Europe with infants and toddlers: Overnight stays
There is something distinctly different about traveling with infants and toddlers. Our infant son can sleep anywhere. No problem! Our 2-year-old, on the other hand, takes a little more time regardless where we are.
How you choose where to stay depends on your sleep parenting style. We could not co-sleep with our kids. It turned into them sleeping and me being awake all night. If you do co-sleep, it is somewhat easier to find accommodations that are suitable. Our children sleep in their own rooms and in their own beds. To find a three-bedroom place is not always possible or financially feasible. Airbnb.com and Booking.com have been wonderful for helping us find a place to stay.
Here's a few tips in using Booking.com that may come in handy.
• After you select the number of children, you will be prompted to put in their ages. The search results do not take into consideration that a 9-month-old is not going to sleep in a bed alone. Whose idea was this?
• Use the “Family Room”– a room for families, not a family room where you hang out – filter option under “Facility/service.” For each property, in the search results just above the price is “Beds: ...”, which shows the sleeping arrangements in the recommended room type. If your family is like ours, I recommend skipping to properties that offer sofa beds for the children versus single or bunk beds. This will afford more space for a travel bed. For co-sleeping families, look for “extra-large double bed” to give you more room.
• The “Facilities” link will provide you a list of what the property offers. For example, we talked about hotels offering cribs or travel beds in Part: II. Here is where you will find that information. Unless your babies can still fit in the sink, also check here to see if they have bathtubs available.
• Breakfast is not standard in many European accommodations. Use the “Breakfast included” filter to show properties that do offer it. It will be added to the cost of your stay, but it tends to be less than what you would pay elsewhere, and you have the added convenience of it being on-premises.
Listing the square meters did me no good at first. Even when I converted the measurements to square feet, it wasn’t much help. However, after a trip or two, we discovered rooms with 20-square-meters or more work well for our family of four.
If you decide to stay in a house or apartment, these spaces are usually designed to make you feel at home – comfy couches, beautiful window treatments and knick-knacks on every surface. As much as I appreciate their beauty, my kids only see them as one thing … toys! I would prefer not to spend all our money on broken objects. Therefore, we look for places with limited décor. I recommend selecting the "Family/kid friendly" filter option under amenities on Airbnb.com to help narrow your search results.
We would like to hear about your recommended family-friendly accommodations and where they’re located. Please email us at contentteam[at]stripes[dot]com with the subject “Two under two.”