We have always found that traveling with an itinerary is a useful thing to do. You might think it a bit “robotic” to have such comprehensive itineraries, but we ask you this, what’s better; to have an itinerary that lays out your day to day adventure or endlessly standing around saying; “what do you wanna do now?”
Listed below is an examples of a family one week vacation itinerary that can be adjusted to create your own. Our objective is to give you suggestions regarding things you may not be aware of.
Here is an example of a family itinerary: Included are tips and advice.
Family One Week Vacation
Day 1: Arrival – What you do on this day depends largely on what time you arrive. Usually you don’t get into your room until mid-day or later.
Get to hotel – check-in, Go to room drop off luggage [wait for luggage to be delivered], Get something to eat or swim [pools or beach], Go back to room, get ready for dinner, Dinner, Unpack and arrange things [now or before dinner], Relax in room watch TV, Sleep.
NOTES: You can either unpack as soon as you arrive but we have found that most people are so excited that they want to get into the “action” as soon as possible so unpacking is done at the end of the first day unless you arrive early in the day.
We recommend doing “hotel reconnaissance” [walk the grounds and learn where everything is] on day two if you arrive in the late afternoon on day one.
It is important to know that at a hotel, even though there is entertainment every night there will usually be one “big” night with a professional Vegas style show [at big All-Inclusives]. If this show is on the night of your arrival you will not know about it unless you check the “Animations Board”. Animation is what the hotel entertainment crew is called. The board is where the week’s shows are listed. Most shows start after 9:00. This board is usually located in the main lobby or near the main buffet.
Day 2: Day one can be hectic and tiring. Flying and traveling from a cooler climate to a very hot one affects each individual differently. We strongly recommend you use day two to acclimatize yourself, spend the day at the hotel. Learn what your hotel has to offer and relax with intermittent activities.
Itinerary Breakfast, Conduct hotel reconnaissance [walk the grounds and learn where everything is], Find “Kid Zone” and baby-sitting service, Book specialty restaurant, Internet cafe, Swimming pool or beach, Plan day three’s excursion [book tour or rent car], Walk around hotel, Lunch [buffet or snack-bar], Long walk along beach, Swimming pool [join activities at pool or just watch], Room – get ready for dinner, relax, [option – take children to Kids Show], Eat dinner, Internet cafe, Lounge, entertainment, games room, Bed or late movie [all hotels have satellite TV], Sleep.
Snack Bar – There is a snack bar opened 24/7 at every major hotel so you can get something to eat at any time, in between main meals.
Mom or dad can get a relaxing massage.
Visit the “games room”.
Girls can get their hair braided and young rebels can get a fake tattoo.
Join in on some of the hotel activities, usually located near the pool.
If there is a shopping mall located next to the hotel or across the street and you can’t resist the urge, hit the shops!
NOTES: If you are traveling on a package deal then there is an “orientation” meeting where your travel rep will tell you about the hotel and try to sell you tours. The only thing you really need to know from this person is: where can you find them as they should have a station and where the board or book is that has your flight departure time [flight departure times can and often do change]. Most hotels have a “kids-show” every night starting around 6:00pm – 7:00pm. The shows last an hour or so.
Day 3: Family tour day. Time to go on an exciting adventure!
Most tours leave between 7:00am – 8:00am, which does not give you much time for breakfast but enough time to grab some snacks from the buffet. Most day-tours include lunch but we recommend making sandwiches from the buffet as well as taking some fruit and other snack items. Some hotels will make a carry-out lunch [some hotels charge for the lunch while some offer it free]. Tours usually return before dinner.
We suggest visiting an attraction in or close to Cancun or visiting Chichen Itza [northern end of peninsula] on day three and taking a day tour along the Mayan Riviera on day five.
Prepare for tour, Go on tour, Return to hotel, Swim in pools or hit games-room, Internet Cafe, Dinner, Return to room to relax, watch TV, or… Lounge, entertainment, games room, Snack-Bar, Bed or late movie, Sleep.
Information on Cancun attractions including day-tours to Mayan ruins, eco theme parks, dolphin swims, etc. etc. can be found here:
Breakfast, Reserve specialty restaurant [if you have not done so yet], Swimming pool or games room, Internet Cafe, Shopping, Lunch, Shopping, Beach and/or swimming pool, Room – get ready for dinner, Dinner in specialty restaurant, Return to room to relax, watch TV, or… Lounge, entertainment, games room, Snack-Bar, Bed or late movie, Sleep.
Dad does not have to go shopping and can take advantage of any number of manly pursuits [a trip to the jewelry stores for a special present for mom!!!].
You can get a babysitter and take in the hotel’s nightclub or visit a club offsite.
NOTES: We have placed eating in a specialty restaurant on day four because if you enjoy it there is still two more nights that you can revisit them [you generally only get 2-3 meals at the specialty restaurants per week].
