Picking a place to stay when traveling with kids
Traveling with kids? Friends? Couples only?
There are so many options for finding a place to stay. If you talk to anyone in the travel world, they all have a different idea. Here are some of our considerations.
Who doesn’t love a hotel? There is typically room service, elevators when hauling luggage, restaurants, a bar and more. But when your traveling with kids, a one-room hotel room can really make a trip into a travel disaster!
Pre-kid, we loved a nice hotel room! Now, we book hotel rooms for one night stays mostly. Or at all-inclusive resorts because we know we will only be there for a few days and the focus is family fun. Not to mention my little one typically passes out quickly after a full day.
Concerns with kids:
Make sure your hotel room allows a rollaway bed or crib. We’ve run into quite a few issues with having more than 2 adults in one room. Also, read the fine print with sites like booking.com where the hotel often adds a fee for a child that isn’t sharing the same bed as the parents. We’ve incurred extra charges just for sheets to make up the sofa bed (that was already in the room)!
Perks of hotel life:
Most of the hotels we book have a free breakfast, which is a huge plus with a toddler’s early morning and appetite to start the day. They also have staff to help with any questions you may have about the area and people like the security of a hotel versus an airbnb.
For us, there is nothing like the amenities of a townhouse/apartment/house when we are traveling. Full size kitchen? Check! Separate Bedrooms? Check! Sometimes we can even snag a parking spot, a bathtub for our son and extra space for kid travel gear.
Pre-kid we had never booked an airbnb. We didn’t really need all the space and we certainly didn’t want to cook any of our meals while we were “on vacation”. Now we laugh a little and scramble some eggs in the morning before we hit the sights.
Concerns with kids:
You have to be detailed in your search for the perfect airbnb for your family. If you have mobile babies and young toddlers, it isn’t often that an airbnb or vacation rental is baby proofed. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be a bit creative. Of course, don’t book the place with the wide open stairs and open pool, but you can get buy with a few travel hacks.
If your children are like my son, they love to explore. The first few times we rented an airbnb our son locked himself in his room (thank you European cities for locks and keys on every door). He also gets into all the drawers and cupboards. He’s gotten better now that he is older, but often times you are renting someones home. I do a quick scan of the rooms and put anything of interest up on the higher shelves. You’ll also want to check for any hidden dangers like those lighters hanging out in the hallway cabinet and the sharp knives next to the children’s silverware in the drawer in the kitchen.
Perks of airbnb/vrbo life:
Separate bedrooms! I know some people like to bedshare with their kids, but that is not us. I enjoy reading my son some books, turning on his music and giving him a kiss goodnight. Keeping his routine and then being able to sneak away into the living room to get some alone time with my husband. This is the first thing I put into the search bar…..2 bedrooms!
You also get all the amenities of a home! Full kitchen to make meals…or not. Fridge to store all the snacks and drinks for the day. Sometimes you’ll even luck out with children’s silverware.
The hosts are typically accommodating with children’s gear. I haven’t run into a host that hasn’t had a pack and play or crib. They usually also have highchairs if you ask.
What to look for in an airbnb, our list:
Here is what we look for when we book an airbnb.
-at least two bedrooms
-at least one bedroom that is not directly off the livingroom (we don’t want to have to be too quiet when my son goes to sleep)
-Entire property (we always check this)
-Reviews, must have at least 5 reviews and READ them (lots of clues that may not be mentioned)
-Traveling in the summer? Must have A/C
-Parking spot if we are driving
-Stairs (what floor is it on and is there an elevator?) *Promise me…my husband has walked up 4 flights of stairs with 2 suitcases and a stroller, not fun!
-Pet friendly, if we are traveling with the pup
Click on a few different properties that peak your interest. We tend to pick the ones that look like they are full-time rentals and not people’s personal homes. Less stuff and more like a hotel.
Then here is what I look for:
-Breakables….the more clutter and breakables, the less likely I am to book
-Layout (bedroom situation)
-Bathroom with a tub (not a deal breaker, but we try)
-Where it is located…. look for restaurants and a park nearby
-Overall neighborhood feel
-Safety (Time to look for those open stairs, drop offs, leaning bookshelves and more.)
That’s basically it! I know some people are afraid to book an airbnb, it’s an unknown. But by following a few simple guidelines, you can stay comfortably with the family in a new location!
Bonus: if you are new to airbnb and are ready to book your first stay, click HERE and you’ll get a discount off your first booking.