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Choosing Kid Friendly Accommodation
Choosing Kid Friendly Accommodation

Jaci's Safari Lodge, Madikwe Game Reserve

Photo by Alfredo De Simone

Are children allowed in the hotel pool? How far is it to the nearest park? Are the hotel rooms childproof? When researching where to stay with kids, it doesn't take long to realize that most travel brochures and many hotel websites fail to provide the details parents need to make informed decisions. Yet when traveling with kids, the accommodation can make or break a trip.

The following tips will help you select the right accommodation for your next family vacation whether you plan to tour a world capital or relax at a countryside inn.

The nature of the trip
Before you scour the web or wade through travel brochures, outline your trip priorities. Once you've established a budget, define the type of vacation you are planning as well as the experience you are looking for. You will want to consider the amount of time you want to spend with the kids as well as the activities you wish to engage in. Don't forget to factor in your mode of transport. How you plan to get around could influence your decision on where to stay.

Prioritize your needs
The search for the perfect hotel, country inn or B&B need not be reminiscent of the hunt for the Holy Grail. Prioritizing your family's requirement means important needs will be met. Room service? Refrigerator in the room? Shower or bath? Swimming pool? In-house restaurant? Distance from major tourist attractions? Decide which are most important to you.

Evaluate amenities
When evaluating amenities, don't stop with the hotel swimming pool. An entrance ramp and elevator can make a big difference when traveling with babies and toddlers. Lift or folding a stroller each and every time you enter and exit the hotel can quickly become a chore! Suites with a kitchenette offer more than extra room, they make it easy to feed kids when they're hungry. While an in-room arcade may sound attractive, usage will largely depend on the amount of vacation time you plan to spend in the hotel room.

Assess attitude
While attitude is difficult to evaluate online, the content of an accommodation's website will provide insight to how they view their smaller quests. Many hotels as well as small inns and lodges have a section entitled children. Kid's meals and menu's as well as caveats on children in the spa and hotel pool are likely to be outlined here. If the website does not mention children, they may not be welcome. When in doubt, email the accommodation and request their kids' policy.

Qualify reviews
The best source for recommendations is likely to be another family or a family-oriented travel guide. Posing questions on a travel forum and reading reviews on family travel sites will extend your reach beyond family and friends. Yet it is important to determine an author's standards before you accept their review. Read what they have to say about places you have already visited or that friends and family with common interests have recommended.

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Travel Trivia
Cinque Terre is Italian for: