Caribbean family vacations are wonderful, and need not be as expensive as Caribbean honeymoons or adults-only vacations. Budget vacations in the Caribbean take a little more planning, but the pay off is a holiday you’ll never forget.
When to Take Caribbean Family Vacations
Peak season for Caribbean vacations tend to run from December through March, when the weather is colder in more northern climes. This is not the time to plan family vacations in the Caribbean if you’re on a budget. Accommodations and attractions are expensive during peak season, often fifty percent higher than during the off season.
Family vacations in the Caribbean are better planned for the off-season. The Caribbean off-season coincides with summer holidays, so the kids don’t have to miss school and parents can save some money.
It should be noted that hurricane season in the Caribbean lasts from June to November. While hurricanes may put some people off Caribbean family vacations, remember that the Caribbean is a large area, and the chance is slim that a hurricane affected the islands you choose during your Caribbean vacation.
Caribbean family vacations probably shouldn’t coincide with Spring Break season, which runs from February to the beginning of April. Some islands, most notably Grand Bahama, explode with college students during Spring Break, and the bawdy, Animal House party atmosphere isn’t appropriate for family vacations.
All-inclusive Resorts and Budget Vacations
At first the idea that all-inclusive resorts have any place in budget vacations may seem ludicrous, but for family vacations in the Caribbean all-inclusive resorts are often cheaper than paying for other accommodations and activities.
Why would an all-inclusive resort be affordable for budget vacations? Partly because of the timing of Caribbean family vacations: as summer is the off-season, many all-inclusive resorts offer discounts to families.
Also, consider the cost of activities and children’s entertainment during Caribbean family vacations. All-inclusive resorts offer dozens of fun activities for children of different ages for free. When you factor in the cost of snorkeling lessons, rental of a kayak, or other activity costs and add in the price of accommodation and meals, all-inclusive resorts are the choice for Caribbean budget vacations.
Adult Time on Caribbean Family Vacations
There’s another advantage to all-inclusive resorts during family vacations in the Caribbean. During children’s activities you and your partner get to sneak a few hours alone together. Sure, it’s a familyvacation, but you probably wouldn’t object to a little alone time, right?
Resorts also often offer amenities not available in many other accommodation choices: a babysitting or nanny service. After a long day of Caribbean activities, it’s a nice option to be able to leave the kids and go out for a romantic meal!
Staying Safe on Caribbean Family Vacations
- Travel with children requires parents or guardians to take extra precautions, and this is as true for family vacations in the Caribbean as it is for family vacations in New York.
- Be sure you always know where your children are, both on land and at sea. If your resort offers children’s activities, check to ensure there will be adequate adult supervision.
- Be especially careful with young children around the ocean: it only takes minutes for a small child to drown. Impress upon the children that they should never swim or snorkel without a buddy. And practice what you preach: ocean safety should be followed by all members of the family on vacation.
Things to do on Family Vacations in the Caribbean
Budget vacations are easy to plan for in the Caribbean if your family loves the water. Buy or rent snorkeling gear for the whole family and let them discover the beauties of the coral reef. Some kids don’t take to snorkeling, but others enjoy it so much you’ll have trouble getting them to do anything else. The reefs and fish are free, a significant point if you’re planning budget vacations.
Older kids may enjoy taking scuba diving or windsurfing lessons, both of which may be offered by resorts. Kids who don’t want to get wet can explore the underwater world through glass-bottomed and semi-submersible boats.
Tell the kids you’re going to spend the day exploring architecture and you’ll quickly drop in the family popularity polls. Tell them that you’re going to spend a day exploring castles once frequented by pirates, and you’ve probably got them hooked. The Caribbean is dotted with old European colonial castles, many with low admission fees.
Different islands offer different attractions for Caribbean family vacations. For instance, on Grand Cayman, you can tour the local turtle farm. Aruba is known for ATV tours, a possible diversion for teenagers. Some islands have hiking trails leading through parrot-filled rainforests, or horseback trails with docile, well-trained packhorses.
Staying Wired, or Not
Today’s kids expect to be able to access instant messages, the Internet, and other electronic message systems at all times. Take a teen on family vacations in the Caribbean without online access and she might sulk the whole time. On the other hand, family vacations should be together time, so you might want to avoid online services.
If your children use electronic communication to share their Caribbean vacation experience with grandparents and friends after a hard day vacationing, you might want to stay wired. If, however, they’re likely to spend the entire trip indoors text messaging, you might want to avoid online access.