Essential considerations for deciding where your family should rest + rejuvenate on your next vacation.
For many families, where they lay their head at night, and lounge during the day, sets the tone for their travels. Ideally, these accommodations will be so welcoming and comfortable they fantasize about making them their permanent residence.
However, accommodations that provide this sense of pleasure and comfort look different for every family. One group might consider a sprawling five star resort the epitome of ideal lodging, while another would prefer a yurt far removed from civilization. So whether you’re a luxury seeker, roughin’ it devotee, or somewhere in between, we can help you discover the haven that checks all your boxes.
Before you begin researching accommodations, discuss the following considerations with your family.
What’s your price range for lodging?
If you dove into the not-so-fun, yet essential, travel budgeting outlined here you should have a solid grasp on your doable price range for a hotel, Airbnb, yurt, house boat, tree house, or whatever your preferred mode of shelter is. This number will inform many of the following considerations.
How remote do you want to be?
Are you hoping to be near the cultural action of a town’s plaza, score a spot steps away from a popular beach, or be in the downtown district of a metropolis? OR, do you want to be so far removed from the crowds that you barely see other humans? Nowadays there is such an extensive tapestry of lodging options you can meet just about any preference. But as you research options, make sure to check out your top choices on a map, as photos and descriptions of proximity can often be deceiving.
How much time do you plan on spending at your accommodations?
If you’re a “we’ll sleep when we’re dead” kind of family and plan to be making moves from dawn till’ dusk you may not want to drop the big bucks on tricked out accommodations. In this case, putting more funds towards activities and going budget on lodging may be your jam.
On the flip side, you could be pining for a ten-night getaway to an all-inclusive island named after a mythical underwater city and don’t plan on leaving the premises.
What are your must have amenities?
Is a water world of pools, in-room Jacuzzi, room service, spa, fitness center, dive center, a cook, tour guides or any other amenity a must for your family? Make a list of all the features you would like your accommodations to offer so you know the boxes to check when you start your search.
For more unique amenities, like activities and tours that might not be easily searchable, you may need to dig deeper into the websites of potential accommodations to confirm they offer what you’re seeking.
Are there landmarks you want to be near?
Would you like to be in walking distance, or at least a short drive from, a particular beach, certain hiking trails, a city’s historical center, that world-renowned art museum, the theme park or any other area that’s a primary focus of your trip? If so, use the map feature almost all accommodation-search-engines offer and utilize it to hone in on your desired landmark, and lodging options in close proximity.
Is easy access to restaurants important?
Are there foodies in your family? Do you want farm-to-table options? Or would you prefer an in-home chef? Will you have a kitchen in your accommodations?
Food is an important aspect of your life, regardless of where you are, so considering your dietary and taste needs will help inform where you post up.
When researching food options, know that while hotel restaurants are convenient, they tend to have higher prices, and sometimes a lower quality of food, than nearby restaurants. So if affordable, good food is a top priority for you, it may be worth it to stay in a location that’s within walking distance of highly rated non-hotel-affiliated eateries.
Savings Tip: If you’re hoping to save, and don’t mind cooking, select accommodations that offer a full kitchen, or kitchenette. Taking into account varying preferences and financial means, vacation food budgets typically range from $40-$150 per person, per day - you can be on the low end of that if you eat in.
Do you want eco-friendly lodging?
There has been a (hopefully lasting) trend of accommodations going green, engaging in improvements that save water and energy, while reducing solid waste.
Potential eco-improvements include solar panels, a policy to not wash linens and towels unless the guests request it, strawless restaurants, an elimination of disposables (like tiny toiletry bottles), eco-friendly cleaning supplies, composting, and a utilization of local, organic food.
If you want to reduce your eco-footprint, look into hotels that are making positive changes in favor of Mother Nature’s health. Often, hotels that are LEED-certified have put in the most work to reduce their negative influence on the environment.
Now that you’ve determined your family’s unique criteria for accommodations, you can begin your research. Almost every booking site, like Airbnb and Booking.com, allow you to set specific filters, helping you whittle down options to those that meet your needs.
Next, dive into the reviews of your top choices. Not only do reviews give you an honest look at the type of experience you may have at various accommodations, but also provide (in most cases) insider tips about how to make the most of your stay. If you have questions about a review, or just want to communicate with someone who has stayed at a place you’re considering, we’ve found it helpful to message the reviewer. On most review sites, if you click on the hyperlinked review name, it will take you to the reviewer’s profile page that often provides contact information, or a way to directly message them.
After doing your due diligence, take your top three accommodation choices to your family and work together to make the final decision.
But before you book, make sure you know how to get the best hotel rates.