Thinking about trying an Airbnb on your next family vacation? Perhaps you need more space than a hotel or want to stay away from the busy tourist areas? Whatever the reason, Airbnb is a great option for family travel. We tried Airbnb for the first time recently and I thought it might be helpful to share our tips for your family’s first stay.
Tips for Your First Airbnb with Kids
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Read the reviews
Carefully look through the reviews for any places you’re considering. Use common sense and pay attention to how long a host has been with Airbnb and what guests are saying about the property. Reviews also offer some insight into possible amenities or neighborhood perks. I found that a local park was within walking distance from our Airbnb based on what other reviewers had said. I also recommend you look for a ‘superhost’ badge for your first listing since you know you’ll have an experienced host who can answer any questions you might have about the process.
Rent the entire place
You can filter your selections on Airbnb to make sure you’re only looking at entire residences. While Airbnb offers private room rentals, families will want to make sure they’re getting a private space to spread out in, so make sure to double-check the listing before you book to make sure it’s an entire house rental.
Reframe your expectations
It helps to remember that you’re not staying in a hotel so you might need to reframe a few expectations. You won’t have all the amenities of a hotel but you will have lots of space, a helpful host, and usually access to a kitchen. If you know what to expect you won’t be frustrated that you can’t call for room service or have daily housekeeping services. Make sure you know what your family needs before you book so that your expectations match up with what the property offers.
Pack some snacks
Our Airbnb was in a quiet neighborhood, which we loved, but there weren’t many restaurants close by, so having a few extra snacks was helpful since we we’re not in a typical touristy area. If you’ve got kids, you’ve likely already packed some snacks like granola bars, goldfish crackers, and dried fruit. Plan to include a bit more of that and perhaps some light breakfast items like bagels, protein bars, or some donuts if you want a quick breakfast. For longer stays, plan to stock up at the grocery store and put the kitchen to good use.
Take advantage of your host’s insider knowledge
One of the best benefits of having a host is their inside knowledge of your destination. Make sure to ask them about their favorite places to visit, including kid-friendly restaurants and playgrounds nearby. You’ll often hear suggestions that aren’t listed in any of the guidebooks and give you a much better taste of local life which is a huge advantage of home-sharing services like Airbnb.
Airbnbs aren’t designed like a hotel for special soundproofing so you may hear a bit more noise than you typically do. Download a free sound app (I use Relax Melodies) or pack a small sound machine to help drown out some of the new sounds and help everyone get a good night sleep.
Bonus Kid Tips for Airbnb Stays
• Bring a few activities to keep kids busy/quiet in the early morning or while you unpack.
• Do a quick child-proofing walk-thru when you arrive and plan to bring any safety items you typically need or ask your host for them.
• Talk with your kids about expectations for staying in someone else’s home so they’re not surprised by new rules.
• Bring some comforts of home (pillow, blanket, buddy, etc.) to help little ones feel more secure and comfortable.
• Pack a nightlight for the hallway or bathroom to help everyone find their way in a new place at night.
We loved our family’s first Airbnb stay and will certainly use it again in our travels since it allows us to have more space for our family than an average hotel room. Hopefully these tips give you the courage to try it out too. There are so many advantages to having a kitchen, more room to spread out, and the chance to stay in a neighborhood instead of a busy hotel corridor. If you’re thinking you’d like to try it out, Airbnb is offering $40 off your first stay (affiliate link)! It’s a great way to give it a try and see if it works for your family!
So, what other questions do you have about Airbnb? Have you tried it with your kids? What’s your best tip for using a vacation rental service like this? Leave a comment below!
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Kelly Sage says
This is a great list! We love Airbnb. I especially appreciate the reviews and always try to leave one myself.
Thanks, Kelly! We’re so excited about having more options to stay, especially with multiple bedrooms. Everyone just sleeps so much better when we have a few different places to sleep.
We love home away or vrbo as options too. Can’t have too much space for our family.
You’re right, those are two other great options! VRBO and HomeAway tend to be better in popular tourist destinations and Airbnb is better in cities (from my limited experience) but we’ve had great luck using both 🙂