Family vacations are a great way to have some fun and make great memories as a family. However, when doing overnights at a new place with multiple kids of different ages, things can be a little tricky without a little advanced planning.
As a mom of four, who tries to allow my kids to experience new things, I thought I’d share some of my best tips for staying in a resort with multiple kids and staying sane during the trip.
#1 Lay out the ground rules before leaving, once close, and once settled into the room
Yes, family trips are supposed to be fun and allow everyone to let loose a bit, but that doesn’t mean that you can skip laying out the ground rules.
Ever since my boys were little before we go to any destination (whether local or not) we go over the ground rules at home the day/night before, once we’re about 30 minutes out from the destination, and once more once we arrive to the destination.
By doing this everyone has no reason to not know what is expected of them so once we start activities everything can go smoothly and we can all have fun.
The ground rules don’t have to be extensive either. Mine are typically reminded of how they should act in public (i.e. no staring at people – when they were younger -, no fighting with each other, and no wandering off from the group).
#2 Make sure you pick a suite that allows everyone to be comfortable
When booking your suite at the resort, you also want to go for one that allows everyone to be comfortable.
For example, I recently booked a suite at Great Wolf Lodge for a mini before-school family getaway.
Since I’m still breastfeeding I needed a private area where she could nurse so I opted to go with a loft-type suite that allows Ellie to nurse when needed and since it’s on another floor I don’t have to worry about the older kids disturbing her doing a nap or when she goes to bed.
#3 Have the schedule synced to your phones calendar (but be okay with not doing everything scheduled)
Resorts are going to have a lot of activities going on.
When planning your trip, if there are some activities that you are really interested in doing add them to your phone’s calendar so you can be alerted about when they will start.
While you may not attend all of the activities, having a reminder about them can help you get to some of them.
#4 Be aware of all of the rules of the resort
While planning your stay, it’s also important to make sure that you are aware of the rules of the resort.
For example, you’ll want to know what attire is expected, when quiet hours are, and various rules throughout different parts of the resort.
In addition to you being aware of the rules, you’ll also want to make sure that the kids are aware of specific rules that pertain to them, such as quiet hours and pool rules.
#5 If the resort has an app download it in advance of your trip
Thanks to technology many resorts have apps that can be very useful during your trip.
For example, you may be able to do mobile check-in, add additional packages to your stay, and even order food from the app.
Plus, before your trip, the app can be helpful for planning out which activities you want to do during your stay.
#6 Don’t be afraid to overpack with kid’s clothes (especially if you have a baby or toddler)
When it comes to staying in a resort with multiple kids one thing you cannot do is overpack with kid’s clothes.
Between making sure everyone has enough swimwear to having an extra pair of flip-flops in case one breaks, pack a little extra to avoid having to buy overpriced attire from the resort.
This is especially the case with babies and toddlers.
Baby and toddler clothes are already small so you don’t have to worry about the extra clothes taking up too much extra space in luggage and my motto is it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
For example, with Ellie, I always keep two backup outfits inside of her diaper bag, but when staying at a resort in addition to her already planned outfits I also keep two additional outfits as a backup in addition to the backup outfits in the diaper bag.
You never know when a diaper will leak through or if they’ll get super messy from enjoying a sweet treat or older siblings accidentally getting them dirty due to messy hands.
Furthermore, during the toddler stage, you’ll probably want to throw in a couple of backup outfits for yourself, because they can tend to get you messy as well.
During summer trips I tend to just throw in a couple of backup dresses as they don’t take up space and they’re very comfortable to travel in.
#7 Bring along some family activities that can be done together when in the room
During quiet hours the kids probably won’t be sleeping the entire time, so make a point to bring along some family activities that can be done together when hanging out in the room.
If you’re driving to the resort you can bring along a few of your favorite board games. However, if you’re flying and need to save space you may consider doing some online board games together, such as backgammon online and those found here.
#8 Inspect the room upon arrival (kid proof if needed)
One of the first things you’ll want to do upon arriving at the room is the initial inspection. Check for bed bugs, dirty linens, and any broken items.
You’ll also want to give out sleeping arrangements and if traveling with a younger child you’ll need to babyproof.
In my case, we’re pretty loose with babyproofing at home. We did change out all of the outlets in our home so tiny fingers cannot go into them and made the living room baby friendly, but other than that we keep doors closed where Ellie shouldn’t be so she doesn’t have any real temptation at home to get into things.
However, when staying at a resort things are a little different. There are just so many things out in the open for the baby to get into.
Block off outlets if possible and even rearrange the furniture temporarily if you need to so you can keep your child safe.
#9 Bring food and drinks from home if possible
You’re going to the resort to have fun, most likely you’re not there for the food and drinks, AND of course, with multiple kids, you don’t want to go broke.
If possible, bring your own snacks and drinks to cut down on costs.
Staying at a resort is not like staying at a hotel, the only kids that will eat free are probably those 2 and under.
For us, we typically will do one meal out (such as the breakfast buffet) and we bring along the Instant Pot, snacks, and drinks from home.
Do keep in mind that outside food and drinks probably won’t be allowed outside of your suite, so be prepared to have to schedule time for snack breaks throughout the day.
#10 Don’t wait until the last minute to pack
Whatever you do, don’t wait until the last minute to pack. It’s asking for trouble!
When we’re preparing to stay in a resort with multiple kids I start packing at least a week in advance.
This makes sure that everyone has proper attire AND everything that’s needed so I have time to order something and it arrives in time to prevent having to buy overpriced items at the resort.
Now, you may not have to start packing a week in advance – with 4 kids it’s always better safe than sorry with me – but I do recommend packing at least a few days in advance so you’re not scrambling and possibly forgetting to pack something when doing it last minute.
Plus, clothes-wise, if someone has something that they want to wear you can make sure that it’s not in the laundry and it’s clean by packing in advance.
These tips will help you stay sane when staying in a resort with multiple kids
Before having kids I would have never thought that it would be enjoyable staying in a resort with multiple kids. I used to think that if I wanted to be stressed out and bothered we could just stay at home.
Thankfully, now the boys are getting older and I utilize all of these tips that make it so the entire family can have fun without the added stress for me.