This week was spring break for my kids and we headed to the Royalton Suites Cancun for a fun in the sun adventure. The hotel just opened in February so everything was brand spanking new and glistening in the 80-degree weather. We were so happy to jet off as the day we left, Chicago got 6 inches of snow (hello spring :). As I shared on my Instagram and stories, I got messages from other (single) moms on how I travel with my kiddos, affordability of travel, and how I stay motivated to continue to do things alone with them. I love hearing from my readers so this brought forth this blog post and I’ll be reviewing this lovely stay.
Read on below for a review and my tips for traveling and my outlook of doing stuff with the kids:
The Royalton is conveniently located less than 30 minutes from the airport. Upon arrival is this stunning building, that houses all the rooms, restaurants, and spa. This resort is all within the building space and not sprawled out. I loved it for the kids – not having to walk far and all the restaurants and bars are on floor 2 and 3. Oh and there is an adult pool on the rooftop that is AMAZING. I didn’t get to enjoy it because I had my kiddos but that’s a definite stop if you have time with whomever you are traveling with.
The lobby area is beautifully decorated, airy and you walk directly to the main pool and Diamond Club pool from this area. Everything is super easy to get to. Another bonus – walk out on the deck and to the left and there is a dedicated coffee shop for all your caffeinated needs with gelato as well!
Our favorite spot of all – the main pool which sits gorgeously to the side of the building and the beaches are well kept with plenty of chairs. The hotel was pretty full due to spring break – chairs by the pool needed to be set by 8:30 am :). So I got everyone up to grab pool chairs every morning before breakfast. By afternoon, it was easy to get chairs as some empty, but my boys are all day swimmers!
The one thing I noticed was that you could take as many towels as you wanted (I mean I loved this), but eventually I see the hotel controlling this as you couldn’t tell which chairs were taken or not by afternoon since there wasn’t a towel policy. I just chanced it and guessed by afternoon if I needed a chair :). More on the hotel at the bottom of this post.
So my tips on traveling with kids solo. . . it’s normal to be hesitant, nervous, scared to travel alone but let me tell you, all it is is practice and attitude. And let’s be real, I don’t know what the hell I am doing half the time and I just do things. You might think my tips suck and aren’t helpful, but these are the things that work for me. The past two years, I have pushed to keep my life going and to make sure my kids get every experience possible that I can provide. I don’t know why, but rather than bow down to my breakup, I grew stronger to overcome it. Things I fear, things I may have questioned in the past, I want to forge ahead and live life. I want my kids to experience good family life, without their parents together. I want them to look back and see that we both tried our hardest to keep things positive and that life can continue when there are bumps in the roads.
I have traveled with my oldest alone since he was about 3. The real first time with both kids was last year for our spring break after our separation. I was nervous and wondering how I would handle it and my friend from LA came to join us after the 2nd day. My fear was of the unknown, how would I handle the two alone? Bathroom time, crying, tantrums, etc. But overall both boys much better behaved than I ever thought. I do have to say I’m lucky, both boys have flown quite a bit so they know a flight means a vacation or adventure. So how did I prepare, what is my mental prep, how do I handle it?
Preparing for the flight:
- I show my kids where we were going. Even at a young age seeing the pool, hotel, etc helped them grasp that we were headed somewhere.
- I prepped our Ipads with a movie or two they loved and we went to the store so they could pick out their own headphones.
- Coloring books! The ones where the markers are clear and color in the photos are their favorites
- Lots of snacks and treats. My kids have learned that they get extra treats on the plane if they behave. I am sure some parents don’t agree with this but it works for me
- Blanket packed for their comfort
- And now that they are older, I make them close their eyes for a period of time 10 minutes or an hour, it doesn’t matter, it helps them get less cranky after landing. Everyone needs a nap.
- If you are super nervous – start with shorter distances – 2 hours at the most so look for destinations closer. I go to Cancun often with them because 4 hours for them is doable and they know we are headed to a resort and pool.
- When flying out, I ALWAYS take the first flight out. I don’t want to deal with delays or trouble with flights that happen later on. Also, a plus is that you get there early enough to spend time wherever you go or take a nap.
How do I find places to go that are affordable and what do I look for?
There are two places I love to look: Travelzoo and Cheap Caribbean. They have great deals and look for hotels that either kids stay for free or a big discount, all-inclusive, and have a kids club. I prefer all-inclusive resorts as everything is covered and I don’t have to worry about each meal, each drink, and the kids love the thought of eating whatever they want although they never indulge in the buffet as they should!
