Once you start traveling with kids, you develop a deeper appreciation for the vacation rental. Beyond the obvious amenities like kitchens with full-sized fridges and bath tubs, these rentals have more space for the kids to run around and also to give you some peace and quiet to relax. Hey, it's your vacation too, right?
Airbnb and VRBO both have a kid-friendly filter that you can and should use, but "kid-friendly" means something different to me as a parent of two wild-spirited preschoolers than it does to a homeowner with tween-aged children. I've learned that there are a few extra considerations to make sure the vacation rental is right for me and my brood. Here are the top five things I look for.
5 Signs Your AirBnB Rental Is Actually Kid-Friendly
1. It's wheelchair-accessible.
Expand the amenities section of any Airbnb listing and you can check the home's accessibility. Stairs, elevator, and wheelchair accessibility will be indicated in this section. Wheelchair accessibility is a particularly good indicator that you'll be able to get a packed stroller in and out without serious gymnastics.
2. It's "quiet" and "peaceful."
Beyond the star ratings, reviews can often reveal more detailed information about the home's host and the accommodations. Are guests who leave five-star reviews traveling with children? Look for repeated keywords like quiet, peaceful, and comfortable — especially if daytime naps are a priority for your children.
3. Its decor would make Marie Kondo proud.
Even if the vacation rental bills itself as kid-friendly, pay special attention to the listing photos and try to spot potential non-starters. If you have crawlers or toddlers, you want to make sure the rental is low on small, fragile decorations, expensive artwork, or anything that you wouldn't want your little one to get her chubby little fingers on.
Other no-nos: sharp-edged fireplaces or coffee tables. If you have older kids, check for comfortable seating areas for reading (or just staying out of your hair) and a coffee table large enough to accommodate their week-long Monopoly games.
4. It has WiFi.
Maybe you are one of those parents who does not rely on Frozen's Let It Go to get your child to sleep at night. Maybe you have never let your child watch TV so you and your partner can have a glass of wine in peace. Otherwise, check the amenities section for TV and WiFi.
5. There's a park/supermarket/drugstore nearby.
When we search for a family friendly vacation rental, it's less important that we be in the middle of the city's hip neighborhood and more important that we can walk to a park. Sure, it's nice to spend the morning exploring the city, but more important? Being a quick stroller ride away from the park to burn off the wiggle-woozies before dinner out.
Having a grocery or drug store nearby is also extremely helpful for grabbing diapers, forgotten sunscreen, or — worst-case scenario — some Swimmer's Ear for your little fish.
So, you've found the perfect rental for your family. Now, what?
Once I fall in love with an Airbnb location, I usually message the host before securing our dates and ask any lingering questions. Ask for babysitter recommendations even if you don't think you'll use them — accommodating hosts will have a few sitters they can suggest.