Your preferences have been updated.
The thought of travelling with kids can be daunting!
Having a 2-year-old myself, even going to the supermarket requires copious amounts of planning and strategising. But what if I tell you that travelling to the Caribbean, especially to Aruba, with kids can be the best decision you make this year? Okay, listen, I’ll do my best to make the process easier for you, but as a parent, you know things don’t always go according to plan. So, please don’t hate me if it still takes all the effort and patience you have inside. It won’t be the easiest holiday experience (as it would be without kids), but it will be the best and most memorable!
Click on the topics to jump to the section
Depending on where you’re travelling from, the first thing you need to decide is how long you will stay on the island. I think it’s best to stay a bit longer since you will be going through the whole mission of travelling to and from the island. After going through that yourself and making your kids go through it, too, it’s best to keep those dates as far away from each other as possible. Fewer connecting flights is, of course, ideal. But for some of you, this isn’t an option. Depending on how long the flights are and how many connections you have, you may opt to overnight at one of the stops to reduce the back-to-back in-plane time. This way, the kiddos can take a break from being on their best behavior and sitting still all day. Of course, this is optional. You may want to get it over with, right? I would too! Then ensure you are well prepared for the flights and the airport stops!
Where to stay is, of course, important since you will be spending a lot of your time there. If it’s just your nuclear family, a resort may be your best bet since many of them have kids’ activities, a swimming pool, and are located near beaches. Consider booking a villa if your group is bigger and you want more quality time with everyone. You’ll have privacy while still being on vacation in the Caribbean and at the same time you'll have the perks of being at home.
These resorts are kid-friendly and have playgrounds/play areas on the property:
While public transportation is available on the island, I would recommend renting a car whether you’re travelling with kids or not. The island is very hot, and while it is nice when you’re exploring or lying on the beach, it isn’t when walking from the airport and waiting for the bus. On top of that, more waiting is a big no-no for kids. They’ve already endured the airport and plane ride here. Let’s not torture our kids on holiday, alright? Make sure you make your reservation in advance to secure your rental. Most rental companies have car seats available too. So, you don’t have to bring yours from home.
For first-time flyers, consider walking them through an airplane on a YouTube virtual tour. Buying them a toy airplane is also fun because it familiarises them with the plane itself. Share what they can expect when travelling. Going to the airport, waiting in lines, etc. Even practice at home! It’s also great if you involve your kids in the packing process. If they can read, give them a list of items to be included and let them gather the items themselves. Ask them if there are things they want to take with them on holiday so they feel important and part of the process.
Before buying formula and nappies to pack, you should know that Aruban supermarkets carry U.S. brands. So save the space for clothes and toys! Especially if your kiddo needs certain items to sleep well. Think favourite blanky, sleeping bag, teddy, etc. Because you’re visiting Aruba, you know you will spend most of your time outdoors. This means much time in the sun and heat (probably much more than you’re used to). For infants, this means sunscreen and hydration are key. That is the most basic thing to think about. Sunscreen is also something that’s best to purchase on-island. This way, you can be sure you’re buying reef-safe, oxybenzone-free spf. Since Aruba’s tap water is safe to drink, consider bringing reusable water bottles. Bug/mosquito spray is also essential to have on hand for the kids, but this can also be purchased right here on the island. Make a list of things to buy on-island so you can stop by on your way to the hotel/accommodation.
While there are multiple pharmacies on the island, it’s best to bring your medication with you, especially prescription, since our pharmacies can’t refill a drug that has not been prescribed in Aruba. You will need to go to a physician first. If your kids have allergies, you will want those medications with you even on the plane. Don’t pack them in your checked luggage! Have them readily available in your carry-on. Do pack extras of all your medication if you have unexpected delays and may need to stay on-island or at one of your stops longer than expected.
As for clothes, it’s best to keep your kids’ clothes separated from yours for easy access. Kids get dirty and need to change more frequently, so it’ll make your life easier if they have their own bag.
Children between the newborn stage and two years old are the easiest to travel with. According to the Family Travel Association, kids this age are portable. You can take them anywhere and keep them happy if you create a comfortable environment and stick to their routine. On the other hand, toddlers and older kids need constant entertainment. So, it’s best to keep the travel as simple as possible. For travel day, think tablets, colouring books, puzzles, earphones, and playing cards for older kids.
On the flights, be sure to pick seats that are all together. Book early to avoid being seated separately! You have two good options when choosing where to sit. You can select seats in the back of the plane for easier access to restrooms or front seats that make for faster deboarding. It depends on what you prefer.
Eating out with kids, depending on their age is always an “adventure” in itself. When on vacation, it’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You probably want to try different foods and enjoy local dishes, right? Your kids, on the other hand, might want to stick to what they know. Even so, as parents, we know what they like today may not be what they like again tomorrow. So navigating the dangerous restaurant waters might be tricky. Luckily, I’ve got some tips for you. Breakfast should be pretty straightforward, as most restaurants on the island serve the classics: scrambled eggs, pancakes, bacon, and toast. Most hotels also offer breakfast which has cereals and other kid favourites. For lunch, I think you should keep it quick and fun! Especially if the little humans are having fun in the sun, they probably wouldn’t want to spend too much time sitting at a table. If you’re hanging out at your hotel during lunch, order chicken fingers and french fries, hotdogs, or burgers by the pool! Stop by Eduardo’s for some smoothie bowls if you're out and about! Depending on the activity you’re doing as a family, this refreshing lunch may be just what you need. Since the entire family will most likely indulge in some less-than-healthy grub during your vacation, squeeze in as many micronutrients as you can whenever you can.
