviews are very positive, with the only complaint (from some) being that it’s tricky to fold up and put away.
Travel Beach Umbrella Options:
Sport-Brella Portable All-Weather and Sun Umbrella
Oddly enough, there aren’t as many decent travel beach umbrellas as there are baby beach tents. An umbrella can give you more flexibility in terms of direction and angle, but it’s tough to find a good one to travel with. With the longer pole, it does not fold up as small.
The Sport-Brella Portable Sun and Weather Shelter is very well-reviewed for ease of set up and durability, as well as design. There are lots of wind vents and windows for good airflow. It comes with a carry bag with shoulder strap. However, since it only folds down to 54″, it might be a better option for road trips instead of flying (unless you want to use up your valuable baggage allowance to check it!)
This full-size beach umbrella is only four pounds and somehow folds down to 28″ and can fit in your suitcase. For purely aesthetic reasons, I love the rainbow colours of the TravelBrella Travel Beach Umbrella.
Some complaints are that it struggles with extremely windy conditions and that the area covered is not very big. It does tilt, and there are no vents. But, seeing how difficult it is to find an “umbrella” travel beach umbrella, most of the reviewers seem pretty pleased with this purchase.