Those with a few kids in tow know that traveling as a family takes plenty of careful planning. Not every activity or destination is good for littles, nor is every hotel or accomodation.
Nevertheless, you wouldn’t dream of leaving the kids at home, so here’s how to make the most out of your family Caribbean vacation– and make sure everyone has fun!
Which Caribbean islands are kid-friendly?
When traveling with kids to the Caribbean, you’ll need to keep a few things in mind. The first, of course, is picking a “kid-friendly” destination.
In general, anywhere in the Caribbean is a safe bet with kids. That’s because the Caribbean has a low crime rate, fabulous weather, and is considered extremely tourist-friendly. The locals are used to seeing foreigners around and many Caribbean countries rely on tourism as a major source of income.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t be apprehended by an occasional pick-pocket. However, the majority of Caribbean countries rank low on average crime rate lists, with the exception of the following:
Potentially dangerous Caribbean countries:
- Haiti (travelers have often been attacked in this troubled country)
- Jamaica (one of the highest drug-trade fueled crime rates in the world)
- Dominican Republic (generally safe, but high murder rates)
- Trinidad and Tobago (high violent crimes rate)
On the other hand, some Caribbean countries have extremely low crime rates and make excellent family vacation destinations:
Exceptionally safe Caribbean countries:
- Montserrat: This small country is considered the safest island in the Caribbean. The last recorded murder to have taken place there occurred in 2008.
- St. Barts: Also known as Saint Barthelemy, this tiny secluded island actually has a murder rate of 0. It’s a popular hangout for celebrities and features many private villas, posh resorts, and high-end shopping centers.
- Bonaire: Low crime rates and its location outside the “hurricane zone” make this diminutive paradise a great choice when traveling with kids to the Caribbean.
- Antigua and Barbuda: These two islands that form one country share a very low crime rate. At this time, the most friendly tourist location is Antigua, since Barbuda was hit hard by 2017’s hurricane season.
- The British Virgin Islands: With a very low murder rate, this conglomerate of islands (over 50 of them!) is a safe bet.
When to visit the Caribbean with kids
Many people ask when is a good time for traveling with kids to the Caribbean. The answer is: any time!
Caribbean weather is generally warm and mild all year long. “Cold” weather really doesn’t exist there, so you don’t have to worry about packing all kinds of clothing layers “just in case”. The only thing your kids might need besides their swimsuits, shorts, and t-shirts is a light sweatshirt or jacket for those restaurants that love to blast the air conditioning.
Not sure what to pack for traveling with kids to the Caribbean? Read What to Pack for a Trip to the Caribbean!
Nevertheless, there is a time of year that you might like to avoid if you’re not into rain. The official hurricane season is June 1st to November 30th. Most storms hit in August to September. However, the risks are lower for certain Caribbean islands than for others.
Besides, the payoff of going to the Caribbean during “hurricane season” is quite large compared to the risks. You’ll find lower hotel rates, lower restaurant prices, and even lower flights from August to November.
On the other hand, if you have some kiddoes who don’t tolerate a little rain shower now and then, your best bet is to travel at a different time.
Tips for traveling with kids to the Caribbean
Traveling with kids anywhere at all can be tricky. Here are a few tips to make your trip go a tad more smoothly:
- Plan, plan, PLAN your trip! Sometimes it can be hard for kids to adjust when they can’t follow their normal routines. This is especially true for babies and young children, who are used to eating at certain times. You’ll need to plan your itinerary in advance so that there aren’t any “surprises”. And by surprises, we mean heading off on a guided tour or boat trip, only to find out the trip lasts longer than you thought, and the nearest place to buy provisions is miles away.
- Bring things to keep kids occupied. Sometimes, waiting around for Mommy and Daddy to get ready in the hotel room, or sitting for hours and hours on a long airplane flight can be rough for children. Try to bring light, simple, portable toys or games that aren’t costly or treasured enough to cause a fuss if they get lost during the trip. Here are some games for car trips that don’t involve toys at all.
- Switch your carry-on (hand) luggage for a backpack. Instead of a rolling carry-on suitcase, use a backpack to keep your hands free. That way you can hold your toddler’s hand, wipe up messes, and grab snacks with ease, all while walking down to the gate at the airport (oh, the joy of being a multi-tasking parent).
Where to stay with children
Accommodations are extremely important when it comes to traveling with kids to the Caribbean. Hotels and resorts can get overcrowded and noisy, so your best bet is to stay somewhere private and secluded, like a personal villa.
If you can, get adjoining rooms so that parents can stay in one room, and kids in the other. If you’re traveling with a baby, ask about cribs, highchairs, and other amenities you might need.
Booking a concierge service is truly the easiest way to travel with children, since you won’t have to worry about transportation, dining, or reserving activities. For the first time, you won’t have to feel like Supergirl/Cinderella/Wonder Woman trying to create your dream vacation and accommodate everyone else’s needs– personal services will take care of everything for you. You’ll finally be able to enjoy yourself along with your kids.
A concierge can pre-stock your villa kitchen, reserve chef services, arrange your transportation to and from the airport, charter boats, book spa sessions or yoga classes, and plan excursions for you and the kids, among other things.
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