Every resort seems to have a kids’ club these days, but some properties just pick a room, throw in some toys and a TV, and ta-dah! There are ways, however, to avoid that experience, says Edmundo Roa, a travel agent with Ottawa-based Let's Take the Kids Travel. These are his tips:
1. Do your research. Talk to a travel agent who books a lot of family trips, or turn to the review factory that is TripAdvisor.
2. Flip through the brochure or website and look for amenities. Are there strollers? A children’s water park, pool and playground? Educational, age-appropriate toys? What is the staff-to-child ratio? Do staff have degrees in early childhood education? It’s also a good sign if they’ve divided their programming into different age groups.
3. Find the right match for your family. Club Meds tend to be more camp-like and are suitable for active kids who like things like circus school. The clubs at Beaches resorts, meanwhile, are great for smaller children, and offer programs such as cooking with the Cookie Monster and more independent-play amenities such as water parks and surf simulators.
4. Be open to a change of plans. Little ones can be unpredictable, and even the most appealing kids’ club may get an emphatic “Don’t leave me here!” from your child.