Passports, Prams, and Pools: How to Travel Family Style
Family travel is a whole other ball game than that of business trips or romantic getaways. Peaceful sleep-in mornings sipping coffee and reading the news are replaced by cartoons at 6:00 am and bleary-eyed parents stumbling down to the breakfast buffet and intravenously caffeinating themselves before a long day of PG-rated activities.
As the years go on, travelling with kids changes from searching for the best playgrounds and scheduling museum trips around nap-time to involving them in the planning process and with more freedom to explore new destinations as well as relax.
Usually, if the children are happy, the parents are also. I’m lucky that my kids have always enjoyed travelling and over the years have been able to unwind on city trips and sun holidays. Today they are 15 and 18 years old and I take their feedback into consideration when planning our next family holiday.
Last summer we went to Mallorca and split the trip with five nights on the west side and five nights on the east side. The first hotel we stayed at was perfect for us. The focus was clearly on adults with older children. It was well designed (perfect for the teens to share on Instagram) and catered well to our whole family. As teenagers, they also appreciated a space to relax and get their needed privacy. The hotel was exactly what we wanted, expected, and needed; we ended up spending a lot of time and money there.
However, the second hotel was definitely the wrong fit for our family. It was targeted towards younger children, which was unclear from the website, and while we really like children (we’ve been at that stage in life and look forward towards the next generation), the hotel really wasn’t suitable for where we are at this stage in our family right now. We did not want to spend more time than necessary at this hotel and opted to have most of our meals out. It is incredibly important that the hotel is very upfront about their targeted audience not just for the guests but also so they can increase profits by marketing towards the right customer base.
Ericka, 32, the mom of two kids ages four and six says, “As a single mom with two young boys, I focus on ensuring that the trip will be easy for all of us. Like, AS EASY AS POSSIBLE PLEASE! I rely heavily on the magic of an iPad during plane trips and plan my travel agenda in an effort to keep their routine as normal as possible. Luckily, we don’t need a lot of space in a hotel room but it’s always nice if the hotel has comfortable beds and good TV options– as we will spend a lot of time there. And most importantly, the hotel needs to be generally kid friendly. Single parenting can be tough, especially when travelling, so knowing that my boys aren’t disturbing anyone’s business breakfast means I can also enjoy my much needed morning coffee.”
It’s so important that the hotel makes it clear who their guests actually are so guests both big and small can really enjoy their stay. Robert is the father of two kids, ages 12 and 15, and heavily relies on hotel reviews from Trip Advisor. “Also I look for hotels with a pool and sometimes will even email the hotels and see if they can provide transport to and from the airport as it makes travel with kids that much easier.”
Even though it is the parent’s booking the trip, kids, no matter what age, are often the focus of the holiday. The older my kids get, the more I realise that this may be our last family trip for a while. They will want to travel more and more with their friends, so I really want to create great memories for all of us. The next trip is now booked. It’s hard to know if it’s the “last” or not, but I hope we´ll come home with a smile.
Three tips to takeaway:
- As a hotelier make sure you are upfront and transparent about who your guests are for any potential guests, this will help to ensure both physical and financial returns.
- If you cater towards families with younger children, try to offer as many perks as possible for the parents such room service or colouring books for kids when dining. Happy parents usually spend more money.
- Family travel can be stressful no matter the age of the kids, try to have activities or fun suggestions for all age groups.
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