Traveling as a family is a remarkable journey filled with precious moments and cherished memories. As parents and avid travelers, we understand the excitement and challenges that come with exploring new destinations with kids. From the thrill of discovering new cultures to the joy of watching our child’s wonderment unfold, family travel is a remarkable adventure that leaves an indelible mark on our hearts.

Yet, amidst the thrill of choosing the next destination and planning our family escapades, there’s a crucial decision that often shapes the very essence of our trips, the choice of accommodation. Just like finding the perfect puzzle piece to complete the picture, selecting the right place to call “home” during our travels holds the power to elevate our entire experience.

In this guide, we’re embarking on a journey together to explore one of the most significant decisions faced by fellow travel families: the choice between hotels and vacation rentals. Our goal is simple, to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the pros and cons of each option, enabling you to make an informed decision tailored to your family’s needs and preferences.

From the practicalities of space and amenities to the balance between convenience and authenticity, our aim is to equip you with the insights you need to make the best choice for your family. As parents who have wandered the world with our own travel-loving son, we’re thrilled to share our experiences, tips and considerations to guide you towards selecting the accommodation that aligns seamlessly with your family’s travel aspirations.

Whether you’re seeking the convenience of hotel services or the comforts of a vacation rental’s home-away-from-home atmosphere, we’re here to support you in making a decision that transforms your family adventures into unforgettable tales. So, let’s embark on this journey together and explore the world of family-friendly accommodations.

Consideration of Space and Comfort

The significance of space and comfort can’t be overstated when embarking on a family adventure. Traveling with children means embracing spontaneity, laughter and sometimes the inevitable chaos that comes with it. That’s why having enough room to breathe and unwind is more than just a convenience, it’s a necessity!

Hotels vs. Vacation Rentals: A Space Odyssey

Hotels have long been the classic choice for accommodation, offering cozy rooms and sometimes suites that cater to various family sizes. While hotels provide the essentials, the limited space might leave you yearning for a bit more room to stretch and relax. On the flip side, vacation rentals shine in the realm of space, often offering generously sized living areas where you can spread out and enjoy quality family time without stepping on each other’s toes.

Embrace Freedom with Vacation Rentals

One of the standout advantages of vacation rentals is their knack for offering ample space. Imagine having a living room where your kids can play board games while you unwind with a book, a separate bedroom for the little ones to nap peacefully, and a kitchen that becomes the hub of family gatherings. This extra room to move, play, and just be yourself adds a layer of comfort that can truly transform your travel experience.

Separate Bedrooms: The Key to Family Harmony

Let’s face it, maintaining a peaceful ambiance when sharing a single hotel room with restless kids can be a Herculean task. Vacation rentals address this challenge with a solution that brings harmony to family life, separate bedrooms. Having the luxury of bedrooms where kids can snooze early while adults catch up on their evenings without disturbing anyone is a game-changer. It ensures that everyone gets the rest they need to fully enjoy the adventures of the next day.

In the realm of space and comfort, vacation rentals often emerge as the clear winners, offering families the room they need to make themselves at home in a new place. As you contemplate your family’s next travel escapade, keep in mind that a spacious haven can enhance your journey in ways you might never have imagined. From movie nights to cozy conversations, vacation rentals grant you the space to create treasured memories that will stay with your family long after the journey ends.

me and little Jason at vacation rental

Family-Friendly Amenities

When traveling as a family, comfort and convenience are your trusty sidekicks. From mini explorers to curious teens, catering to everyone’s needs is a noble mission. That’s where family-friendly amenities come into play, transforming your accommodation into a haven of ease and delight.

Culinary Adventures and Kitchens

Little tummies can be quite particular, and dining out for every meal might not always hit the spot. This is where having a kitchen becomes a superpower. Vacation rentals often come equipped with fully functional kitchens, allowing you to whip up a quick breakfast, prepare snacks, or even rustle up a comforting home-cooked dinner. The ability to cater to your family’s unique tastes is a blessing, especially when you’re dealing with picky eaters or dietary restrictions.

