Thank you, Simone, for this wonderful post about vacationing in Cancun, Mexico in an all-inclusive resort! This article is not sponsored by Club Med and all opinions are those of the author.
One of our new requirements for going on vacation is that neither one of us has been to that particular destination before (unless it is as magnificent of a location as Paris, of course). This time, after contemplating, researching, and budget planning, we decided on: nothing! We just somehow did not do anything other than thinking and talking about it.
The Waiting Game
I waited for my husband’s work schedule to get less busy, and he most likely just forgot due to his busy job and his if-I-pretend-it-is-not-there-it-might-go-away-on-its-own personality. So, another three months went by without any further planning. It became clear that we needed to re-visit asap; my husband was close to a burn-out, so a vacation was necessary. I was just as much looking forward to getting away for a little while.
Club Med All Inclusive
Three months after our first attempt of booking a vacation, we finally decided, quite spontaneously, one evening that we were going on vacation to Cancun, Mexico. We had looked up “kid-friendly, all-inclusive vacation” on the internet, since we would be traveling with our almost two year old daughter. One of the destinations that came up was Cancun, and the resort was Club Med. After the initial confusion about how Club Med works (e.g., one has to pay a club membership fee of, I think, $150 that has nothing to do with the actual cost of the trip), we booked our trip! The booking was all directly through their website and super easy. After a few clicks we were only four weeks away from vacation in Mexico.
We decided on accommodation with two rooms. This was so that we could put our daughter in bed without having to go to bed at the same time. We also chose ocean front rather than bay side. Our last real vacation had been when I was five months pregnant with our daughter. Since that was awhile ago, we decided that we should do it right rather than worry about an extra $300 and regret not having done it later. It was definitely the right choice and worth every extra penny!
All Inclusive Resorts and Traveling with Small Children
The great thing about an all-inclusive resort is that they do everything for you; they book your flights (you choose which ones and which are included in the total cost of the trip), they pick you up at the airport and drive you to the resort, etc. All you have to do is to pack and get to the airport. Sounds easy, right?
Well, with a small child there is always some challenge involved and as a mother I naturally worry…all the time. First of all, what exactly will we have to pack? Or better, what do we not have to pack for our child for this vacation? Thankfully, Club Med offers some information online in their FAQ section, but they will also answer emails. Of course, I emailed because the FAQ information online was not satisfactory for me. In retrospect, maybe I should have “liked” Club Med on Facebook beforehand, so I could have read some reviews or asked questions there.
Some of my questions were: will I need to bring beach towels, beach toys, and what about a stroller? The answers were: no on the beach towels, yes on the toys, and no on the stroller. They provide you with one for the duration of your stay.
Other questions I had were: what is there for her to eat, where will she be sleeping, is there something for her to do? Those were answered by using their website. Plenty of food (even specially prepared baby food for real little ones), a pack ’n play in the room (which is one of the things included if your child is less than two years old), and plenty of beach to play at, plus on demand childcare if requested. Club Med was very responsive. They even reminded us to bring a car seat, since Mexico does not have the same laws like they do in the US (aka: no car seat needed in Mexico). Editor’s note: Please use a car seat in ALL your travels. It is the right thing to do for keeping your child safe.
Packing, Flying, and Luggage Fees
We did some more research online does discovered we would have to pay $25 per checked suitcase per flight at the airport. We decided to just pack one suitcase for our daughter and add my clothes. My husband packed light, which he usually does, so he was fine with his carry-on bag.
Overall, I believe I packed wisely, but we did not need as many long pants for our daughter as I packed; it really is hot there and even when it rains it still stays warm. I should have packed a couple more tank tops and more diapers (but that is only because my daughter really likes to get food on her clothes, and foolishly we did not anticipate the traveler’s diarrhea we ended up having). Gladly, we did remember to take plenty of swim diapers. The resort did have small three packs of diapers at their store which are inexpensive. We ended up buying one of those while we were there when we were about to run out.
The one other thing I wish we would have known is that the coffee at your room is terrible. Even at the resort’s buffet, it’s not great. We are picky about our coffee, so unless you do not mind coffee worse than, for example, Folgers, bring your own!
You Can Always Spot the Parents of Toddlers in Airports…
With one big suitcase and a couple carry-ons plus car seat, diaper bag, and Ergo baby carrier, we were ready for our flights.
The flights were uneventful and flying time was only about 3.5 hours total on the way to Mexico. The airport in Mexico was a little busy and overwhelming. However, thanks to our all-inclusive package we only had to find a person that held a sign that said “Club-Med” amongst 50 others. The drive was only 15 minutes to the resort. We arrived at our nice Aquamarina building and settled in no time. We opted for a very early take off from Columbus (5.30 am), so we still had almost a full day to spend when we arrived. It was rough to get up at 2.30 am but definitely worth having more time once we were there. We unpacked, armed ourselves with sunscreen, sunhat, and floaty, and went to the beach right away. That’s basically what we did for the next 4 days.
No Cooking is Relaxing (or Maybe No Dishes)
The only other thing we did was to eat. A lot! Food was so good and plentiful, and we were basically not hungry once while we were there. Not only do they serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but also snacks throughout the day at one of the three restaurants. Plus, the bars always have some food available, so there is no need to worry about food at all. Neither does one have to worry about a drink of any kind. Beach boys come by and deliver drinks to you, and everything from water to Campari orange is available at any time. Plenty of entertainment is available as well and even childcare is an option/included. We took advantage of the on-demand babysitting service one afternoon (the only thing not included) since our daughter was still too young for the included Petit Club for 2-3 year olds.
Are there excursions for the Under 2 Crowd?
Excursions and other fun activities are available as well, but for an extra cost. We went to get some information on options one afternoon, but nothing they offered was suitable for our daughter’s age, so we did not book anything. With older children, there are plenty of fun options, like swimming with dolphins, day trips to historical sites, kayaking, etc. on top of the included Club Med entertainment for children of all ages. So, next time we will definitely look at those options again.
Go Low (Low Season, that is)
We were at Club Med after spring break season; it was not crowded, two of the three beaches were almost empty the entire time, and we felt very relaxed. The fact that we did not have to worry about food, or whether our daughter would be an annoyance to other guests (just because of her being a child) and so many other things helped us to spend a relaxing vacation. They did do some remodeling while we were there which did not affect us much. The restaurant closest to us was closed because of the remodel, but by using the golf carts, it was easy to get to the other restaurants and to the main part of the resort. They are available all day long and go back and forth from one side of the resort to the other.
Was it Worth It?
We can definitely recommend Club Med*(unfortunately, I’m not being paid by them to say that), and we would go back there, or to any of their many destinations all over the world, anytime. It is not as expensive as one might think an all-inclusive resort to be. We definitely made the right choice by spending a little extra to have two rooms and ocean front with basically a little private beach right in front of our patio. In the end it turned out to be a great vacation and not just a trip. I’m already looking forward to the next time.
*Editor’s note: this is an affiliate link – see disclosure below.
Originally from Germany, Simone now makes her home in the US with her husband and daughter. She travels frequently to Germany with her toddler to visit family.
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