Mexico was certainly an adventurous choice for our first flight as a family of four but this momma needed to relax on the beach in the middle of the frigid midwest winter.
So off we went!
There were definitely some things learned along the way and things we needed to consider when traveling with two little ones so I wanted to compile that info here. Keep in mind, this was based on our experience traveling to Cancun within the highly populated hotel zone. Experiences around Mexico can widely vary.
Resort vs Vacation Rental
One of the obvious questions when traveling to Mexico is where do you plan on staying? Depending on what city you are traveling to, how many people you are traveling with, what type of vacation you're hoping to have; all of these will determine the type of accommodation you will want to stay in.
If you need help weighing the pros and cons of each, I have a blog for you here.
Resorts: For Mexico, if you are going to stay in a hotel, might as well make it a resort.
The country is filled with world class resorts with a ton of options based on what priorities you have while traveling. Stunning beach? Budget friendly? All inclusive? Best Pool? Family Friendly? All things you can find and more within one strip of Mexico's shoreline.
We stayed at Wyndham Alltra Cancun. It was a fantastic all inclusive resort, great for families.
Vacation Rental: If you are staying with a larger group or family, you may want to consider a vacation rental. This gives you options for kitchen and laundry facilities that you may not find at a hotel and could be massively beneficial when traveling with a baby.
Vrbo.com has some incredible options for Mexican vacation rentals.
Generally when I am traveling with baby, I like to leave less things to chance than I would if it were just myself and my husband traveling. Add being unfamiliar with a destination and a language barrier to the mix and I can almost guarantee you, I will be hiring a car to get us from the airport to our accommodation if I am not already staying at a hotel that offers transfer services.
For our trip to Cancun, we used USA Transfers to get us from the airport to our hotel and then back again at the end of our trip. They had clear signs for pick up, friendly drivers, and a handy app with easy communication methods if needed. Our round trip cost us $75 which is not cheap for Mexican transportation, but for the reliability when traveling with two littles was absolutely worth the cost.
If you are looking for something more budget friendly, cities around Mexico do have Uber, taxis, metro buses, and public transportation systems to get you wherever you need to go.
Car Seats in Mexico
Traveling internationally with baby can be a challenge when planning to ride in cars once at your destination. First, car seats are big and bulky and not the easiest to travel with. Second, car seat laws and recommendations varying greatly depending on the country that you are traveling in.
Turns out in Mexico, there are no laws or guidelines for car seats.
So this means a couple of things, cars are not required to have the necessary equipment or safety features for proper install of car seats and the car seats themselves are typically the most basic models without some of the mandatory safety features that the US or Canada requires, even if the brand and model are the exact same.
All American and Canadian car seats include two installation options: lower anchors (part of the LATCH/ISOFIX/UAS) or a locked seatbelt. In addition, forward facing car seats should use the top tether (recommended or required in the US depending on the car seat, but *required for all Canadian seats).
Upon doing some research, I learned many vehicles in Mexico used for taxi or transfer services have neither anchors nor locked seatbelts.
For this reason I knew I would be taking two precautions:
Bringing our own car seats as opposed to renting or purchasing once we got there.
Purchasing this car seat locking clip. It is only $7 for two and I highly recommend purchasing one for yourself as well. One of our vans had both anchors and locking seatbelts. Our return van had neither (seen above) so I was really happy we had these.
And finally... The Water Situation
Water supply and sanitation in Mexico has experienced both great achievements and continued challenges. Over the last two decades, Mexico saw a significant nationwide increase in access to piped water supply and improved sanitation in both urban and rural areas.
However still, tourists visiting the country often fall to Montezuma's Revenge, and while you may be more liberal with your own water choices, when you're traveling with Baby there is an extra caution typically taken.
Drinking Water - the easiest way to do this is just with bottled water. If you are staying at a resort you can request it from bars, restaurants, front desk etc. If you are staying at a vacation rental, a quick stop to the convenience store to buy gallon jugs should do the trick.
Safe Foods - In order to stay safe, we opted to not eat any raw fruits or vegetables that cannot be peeled. So that means no salads, no berries, etc. This is because these things are generally washed with water from the tap. And if we couldn't see them being washed with safe and filtered water then we felt it was safest to just avoid. Luckily there were plenty of other options.
Baths/Showers - We actually avoided baths for both of our kiddos while in Mexico. The toddler likes to typically chug bathwater like a frat boy who is beer bonging on game day and the baby doesn't need a full bath anyway. For the toddler, we gave her quick showers instead. She was able to stand on her own with the help of a nonslip bathmat or water shoes. We made sure to not get any of the tap water in her mouth and afterwards we dried her really well with a towel. This included the beach showers to initially wash off all of the salt & sand. For the baby, we just did simple sponge baths on a towel on the bed or couch.
Cleaning Bottles - This can be done a few ways depending on what you have access to and how diligent you want to be. If you have access to a sanitizing method like a microwave or boiling water, your can clean your bottles using the tap water. Just be sure you are always sanitizing the bottles after each cleaning. The CDC recommends that sanitizing is particularly important when your baby is younger than 2 months, was born prematurely, or has a weakened immune system. Daily sanitizing of feeding items may not be necessary for older, healthy babies, if those items are cleaned carefully after each use. This was the case for us (older children who didn't need to sanitize bottles each time). We did not have a microwave in our room so we just used room temp bottled water and dish soap that I brought from home to clean any bottles after each use. The best tool that I had to clean our bottles properly was the portable wash basin from Ceres Chill (code TWB15 will get you 15% off) and this travel size drying rack. Once we returned home at the end of our trip we made sure to do a deep clean and sanitization of all of our bottles.
Brushing Teeth - Pretty simple, we just used bottled water.
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