I remember life pre-kids: running off for a weekend because I had the free time and found a great price on a flight. That was years ago, when airfare deals were, indeed, deals, and before I realized how much more expensive a getaway costs when you add two more mouths to feed and bodies to pay for. As a child, my parents actively searched for Holiday Inns while on road trips, knowing they wouldn't be charged extra for three kids and that our meals would be included. Today, larger, grander resorts located in top vacation destinations lure parents with similar deals -- a welcome treat making it easier on my own wallet now that I am a parent. Looking for more-affordable hotels and resorts? Check out these great kids stay-and-eat free programs.

Holiday Inn Hotels & Resorts
Holiday Inn long-ago set the standard on affordable vacations for children. Although a budget hotel without a lot of fancy perks, the Holiday Inn brand has been consistent in providing comfortable, affordable accommodations that families can enjoy and feel safe in (not like some off-highway hotels). With their Kids Stay and Eat Free program, kids age 19 and under stay for free when sharing their parents' room and up to four kids ages 12 and under eat for free in their onsite restaurants. Most Holiday Inns feature pools to entertain kids, and you'll typically find a Holiday Inn near any major kid-friendly attraction, as well as in popular vacation spots in Mexico and the Caribbean, such as the Holiday Inn Puerto Vallarta or the Holiday Inn SunSpree Resort.

Dreams Resorts, Mexico and the Caribbean
These luxury, all-inclusive resorts are grand in scale, with a number of restaurants to choose from included in the price. The good news is that kids under 12 are free, so the grand all-inclusive total isn't so overwhelming and makes Dreams a great value for parents of young ones. (Two children maximum.) Located along beautiful stretches of beach, Dreams also offers up more than one swimming pool at its locations in Dominican Republic such as the Dreams Palm Beach Punta Cana and Dreams Riviera Cancun Resort and Spa as well as an Explorers Club for kids 3 through 12.

Iberostar Resorts, Mexico and Caribbean
Another luxury, all-inclusive resort "chain" offering deals for kids is the Iberostar line of beautiful hotels in the Caribbean and Mexico. The beachfront hotels, such as Iberostar Bavaro in the Dominican Republic and Iberostar Tucan in the Riviera Maya, offer an array of activities for kids, kids' clubs and programs, and a healthy dose of restaurants in which to dine. Kids 12 and under (maximum two kids) stay, play and eat free, saving mom and dad a huge chunk of change on their luxurious getaway.

Choice Hotels Chain, Various Locations
Choice Hotels are located all over the United States and throughout popular vacation destinations, such as the Bahamas and the Caribbean. With 11 different brands to choose from, guests will always be able to find accommodations that suit their family best. The company offers a Kids Stay Free special rate program in which children under 18 stay for free when sharing the same room as their parents/guardians. Age may vary and restrictions may apply according to locations, but families can be sure to enjoy these benefits at the Quality Inn International Drive in Orlando and at the Comfort Suites Paradise Island in the Bahamas.

Aston Hotels and Resorts, Hawaii
Hawaii is a great place for a family vacation - especially when kids can stay and eat for free! Stay at one of the 25 Aston Hotels and Resorts properties spread across the Hawaiian Islands, such as the Aston Maui Kaanapali Villas or the Aston Waikiki Sunset, and enjoy family friendly accommodations, with extra special amenities for kids, like an in-room PlayStation. With the Aston Kids Stay, Play & Eat Free program, kids 17 and under stay for free when sharing the same room as their parents, kids 12 and under eat and play for free with the Aston Aloha Book which allows admission and meals at top island attractions and restaurants when accompanied by a paying adult.

RIU Hotels, Various Locations
RIU hotels are known for their family-friendly, budget-friendly rates at prime destinations, but the kids-free promotions are what really make these resorts great for family vacations. Although not year-round, RIU hotels offer multiple specials throughout the year at different locations at different times that allow up to two kids 12 and under to stay and eat for free. The all-inclusive resorts in places like Costa Rica and Cancun offer multiple onsite restaurants, fresh water pools and oceanfront suites that are sure to please the family. Children will enjoy their own pool, playground and mini-club, too!

Epic Hotel, Miami
The luxurious Epic Hotel is a part of the Kimpton Hotel brand and offers the same hospitable service known across the country. At this Miami hotel though, kids 17 and under stay free year-round when sharing a room with an adult. With family-friendly packages that include tickets to local attractions, like the Miami Seaquarium and Zoo Miami, families will save on accommodations and will be able to do more in downtown Miami.

Hilton Rose Hall Resort and Spa
Overlooking the historic Rose Hall Plantation and the blue tropical Caribbean waters of Jamaica, the Hilton Rose Hall Resort and Spa is a great place for the whole family. Kids will spend time snorkeling, sailing or playing volleyball, and with the Sugar Mill Falls Water Park at the resort, they might not want to come down from the 280-foot water slide. The best part about this resort is that kids under 12 stay and eat for free with every all-inclusive package, so parents will never be limited to what type of vacation they book.

Divi Aruba All-Inclusive Resort and Tamarijn Aruba All-Inclusive Resort, Aruba
Families love the spacious family suites at the Divi Aruba All-Inclusive Beach Resort and the Tamarijn Aruba All-Inclusive Resort in Aruba where kids stay entertained with the two swimming pools and kids' camp for children ages 5 to 12. The all-inclusive rates are even sweeter with the Aruba All Inclusive Family Package, which allows kids under 12 to stay and eat for free at both resorts! And it is only $75 per child, per night for your teens between 13 and 17 years old. This package is offered year-round, so you'll always get a good deal.

Renaissance Curacao Resort & Casino, Curacao
All-incluisve rates are great for families, especially in exotic Caribbean destinations like the island of Curacao. Book a vacation at the Renaissance Curacao Resort & Casino and pay nothing for children 12 and under. Younger kids and pre-teens always stay and eat for free at this all-inclusive, so families will be sure to save. Plus, everyone will love the shops, six-screen theatre and sprayground perfect for toddlers.

This article has been updated as of February 13, 2014.

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Written by Lissa Harnish Poirot



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