Let’s face it—vacationing with your kids is fun, but it isn’t always easy. How do you share a hotel room when they go to bed at 7, but you don’t? Do you splurge on two separate rooms? Can you afford to eat out every single meal? These questions—and others—are the reason my family and I decided to rent an Airbnb for our recent vacation. So what did we do to ensure the Airbnb was safe, fun, and comfortable for our daughter and my niece and, by extension, us?
Points to Keep in Mind
Airbnb is just one of many home rental agencies. It, along with VRBO, is one of the most reputable, and they hold both hosts and renters to a specific set of rules and criteria. Hosts are also usually covered by insurance. Doing your homework is essential to ensure wherever you stay is safe and reputable. And make sure that you check reviews of the hosts to ensure they, their homes, and their neighborhoods are safe and reputable.
Staying at an Airbnb with Kids
We wanted a place where we could feel at home, where we could save money by cooking most of our meals, and where we could fit the entire family without paying for multiple rooms. Here’s what I did before our vacation and during to ensure we had the best stay possible:
1. I Found a Family-Friendly Place
We have a one-year-old who is learning to walk and is into absolutely everything and an enthusiastic nine-year-old who isn’t always mindful of what she’s doing. Finding a family-friendly Airbnb was of the utmost importance. I found a house recommended by other families that included family-friendly amenities like a portable crib and even noted in the description that it was perfect for families. The host family included two little girls.
When we arrived, the accommodations were even better than I’d imagined. The house was virtually baby-proofed, and they had baby utensils. It also helped that the beach was around the corner and my family’s house a five-minute drive away.
2. I Found a Place to Accommodate the Entire Family
Our group consisted of my husband, our one-year-old daughter, my mother, my pregnant sister, my nine-year-old niece, and me. My husband and I needed a larger bed. My sister needed a big enough bed to accommodate her pregnancy pillow (a non-negotiable). Our daughter needed a place to sleep. When I did an Airbnb search, I looked for homes with those specifics in mind.
3. I Found Ways to Corral the Kids
I got creative when it came to corralling the kids. If you have room, you can travel with a portable playpen. We couldn’t fit it in the car, so I found a mostly-empty space in the house and set up a little area for my daughter, blocked it off as well as I could with the couches and toys, and used that when we were at the house. We also used our travel crib when her mind was bent on escaping.
4. I Took Items from Home
We all know travel can be stressful, and that can be doubly true for the smallest among us. Even though the host supplied one, we took our travel crib so our daughter could sleep somewhere comfortable and familiar. We also packed as many toys as we could pack. I even threw a bunch of random bits and bobs—pieces of paper, upholstery samples, little toys, an empty water bottle, etc.—into a small cardboard box for her to explore. We also took her portable highchair and playmat to make mealtimes a bit easier on all of us. Our portable highchair is bulky, but there are many different types out there with varying degrees of portability.
5. I Packed the Kitchen (Just Not the Sink)
I knew we were going to be cooking, but I didn’t know what I’d find in the host kitchen. Would it be a cook’s dream or a dull steak knife and a dirty cutting board? I made a list of the tools I use every day, especially when preparing food for our daughter. Because we drove, I was able to take more than I would have had we flown (including my favorite kitchen knife).
Think about what you use the most and what you can fit into a suitcase whether you’re flying or driving: a small cutting board, salt, pepper, a half (small) sheet pan, some sheets of parchment paper, etc. For example, I couldn’t live without my spider (think of a small colander with a handle) because I use it so often when I’m cooking for my daughter. It’s indispensable.
My goals were to ensure the kids could stay entertained, that we would all be comfortable enough to enjoy our vacation, and that the kids wouldn’t wreck the rental. And it worked! All of us, kids included, had a wonderful, relaxing time. The home was in perfect shape when we left, no one got hurt, and nothing broke. My planning beforehand resulted in relaxation and peace-of-mind. And isn’t that what you want on vacation, especially with kids?
What about you? Do you have any tips or tricks for staying with your family in a vacation rental to share with other Albuquerque Moms Blog readers? Comment below!