You would think that traveling with kids would seriously reduce your options. When it comes to accommodation you still have to chose from hotels, hostels, apartments, lighthouses, farms, tree-houses, people’s couches all the way to tents. So, where do you search and how do you pick the right one? We’ve prepared a comprehensive guide to help you find the perfect family accommodation.
Hotels – one to two night unless it’s an all inclusive hotel
Let’s start with the most common and widely known – hotel room. While they are considered fancy and expensive, staying at a hotel doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg.
Especially in big cities booking a hotel might be the best option.
Since traveling with kids we like more space and preferably no neighbors, or as few as possible. We are loud no need to beat around the bush. We chose hotels only when we are looking to stay for one to two nights.
Hotels do have so many cool options you have to chose them every once in awhile – pools, saunas, reception desks, playground for kids… Though when it comes to all inclusive hotels I never want to leave. We all had a very hard time saying goodbye to Hotel Falensteiner Club Funimation Katschberg.
When looking for the best price for a hotel room here are the most helpful sites: beside Booking, try also Expedia, Kayak, Orbitz and Travelocity. Before booking go to the hotel’s website and see if you really are getting the best price. Sometimes the hotels have special offers.
Hostels – you aren’t too old but might be too young
While there are some hostels geared towards students and younger population there are others where families are welcome. It is a great budget option, but my problem is almost the same as with the hotel room – not enough space and too many neighbors – though I am not afraid I’d be waking up these with too much noise. It would probably be the other way around.
At the moment hostels for us would only work for short stays, if nothing else was available.
We are too young the appreciate the best thing about hostels – meeting interesting and fun people from all over the world. But we’ll get there.
For hostels I’d recommend using this site: HostelWorld, because it also lets you search Bed and Breakfasts.
Hospitality Exchange – aka couchsurfing.com
When we were traveling without kids we found couchsurfing to be one of our favorite options of accommodations.
It was much more than a free couch or a bed to sleep over, it was an awesome chance to meet locals and if you were lucky enough – and we were, get them to show you the city.
It could probably work with kids too, now that we are grown a little, but we are just not there yet. I hope we gather enough courage to try it again, because as with hostels there are some hosts who prefer the young, and then there are others who wouldn’t mind having a family over.
Try couchsuring.com to get this great experience.
Home Exchange – let’s swap homes
It is very simple you have your home and you let someone else stay in it, while you crash at their place. For me it only works great in theory, because I’d have a problem with someone staying at our place. No, it’s not that fancy, it’s just the opposite. I use the closet technique when it comes to cleaning. It basically means stuffing everything that shouldn’t be out into a closet and I’d really be afraid to have them open one.
But if you’d be comfortable with this option, here is the best site to use: HomeExchange.
Apartment rentals – absolutely
I have to admit that since having kids this has become our favorite option – renting an apartment. It gives us space and most of all a kitchen. This way we can warm things up or cook an easy meal. The best part is that when we put the kids to bed we can still stay up in another room and enjoy our evening. In the hotel room it’s basically lights out for everyone at the same time.
Unique places – anything really
I am a sucker for staying at unusual places and getting additional perks: holiday on a farm, or sleeping in a lighthouse, or getting a bed on a tree, how about waking up in a monastery… Now a days there are so many great options, it’s really hard to point to one place to find the best one. AirBnB also offers some pretty weird accommodations.
Camping – pack a tent
We love camping and when the temperatures are right this option beats all others without a doubt. If you have never done it or are not a fan, the lure is hard to explain. There is just something special about going to sleep under the sky full of stars, kids crawling in and out of the tent, being outside… Sure it has faults, but to us they fade in comparison to many benefits.
Now depending on the tent, this option is probably best, if you’ll stay at a camp for more than a night. If you have one that is easy to set up – like we do, then it can work great for less. We just set it up, sleep and move on in the morning.
Even though camps in general aren’t expensive – some are, you still need a lot of equipment to do it, if you want to be comfortable. Honestly, some overdo it. There are a lot of camps offering mobile homes, so if you’d like to give it a go but are not so sure about the tent thing, this is also a great option.
Final Tip: When we are traveling and need to find the place to stay on the go, we turn to the TripAdvisor App or Google Maps.