When you check into a hotel, you'll usually learn in the first few minutes if it's a family friendly property. If you've chosen the right hotel for your family vacation, then the front desk agent will let you know about all of the family friendly amenities available before giving you the keys to a room with a useful bed configuration. But when the hotel seems more geared towards business travelers, and when your room only has one bed and no-fold out sofa, then you know that you might be in for a challenging trip.
Instead of being surprised at check-in, family travelers can do some research beforehand to ensure that they have the most enjoyable stay possible.
Finding an family friendly hotel
When visiting a hotel's website to see if it would be good for a family vacation, the first thing you want to do is to ignore the stock photos of happy families and go right to its room configurations and amenities.
For example, Hyatt has two properties on the Hawaiian island of Maui, the Hyatt Regency and the Andaz. The Hyatt Regency in Maui is full of amenities for families including a small zoo, a kid's club, children's pool, and plenty of rooms that feature two beds and a sofa bed. On the other hand, the luxurious Andaz Maui has some rooms with two beds, but no sofa beds and little room for rollaways or cribs. For family travelers considering these two hotels, the choice is clear.
In addition, many hotel chains offer at least one brand that features family friendly amenities. For example, Holiday Inn (part of IHG hotels), has a whole series of hotels that feature water parks. Other individual properties can offer special kid's suites, such as the Marriott Springhill suites near Disneyland and the TRYP New York Times Square South that even has family rooms with bunk beds.
Digging a bit deeper
Once you've found a hotel that appears family friendly, you'll want to reach out to the hotel to confirm the details. Ask to speak to a manager and see if the hotel is willing to accommodate your requests which could be a specific room type or adjoining rooms, or a rollaway bed or crib. You also need to ask if there will be any additional charges for a crib or rollaway, so you are not surprised. Finally, you'll want to confirm that the featured amenities will actually be available during your stay, as you don't want to find out that the kiddie pool or kid's club will be closed for renovation when you arrive.
Getting the best deals
When you find a family friendly hotel, and you are confirming its amenities, this can also be a good time to negotiate a better price directly with the management. These days, many hotel rooms are sold through third parties such as online travel agencies, which take a cut out of the hotel's profits. But when you negotiate a room rate directly with the hotel, it can be more flexible. For example, you might ask for a larger room with a kid's suite for the same price as standard room, or to receive some complimentary time at the kids club. And if the hotel charges for the use of a crib or rollaway, the management might agree to waive those charges to entice you to book your vacation there. The longer you are staying, the more flexible the hotel may be willing to be.
Finally, you might consider non-traditional accommodations from a house sharing company like AirBNB, which offers family friendly options in private residences. In fact, you can even redeem your Barclaycard Arrival Plus Miles for AirBNB stays, just as you can at any hotel, since these charges are coded as travel. For a limited time, Barclaycard is offering new applicants 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 within 90 days of account opening. These bonus miles are worth $500 in travel statement credits towards any hotel you book.
Family travel can be a lot of fun, but it starts when you choose the right hotel or rental property for your vacation. By looking a little bit more closely at a hotel's amenities, and negotiating directly with the management, you can find the right place at the right price for your next family trip.
Jason Steele is a freelance writer and one of the nation's leading experts on credit cards and travel rewards. Since 2008, Jason has been writing about credit cards and travel for many of the top personal finance site such as Credit.com, Wise Bread, and Lending Tree. Jason also serves as the Senior Points and Miles Contributor for The Points Guy, the most widely read website about award travel.
In addition, Jason is frequently quoted in national publications as an expert on credit cards and travel rewards, and his work is syndicated to mainstream outlets such as Yahoo! Finance, ABC News, and MarketWatch
Jason enjoys traveling across all over the United States and around the world with his wife and three children. Through his writing, he loves to teach others about the possibilities of award travel, and how best to use their credit cards.
For all of his latest articles, go to JasonSteele.com or follow him on Twitter @SteeleStreet
*All content provided in this blog is supplied by Jason Steele and is for informational purposes only. Barclaycard makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information contained in the blog or found by following any link within this blog.
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