01/04/2016 04:53 EST | Updated 01/04/2017 05:12 EST

Getting The Most Out Of All-Inclusive Resorts With Kids


All-inclusive holidays have long been favoured by couples and groups of friends getting away and enjoying all they can eat and drink without worrying about blowing their budget on extra add-ons -- a surefire way to reduce post-vacation stress.

But some of the most stressed holiday-bound folks are those travelling with children. Not only is there an added expense with each little person, but there is also the stress of organization, finding all the right activities for each age to enjoy and actually finding the time to relax. That's why all-inclusive holidays are perfect for families.

No matter the age of your kids, getting the most out of your all-inclusive can be easier than you think. Do some pre-planning before you book:

Check into kids' clubs, including what activities you do, the hours they keep and what ages are eligible. Some resorts will have an extra charge for children under the age of four, when the ratio of carer-to-child is higher.

Investigate if there are adult-only areas and restrictions on-site. These can be either a good thing (peace and quiet when kids are at kids' camps) or a bad thing (eliminates certain restaurants and activities you would like to try with the kids).

Try to make up a loose schedule of things you'd like to do and try with the kids. It helps to eliminate the inevitable "When are we going snorkeling? Why can't we take a boat ride?" questions over and over again if you know exactly when and where you're going on certain days. Kids like structure, even on holidays!

And when you're at the resort:

If you really want the kids to go to a kids' club, take them there the first day, before they have time to say "I'm bored!" while you're trying to read a book on the beach. You can tell them it's part of being at the resort, that kids have to attend this while the adults have their own "camp" to get to.

It's great to throw some of the rules from home out of the window, but make sure that the kids, and hence you, are getting enough sleep to feel rested. If you know your child won't sleep in no matter how late they go to bed, don't put them to bed too far off their normal bedtimes. Many resorts offer in-room babysitting or kids' activities in the evening. If that's not the case, check into ordering room service on the balcony when the kids are sleeping.

Most all-inclusive resorts have at least one buffet restaurant. This is so easy for parents as the kids can eat quickly (without waiting for an order to come), try new foods and serve themselves. Don't let them get away with wasting food. If they take too much at one meal, tell them there might not be dessert, or whatever works for you. Make a deal with them to try one new food at each meal, and help them load up on vegetables and fruit, not just hotdogs and fries. You're still the boss of their mealtime, even though the buffet is on offer to them.

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