Many families steer away from Europe for family trips, but it is a destination that should be at the very top of all traveling family’s lists. With a wide range of cultural and historical destinations in dozens of countries, a European holiday could be just the adventure your family is looking for. Once you learn how to find the perfect European hotel for your family holiday, you’ll be ready to plan the rest of your adventures.
Find Family-Friendly European Cities
One of the keys to finding a great place to stay with your family while abroad is making sure the cities you’ll be visiting are family-friendly. While most areas have some off-limit spots, there are certainly parts of cities where it will be difficult to find a family-friendly hotel. For example, Amsterdam is a great place to bring children, especially because of all the art and history it has to offer. But you’d be hard-pressed to find an appropriate hotel for your family in the Red Light District. When you’re doing your research, make sure you know which areas are great, and which ones you need to stay away from.
Some of the top family-friendly European cities include London, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Salzburg, Reykjavik, Rome, Munich, Barcelona, and Stockholm.
One way to discover if a city is family-friendly or not is to see what types of activities and events they have going on throughout the year. Are there parks and playgrounds? Is it easy to find kid-approved food? Take a look at how many people live there, compared to how many people just visit. When families are living, working, and raising a family in a city, you’ll be more likely to find family-friendly hotels with all the accommodations you need.
Search Various Options
Just as diverse as Europe is, so are the accommodation options for travelers. If you have a family larger than four, it may be difficult to book your average hotel room. Rooms may be expensive, and booking two rooms for the duration of your stay might be out of your budget. So what other options are there?
Traditional Hotels – These are great options for families of four or less that are looking for a nicer accommodation on a budget. Some traditional hotels will allow five guests in one room, especially if the fifth is a child that can sleep on a cot or a baby that can sleep in a crib. You can also ask if the hotel has two rooms that are adjoining for situations where you may need more than one room.
Extended Stay Hotels or Suites – Similar to traditional hotels, extended stay hotels and suites are often larger and can sometimes hold more family members. These usually include a kitchen or kitchenette, some type of living area with a television or sofa, and other accommodations. These are best for larger families or for families who plan on spending more than a few days during their stay.
Hostel – For families on a very tight budget, a hostel may be a good option. While they sometimes get a bad rap, these rooms are usually shared. Try arranging for a room to be booked entirely by your family – even though you have to share a room, sleep in a twin bed, and be next to others, it won’t be strangers, but members of your own family! Hostels are usually the cheapest option when traveling abroad in Europe. Not all hostels are family-friendly, however. Be sure to check with the hostel before booking.
Campgrounds – A great way to explore a more remote, natural area is to book a site in a campground. Sometimes cabins are available, while other times you may have the option to rent a tent. Whichever you choose, this is often times the easiest option for those with large families that don’t mind being a little more adventurous.
Airbnb – This service, along with other home-sharing services, allows families of any size – from two to 12 – to choose a single room or entire house, apartment, mansion – anything you can think of – to stay in during their travels. These are a great option for those who are looking to feel more at home, and don’t favor a traditional hotel room. Some sites even have an indicator for places that are really great for families.
Spot Out Family-Friendly Accommodations
What actually determines if a hotel is family-friendly? There are lots of aspects to consider, but a major one is the accommodations offered by the hotel to its guests. Some of the top things to look for include:
○ Amenities just for kids (kid-sized bathrobes, tear-free shampoo, etc.)
○ Refrigerator and microwave for storing and cooking snacks and drinks
○ A free club or supervised activity room just for kids – free of charge
○ Babysitting service
○ A pool or water-play area supervised by a lifeguard
○ Cheap or free laundry options (in case the little ones make a mess)
○ A space to be loud and run around, inside and outside
○ Family rate for hotel or discounts for children
○ Location near family-friendly activities
○ Free shuttles or cars to popular parts of town○Kid-friendly food options
Keep in mind that just because a hotel doesn’t have all of these items, does not mean that it isn’t a family-friendly hotel that’s perfect for your trip. Call the front desk and speak with the staff – chances are they’ll make it obvious if your children aren’t welcomed.
With the right amount of research into the city you’ll be visiting and place you’ll be staying at, you’ll be happily enjoying your European adventure in the perfect hotel for your family holiday.
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