Repeat after me:
“We need a safe, comfortable and convenient place to stay. We don’t need a hotel.”
When you look up the price of a hotel you are going to get put off travelling. These days I rarely stay in hotels. Unless I am in Vegas where they are dirt cheap. My other problem is that even if I did want to pay hotel rates, we travel with more than a mummy, a daddy and 2 kids.
This is the single most frustrating brick wall I hit every time I go on a trip. When the pull down menu gives you the option of children: 0, 1 or 2. When you choose 4 kids and then everything on Expedia says “exceeds maximum guests” or when it lets you book – 2 adjoining rooms at twice the price. Why are they so prejudiced against people that have more than 2 kids? Lots of people have more than 2 kids. Like me, who often travels with 5. It might be grandma tagging along, an au pair, a friend of one of the kids. There are lots of reasons why a family group of more than 3 or 4 people travel together. Traditionally, you go on holiday, you stay in a hotel. But it doesn’t have to be. You need a place that is safe, comfortable and convenient. There are many alternatives.
I intend to make this a big part of this website by contacting hotels and finding specific places everywhere that cater for more than 2 kids. But for now, here are a few things to try.
1. Call the hotel. A few times I’ve found the hotel I want to stay at but have been unable to book it online. I have just called them and they have said it was fine to have 3 kids. They often have roll out beds or sofa beds and are fine with putting one or two of them in the room. I am still trying to work out why they make it so hard to book online.
2. Think outside the box. You don’t have to stay in a hotel. Once I went to Coral Bay with 4 adults and 5 kids. Everything was booked out except the backpackers hostel. We booked a 10 bed dorm room and although we had to pay for the 10th bed, it was a great stay. We were all in the one room, there was a communal kitchen and BBQ area and lots of people to talk to in the games room. When my kids are older we’ll be staying in backpackers hostels. I love the atmosphere and it’s cheaper so you can travel a lot longer on the same money.
There’s camping where you can get adjoining sites or pitch 2 tents on one site. Chalets in campsites often have a few rooms with 6-8 person capacity.
We’ve stayed at the Sea Gypsy Village Resort which is a wonderful no frills (OK, no hot water or air con) resort on a tiny island in Malaysia. They have family cabins that have a double bed and 2 sets of bunks so can take up to 4 kids plus a cot. They are very accommodating so could probably put in a small bed or mattress if you had 5 kids.
I like to use Airbnb. This is a website where people rent out their “spare” houses (where they don’t generally live) to travellers. You pay less than a hotel but they get more money than a standard rental. These vary from place to place but you usually get a whole flat or house with bedrooms, a bathroom, kitchen, laundry and living area, and if you’re really lucky, a backyard or a view. Having a backyard and a kitchen with kids is fantastic.
There are lots more of these websites like Stayz.com, someway.com and Onefinestay.com. Check them out!
Then there are the house swap websites, I haven’t tried these yet! Homestay.com, couchsurfing.com. There is so much possibility with the internet, it’s practically a crime not to get out there and have adventures!