Since we don’t know anybody who lives anywhere we travel to, we need a place to stay while travelling. If you are only travelling with a baby, the room doesn’t matter a whole lot but if you are travelling with an older child or toddler a typical European hotel room might not offer you enough space. Here are some of my tips for hotels.
- Location (Part 1): Previously before having children we often wanted to stay right where the action was. Without kids though, often times their favorite part of the day was getting on the subway/tram to take the ride into town. To me, this is a huge win/win. You save money by being outside of the main tourist area, you often get a much larger room with amenities not offered at the central hotels, and you have the “fun” of taking the public transport in. Plus with having children chances are your not going out for a late night anyway, so being where the action is doesn’t make a ton of sense.
- Location (Part 2): Considering the above in part 1, I still strongly suggest getting a hotel somewhat close to the action (no more than 30-40 minutes or so via public transport from where you plan to spend the majority of your time). I also think getting a hotel as close as possible to a train station or subway station is a great idea.
- Location (Part 3): There are some times when paying the extra to stay in a preferred location is worth it. For us, there are places that aren’t easily accessible via public transport or take too much time/effort (Machu Picchu), or are in remote areas off the beaten path (Fjord Areas in Norway), or maybe you just really want to stay in the central tourist area because of the area (Tallinn, Estonia). Every destination is different, so do what is best for you.
- Apartment Hotel: I try to book hotels that offer apartment style rooms. Having a separate bedroom along with a kitchen area/fridge/microwave , and usually a ton more space is great for the little ones. These hotels are usually far cheaper when compared to a chain hotel in a more central location but offer so much more for a family in my opinion.
- Laundry Facilities: I could have included this one with the Apartment Hotel, but I think it is so important it deserves its own bullet point. Packing light isn’t an option if you can’t do laundry or have to pay those ridiculous fees some hotels charge to wash and dry your clothes. Many of these apartment hotels have self laundry facilities in the hotel which is AWESOME. The only downside is we end up usually having to do our laundry in the middle of the night because they don’t have enough machines, but it is awesome. Even better is the hotels that have these in the rooms, although I’ve been surprised how difficult some of the washer and dryer all in ones can be to use when all the instructions are in a foreign language. Worst case, book a hotel that is close to a self-serve laundry or at least one that will do it for a fair price. If they have one that will do it for a fair price that is probably even better because it doesn’t waste valuable travel time.