Part 2: Babies and toddlers
Baby on board
Packing all the necessary supplies can make traveling with babies a bit like embarking on an Arctic expedition. The good news is that wee ones are so winsome they open the hearts of otherwise dour fellow travelers as long as you pick the right accommodations.
No destination is more baby-friendly than the Franklyn D. Resort (1-800-654-1FDR or FDRholidays.com) in Runaway Bay, Jamaica, where a trained nanny comes with your room key. Bringing a posse? You’ll get two nannies, plus help with meals, cleaning and, for a fee, nighttime babysitting. While baby naps or happily splashes in the wading pool, you can do the Bob Marley tour or catch a local polo game. If your family spans the ages, you may want to consider a sister property, Pebbles, a cottagey beachfront resort that includes baby care as well as off-site eco outings for older siblings.
Rates at these four-star all-inclusive resorts start at $1,400 (U.S.) per week for two bedrooms at FDR and $1,120 (U.S.) at Pebbles. Kids under 6 stay free, as do grandparents during certain weeks. Rates for children 6 to 15 start at $30 (U.S.) per night at FDR and $20 (U.S.) at Pebbles. Check the Web sites for conditions.
TIP: Wherever you decide to take a baby, look for a good crib set up that is, enough private space for mom and dad to have an hour alone without putting baby in the bathtub and good individual babysitting. For more ideas on traveling with babies, try these Web sites: BabyGoes2.com, BabiesTravelLite.com or VacationWithKids.com.
Vacations are tough during the toddler years, because young kids grow easily upset when their routines are disturbed. To keep them happy, look for low-stimulation, condo-style living with lots of open-ended activities such as water and sand.
You’ll find all this on Grand Cayman, home to the magnificent Seven Mile Beach. Our kids claim it’s their absolutely favorite place on earth. Wade out from the soft sand beach and you’ll be immersed in an aquarium-like ocean. Colorful parrot fish will swim around your toddler’s toes, while older siblings may enjoy the chance to snorkel with stingrays. Back on land, you can get admission to several museums and attractions by purchasing a Heritage Passport for $29 per adult and $16 per child.
The temporary drawback to this tropical paradise is that Hurricane Ivan hit this area hard, so if you’re planning to visit in the next couple of months, make sure you know the extent of the damage in the locale you’re considering. On the positive side, you may be able to pick up a bargain deal on some of the dozens of condos and villas available on Seven Mile Beach or at the Gilligan’s Island-like Rum Point. Week-long air and hotel packages start at $1,900 per adult. Kids stay free in some places. For more info, call 1-800-263-5805 or visit CaymanIslands.ky or CaymanVillas.com.
TIP: Bring some of your toddler’s familiar items from home a favorite blanket, cereal bowl and whatever book you have just read 10 times during the last hour. To help ease travel qualms, set up your 2-year-old with his own backpack, just big enough for a fuzzy friend, a book and change of undies. He’ll proudly show his gear to everyone on the flight.
From the December/January 2005 issue.