Hotels are great. They’re great for business travelers and couples. But I'm beginning to realize more and more just how fantastic Airbnbs are for big families when they travel. I was recently having a conversation with my parents about how our family has grown to humungous proportions over the past few years and how most hotels don’t fit our travel needs anymore, when traveling as a family.
I have three siblings and will soon have seven nieces and nephews all under the age of five. Including my parents, my grandma, and my wife and I, that’s a total of 18 people. How are we all supposed to enjoy a family vacation in a hotel? We’d need five or six rooms at $100-$200 (probably much more than that after taxes, resort fees, etc) a night with no guarantee that those rooms will be near each other (even if you ask). Doing the math on my fingers and toes, that’s at least $600-$1,200 a night for the family.
To add, both parents can’t put their little kid(s) to bed in a hotel and then leave the room to go downstairs to the bar for a nightcap with the rest of the adults in the family. Parents also can’t put their kids to bed and then stay in the room for a nightcap with the adults in your family on account of the fact that you’d keep the children up.
So what do you do when you try to go on vacation with a family similar to mine in size? You can find a hotel that's more family friendly and all of that, but the easiest solution might just be Airbnb
Airbnb is a really nice option
Let’s say my family decides to go on a vacation to the Napa Valley area (not likely, but we’ll use it for this example). Part of the reason I picked Napa Valley, is because it’s surprisingly kid friendly, and with the amount of tourists it attracts, it’ll be on the high side when it comes to Airbnb prices.
Searching the Airbnb results for a place big enough for my family, I found three on the first page that range between $800 and $1,050 a night. Based on those nightly prices, it won’t cost you much more (if at all) to stay at an Airbnb versus a hotel, but there are many other positives as well.
You get the whole house
Not every Airbnb will give you access to the whole house, but many do. The Airbnb that I run in Michigan with my siblings is family friendly, and I’ll guarantee you it’s cheaper than six hotel rooms in the area.
Fully stocked kitchen
We, along with many of the other full-house rentals on Airbnb, have a kitchen stocked with dishes, flatware, and pots and pans for cooking, making it possible to enjoy a nice meal with just the family at the rental house instead of going to a restaurant.
Lots of room to spread out
At the Airbnb that I help manage, there are enough beds and rooms to comfortably sleep 10 people. That includes four rooms and five beds. We also have two bathrooms, a family room, dining room, screened-in porch, a fire pit outside, and much more. It’s a place where you could easily enjoy a drink, watch TV, play a game, or just talk after the kids are in bed at the end of the day.
Many times you’ll find the Airbnb you and your family is staying at has free wifi. That’s an important thing to have these days.
Another thing that some (like ours) but not all Airbnbs will have is a pet-friendly policy. So you’re more than welcome to bring fido along with you.
You’ll also be able to easily spend a lot of quality time with just your family while staying at Airbnbs designed with the family in mind.
The good along with the bad
All of what’s listed above is stuff I would certainly put in “the good” column. But then there’s the “bad.” At hotels, you’ll have a maid that will come into your room every day and clean it up for you. When you check out of the hotel, just make sure you have the stuff you came with and you’re good to go.
At an Airbnb, you’re likely to have a few more responsibilities at check-out. Whether it’s loading the dishwasher or gathering the garbage you generated and putting it out to be collected, you’ll be tasked with something.
You should also consider your security. Unlike a hotel, which may have its own security staff, most Airbnbs won’t. Airbnbs will also be exposed to the outside world (i.e. someone would be able to walk up to the door and knock versus a hotel where they’d have to walk in, bypass security, and locate your room before they can knock on your door). For this reason, I would recommend you do a little more homework on the neighborhood the Airbnb is in to make sure it is also family friendly.
Airbnbs aren’t always going to be cheaper for a family on vacation, but many times you'll find that they are. And as I stated above, it’s not always about the money when you’re traveling with family. It’s about quality time spent together and relaxing with one another. It’s about putting the daily grind of your everyday life on the backburner for a few days. Hell, if you can find that, I’d cherish it.
One of Airbnb's marketing campaigns claims you’ll have a more “real” experience by staying at an Airbnb over a hotel. I don’t know if that’s necessarily true. I’ve stayed at Airbnbs all over the world and I’ve realized that what you experience is 100% up to you. It’s about what you do during your stay. Not where you stay.
But if you’re going on vacation with your whole family, an Airbnb should certainly be considered. And by the way, if you’re new to Airbnb and are considering signing up, use my referral code to get $40 in travel credits during your first stay.
You may also like:
-How Much Money can you Make by Being an Airbnb Host?
-Top Instagram Accounts for Travelers to Follow
-Three Ways you can Make Vacations Affordable