Day 5: Family tour day. More exciting adventure!
We recommend taking a day tour south of Cancun along the Mayan Riviera.
Itinerary Prepare for tour, Go on tour, Return to hotel, Swim in pools or hit games-room, Internet Cafe, Dinner, Return to room to relax, watch TV, or… Lounge, entertainment, games room, Snack-Bar, Bed or late movie, Sleep.
Tulum ruins/beach, Coba ruins, Xel-Ha or Xcaret or Playa del Carmen [beach & shopping] or Cozumel [diving/snorkeling/shopping].
Information on Mayan Riviera attractions including day-tours to Mayan ruins, eco theme parks, dolphin swims, etc. etc. can be found here:
NOTES: These tours are south of Cancun and allow you to see what its like down that way, especially if you wish to return. These tours generally go out early and there is no time for a breakfast unless you really hurry. Pack a lunch if lunch is not included in your tour.
Day 6: Last full day.
By now you know the hotel well and what it has to offer. You know where the shopping malls are. Depending on how old the children are, they too will have their favorite things to do. Best thing to do is have a family meeting and plan your day around what everybody wants to do.
Breakfast, Reserve specialty restaurant, Check flight-time and pickup time, everybody does their own thing day – Mom shops, dad golfs or lies on the beach while the children, who by now have made many new friends, go nuts. Lunch, More beach, more pool, more hotel activities, Shopping, Dinner, Pack, Snack, Sleep
NOTES: On day 6 do a preliminary packing of all your belongings before you go to bed. Leave out only what you essentially need for the next day. Make sure you have plastic bags to store wet bathing suits.
Day 7: What you do on this day depends on what time you leave to the airport from your hotel. Most hotels want you out of the rooms by 12:00 – 1:00. If your bus to the airport leaves later than the check-out time your luggage is stored usually in a room next to reception or in the main lobby.
You are allowed to continue to use all facilities including restaurants and you generally change/shower in the hotel “spa” [which always has male and female change rooms] or a hospitality suite.
You can check with the main desk regarding staying in your room past check-out. Some hotels charge a fee, some hotels don’t allow it or cannot [have new guests coming in] and some will let you stay in your room until departure time arrives, no extra charge.
Breakfast, Check flight-time and pickup time, Beach or pool, Pack, Check-out of room, Lunch/Snack, Pool [if time permits], Wait in lobby for bus, Turn, say goodbye to hotel, it was fantastic!
If you are traveling with a tour company, check the travel agent board or book on the day before departure to confirm the departure time “from the hotel”.
If you have booked your hotel and air yourself, you should phone the airline the night before departure to confirm your flight departure time.
When you check out you will either still have time to wait for your ride to the airport or you still may have your room when the time arrives to check-out and depart to the airport.
Have your bags ready for check-out on the morning of your departure. This is done for a number of reasons. First, peace of mind so you can relax on departure day. You do not want to forget anything and it is a lot easier to check the room if your bags are all packed.
Sometimes a flight can be rescheduled the night before you leave and the departure time changed on the day you leave. You would be notified, either by telephone or a rep at your door or a note left on your bed or night-table [if you are traveling with a tour company package]. If this is a last minute thing and you are not packed you will be scrambling.
A million different things can occur to change a flight time, none of which are the fault of the travel agency, hotel or Mexico in general so please do not be upset if this does happen to you.
The chances are remote but it does happen from time to time.
You either leave your bags outside your door [we never do this] where a porter will pick them up and deliver them to the lobby or storage room or you take the bags to the lobby yourself. Then you hand in your towel cards or towels, room key/card, hotel safe key/card and pay any outstanding charges. You will be given a check-out tag, which must be presented to the tour rep before getting on the transfer bus/van. If you are not traveling on a package tour you present your check-out tag to hotel security when you exit the hotel.
Then you wait for the bus to take you to the airport. If the bus does not leave for some time you can use the hotels amenities including the restaurants and snack-bars.
Just before the bus is about to arrive porters will start taking the luggage out of storage and moving it to the curb outside the lobby to be loaded onto the bus. Everyone should be standing around waiting for the bus.
When the bus arrives a travel rep will makes sure everyone who should be going to the airport gets on the bus with their luggage [your name is checked off a list]. The bus will wait for stragglers but only up to a certain point. They are all too familiar with guys who cannot free themselves from the all-you-can-drink-bars who will sit there drunk and unaware that the bus is leaving. Usually somebody on the bus knows where the stragglers are and every attempt is made to find them. But rest assured you will not be delayed in getting to the airport on time because the bus will leave at a certain point if stragglers cannot be found or don’t want to leave the bar [we have seen this happen].
Once you get to the airport you take your luggage off the bus and take a short walk into the terminal where you check in and get your boarding passes. After that you go through security and you are in duty-free zone. There is a smoking area in the duty-free zone, restaurants and more stores.