We’ve traveled around the world for several years and stayed at a lot of hotels. However, once we started traveling with Amelia, there were a whole new set of considerations that never occurred to us before. When you’re traveling with a little one, where you stay has a huge impact on how much you can enjoy your vacation.
Here are our top three choices for lodging when we travel with kids. We have an all around favorite, a budget choice and a splurge choice. Our picks are oriented around ensuring that you get the most out of your vacation.
All Around – Airbnb
Ok, so our top choice is a bit of bait and switch. Airbnb is not technically a hotel chain. If you’ve been living under a travel rock for the past few years, here’s the summary: Airbnb allows regular people to rent out their home or apartment to others. That simple. It’s the Uber of hotels. I’m still amazed at the blank stares I get when I tell people this is our go to.
What we love: Airbnb offers you the opportunity to travel the way you live and live like a local. With multiple rooms, kitchens, a washer/dryer, etc. Most places will offer you all the comforts of home, steeped in the local culture, for about the same or less cost as a tiny amenity poor hotel room. You can save money by eating at home when it makes sense, have the space to live as a family, experience the culture more deeply, and have a home base to retreat to when things don’t go according to plan (which they’re bound to).
What’s not so great: Airbnb requires a little more diligence on your part. Some people rely on a brand name to deliver a consistent level of quality. Airbnb is more like shopping at Amazon rather than booking at Hilton. Read the reviews, look at the pictures, contact the host, and make sure you know what you’re getting. If the place you’re staying has excellent reviews from an established host, then you’re in good hands.
Pro-Tip: Use the search filters to select ‘Whole House/Apartment’ and ‘2+ bedrooms’, then focus on the travel hotspots. You’ll find family travel heaven.
To get $40 off your first booking click here.
Budget Hotel – Embassy Suites
Embassy Suites is an all suites brand by Hilton. While I list them as a budget choice, they aren’t the cheapest choice around, but the are one of the most affordable choices that offer a consistently great experience for a family.
What we love: Embassy Suites has a simple business model, they understand how families travel. Every room in the chain is a suite. When you’re traveling with small children or your pre-teen is sick of seeing your lame face, you each have some space to sustain that lovin’ feelin. Every morning they offer a made to order breakfast menu that’s a big step above standard continental blandness and, early evening they have a complementary evening reception (translation, snacks for everyone and a glass of wine for you). We’ve experienced a consistent level of service and attention to traveler’s needs.
What’s not so great: Embassy suites suffers from what every large hotel chain does, a certain bland uniformity that ensures consistent offerings but no real magic. When you need reliability its a great go to for a no hassle family friendly hotel.
Splurge – Kimpton Hotels
Kimpton is a boutique hotel chain with a kid and pet friendly bent that we have fallen in
love with. As a boutique chain they have most everything we think is essential for great family travel, plus a few unique attributes.
What we love: Attitude! First and foremost, the Kimpton chain doesn’t view your little one as a hassle. In addition to the complementary evening happy hour for the adults, their family friendly hotels will make your stay an experience. They will deliver a goldfish to your room to keep the kids company, they offer child safety kits, kid’s happy hour, babysitting services and a no problem attitude if you’ve forgotten something essential, or the not so essential, like flatirons. (It should be noted that Lori disagrees about whether a flatiron is essential).
What’s not so great: Locations are limited. If you’re vacationing in a US metro area Kimpton is an option, but while they’re expanding, they’re only in 33 cities and few international locations. Price is another factor to consider, but that’s why this is the splurge option. They’ll offer you a craft beer while you wait to check-in and the kids will love their pint sized animal print robes, but the price reflects the investment they make in your experience.
Go. Try. Adventure!