Planning travel for families means paying attention to a lot of details including helping parents (or grandparents) figure out which destinations and activities are well-suited to kids of different ages and how to pace a family trip so that everyone enjoys it. One of the biggest challenges for larger families is how to fit everyone comfortably into hotel rooms. A family of four is pretty easy as long as two beds will suffice but sometimes one sleeping areas for children and adults isn’t enough. Things get harder in general when families have 3 or more children. Parents don’t usually want to divide up into separate rooms—it’s a family vacation after all and with young children it’s just not realistic. Not all hotels will allow rollaways and there are maximum occupancy rules to consider. Never fear, travel experts know how to accommodate families who travel. Here are some of the ways:
Adjoining rooms: Perhaps the most obvious solution for families that can’t or don’t want to fit into one single hotel room, adjoining rooms double the sleeping space and the number of bathrooms. Not all hotels will guarantee the connecting rooms though so you need to make sure yours will.
Connecting cabins: Cruising can be especially challenging for families since cabins can be very small and cramped and finding space for even 4 people can be difficult. More and more cruise ships of all sizes are offering connecting cabins to address the growing numbers of families taking to the rivers and seas.
Suites: Hotel suites are often a good solution for larger families or even smaller families who want more space. Not all suites allow increased occupancy though—more space may just mean more space for two or four. Family suites can often accommodate larger families. Hotels will sometimes offer “family suites” which are the same as adjoining rooms but these are guaranteed to connect. There are lots of good solutions but, as always, it is essential to read the fine print!
Apartments: As a travel professional, I am often asked about booking Airbnb or VRBO. I don’t do this because while these rentals are often great, I have no way of vetting the properties and no recourse should something go wrong or be falsely advertised. However, I do have access to lots of vetted, serviced, well-run apartments. These are a great solution for families and the kitchens in these apartments can come in really handy for breakfasts, snacks or even cooking full dinners.
Home/Villa rentals: From 2 bedrooms to 10 bedrooms and more, a house offers much more space and additional amenities like pools, yards, bocce courts, chefs, house-keeping, bikes and more. Usually these will require a week-long rental but they are a great option for settling into an area and exploring the surroundings at your own pace. As above, there are great companies that specialize in vacation rentals that are managed and vetted much more reliably than Airbnb or the like.
There are lots of things that stop families from taking the vacations they deserve. Where everyone will sleep does not to be one of them. I understand the obstacles to making family travel happen but I know the solutions, too. More importantly, I know the incredible rewards of family travel and I want you to experience as many of them as you can before your kids are grown!