Choosing a location is the first step in planning the perfect vacation and there are a few hoops you have to jump through and boxes that must be ticked to ensure that every member of your crew, no matter their age, has something to enjoy. We’ve got ten expert tips to help you find the perfect accommodation for every family.
Some locations will have pools, some will be located on the beach, some will be deep within lush forest, and some will offer panoramic views from mountainous strongholds. These all sound great, but matching the location to your families requirements is so important; imagine dragging a newborn in a stroller up a steep mountainous driveway, or keeping a toddler away from a pool without borders or constantly worrying about the busy road outside; doesn’t sound too relaxing, right?
Choosing a property that’s right for your family and their needs could make or break the trip; so what are the best ways to ensure you get it right? Well, there are a few things to look out for whilst ensuring you book the perfect home away from home for you and yours, and we are going to break down some of the most important tips.
Choose the Right Type of Trip
As previously mentioned, matching your kid-friendly vacation rentals to your family’s priorities is a crucial step. Not only will it mean you all enjoy your stay, but you’ll also find yourself automatically narrowing down your search field and there are a lot of options out there.
Starting with the age of your kids is a good place to begin; if they are young enough to have their own passions then focus on the things you love to do as a family. Hiking is a great way to get the kids interacting with the outdoors and the mental health benefits cannot be understated for adult and child. National forests and parks offer superb, family friendly trails littered with benches, picnic spots and exciting viewpoints; perfect for all ages.
If you and the family are into the beach-bum vibe then coastal locations will obviously offer everything you need; if your kids are old enough to try surfing, sailing or other water sports, then choosing a spot that caters for this would be a huge bonus.
Some people prefer to sit on the sand enjoying the sun’s rays as it kisses their skin, while their kids play in the sand or fish in the shallows. If that sounds like your kind of thing then choosing a great sandy beach that looks west is the perfect way to ensure long and lazy afternoons of family good times, topped off with a gorgeous sunset of course.
If you’re raising little action and adventure superstars who love the outdoors and want to experience the natural world to its fullest extent then activity centers and holiday parks could be a great way to go. The activities these places can offer are seemingly limitless: rental bikes, kayaking, abseiling, waterparks, archery, go-karting, zip-lining, and more. These activities will give your kids the confidence to try new things, and offer your family an unforgettable trip.
Don’t Forget the Needs of the Adults
While considering the needs of the kids is always the number one priority, it is important to ensure that the adults are going to have a good time too. It’s really easy to get bogged down in the details of the trip and tied up in the logistics; so, take a step back and look at what the trip will offer each member of the family individually.
If you love the same things as your kids then lucky you, but you’ll still need some private space to enjoy time with your partner and relax away from the over excited buzz of the children. Consider booking somewhere with a hot tub where you can enjoy some champagne when the kids are in bed, or with access to a nice restaurant where you can spend a quality, childless evening together. Some locations will offer day care with professional sitters so you can enjoy some time in the knowledge that your kids are enjoying themselves too!
Keep an eye out for a property that offers something for adults to enjoy away from the kids or, if your budget does not allow, set a time and location where the kids are not allowed so you can take a breath and enjoy each other. Don’t forget that it’s your holiday too. Making sure you can unwind at the end of an activity-packed day and enjoy a comfortable space with your favorite person is a crucial element of a great trip.
What to Look For
Now that we have narrowed down the search area, it’s time to get a little more specific. We should start looking at individual needs, and how certain properties can cater for said needs. There can be an awful lot to consider, so here is a quick breakdown of the key points:
- Do the Bedroom Check
Look carefully at the photos and descriptions available to you to help understand the bedroom layout and bed situation for your crew. Try to count the individual beds using the listing’s pictures and if this is not possible then read the description thoroughly.
Failing all else you can normally message the host asking them to confirm the sleeping arrangements. Strange sleeping situations may not seem like a big deal to everyone, but for young kids developing their sleeping habits having a separate bedroom can be the difference between restful sleep and chaos.
- Location, Location, Location
Location is, as they say, everything. It’s important to try and think of the activities you’ll be doing on your vacation and whether or not you can get there on foot or with ease. If you’re going to the beach for example, you’ll need bags with toys, tents or umbrellas for shade, suncreams, picnics, snacks, towels and whatever else you bring to the beach.
If you have to drive you’ll have to consider parking, loading everything up and of course, getting the kids in. This is not always an easy task and can lead to unwanted stress, so being within walking distance of the sand might be a better way to go.
Space is the next big thing to ensure the success of your holiday, and it can be tricky to gauge without actually standing in the room in question. One simple thing you can do is ensure there is enough space for the kids to play. Whether that’s an outdoor space, in their bedroom or a specified playroom, is up to you; but giving them an area to burn energy is important for a stress-free vacation.
Separate spaces for eating, playing and for spending time together as a family will keep things easy, and you’re on holiday so why not treat yourself to more space!
- Read Reviews
A great way to get a handle on the suitability of a location is to check out the reviews that previous vacationers have left. Try and keep an eye out for people who traveled with kids or in a family unit, as this can give you a great idea of what to expect from a property. It can be an awesome way to discover things like how well equipped the kitchen is, or how the layout of the building works in reality or even if the distance to the amenities you have chosen is as close as promised.
You must keep in mind though that reviews are subjective and focusing on the negatives can bring a lot of negativity. Something that did not work for someone else could work really well for you, so don’t get bogged down in what the reviews are saying, we are just looking at them for general tips!
- Check the Nearby Activities Available
Restaurants, shops, cinemas, beachfront cafes; whatever it is you’re looking for on your vacation you should try to ensure that you can actually access them with ease. As we know, packing up the car with kids and all the stuff you need to make it through a day is no mean feat, so try to get yourselves as close as you can to the action you seek; it will be worth it.
- Child Safety
One of the key considerations you need to make concerns the safety of your child; things that are not a part of your day-to-day life at home can be easily overlooked on vacation. Any truly child-friendly vacation home should have these safety elements covered. It’s also worth considering nearby roads, how secure the yard is, and if there are alarm systems in place for the ultimate peace of mind.
How to Search for What You Need
Using a trusted site to search specifically for kid-friendly vacation rentals is the only way to go. There are several factors to consider including; hidden fees, flexibility and cancellation policies, so one that promises honesty is a great bet. We all know kids can be unpredictable and things like illness, new commitments and changing amounts of people can all affect your upcoming trip.
You need to use a site that offers travel insurance with good flexibility to ensure the safety of your hard-earned cash, and your vacation itself. Being able to change the days without incurring any extra cost or even cancelling the whole trip last minute is crucial, but also adding things like extra family members or activities at late notice can make all the difference.
Make the Most of Your Next Family Vacation
So, there you have it; some top tips on planning the perfect family vacation. Vacation homes help you avoid the drama that comes with not having enough beds, being miles away from your required amenities, all being crammed into one room, or losing your money due to last-minute changes. Be organized and give your people the absolute best chance at finding the perfect spot for you all to enjoy together, and make some lifelong memories as you go!