I’m the trip planner in the family. I love the process of bringing together an itinerary from all the options a place has to offer. Travelling as a family, our accommodation needs are one of the most important considerations.
There are a few criteria that need to be met to suit the needs of our travelling family.
Location is key. Generally, we don’t have a rental car when we travel (exceptions are when we head somewhere more remote). Keeping this in mind, I always look for accommodation that is either centrally located or really close to public transport. We never want to be more than a few minutes walk to a metro station or bus stop. We love to stay in areas that aren’t in the tourist hub. What we really want is to feel like locals in a neighbourhood, rather than tourists in a hotel.
Property type is also super important. We’ve found that the best resource for finding family friendly accommodation is airbnb. Our search criteria always ticks the following boxes: entire home or apartment (we don’t want to be in a share house with Roo). Two bedrooms, due to the fact that we all sleep better when Roo has his own space. We also learnt from our last trip that searching for buildings with elevators (which is pretty rare in Europe) is massively beneficial when coming and going from the apartment. We’ve climbed thousands of stairs (literally) carrying bags and a pram with Roo on my hip. If this can be avoided, do it.
Features of the property that stand out are: free wifi (Tim can’t cope without it). A fully equipped kitchen is another thing we really love. Cooking while away from home, especially for extended periods, not only saves money but helps you to get into a regular routine and I really love finding fresh and local produce to cook with. It’s one of my favourite things to do in a new city.
Make sure you check that the property you are looking at staying in has current positive reviews. I always read the comments to check for things like cleanliness, ease of communication with the host and to see how the location worked out for past guests. Sometimes in the comments you’ll find gems like the best local restaurant, tips for public transport and other things that might not have been listed in the property description.
I look for spaces that will inspire us. Whether it be a beautiful view or a design style that we connect with – there has to be something that pulls me in. The space you live in while travelling has a huge impact on your experience in that city.
A Unique Place to Sleep
I was really excited thinking about how much Roo would love to stay on a boat Kesh
The property we stayed at in Amsterdam was super unique because it wasn’t on land. We stayed on a boathouse just a few kilometres outside the city centre. When I came across this property I was really excited thinking about how much Roo would love to stay on a boat. Neither Tim or I have stayed overnight on a boat like this and I thought it would be a great experience as a family, especially in a place like Amsterdam where so many people live in boathouses on the canals.
We lucked out with our host – Ingeborg provided us with endless information and options, as well as insightful local tips that made sure our limited time in Amsterdam was really special.
Tim and I didn’t realise beforehand how sensitive we are to the small amounts of movement a boat like this experiences but we adjusted really quickly and love that we got to stay somewhere so unique. It was my favourite when at the end of each day Roo would be so excited to head home. He would say constantly, ‘We’re on da boat!’.
You can view the listing for the boathouse here.