Even if you are not a large family, you can learn from these money saving travel tips I’m about to share. One of the more difficult issues we have encountered in our travels is finding suitable accommodation for our family of five. It seems most hotel rooms are built for a family of four and when traveling abroad, many hotels won’t allow more than two to a room due to fire code regulations. So what is a family of five (or more to do)? You have to get creative with your lodging and other things. Here is the best way to save money when traveling with a large group.
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How to Save Money on Accommodations
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There are several options when it comes to vacation club properties, some of the better known ones being Disney, Marriott, Hyatt, and Hilton. All programs require a membership allowing you to stay at their different properties during a certain time period you book through their time share club. Some locations do not require a membership to stay there.
Many vacation club properties have one or two bedrooms, one or two baths, a pullout sofa, full kitchen, and living area. It feels like apartment living. The property typically has hotel amenities, a small grocery store, and daily activities to entertain kids. We have enjoyed several properties as non-members. It can be easy to find rooms on sites such as Hotels.com, Travelocity, and even directly through major hotel chains like Club Hilton Grand Vacations, Hyatt Residence Club, or Marriott Vacation Club.
Airbnb allows you to find private lodging all over the world. People list the accommodation they have available and families can take advantage of this by finding lodging that is unique and often cheaper than hotels. You can enter the size of your party and search for accommodations that will comfortably sleep everyone. This allows our family save money in so many ways.
We have enjoyed using this service to find properties that can put us closer to the city center than some hotels, provide us with a kitchen, and allow us to live like locals. Airbnb continues to grow in popularity and its portfolio continues to grow. Here are some of the best Airbnbs around the world and don’t miss our Airbnb rental tips.
We have used all of these services several times with mixed results. It is important to read the reviews of other visitors prior to making a reservation. Make sure the property is located close to attractions and transportation. Other items to look for are whether or not the rental has WiFi, a washer/dryer, lots of photographs of the property (video is better), and an easy to understand cancellation policy.
Also ensure the property is child friendly, whether a cleaning fee is included, and check-in time. It can also be helpful to have the name of a local contact person should any problems arise. We have found some stellar properties through these services and some not so great ones. The bottom line is to do you homework and read through the reviews. They definitely will help make your decision.
Gîtes and Agriturismos
These have been some of our favorite stays in the past. In France, they are gîtes, in Italy, they are agriturismos. Basically, they are self-catering accommodations, but an agriturismo is typically on a farm. Many of them are located away from busy cities and they are a wonderful way to enjoy rural life with some amenities of a bed and breakfast accommodation.
At each of the places we stayed we had our own self catering cottage. It was part of a larger complex and breakfast and/or dinner was included at some of the places. Our favorite stay was an agriturismo in Chianti, Fattoria Corzano e Paterno, where we enjoyed a private house, private wine and cheese tasting, a tour of the farm, and life in a rural village. We use Gites de France for searching properties. We also loved our stay in Dordogne at Le Chevrefeuille and found there were many things to do in Dordogne with kids.
Bed and breakfast
There are romantic bed and breakfast accommodations, and there are family friendly ones. Be sure you know what you are getting before you make your reservation. Some of these properties welcome families with open arms while others do not.
We have found a few bed and breakfast that hosted our family in two separate rooms and we were very comfortable. Bed and breakfast hotels usually provide a hearty breakfast which we always enjoy before heading out for a busy day.
As you can see, there are plenty of options for accommodations when traveling with a larger family. The best advice I can offer is to read other reviews before making a reservation, whether it’s a hotel property or a private home. It’s one thing to save money, but it’s another to let bad research ruin your vacation.
If you are looking for other group travel tips, check out this article, How to Plan a Multigenerational Vacation.