Traveling with Kids – Top 5 Experience Enhancers



I returned a few days ago from vacation with family that included my children, a couple sisters and their husbands, and a bunch of nieces and nephews. Twenty-two people, to be exact. While accompanied with a fair amount of chaos, this was by far one of the best trips we have taken, due in large part to the resort where we stayed. Following are five pivotal moments that made us decide to return as often as we can.

  1. Arrival: The front desk staff was friendly and welcoming. They gave us a short rundown of where to find the important places within the resort as well as a few local recommendations they thought we would find interesting. Within two minutes, we had general knowledge of our surroundings, a solid welcome, and keys in hand.

    The kicker: We arrived just at dinner time with cars full of road-weary children. The front desk staff handed us a menu for pizza delivery along with a coupon for a free pizza. There is no better way to greet children than free pizza.

  2. Rooms: When we walked into our rooms, we immediately felt relaxed. Comfortable furnishings, cozy atmosphere, and immaculately clean. Everything was in top shape, the surroundings were gorgeous, and there was not a flaw to be seen.

    The kicker: Our rooms had been upgraded, simply because the nicer ones were available. One benefit the resort will get from that upgrade is that we all decided that we would pay extra to have the same rooms again next year. Another benefit: We immediately took to social media to rave about the place.

  3. On-Site Experience: While we had a few definite activities planned, we left about half of our time open for spontaneity or relaxing. The resort staff did a wonderful job of making us feel like locals during that down time. The most surprising thing to me was that my children unanimously say the best part of the trip was just hanging out in our rooms.

    The kicker: Traveling during the school year to a destination geared more toward retirees than children, we were the only people in the entire place with kids. The resort was still well-equipped with DVDs, books, games and puzzles to borrow, as well as very good sound-proofing. We met the neighbors we shared a wall with on the last day, and neither of us had heard a peep from the other during the entire week.

  4. Local Experience: We happened to be staying in a resort town, which meant nearly everyone we came into contact with had caught the hospitality bug. It’s not a direct reflection on the hotel, but it did go a long way toward our overall experience. While probably not collaboration between hotel owners and local merchants, it is mutually beneficial. It made me wonder if some of these tourist-y towns have customer service training for the entire area.

    The kicker: There were local goods available everywhere. We managed to bring home goodies to share with friends as well as a few items for our home. I have said this before, but access to handmade items from local providers not only enhances the stay, but also serves as a subtle reminder throughout the year. Every time my daughter curls up in the woven afghan we purchased there that now drapes our couch, she asks when we’re going back.

  5. Checkout and Post-Stay: Five adults trying to corral seventeen kids (and their stuff) into three cars for a very long drive home after a week of being completely spoiled was just like you’d expect. Our check-out was quick – less than a minute – but friendly. The person at the desk seemed to understand that we just needed to be on our way. (By the way, not one surprise charge, which would have held us up and provided a not-so-great final moment.)

    The kicker: About two days after our return, I received an email thanking us for our stay. It had a survey attached, along with information for future travel plans. Because our entire stay was wonderful, I was happy to provide positive feedback and will absolutely be returning.

Overall, we had a fantastic and stress-free week, for which I am truly grateful. Hospitality plays a role in the memorable moments of people’s lives – happy or sad. No matter what the reason for an away from home stay, travelers need comfort in a welcome, a room, a hot meal, and even a goodbye. Those with the hospitality spirit know how to make the memorable moments worth remembering.