Feeling wanderlust? Yea, me too! Always.
Last month, our family traveled to Riviera Maya, Mexico for the first time together and had an incredible experience. See, I was there earlier this year on a media trip with ConnectHer Media and fell in love with the region – I had to come back with my boys. Since we were in the middle of planning our family holiday, it didn’t take much to convince Danny on Mexico.
Family Travel to Riviera Maya
Mexico’s Riviera Maya is the family-friendly destination that needs to be on everyone’s bucket list. It’s located on the Caribbean side of Mexico, just South of Cancun, filled with beautiful excursions that combine nature and adventure. I do wish I can I say how beautiful the beaches are but currently they’re parts of them filled with thick and stinky brown algae called Sargassum. Without getting too political, the rise of ocean temperatures are too blame. But there’s still plenty to do there and we had the best time. And if you’re in SoCal, it’s just a 4-hour flight away!
Travel Tips with kids
If the thought of traveling with kids is already giving you anxiety, I get it. This is our third year traveling overseas with two kids in tow and I promise you, it’s so worth it. There’s countless benefits to family travel, something I didn’t get much of an experience with growing-up…that’s why I’m an advocate for traveling with kids.
The key for me, is to keep expectations low, be prepared, and get those passports ready! Did I mention it’s just 4-hours away from Los Angeles?!
Before you book that trip, here are a 5 family travel tips:
1) Research + Compare All-Inclusive Resorts
Riviera Maya is known for its all-inclusive resorts. With that many options, you’re gonna have to research and compare to find the best resort for your family. This was our first time staying at an all-inclusive…and I loved it. We didn’t have to worry about food and our hotel refrigerator was always stocked with bottled waters and snacks.
Family-friendly resorts are the way to go, especially when there’s a Kids Club included. Hello date-nights! Be sure to read the age restrictions if you don’t want your kids to be separated. We specifically booked our hotel because their Kids Club was for ages 4-12 so my boys were together.
But no matter what resort you stay at, don’t drink the tap water and brush your teeth with bottled water!
2) Book Airport Transportation Early
This is very important, especially with kids in tow. We pre-booked our transportation and our driver was waiting for us as soon as we landed! Definitely check the distance from the airport to your hotel – that’ll determine if you want to book a private shuttle or not. We did and it was nice to just go directly to our resort instead of making stops along the way with other passengers.
Unfortunately our shuttle didn’t come with carseats, but luckily I brought our new Mifold Grab-n-go Car Booster Seats for the kids. If you dread the thought of traveling with regular carseats, I highly recommend this booster seat. It’s easy to use, lightweight and compact (fits in our backpacks) making it perfect for travel excursions. Keep in mind, its designed for kids ages 4 and up, 40 to 100 lbs.
OH! FYI Cancun International Airport is a zoo once you leave customs, so tell the kids to stay close.
3) Keep Travel Documents Safe
I always keep copies of our passports and driver’s license in a ziplock bag (so it doesn’t get wet). You never know, right? And with kids in tow, I’m the mom wearing the oh-so-cool fanny pack to keep our passports easily accessible at the airport.
VERY IMPORTANT when your traveling to Mexico. Everyone will receive an Entry Immigration Form that needs to be filled out before entering the country. There are two parts of the form that needs to be filled for each person (even kids). An immigration officer will keep the Entry part of the form and stamp the Exit part for you to keep during your stay.
DO NOT LOSE THAT FORM. KEEP IT SAFE WITH YOUR PASSPORT.
You will need to give the Exit form when you check-in for your flight back home. If you lose it, you have to go and get a new form (most likely on the other side of the airport) and pay a fee (in cash). I know this because when Danny and I were leaving our honeymoon in Cabo San Lucas – I put the form in our checked luggage because I didn’t know it was needed to leave the country. It was an experience I’ll never forget.
4) Pack Carry-on Luggage with Essentials
Even though it was only a 4-hour fight, still gotta pack the essentials. And keep in mind, its hot and humid there once you leave the airport, you’ll want to apply protection from bugs and the sun. So our carry-on was filled with essentials like sunblock, bug spray, extra clothes, swimsuits (you never know if your luggage gets misplaced), and snacks. Also be sure to buy water bottles at the airport before boarding, it’ll be awhile before the drink carts come your way.
5) Don’t Overbook on Excursions
What I love most about the Riviera Maya, is its beauty, both in nature and cultural aspects. There are a number of Mayan ruins that we sadly didn’t see during this trip because of distance but we’ll be back. Research what works for your family – there’s plenty to do there if you’re feeling adventurous and want to leave your resort. I shared these Xcaret Excursions from my media trip back in March to give you an idea.
During our trip we did two excursions and visited Xcaret Park and Xel-ha. I didn’t fully get to experience Xcaret during the media trip and I’m so happy I got to do it with the kids. Each park took the entire day, so you can imagine how exhausted we were. And with kids you don’t want to overbook, its nice to enjoy the resort and we definitely took advantage of the Kids Club for day-dates!
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