“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.” – Susan Sontag
If you’ve been following @mymommyvents on Instagram, you know that we just (okay, over a month ago) returned from our first family vacation in Grenada, West Indies.
Our entire family, including my mother in law, sister in law, aunts, uncles, and cousins from England, spent a week in the Spice Isle for a wedding. The 2Live Crew were finally able to meet and play with their cousins from across the pond while exploring all that Grenada had to offer. Our group ranged in age–The Emcee was the youngest, at 3, with other family members up in their seventies–but we all had a great time. You really can take (and enjoy!) a Caribbean vacation with your kids. Here are my tips for how to do it:A Caribbean vacation with the kids? Find out how to survive it. Click To Tweet
Despite my meticulous packing, my mother in law, sister in law, and I stayed up the night before the flight, arranging and rearranging our stuff into suitcases.
I don’t think we have enough stuff. #familytravel #instapassport #travelingram A photo posted by Tiffani G (@mymommyvents) on
Although I failed (majorly) to fit all of our clothing into a single carry on, my weekender bag came in handy for last minute items, like the 2Live Crew’s sunscreen, bug spray, and all of my shoes. I put our tablets, snacks, sunglasses, and passports aside for easy access at the airport.
Divide and conquer.
We arrived at JFK, ready for our sunny Caribbean vacation adventure. DaddyVents and I each took a boy by the hand and headed to the JetBlue kiosks to check in to our flight.
Available at over 100 airports, the TSA Pre-Check line helps passengers speed through security without removing their shoes, laptops, liquids, belts or light jackets. In June of 2016, Pre Check members waited in a line of 5 minutes or less. Sounds convenient, right? It was. For everyone but me. Everyone else in the family– even the kids!–was “randomly selected” and got the okay to go through the short Pre Check line, while I headed to the regular security check in by myself. Once we met at the crossroads, I mean, our departure gate, we let the boys pull out their tablets for Speakaboos, an interactive reading app where they can learn languages (ask The DJ about six tranches de fromage), interact with stories, read by themselves, or be read (and sang to), until it was time to board.
Arm yourself with distractions.
The boys were excited to hand over their boarding passes, and immediately wanted to dig into their activity kits. I wanted to dig into the latest issue of Essence magazine. Magnetic games, coloring books, and snacks kept the 2Live Crew busy during the 4-hour trip. Aside from one small meltdown, they did pretty well on their first flight.
Know before you go.
We picked up our bags and headed through customs and security to catch a cab to our home for the week–the Blue Horizons Garden Resort.
I had checked out pictures and reviews before our stay, so I knew that it was a 10 minute walk to the beach and supermarket, that the playground was right between the front desk and the pool, and that our room had a kitchen. What I didn’t know was that our room also had 3 sort of steep steps to get to the bedroom and bathroom. We made it work, and the 2Live Crew loved “our number 7 house.”
Enjoy the sites from a child’s view.
With the help of WhatsApp, everyone knew when and where to meet to take a tour of the island, visit the Dougladston Spice Estate, shop in Market Square, and take pictures at Leaper’s Hill.
Although the boys enjoyed riding on a bus and seeing the sights, their favorite parts of the trip were spotting crabs during our walks to the beach and watching the lizards dart around during breakfast on the front porch.
Bring in reinforcements!
While DaddyVents and I sampled the local rum at the River Antoine Distillery, Grandma sat with the 2Live Crew on the grounds. While I checked in at the front desk, aunties showed the boys around the grounds. When we trekked through Grand Etang National Park to see the 1st of the Seven Sisters Falls, cousins pitched in to carry the boys over the hills, rocks, and mud. If you aren’t traveling with family, some resorts, like Grenada’s Blue Horizon playground or the Spice Island Resort’s Nutmeg Pod, offer babysitting or children’s activities.
Since we were on vacation, everyone tried new things, like nutmeg balls and mangoes straight from the trees. We got to see cashew nuts and tiny avocados growing. We (not me) jumped from the falls and hiked through the forest. We (me) fell into a stream while hiking through the forest. Sure, we laid out on Grand Anse beach, but we also accepted every opportunity for adventure.
So, you can actually take a Caribbean vacation with your kids–your entire family, even–and survive. Use this tips to make the most of the sun and fun!
Do you have a vacation planned this summer?