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Family Vacation-Novice Travelers-need help planning

Oklahoma City...
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Family Vacation-Novice Travelers-need help planning

I am trying to plan our first ever trip to Playa with my husband and three children ages 14, 11 and 10. Looking for an AI with lots to do for the kids, good beds and separate sleeping arrangements for us and the kids that doesn't break the bank. We have been looking at Moon Palace but seems pricey and I think I would rather be closer to Playa than Cancun. Please advise. Thanks in advance!

Fresno, California
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1. Re: Family Vacation-Novice Travelers-need help planning

Haven't stayed there yet but will be in August. Check out Grand Palladium south of Playa in Akumal. They have suites with seperate bedroom for the kids.

Healy, Alaska
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for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
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2. Re: Family Vacation-Novice Travelers-need help planning

Do you have a map of the area? That might help as well - www.cancunmap.com I think is essential for a trip in that area of Mexico. :)

Vancouver
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for Akumal, Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo, Puerto Morelos
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3. Re: Family Vacation-Novice Travelers-need help planning

Visit a travel agent

There are hundred resorts here

Oklahoma City...
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4. Re: Family Vacation-Novice Travelers-need help planning

Thank you, I will check out Grand Palladium and I just downloaded the map. I have contacted 3 travel agents and have had no luck. So far I can't figure out what they are good for. I was ready to book a vacation and was told they couldn't guarantee we would sit next our kids on the plane. That was deal breaker for me! I appreciate all the input! Keep it coming:)

Fresno, California
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5. Re: Family Vacation-Novice Travelers-need help planning

Just read through these forums until something catches your eye. Then look up reviews of the resorts and I like to look at guest photos to get a real idea of what the place looks like. Personally I would pass on Cancun. A little too artificial for us. Think Vegas with turquoise beach.

Healy, Alaska
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for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
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6. Re: Family Vacation-Novice Travelers-need help planning

I would try to read and research here as much as possible - see what has worked well for other families - it would help you much more than a typical travel agent. Good luck! :)

Ocean City, New...
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7. Re: Family Vacation-Novice Travelers-need help planning

The 1 bedroom suites at the Palladium White Sands and Riviera won't take a family of 5 - there is only a king bed in the bedroom area and one pull out sofa in the living area. Too many people. All you can get as far as one room for 5 people, is a jr. suite, in all sections. But only two beds and a couch. Great resort but I think you would need to book two rooms if you want some space.

Finding separate bedding for 5 people in one room is going to be tough. Getting two rooms will cost you quite a bit more, and there is no guarantee that the rooms will be adjoining or even adjacent unless you find a specific hotel that will guarantee that - and it usually costs more. Now Jade and the Iberostar Maya sell guaranteed adjoining rooms, for an extra charge. The Moon Palace and Aventura Cove Palace have a family suite that is two connecting rooms. But as you mentioned, the Moon Palace is very close to Cancun so if that's not the location you want, it might not work. Aventura Cove is mid way into Riviera Maya but is undergoing a transition to a Hard Rock, plus there isn't a "real" beach there, just manmade beaches that front a cove, no access to the ocean. That might not be suitable either.

The Barcelo Maya Palace has family suites that hold 5 people. King bed in one bedroom, two twins in another and a sofa in the living area that can be made into a bed. It's a pricy room and located at the very back of the property but it would work to give you the most space. Those rooms go fast so it depends on when you're traveling if you can find one available.

There are other hotels that have 2 bedroom suites - Marina El Cid, Azul Fives, Paradisus La Esmeralda come to mind. There is an oceanfront family suite at the Gran Porto Real that has a bunk bed with a trundle bed so separate beds for all.

All different price ranges above, 2 bedroom suites often come with a large price tag so you just have to price it out and compare that to getting two standard rooms at any other resort you might be interested in. But again, you do run the chance of not having those rooms together, hotels do not guarantee this, it can only be requested.

As far as seating on the plane - that's not determined by your travel agent. Airlines allow a certain percentage of seats to be pre-assigned prior to check in. Once that percentage is exceeded, there are no more seats left TO assign. It's even more difficult these days because almost every airline has set aside the seats in front of the exit row mid-plane as upgraded seats, that come with an extra fee. What used to be free now is not and there are fewer complimentary seats available. If you have a charter flight, then often you can't get seat assignments prior to airport check in at all. So don't blame an agent for seating issues, it has nothing to do with them and everything to do with what is left available on your specific flight at the time you book.

And that info up there ^^ is what an agent is good for...

Edited: 17 May 2013, 06:32
Buffalo, New York
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for Playa del Carmen
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8. Re: Family Vacation-Novice Travelers-need help planning

I believe the Dreams resorts have family suites, the one in Tulum is probably the nicest of the three. It might be worth checking out.

Dallas, Texas
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9. Re: Family Vacation-Novice Travelers-need help planning

Would it be cheaper to drive down to Dallas and get a direct flight to Cancun? Just wondering?

Make sure you get a PRIVATE transfer! Kids cannot handle all that stopping at different hotels and it takes FOREVER!

We have kids that are similar in age to yours... 15, 12 and 9. We ended up having to book 2 separate rooms at Barcelo Maya Palace. It was cheaper by about $500 than Iberostar. We also chose it for the location. I wanted to be on the south end beyond Playa Del Carmen because everything we are doing is south of Playa. It has some intermittent poor reviews, but I haven't been able to find another resort with similar snorkeling. We requested adjoining rooms, but are worried this won't happen. As long as the rooms are on an upper floor we feel ok with rooms that are adjacent. Already decided if rooms not close to each other then hubby and I will separate (UGH!). We are also planning on asking about the family suite when we arrive, but it will be unlikely. We will also upgrade to club premium if necessary to get the rooms adjoining. I don't even know if that will help. This has been a very BIG concern of mine!

I think Dreams Riviera Cancun also has rooms that guarantee adjoining rooms. They charge a lot for them. The beach there is not as good.

Iberostar Maya has adjoining rooms, but they will cost extra. They are called a family suite (basically 2 adjoining rooms). We did not choose it this time due to location. We have stayed next door at the Grand and I have a lot of confidence in Iberostar. I am still tempted sometimes to switch.

Is your trip very soon? We booked our flights with a travel agent and got exact seats assigned. We had to separate 3 seats together and 2 seats together. No biggie. Our kids aren't babies. We have traveled a lot and never not had assigned seats. If you are traveling very soon that may be the reason for no assignment of seats. Trust me, the airlines WANT you to sit by your kids!

Families of 5 have a very difficult time traveling. i feel your pain as it really hits the wallet. It cost me significantly more than if there were only 4 of us. Who would I leave behind anyway?? LOL! One hint when booking is to put 2 adults and 2 kids in one room and then put only 1 adult in the other room. You won't be sleeping that way of course. For us this has always been cheaper. Try it and see. Remember YOU have to go online and do some research. Try various websites like Funjet (way cheaper for us and choose the advanced option which allows you to book 2 rooms), cheapcarribean, expedia and orbitz. Most of the time flight and hotel together are much cheaper.

Remember to go online and look at pics. Look at what appeals to you. Determine your top priorities like location, beach quality, snorkeling (yes or no), service, food etc. I sometimes think we could have chosen a much cheaper resort because honestly our kids want to go and do a bunch of excursions (costing more $$). We will see when we get there if they are happy hanging out at the resort. Doubtful for more than 2 or 3 days.

I had to learn the hard way that when you see a good deal and it fits your budget... GRAB IT! It could change in an hour!

Travel agents will match prices online if you find one better online. PM me and I will share some travel agents I have used if you would like. Let me know your dates and I would do a little research for you... I love that stuff!

Dallas, Texas
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994 posts
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10. Re: Family Vacation-Novice Travelers-need help planning

When are you looking to travel? I usually start my search by going to Kayak and searching which dates are cheapest for travel. That is where I start. The airline price will be the variable factor.

If you are a little flexible in your dates you can usually lower your cost.

Moon Palace has a poor beach. If that doesn't matter then I think it looks like fun for kids. They do have the $1500 resort credit. I think it's cheaper booking through a Palace Member. I think you can easily find that info on this forum. Also, everyone on Tripadvisor has been wonderful in every trip I have planned. search the forums for answers.

HAVE FUN!

Edited: 17 May 2013, 16:39