My kids finally went to the kids club and loved it! They did on the third day of the vacation and now I’ll definitely be looking at this perk at every spot we go to. It helps a single mom take a break. I went to the spa and got a massage, and the spa at the resort was spectacular!
How do I feel comfortable managing them alone on a trip for days?
A follower told me she feared traveling alone with her child and she couldn’t do it. She was divorced and hadn’t done a vacation with her little. My response? A breakup doesn’t end your adventures and you need to move on, enjoy and take a step in facing fears of doing things alone. Small steps are the best way and the first time I really did it were staycations in the city I live in. During the holidays I booked a staycation with my two kids and took them to Santa, dinner downtown, and it helped me figure out if I could actually manage travel farther away. Take simple steps to tear down the fear of being alone and traveling with them! Don’t let fear, take away from living your life and having your kids enjoy moments like this.
Day to day activities that help?
We eat three meals a day and we always take a break/nap before dinner. Rest time is about 2-3 hours and this helps fewer tantrums at dinner and enables them to stay up a little later than normal to enjoy whatever activities might be a the hotel. The Royalton provided night time shows so we watched them before bed. Simply, do a schedule if your kids respond to it. I know that as babies, my kids were scheduled out and it helped. It seems to help with traveling as well and when they are prepared for each day, it makes traveling so much easier.
What hurdles or what motivates you to travel solo with them? What do I recommend you to do the same?
My love for them, my love of adventure, and fear or not knowing what the next day or year may bring enables me to do these things. Each day, each month that goes by, I want to make sure I’m happy and they are happy. Facing my fears has enabled me to grow as a person, mother, friend, and for the first time ever, being alone and single mom is 100% me and I’m great.
My motivation these days is to live each day happy with what I’ve done and continue to take adventures and face any fears I have. All that matters is that they are happy and I am happy with what I’m doing and I try very hard to not let what other’s are saying or doing affect my life. This has been a turning point in the past few years and focusing on what works for me has enabled me to have some freedom.
So my recommendation for you is to figure out what works for you. If traveling solo with kids is scary, ask a friend to come with! I did that before. Write down your fears in it, and figure out how to solve each step to get to your goals. It’s all perspective, believe you can do it, and that self talk makes it happen.
More tidbits about the Royalton:
Rooms: We were on the 14th floor with an ocean/pool view – VIEWS WERE AMAZING. Beds were comfortable, having kids with you, I slept a ton as we went back to the room earlier than I would usually. The bathrooms were nice and my favorite part was the rain shower head! Sooo good. The rooms would be what you expected for a nicer all inclusive with perks of desserts delivered nightly!
Diamond Club Service: Our butler took care of our dinner reservations every night and there is a different pool with a bar for members of diamond club. I think I would enjoyed this service more if traveling with another adult, but overall they were all soo nice and literally around by our room all the time.
Pool: the main pool was FUN! So much to do and pretty crowded in a good way. I met so many people and they were fun, normal, and great to hang out with. The kiddie pool was EXCELLENT and right next to the main pool so it was easy to manage my kids.
Beach: Beautiful and so many spots to sit at on the beach. The turquoise water was gorgeous and you can see it on my photos. The ocean was rougher (choppy) and there was seaweed on the beach often, but it wasn’t what I hadn’t seen before on the Cancun side.
Food/Restaurants: LOVED the Steakhouse and Italian restaurant and the buffet. I rate the food pretty high for an all-inclusive. The Pool menu wasn’t my favorite and mainly snacks, BUT they had Mexican food at lunch set up that was delicious that was fresh. Like a mini buffet at the pool. I did that mainly.
Spa: The spa is below the main floor and was a surprise. It was so relaxing, pretty, and the service was top notch. I got a 60-minute deep tissue massage and I would definitely recommend it. I am very picky about spa experiences and this was beautifully done. A must try is also the sauna and steam room in which attendants give you a scrub to make your skin super soft. I wish I just had more time there!
Overall, this spring break vacation was exactly what we needed and what I needed to boost my confidence as a mother. Thank you so much to the Royalton Suites Cancun for an incredible trip. The hotel is affordable, perfect for families and whether or not you are a beach or pool family, it’s a great place for both.
For those mom’s out there questioning if you can do this, YOU CAN. Believe in yourself and just as you need a vacation, your kids do too. If cost is an issue, look for where you can drive too nearby (beach/pool) and do one/two nights. I’m telling you it really helps to take a little time off.