As for dinner, Aruba has a crazy variety of cuisines. With kids, however, you may want to keep it simpler than you would like unless your kids are open to trying new things and aren’t picky. If so, lucky you! For us mere mortals, we have to be strategic about it. Italian is a pretty safe bet. Pastas range from a simple marinara to “more truffle, please”! Not to mention pizza. Which kid doesn’t like pizza? Aside from Italian, from what I understand, is that kids these days like sushi. Aruba has many sushi restaurants to choose from. So many… What can I say? Arubans are obsessed… Let them pick and choose from different roles and make it a mini feast fit for baby royalty. Oh, and edamame is fun and keeps them busy *wink wink*. Another fun dinner experience is eating teppanyaki at Benihana or Blossoms! The flying shrimp, onion volcano, and beating fried rice heart will surely be a hit! Finally, Mexican restaurants have nachos! As a 34-year-old kid myself, I can confirm that nachos are a hit. Aside from nachos, quesadillas and tacos are fun and easy. My little picky eater would swallow a quesadilla whole if he could.
Here are some options and why they are great when dining out with kids:
Quesadillas, nachos, corn and more! It’s fun food for adults and children. The restaurant itself is very colorful and has some nice photo props.
Located at Surfside Beach, the Surfside Beach Bar is ideal if your kids don’t like to sit still. Let them play in the sand while you wait for your food. If you’re comfortable with it, they can also play in the water while you’re at the table.
This outdoor experience is nice even if you don’t have kids. String lights over the deck next to the water. It’s a vibe! Aside from dining on the deck, you can sit at the picnic tables on the sand. It’s perfect for the kiddos who can’t sit still for long. Play in the sand until the food arrives!
Which kid doesn’t like onion volcanoes and throwing eggs in the air? The dinner itself is the entertainment at Blossoms! The food is also simple enough to please even the picky members of the family.
Is your family always arguing about what and where to eat? Then The Marketplace is the perfect spot! Choose between sushi, pizza, Chinese food, Mexican food, and more! Eat in the park or the open area of the marketplace.
Entertaining kids on the island is easy. The beach or pool is already enough to keep them entertained for hours! But they can’t just spend their entire vacation playing in the water. They also need to experience new things. Have them take pictures from their perspective to keep them engaged in all activities! Get them a disposable or digital camera and give them the task of recording memories. This will give them a sense of importance, and you will get the little human’s vacation viewpoints.
Here are a few activities you can do on the island that both you and the kids will enjoy:
Their state-of-the-art submarines are the largest passenger fleet in the world! They are fully air-conditioned and approved by the U.S. Coast Guard. Discover Aruba’s underwater world, which includes coloirful fish, coral reefs, and marine wildlife.
One of the easiest ways to entertain kids is to take them to the movies. Gloria has all the latest movies playing in theatres around the world. Let the kids enjoy while you and your s.o. have dinner at one of the restaurants on the property, including P. F. Chang’s, Sizzle, Olive Garden, and more. After the movie, the kids can play in the giant inflated indoor “bouncy house.”
Step into a tropical garden filled with colourful butterflies. Take a tour of the Butterfly Farm and learn about the butterfly’s life cycle. It’s fun and educational!
Spend a few hours at Aruba’s shelter and rehabilitation centrt for exotic animals. Take a tour to learn more about the animals or explore on your own while feeding four-legged cuties.
What’s more fun than a waterpark? A waterpark on a private island! You can also snorkel, see flamingos, and participate in water activities. It also has an open bar! *wink wink
Let’s be active! Climb Aruba’s rock formations for amazing views. There is even evidence of prehistoric rock drawings at these sights!
Donkeys are highly affectionate creatures. Pet, hug, and feed the donkeys to your heart’s content. The kids will love it!
Do your kids love dogs? Go volunteer as a family at Sgt. Pepper’s Friends: an animal rescue organisation. Dogs and cats are available for adoption in the U.S., Canada, Aruba, and the Netherlands. Serve the animals breakfast and help with other morning duties.
Explore Aruba’s flora, fauna, and cool caves (with lots of bats), and hike the many trails within the park. Become one with nature and forget about technology for a few hours.
This is a short one. Just a reminder that you’re on holiday too! Yes, entertaining and keeping the kids happy is great, but you must enjoy your days too. Hire a babysitter for a few hours, whether during the day, to explore the island, or at night to have dinner with your partner without worrying about what the kids like or don’t like. Some hotels may offer babysitting services, but it’s best to arrange it yourself when planning your days out. You can try Aruba Babysitter, for example.
So, how are you feeling? A bit better to be travelling with your little ones, or are you still anxious? Hopefully, these tips helped you out.
We’re just getting started with the amazing effects Aruba has to offer. Dig into your trip details below to unlock a Caribbean experience that will leave you sunnier, happier, and (of course) a little more tanned.