Laundry: A Lifesaver for Families

Kids and messes are practically synonymous. The availability of laundry facilities in vacation rentals is like a guardian angel for parents. Say goodbye to packing endless changes of clothes or lugging around a mountain of dirty laundry. With the convenience of on-site laundry, you can keep your family’s wardrobe fresh and ready for the next adventure without breaking a sweat.

Outdoor Spaces

Outdoor play is an integral part of a child’s world, and having a safe and inviting outdoor space can be a game-changer for family travel. Vacation rentals often provide a slice of outdoor paradise, a backyard to run around, a patio to sip morning coffee while the kids explore, or even a balcony to catch the sunset. These spaces offer more than just a breath of fresh air; they’re a canvas for endless moments of joy and exploration.

Hotel Amenities vs. Vacation Rental Comforts

Hotels, while providing a host of amenities, might fall short when it comes to the specialized needs of families. While some hotels offer suites or rooms with mini-fridges, having a full kitchen for meal prep might be a rarity. Laundry facilities could be available, but often at a cost. And outdoor spaces in hotels can sometimes be limited to a communal pool area. Vacation rentals, on the other hand, step up the game with tailored amenities that cater to family dynamics.

Family-friendly amenities aren’t just add-ons; they’re the unsung heroes that enhance your family’s travel experience. They foster a sense of home away from home, where little routines like morning pancakes and evening stories seamlessly blend with your adventure-filled days. As you navigate the choice between hotels and vacation rentals, remember that the right amenities can elevate your family’s journey to a whole new level of comfort and joy.

Tips for your First road trip with a baby!

Privacy and Personal Space

When embarking on family adventures, finding a little corner of the world to call your own is like discovering treasure. Privacy and personal space are gems that can make your journey smoother, especially when there are curious young minds in the mix.

Families, just like snowflakes, come in all shapes and sizes. Some seek quiet corners for midday naps, while others thrive on energetic play. Vacation rentals offer the precious gift of privacy, a haven where you can escape the outside world and create your own bubble of comfort. Parents can unwind without worry, knowing that their child’s laughter won’t disturb neighboring guests. In a private space, you’re the architects of your family’s experience, free to be yourselves without any stage fright.

Vacation Rentals

Picture a home away from home, where the door closes behind you, and the world melts away. Vacation rentals provide private accommodations that embrace you like an old friend, offering separate living areas and bedrooms. Younger children can nap in peace while older siblings explore their interests without interruption. Having a place where family members can retreat to their own space, even if just for a moment, can make a world of difference, fostering a sense of harmony and tranquility.


Hotels have their allure, with bustling lobbies and communal spaces that can spark connections. Yet, for families seeking a cocoon of intimacy, the shared spaces can sometimes be overwhelming. The constant ebb and flow of fellow travelers can impact the privacy that some families cherish. While hotels provide comfortable accommodations, the distinction of personal space can blur in such settings, particularly with younger children.

Choosing between vacation rentals and hotels becomes more than a logistical decision; it’s about crafting an environment where your family’s rhythm can flow freely. Privacy and personal space aren’t just luxuries; they’re the threads that weave the tapestry of memorable family moments. As you ponder your accommodation choice, remember that the right setting can set the stage for a harmonious and serene family voyage.

Baby's view from Mercure Luxembourg off Kirchberg

Local Experience and Immersion

Every journey holds the promise of discovery, not just of new places, but of the beating heart of a destination. The beauty of travel lies in becoming a temporary local, immersing yourself in the colors, sounds, and stories of a place. And when it comes to offering families a genuine taste of local life, vacation rentals step into the spotlight.

Vacation rentals aren’t just places to lay your head; they’re portals into the life of a community. These abodes are often nestled within neighborhoods, allowing families to peel back the layers of a destination and witness its soul. The scent of freshly baked bread from a nearby bakery or the jovial chatter of locals at a café can become part of your daily symphony. It’s these small yet unforgettable details that paint a vivid picture of a place, enriching your family’s travel story.

Staying in a vacation rental means being part of the local fabric, where children can play in parks frequented by neighborhood kids and parents can shop at markets where locals haggle for the best deals. It’s the simple act of living like a local that can lead to the most memorable discoveries. Imagine greeting the same friendly faces every morning as you stroll to a quaint bakery for breakfast. This immersion can instill a deeper understanding of a destination, cultivating a sense of empathy and connection.

