What is Family Friendly Accommodation?
I often get asked - what makes accommodation family friendly? There is no simple answer because we all have different expectations.
For some families, it is a kids club. For others, it is a self-contained apartment.
It can include things like plastic crockery, free cots and highchairs and pool toys, through to waterslides and jumping pillows.
But at its very essence, I think consider family friendly accommodation to be places and people that do something special to welcome families and cater for children.
Some accommodation is geared at families and you know from the outset what to expect. Others are more subtle and it is only after you arrive that you discover how great it really is.
What do YOU want from your holiday accommodation?
Ask yourself: what sort of holiday do I want? If you want to be around lots of other families and are prepared for noise and lots of activity, a resort or holiday park would suit the bill.
However, if you want peace and quiet in a space that is your own, a holiday house or self-contained apartment would be a better fit.
A B&B can offer a relaxing start to the day, almost like getting breakfast in bed every morning, while a farm stay is an experience in itself.
So, here is my guide to family friendly features. These are also available as a downloadable checklist and you can check out my guide to age appropriate accommodation too.
- Flexible bedding (eg, 2 double beds, split kings, sofa bed). Children included for no extra cost.
- Guaranteed interconnecting rooms, with the 2nd room preferably at a reduced rate
- Free (or cheap fee per stay not per day) portacots
- Children eat free with paying adults
- Free or cheap carparking or close proximity to public transport
- Kids' club (check if usage is included or at an extra cost. Ask about opening hours (an evening session gives you the chance to have a dinner together as a couple)
- Activities - what is free and what involves extra cost?
- Children eat free with paying adults
- Is a package available to bring down incidental costs?
- Check the rooms on offer. Some resorts can only sleep 3 in a room, requiring you to book an extra room. Are rooms interconnecting? What does this add to the cost?
- Check bedding arrangements (does the second bedroom have two singles or a double requiring your children to share)
- What is the décor? This is particularly important in managed complexes where apartments have different owners. Will your apartment reflect what you thought you were booking?
- Does the apartment have a washing machine?
- Is a highchair or portacot provided?
Holiday house or cottage
- Is the property fully fenced?
- If the property has stairs, is a stair guard provided?
- Is a highchair and portacot provided?
- What do you need to take? (usually linen and towels). This is particularly important if you are flying to your destination.
- Is there enough seating? I have stayed at places sleeping 10, but with only a three-seater lounge and two arm chairs.
- Some B&Bs are for couples only, while others welcome children. Make sure you know which one you are staying at before you book.
- Depending on how experience your children are with animals, it might be worthwhile checking the types of animal interactions on offer.
- Check the location. Many holiday parks have great facilities, but can be located outside or on the outskirts of a town.
- Is linen provided in cabins? If not, what is the additional cost?
- Is there additional fees for activities?
More Helpful Tips
Other general helpful features that add to a property's family friendly attributes include:
- Free WIFI
- A bath
- Plastic crockery and cutlery (particularly if they have a policy requiring you to pay for breakages)
- Toys, games and books available for loan.
- Free beach towels
- Pool & beach toys for loan
- A good relationship with a local services, including baby hire and babysitting
- Location to shops and parks
There are also some items you can bring from home:
- Water-proof sheets for the bed (I used incontinence pads I purchased from a pharmacy)
- Clothes pegs (there are usually never enough plus they are great for pegging together curtains.
- Toddler cutlery and sippy cup
- A night light (children can often be a bit afraid in unfamiliar environment)
- A supermarket cool bag
- Balloons (hours of fun for young children)
Ask Before You Book
Don't be afraid to ask questions or request preferences. If you want a ground floor apartment, asking when you book is a lot easier than when you check in and rooms have been allocated.
If your accommodation is on a main street, request accommodation in a quieter area if your children still have daytime sleeps.
If your children are older, you might want to overlook the pool so you can sit on the balcony while they play.
The sooner you put in your preferences, the more chance you have of them being met.
I am here to help. If you have any questions, please ask via our Facebook community and we will work to answer it for you.
You might also want to read my guide to holidays with extended family and stretching your holiday dollar further.