Throughout the year, especially during the summer months, it is desirable to have your children accompany you on a relaxing and exciting vacation. Not only are they being exposed to new cultures and experiences, but you also do not have to entrust a babysitter with their safety should they have stayed home instead. Even though your children can remain under your watchful eyes during a family vacation, choosing a proper child-friendly hotel is the key to satisfying their need for entertainment, and your need for a safe environment. The following guidelines will help you distinguish right from wrong in the hectic and confusing world of vacation planning.
Call Hotels Before Booking
This may seem like a no-brainer, but as hotel booking is done more frequently online than ever, people seem to forget the importance of speaking with an actual employee of the facility. Always call hotels that you are considering staying at to inquire about its friendliness towards children. More often than not, even if the hotel isn't the ideal place you'd like your child to stay at, the person on the other end of the phone can lie or exaggerate certain aspects about the hotel (after all, they're employed to bring guests into the hotel, not point them in the other direction). If you are going to be lied to, why would you bother calling? This forms a basis for your opinion on the hotel. The information you are given through the call now will come into play during later stages of planning.
Read Online Review From Past Travelers
With the internet, other travelers' opinions are easily accessed for your reference. Popular travel sites offer unbiased traveler reviews that give you a pretty detailed account of the experience you'll have should you choose the reviewed hotel. Online reviews contain valuable information; far more than you can obtain from most official hotel websites. Detailed lists of amenities, pros, cons, and recommendations are key to helping you select the right child-friendly hotel. How does the phone call from before come into play? Compare the "facts" you obtained from the hotel employee against several sources of traveler reviews. If the information you obtained from the employee does not appear to be factual, this is a sign that it might not be in your best interest to entrust that hotel with housing your children.
View Photos and/or Videos Of The Hotel
Most major hotel chains offer photo tours of their facilities. These can provide a good insight to the hotel's overall appeal and atmosphere. More specifically, these will allow you to decide the kind of atmosphere you would like your children to be around. For example, romantically-themed hotels do not fare well in terms of child-friendliness. Hotels that are colorful and enlightening are generally family-oriented (and, conveniently, cheaper than elaborately-decorated luxury hotels).
Amenities To Look For
Hotels with pools are a big plus for family travel. They provide a location where your children can entertain themselves (and tire themselves out for the night), and you can relax while still remaining close by should something go wrong. Hotels with pools are targeted for vacation travelers, not business travelers, so more of their experience will have been with families. Always look for hotels that offer complimentary breakfast. Children will enjoy the meal options, without you having to worry about the cost of an expensive meal.
Investigate The Surroundings
Finally, as a way to judge how safe of an area your hotel is in, research the hotel's neighborhood. If crime rates are high, and the hotel doesn't look all that impressing, it is not the way to go. Ideal hotels will be located in a strictly tourist-oriented part of town, away from crime ridden low-income residential districts.
I hope that the preceding information has pointed you in the right direction for selecting a child-friendly hotel during your next family vacation. Yes, it involves a lot more work than simply booking whatever is convenient online, but it will pay off well. If your children are entertained and adequately protected (and you are, as well), then your research will have been well worth it. Happy traveling!