Holidaying in South America

4 Tips for Finding the Best Accommodation when Travelling with Young Children

by Joseph Webb

Travelling with children can make finding the right form of accommodation a complex affair. Depending on the age of your children, there are specific features that should be included in the ideal hotel room. In addition, you must consider the external environment and the reason for your holiday when making your choice. The pointers below will help you decide on the perfect family accommodation.

1. Room size

Unless you're travelling with someone to take care of the children, you'll likely be sleeping in a single room so that you can watch them at night. You want a spacious room to hold all of you comfortably and allow children to play around. If your budget allows it, consider getting suites which have more rooms and hence allow greater flexibility.

You can also go for double rooms which include a separate 'sitting room' where you can relax in some comfort. For larger families, look for suites that have sofa-beds for additional sleeping. You can also bring a rollaway bed, but confirm that the room has enough space to set it up. You may need a crib for babies, but bring your own bedding just in case the hotel doesn't have the right size.

2. Hotel location

Your ideal hotel should be situated close to as many attraction sites as possible. This is convenient in case you need to bring back the kids for a nap in the middle of the day or to change clothes after an accident — something that's common with younger children. If using public transportation, the hotel should be close to a central station, where you won't have to make multiple transfers to get to the attractions you want to visit. You can also check for proximity to parks or playgrounds where you can go to relax on your resting days.

3. Amenities

These will depend on the age of your children. Having the toilet separate from the bathroom is ideal to ease traffic especially when you're all getting ready for the day. If you can afford it, rooms with a little kitchenette are ideal so that you don't have to rely on hotel food or eating out all the time. Otherwise, your room should at least have a refrigerator where you can store some of your own food/drinks — important if your kids like specific brands of things. There should also be a place to store some snacks, a teapot or coffee maker for the adults and a microwave to reheat your takeout meals.

4. Food and Services

Depending on your vacation, you may want to have additional things like cable and Wi-Fi, but these may come at an extra cost. When shopping, enquire about all extras you need so that you can compare everything together. For a longer stay, confirm that you can get either hotel laundry services (more expensive) or access to a coin-operated laundry area so that you don't have to pack too many clothes.

If eating in the restaurant, confirm that the menu caters for special needs your children have, as well as including kid-friendly sitting space and menu items. Don't go for hotels whose settings are so formal that you may feel out of place having children dining there.