Finding the sweet spot between schedule, setting, and seasons
Often vacations with tots aren’t the most soothing trip style—they’re energetic, busy, and full of firsts (just like your tyke-in-tow).
When my son was just over a year old, our family of three (now four) met up with my husband’s parents in Mexico for some familia fun!
Because it was our first time traveling as a fivesome, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew we’d have a great time—how can you not on the beach in Punta Mita?—but I didn’t realize the trip would turn into a relaxing holiday (Olé), and I’d come home refreshed like I used to when I traveled with my husband (before kids) to chic beach resorts.
Three “S” rules
I attribute our relaxation recipe to shoulder season, setting, and schedule—a trip trifecta that allows for maximum escape!
Viewfinder Tip: For the best chance of enjoying your holiday to the fullest when traveling as a multi-generational troop, find the sweet spot between setting, schedule, and shoulder season.
The reason I’m such a shoulder season fan when it comes to multigenerational family travel is because navigating busy resorts in high season—something I’ve tried one too many times—can be a losing game. However, travel in low season and you win, as well as remove any question of “if” you’ll find the right beach chair, “if” you’ll get a reservation or eat when it’s convenient, or “if” you’ll find the right type of room for your brood.
After all, when a resort isn’t at full capacity, you can vacation to the fullest (read: Do what you want when you want).
Choosing a hotel setting with a restaurant (or five!) and a bevy of amenities is the perfect way to enjoy together time and alone time without having to constantly venture elsewhere. In this type of resort-style situation, the eat-spa-do options are all there for you and only a few steps away.
In addition to hotel conveniences in close proximity, another parents-traveling-with-grandparents suggestion is securing a two- or three-bedroom, two-bath suite. This type of quarters is ideal as it allows you to stay together without swapping rooms for each child’s nap, etc.
Normally I would not pair the words “schedule” and “vacation.” They’re almost opposites. But, in the case of galavanting with grandparents, everyone having a general idea of the “daily drill” is important as far as setting the tone, maximizing together time, respecting alone time, creating play time, and allowing for date-night time.
Barring our holiday following a rigorous roster of vacation must-dos, we settled into a win-win schedule that worked really well for every member of the family. Here is what it looked like:
Note: The below timeline would morph daily based on everyone’s preferences and our baby’s wake/sleep schedule, but generally, here’s how our six-night trip played out.
Our daily drill
- 7:00 a.m. – rise and shine
- 7:10 a.m. – parents deliver baby to grandparents’ room for bottle and snuggles, and go for a run along the beach
- 7:50 a.m. – parents return from their jaunt and get ready for breakfast
- 8:15 a.m. – all go to breakfast
- 9:15 a.m. – one parent would take baby back for nap no. 1
- 9:30 a.m. – everyone else returns from breakfast
- 10 a.m. – all head to the pool (except mom or dad, who is relaxing on the balcony, while baby sleeps)
- 11 a.m. – baby wakes; all enjoy the pool and eat lunch
- 2 p.m. – one parent takes baby to room for nap no. 2, and grandparents tag in while baby naps
- 2:30 p.m. – parents relax by the pool and read
- 4:30 p.m. – baby wakes; all go to the beach for playtime in the ocean
- 6 p.m. – all head to restaurant for appetizers and drinks
- 7 p.m. – parents take baby to bed, grandparents stay and eat dinner together
- 8:30 p.m. – grandparents come back from dinner (to monitor sleeping baby), parents go to dinner
- 10 p.m. – parents return, all go to sleep
Have you ever traveled with grandparents as a new parent? What are your tips for maximizing together and alone-time?
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