Choosing the right property for your family will be child’s play with these handy travelling mum’s tips. By Mariam Digges.
Travelling with toddlers is challenging sometimes but if you ask the right questions before booking your accommodation, there will be more fun and fewer challenges. Here are the 10 questions to answer before you book.
Are multi-bedroom rooms available?
Opt for a property with multiple bedrooms, especially if your toddler tends to crash out early. If there aren’t any available, a room with a separate sitting area – even a balcony or patio – is the next best thing. The last thing you want to be doing on your holiday is sipping wine in the dark, in total silence, come 8pm.
We recommend: Quay West Suites Melbourne. The hotel offers apartment-style rooms just steps from the CBD. Book now
Is there a cot surcharge – and if so, how much?
Some properties apply surcharges to portable cots, even when said portable cot looks like it’s been around since the launch of Play School. And they don’t always let you bring your own, either. There are others that will include a cot, gratis. Do yourself a favour and don’t assume the latter; ask the question before booking.
We recommend: Mangrove Hotel Broome. The hotel waives cot-hire fees for one child under two. Book now
Is there a corner room available?
Room upgrades usually sport steeper price tags but asking for a corner room often doesn’t. Every square metre of elbow room is precious with tiny human tornados about. Corner rooms are also often tucked down the end of a hall, meaning noise travel is curbed for bubs with an impressive decibel range.
What about a basic kitchen set-up or appliances?
If your toddler enjoys a warm cup or bottle of milk, a kettle or microwave will avert nose-turns when you try to pass off a cold one and will save you from lugging around bulky bottle-warming kits. And if you have fussy feeders in tow, a fridge will help with basic meal and snack prep, not to mention save you money.
We recommend: Ocean Breeze Resort Noosa. It’s located 50 metres from Noosa Main Beach and all rooms have kitchenettes. Book now
Is there an on-site restaurant?
Dining out is usually the more exciting option but not always the most convenient or face-saving. An on-site restaurant is handy for filling up small bellies fast. It’s also worth asking ahead what time meal services start. If your little one is up with the birds, you may want to buy basic breakfast provisions – especially if you’re in a sleepy town that doesn’t kick into gear until midmorning. And in some parts of the world, dinner doesn’t start until well after seven so you might have to adjust bedtimes or smuggle back some takeaway.
Is there a bath in the room?
It’s near impossible not to disrupt bedtime rituals while holidaying with kids. Embrace the shake-up – you’ll be back to your old routine before you know it and likely planning the next monotony-breaking getaway. But if your toddler is a stickler for predictability or grappling with jet lag, it could pay off to maintain some bedtime rituals. If this includes a bath, ask ahead for a room with one.
We recommend: MacArthur Chambers Brisbane, which has rooms with a bathtub or spa bath that are available on request. Book now
Are you in a busy neighbourhood?
Once upon a time, you wouldn’t have dreamed of a bed that wasn’t within rolling distance of the nearest stretch of hotspots. But if you’re travelling with tots, it’s not a bad idea to steer clear of the town centre and give a wide berth to any loud bars or restaurants with a live music roster. Sleeping in a different bed in an unfamiliar city is plenty for a toddler to adjust to without the addition of loud banter and pounding basslines into the early hours. Ask if the property is right in the thick of it or has any of the above sleep deterrents within earshot.
Is there a babysitting service on-site?
If you’ve been eyeing off the menu of a completely child-unfriendly establishment (note: wine lists qualify), a babysitter could be the answer. Some hotels offer this service as an add-on, while others may be able to recommend a credible babysitter in the area.
We recommend: The Playford Adelaide MGallery by Sofitel, where babysitters are available on request. Book now
Is there a ground-floor room or one with access to a garden?
You can shrink the most spacious property down to the size of a walk-in robe within minutes of adding kids and toys to the mix. Access to an outdoor space – even a shared garden – is a godsend with toddlers around. It will also turn your quarters into a base for recouping rather than somewhere for just crashing out. Ground-floor rooms are handy when staying in smaller boutique hotels with no lift access – stairs and prams or P-plate walkers don’t mix.
We recommend: H Boutique Hotel Pokolbin, Hunter Valley. All rooms feature generous outdoor patios.
Are you in a well-connected spot?
Secluded sanctuaries lack the romance they once promised when you’re commuting with cranky youngsters or doing emergency nappy dashes. How far is the nearest supermarket or pharmacy? Consider how you’ll be getting around during your stay and whether you want to position yourself near public transport. And don’t forget to ask for an airport shuttle service.
We recommend: Avenue Hotel Canberra. It is in the heart of the city and offers a free airport shuttle service.