Whenever I used to travel, I was exclusively hotels. Everything all in one, my room, food and drink, plus amenities. However, when I had kids I learned that hotels weren't always "kid-friendly". We've got three kids, so as soon as you type in FIVE people staying in the room either your hotel options get cut by 85% or your rates go through the roof! This is when I discovered that staying with Air B&B is a better option for family vacations.
We have been really impressed with the places we have stayed in. More importantly, it has been so much more functional for family travel. When traveling with multiple young children, the idea of eating out for three meals a day is not appealing, and it's pretty darn costly. By renting our own vacation space with a kitchen, we are able to feed them breakfast and get organized for the day. It also allows us to keep enough food and snacks around (minimizing the number of times we need to hit a grocery store) or stopping at a fast food spot for a quick meal. There's also the added benefit of being able to nap your children and not have people running up and down the halls (at least not people you can't control). As someone who's motherhood thrives on routines, staying at an Air B&B allows us to maintain our same patterns with little disruption on our day to day lives.
Here are our tips for finding your family friendly Air B&B with kids: 1. Budget: Typically most air B&B's are pretty spot on with hotels but again you do have more space so it could be higher cost but in the long run I really do think it's worth it for everyone's sanity! 2. Review the Pictures: Some places REALLY invest in photography like Chattanooga's own The Inn at The Gray Dove. If the pictures don't look appealing, most times I've found that the space itself isn't appealing. Also, look for neighborhood pictures or images of the local community and things you might want to enjoy during your stay. 3. Pet-Friendly?: We travel with our dogs on longer trips so it's great that Air B&B has a tab to select not just family friendly spaces but also pet friendly spaces as well. 4. Read the Reviews: Even if it looks like the perfect space, read the reviews. This will tell you how other stayers have enjoyed or not enjoyed the space as well. They might have tips on places to go in their reviews or they could just have some information that maybe isn't listed and could sway whether you chose to rent the space or not. 5. Contact the Host: Always let them know kids will be with you, even if it's family friendly. They might have information you need, they might have certain parts of the property they want you to steer the kids clear of (sheds and such). But just giving them a heads up goes a long way to making your stay smooth sailing!
And while these tips are great, I often child proof the space by moving anything super breakable or putting up TV remotes that kids are likely to misplace to break. I also walk the kids through the house and show them things I'd like them to not touch or be gentle with so they understand that this is NOT their space but we are enjoying it for a short period of time and we'd like others to be able to enjoy the space as much as we do after we leave! We never would have guessed we'd be spending our evening walking barefoot in the grass, swinging in trees or saying hello to a herd of horses but these were all unexpected but PERFECT things for our Air B&B stay and I'm so thankful we got to experience them at The Inn at The Gray Dove.