What is the absolute best way to travel with young kids?
Time Machine. Teleportation. Private Jet.
RIGHT!? I mean, teleportation for travel with kids would be SO AMAZING.
Someone make it happen. PLEASE.
But if you are looking for a somewhat realistic option for a great way to travel with kids, I love renting a house for my family or getting a place with more than one little room.
Having more than one room when traveling with young kids is a game changer. You can put them to bed at a early bedtime and then have another room to hang out in and do things, instead of just laying quietly in bed.
So how do you get so much space without spending a fortune?
It can be done. I usually budget $100/night (give or take depending on location) for a place bigger than a boring hotel room.
Here’s how I book a place to stay for a family of four with plenty of space with a tight budget:
*Please note that some of the links below do contain affiliate links, please see my disclosure policy if you have any questions.
Book with AirBnB
AirBnB is a community marketplace where people list, discover, and book places to stay all over the world. You can list your place or can stay at someone’s place.
We’ve used AirBnB a lot over the past few years, more so now that we have young children. We luckily have had all very positive experiences, but use some caution as anyone can list a property there.
Make sure to book a property with plenty of reviews, and if you want to ensure a positive first experience, look for listings with a Superhost because they are the elite hosts who are really experienced and helpful!
If you haven’t used AirBnB before, new users can get a FREE $40 Credit and can be applied on your first booking of $75 or more! You have one year from sign up to use the free $40, excluding taxes and guest fees.
Getting $40 off a booking is obviously not a free stay somewhere with your family, but it definitely helps! Also, if you refer a friend, you can get free $40 credit once they return from their trip.
4 Friends x $40 = $160 + $40 for signing up with a referral link = $200 in free credit to use!
Also, when you are looking at AirBnB listings, make sure to look at that total number instead of the per night number:
See the example above where the first place is $320 a night and the second is $343 a night, but when you look at the total cost for my four day trip, the second place comes out cheaper.
It’s because people can pick what they want to charge per night as well as other fees. I could charge $100 a night with a $50 cleaning fee or I may decide to charge $150 and clean the room myself with no fees attached.
However, when you are looking you may be more apt to book the $100 place, but they are the same exact price. You really need to look at the total number to see how fees will figure out to find the best place for the best price.
We stayed at a hotel for a very last minute trip and after one night of very bad sleep, I looked at AirBnB the next morning. I found a 3-bedroom house for that night for $10 more a night than our small hotel room. $10! It was definitely worth the upgrade!
For more information or to receive free credit for signing up for AirBnB, please head here.
VRBO and Homeaway
I will sometimes find the same places listed on AirBnB as well, but I’ll also find some new ones too!
Find Discount Hotel Suites
If you can’t find a decent home rental for the right price or you’d rather the amenities at a hotel, booking a suite at a hotel is a great option for a family.
Look at the room type when booking to see what options are available. Not every hotel will have a one or two bedroom suite available for that extra space.
I hate when hotels say it’s a suite but it’s a studio or have a half wall for a one-bedroom suite, so look at pictures when you can to make sure you’re getting the extra space you need.
Hotel Suites are definitely more expensive than a regular room, but I like to use Priceline’s Express Deals to get the best deal on hotel rooms.
Keep in mind Priceline’s Express Deals are non-refundable so make sure you are indeed going and make sure you are okay with a “mystery” hotel. It’s really hard to get refunded with Priceline so make sure to do your research.
Head to the Express Deals tab on the right side after you enter your location and details in.
Hopefully there will be a lot of options and this can vary a lot depending on your destination and how busy the dates are.
I personally concentrate on express deals that say bed choice available, because if not, you get what you get, and you can’t pick what room you want aka a suite.
I’ll open every express deal within my budget and star requirement and see what the bed choice availability is. I look for 1-bedroom or 2-bedroom suites or anything that’s more than a small studio bedroom.
You’ll have to click “choose a room” then “book” to get the bed choice availability, if it’s offered.
If there’s a winner or two, I will then utilize hotel canary, a free chrome browser extension I downloaded a few months ago. The browser extension will tell me what hotel it is.
I pressed my hotel canary button on the checkout screen, and it was the Fairfield Inn & Suites. If I paid $3 more, I could also upgrade from 2 double beds to a 1 bedroom suite.
I hate surprises so it’s nice I have a pretty solid idea of what hotel it may be.
I’ll then go back and look at the hotel and look at all the details, pictures, and reviews and see if I would like to stay there or not.
If so, I will see if I can find the hotel elsewhere for cheaper than Priceline’s Hotel Express Deals or directly through the hotel for reward points. I usually end up booking through Priceline’s Express deals, but not always, especially if I want free cancellation.
Priceline’s Express Deals is a great way to get prices for cheap, and I love the bed choice availability option so I can pick what will work best for our family.
I try to put in 3 kids and two adults to rule out those smaller rooms from the get go, and then weed through them, and then just change the exact guests later.
I always like to price compare hotel rooms, because pricing can vary depending on different sites, and sometimes promo codes or incentives might be available on a certain site and make it more lucrative to book there.
Personally, I do a lot of research before traveling to make sure I get the most bang for my buck, but the extra space with young kids is SO nice.
Booking a house or larger hotel room is the absolute best way to travel with kids in my opinion.
What is your favorite way to travel with young kids? Do you have any tips that you use to get the most space for the best price?
Don’t forget to check out What to Pack on Vacation with Babies and Toddlers!