While hotels provide glimpses of a destination’s charm, the immersion into local life might not be as profound. The transient nature of hotel stays sometimes limits the depth of interaction with the surroundings. The focus often remains on the hotel’s amenities and services, which can be wonderful but might not capture the essence of the place.

Choosing vacation rentals is akin to stepping into a new chapter of your family’s travel book. It’s an invitation to share in the rhythm of local life, whether it’s chatting with a neighbor or wandering through a charming square. For families, these immersive experiences can be like seeds, planting the desire to explore the world with an open heart and an eye for authenticity. So, as you embark on your next adventure, consider how vacation rentals can turn you into not just a traveler, but a temporary inhabitant of the world you’re exploring.

Convenience and Services

In the grand tapestry of family travel, convenience weaves its own thread, contributing to the overall comfort and ease of the journey. When it comes to catering to families, both hotels and vacation rentals have their unique ways of unfurling the welcome mat.

Hotel Haven

Hotels are like well-orchestrated symphonies, where every note of comfort is meticulously composed. From plush beds that cradle you after a day of exploration to the convenience of daily housekeeping, hotels excel at providing a seamless stay. The familiar services, like a concierge that can recommend family-friendly attractions or on-site dining that caters to all palates, can be a sigh of relief for parents seeking ease and relaxation.

A Taste of Autonomy

On the other hand, vacation rentals offer families the chance to embrace a self-sufficient rhythm. These abodes often come with fully equipped kitchens, allowing you to whip up a quick breakfast before embarking on the day’s adventures. While housekeeping might not be a daily affair, the space becomes yours to inhabit, free from the presence of staff coming and going.

Flexibility and Freedom

Vacation rentals invite you to set your own pace. Meals can be prepared at your convenience, and the living spaces can adapt to your family’s needs. A late-night movie in the living room or a leisurely breakfast around the dining table can become cherished moments. The sense of freedom extends to the flexibility of lounging in your own private garden or terrace, letting the day unfold on your terms.

Balancing Act

Choosing between hotels and vacation rentals can often be a balancing act between the convenience of hotel services and the autonomy that vacation rentals offer. It’s about finding the equilibrium that aligns with your family’s travel style. While hotels streamline comfort, vacation rentals beckon you to create your own haven. As you ponder this choice, remember that both options have their own magic, weaving the fabric of your family’s travel memories in distinct but equally enchanting ways.

Breakfast at Urban yard hotel in Brussels

Budget Considerations

It’s no secret that a well-managed budget can unlock more doors to explore and experiences to savor. When it comes to lodging, both hotels and vacation rentals offer their own brushstrokes on the canvas of affordability.

Hotels, with their polished elegance and array of services, can sometimes carry a heftier price tag. While the allure of attentive staff and amenities is undeniable, the costs can accumulate, especially for larger families seeking multiple rooms or longer stays. That said, hotels often come with the security of fixed rates, helping you plan your expenses with predictability.

Enter vacation rentals, where the equation shifts. These accommodations can be the alchemist that transforms your budget into a more expansive adventure. Particularly for larger families or extended stays, the economics often favor vacation rentals. The ability to cook meals at home can pare down dining expenses, and the spaciousness can allow you to share accommodations with ease.

As you weigh the numbers, consider the dimensions beyond mere dollars. Vacation rentals offer the opportunity to spread out, with multiple bedrooms and communal spaces that invite a sense of togetherness. It’s not just about saving money; it’s about unlocking more room for your family to create lasting memories.

In the grand overture of your family’s travel plans, the budget plays a harmonizing role. Both hotels and vacation rentals have their melodies to contribute. As you contemplate where to lay your heads, keep in mind that while hotels offer elegance and consistency, vacation rentals can hold the key to more frugal freedom. Ultimately, it’s about finding the sweet spot where your family’s financial comfort and travel dreams converge.

We’d love to hear from you! When it comes to your family trips, do you lean towards the comfort and services of hotels, or do you prefer the space and amenities of vacation rentals?