Ever book a hotel and realize you booked all wrong once you arrive? Here are the questions to ask when booking so you know how to choose the right hotel for family vacation.
There’s nothing worse than arriving at your hotel after a long day of travel with your family only to realize your hotel booking choice wasn’t so ideal. We’ve been there and have stressful stories we don’t want to relive for you. Here’s how we make sure we choose the right hotel every time.
4 Tips for How to Choose the Right Hotel for Family Vacation
Question 1: Driving or flying?
Answer 1: If we are driving or flying and renting a car at the airport we look at how accessible parking is:
- Parking costs
- In-and-out privileges
- Ease of access to hotel and attractions by car (without sitting in traffic half the day)
- public transportation options in case we want to leave the car parked
Answer 2: If we are taking public transportation:
- Research public transportation options
- Find closest stops to hotel and places on our itinerary
- See if there is a hotel shuttle
- Look for public transportation deals such as the SEPTA Individual or Family Independence Pass
Question 2: What location should we choose – in the city or on the outskirts? Along the highway or in the suburbs?
Answer: There are several factors that impact this decision:
- If we have a full itinerary in the area, we book something central to everything we are seeing in the area.
- If we have a looser itinerary, we have more flexibility in booking our stay based on specific amenities and hotel pricing.
- If we just need a quick stop for the night we book a hotel that’s close to a highway exit.
- When we find something inexpensive we always make sure we aren’t going to be doing a lot of backtracking in our travels. Otherwise we spend what we saved in time and gas.
Question 3: Should I choose the cheapest hotel?
Answer: Maybe. If you only need a quick place to stop for the night and be on the road early in the AM, you may just need a cheap option. Here are things to consider:
- Check reviews and read more than the best and the worst. Scroll through and see if there is a pattern. Trust me. You don’t want a nightmare overnight stay. Been there, done that. Have the badge.
- Don’t count on getting free breakfast. They may not have one. Or they may. You might get a great one or you might watch as someone nukes the scrambled eggs from a bag. Your eggs should NOT look like a kitchen sponge.
- It might be mildewy and dusty smelling. That doesn’t make for a good night sleep. Reading reviews comes in handy here.
Question 4: Do amenities matter?
Answer: Short – yes. Long:
- Do you need to get a quick start to your day? Then make sure there is complimentary breakfast of some sort (or check for a buffet option).
- Do you have a lot of downtime? Make sure there is a pool – indoor or outdoor, depending on the season.
- Will you need to do laundry? Check for onsite laundry. Sure, you might be able to find a laundromat in the area but it can be a hassle and eats up more time. I’m a huge fan of sending Dave and the kids to the pool in the evening. They start the laundry on the way then switch it on the way back or take a small break from swimming to switch it. That’s my downtime in a quiet hotel room.
- Does wi-fi matter? It’s always handy to have access to the internet. If you are a hotel loyalty member, it’s often free, along with other perks, like earning free night stays, etc.
Are there any other important tips for choosing the right hotel for family vacation that you think I missed? Drop me a line and let me know.
Here are some of the family friendly hotels I’ve highlighted in our travels.
- Fun Things to do in Philadelphia with Kids and Hampton Inn/Hilton Hotels
- Visit LeRoy, New York and Comfort Inn, Batavia, NY
- Best Western Plus Ahtanum Inn, Union Gap, WA
- Explore Pioneer Village and Holiday Inn Kearney, NE
- Cedar Point – Hotel Breakers
- Best Western River North
And if you want to know the 10 most important things to make meals in a hotel room, check out 10 Products You Need When Living in a Hotel with No Kitchen.