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Finding the perfect family accommodation on a budget has to be one of the hardest parts of planning a family trip – I know I can spend many hours trying to work out the best choice especially as many hotels, resorts etc are not very transparent about extra fees for kids. It can be especially difficult with babies and toddlers as whether they are allowed in your room and have any extra charges at all can be highly variable.
In this section of Where’s Sharon, I want to make finding the perfect accommodation extra easy for you – whether that’s booking a holiday rental, a more traditional hotel or using services like Trampolinn to effectively house swap.
The first decision is what type of accommodation do you want and can afford. Here is a brief run down of the options:
Hotels and resorts can be an easy option. You have a fair idea of what to expect and they are readily available just about all over the world. You can easily book these options using sites such as Agoda or Expedia.
Pros: easy to find and book. Large selection. You are sure to find something suitable. Staff on hand to help with any problems. Often 24 hour check in and supplies such as baby cribs. There are often more facilities like pools. This can be one of the easiest options.
Cons: Often rooms sizes are small and this option for accommodation tends to be relatively expensive especially for longer stays.
An all inclusive resort can be the best way for an actual break on a family holiday. Life is so much easier when travelling with kids when everything is available and included with your hotel stay.
We absolutely loved staying at Club Med La Plantation d’Albion in Mauritius as we had an actual holiday with all our meals and activities taken care of. It’s so much nicer to walk out of our hotel room knowing that we don’t need to take a backpack full of water, milk and snacks because everything is all provided.
There’s also a full activity schedule for both adults and kids and our 5 and 7 year old had a ball at Mini Club (Club Med’s version of kids’ club) where they did such things as cooking, flying on a trapeze and going on boat rides.
Pros: Everything is taken care of for you. It’s easy to book and you know the total price. It’s by far the easiest holiday we have had with kids and highly recommend if you want an actual break.
Cons: It can be pricey although we found it to be good value.
We love holiday rentals! Sites such as Airbnb (join on this link and receive some free credit) and TripAdvisor Vacation Rentals make it very easy to find family friendly apartments and houses the world over. These can be especially useful for families thanks to all the extra space and options like fully equipped kitchens can help make life easier and cheaper.
Pros: Can rent fully self contained apartments and houses of all shapes and sizes. Some come with resort like facilities. Very cost effective especially if you are staying somewhere a week or more.
Cons: Less help on hand which can make things difficult if things don’t go to plan. Usually have to plan check in and out times in advanced. Often not serviced and without as many facilities as hotels and resorts.
There are many reviews of our favourite Airbnb and TripAdvisor vacation rentals in the articles below.
A house exchange is another way to make travel work, especially if you are short on money.
Pro: Very cheap. Whole places available with plenty of space for a family as well.
Cons: Harder to organise and can not be as picky about where you go/stay. You will need to clean up after yourselves. Strangers will be staying in your home.
Hostels are usually not a great option for a family. Since they often charge per person, we have found them to be far more expensive than budget hotels.
We have also written some family accommodation guides for cities around the world to make it even easier for you to find family friendly accommodation. These guides include hotels and often apartment rentals as well.
Australia and the Pacific
You will also find many family accommodation recommendations in our destination guides.
Below you will find many accommodation reviews and articles to help you find the best service, price and accommodation for your family. Good luck!
Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links. We may make a small commission if you make a booking after clicking on one of them.