If you’ve ever booked a hotel room with a young child you might know what can happen after you check in: carefree bed jumping gives way to “I’m bored” or “What’s for dinner?” or the dreaded “When are we going home?” A single box of a room with a couple beds just may not scream happy family when a child is involved.
Traveling by yourself, you might be happy in a variety of situations. Traveling with kids, everyone’s happiness can hinge upon where you and the little ones spend your nights, and how closely those places mimic the spaces they know at home.
The hotel experience
At home, bedtime means them being tucked away into fluffy blankets at the same time every night, shutting the door and letting them drift into slumber. In a hotel, bedtime involves a strange mattress quarantined in one half of the room as mom and dad tiptoe around whispering all their conversations, or ducking off to the bathroom to read in the only place where a light can be safely turned on.
Mornings can be difficult too. Little Joey wants his toast when he wants his toast and doesn’t understand why breakfast is out the door, down the elevator and across the lobby—or simply not there at all.
Did your last hotel have a room like this? Artist’s home in Austin, Texas.
The comforts of home
When you stay in a home, the advantages for families become clear very quickly. There’s a separate room for sleeping—maybe even an actual kid’s room—along with a place to relax where quiet is not absolutely necessary.
With a kitchen comes storing snacks and drinks in a real fridge, breakfast when they crawl out of bed, and snack time whenever snack time happens. And because many hosts have kids themselves, you may even find a pool table, games, or whole sets of books to occupy them as the day draws to an end.
The value angle
So let’s throw cost-efficiency into this blender. The price of a room at an average hotel in a popular travelers’ city like New York is $211 per night*. Want a second room for the kiddo? That’ll be even more.
On the other hand, you’ll pay roughly 25% less for this Upper East Side beauty in Manhattan (with a kid’s room AND a bunk bed) leaving enough money for a family trip to the Bronx Zoo. Plus it’s close to parks, local family-friendly restaurants, and markets. How about that?
How about Paris, where the average hotel room costs $239 per night? For considerably less than that, you can rent a stylish three bedroom loft with parking, a full kitchen, and a washer-dryer—and it’s fully set up for small children. Everybody’s happy.
Happy kids, happy parents, happy wallet. Family-friendly Paris loft.
Finding kid-friendly spaces on Airbnb
Parenting victories can feel few and far between when you travel, so take back your post-bedtime or downtime activities. Multi-room, kid-friendly apartments and houses are plentiful in cities around the world, and Airbnb’s search makes it really easy to filter for kid-friendly results. Under Amenities, you can filter for Family/Kid Friendly listings, and you can specify the number of bedrooms, and any other amenity needs for your family trip.
Be sure to mention to your host that you have kids when you book. If hosts are parents themselves, it’s common for them to want to help accommodate your needs, even going an extra mile to make the stay more enjoyable for everyone.
Give a little back to your children—and to yourself. Your little machines of cuteness will love you—and traveling—all the more when everybody gets what they want.[Top photo from centrally located family friendly Paris flat. *Hotel Price Index 2014 from Hotels.com]