What makes a great Airbnb with kids? The unqualified answer is it depends. I know that isn’t terribly decisive, but it is true. It really depends on what you are looking for and your goals. However, I’ll tell you about what makes a great Airbnb for me and my kids. I’ll also give you the checklist so you know how to use Airbnb search for your next or first rental.
Airbnb: Rent Your Own Place
As a family, I want our own space, so I always look for the option to rent the Entire place. My kids can be noisy at times and I hate the idea of disturbing others. My kids wake up very early as well and this would for sure disturb other guests. Privacy when you are a family traveling is the way to go.
Airbnb: 2 Bedrooms is a Must
Beds for everyone, preferably with a bedroom for the boys. So, I typically search for at least 2 bedrooms. Even better if they don’t have to share a bed. Moms and Dads out there tired of hearing “He touched me”, “He was on my side of the bed”, “He was taking the blankets”, or a million variations of these statement know why this is a lifesaver! If you want 2 bedrooms, look at the pictures carefully, sometimes people will advertise as 2 bedrooms, but really one of the “bedrooms” is a pull-out sofa in the living area.
Wifi and Internet access is a must. I typically email the host to ask about the speeds available. Sometimes people do not know what type of internet speeds they have. So, I ask question like is it good enough for Netflix or Pandora? Or I ask them to go to speedtest.net and take a screen shot. You want to have 5 Mbps (Megabits per second) for video, 25 Mbps for 4K HD video, 1-2 Mbps for audio. Our recent rental in Washington DC had good speeds.
Airbnb: A well-stocked Kitchen
A kitchen that includes a fridge and a stove top is a must. Ovens and microwaves are very good to have. Big American style ovens are very rare in many places. Toasters and dishwashers are a big plus too. I love not having to wash every single dish by hand. You can’t search on some of these details, but you can read it in the description and see it in the pictures of how the kitchen is equipped. Some places include coffee, tea, or other food items. That is always nice as well.
A Washing machine is a must for stays of a week of longer and a dryer is very high on my wish list. Having access to a washing machine allows us to carry less clothing which makes our travel days so much easier. Places with washing machines are much more common than places with dryers. Sometimes having access to a shared washing machine and dryer is a good compromise too.
Airbnb: Dining and Working Space
The dining room space must seat 4 people to eat a meal. I can’t tell you how many Airbnb places sleep 4 people in proper beds, but only have space for 2 people to eat at a time. A desk or a working space is a must, remember we are doing school and work from the road. For us, I like the idea of having a table where we can leave 2 laptops set up while we are having dinner. This means a table that seats 6 or one table that seats 4 and another table. Having 2 tables lets us leave our school set up, which means less dragging of the feet when it is time to start school. Keith will be working from the road, so him having his own place while I help the kids with their homework is a big plus as well. Typically, a desk in the bedroom where he can shut the door is ideal.
Airbnb: Outdoor Space
An outdoor space, patio to eat outside or a pool area if we are somewhere that the weather is nice. In DC, we had this beautiful outdoor area. If the weather was nicer, the kids and I would have done homework on the patio. In France, we rented a place with a nice big garden for the kids to play soccer in. In Italy in the summer, access to a pool was important. Pay attention to season and what you might want. Perhaps, you don’t care about outdoor space at all.
Airbnb: Lounge Area
A lounging area is important for us as well. So many Airbnb places don’t have a family room type place. They might have a sofa in the kitchen, but no TV hangout space. If we are home and not working on school, it is nice to have a place to chill out and watch a movie as a family. Or for Keith and I to relax and have a beer while the kids are in bed.
Airbnb: Transportation and Location
If you are in a city and you aren’t planning on having access to a car, proximity to public transportation is important. In addition, being close to a grocery store is very important too. If you need to carry groceries 20 blocks to your place, you probably aren’t buying too much. This means you won’t make use of that nice kitchen that you spent all that time checking out! If you are renting outside of a city and plan to have a car, free parking is something that I search for as well.
Airbnb: Smoke Free
There is no way to search for places that are smoke free or pet free or Airbnb, but if a place says they accept smokers or pets, I cross it off my list. You can search for places that do allow smoking though if that is important to you.
Airbnb: Climate Control
Heating or Air conditioning depending on the location and time of year. New York City over New Years, heating is a must. Likewise, Rome in August means Air conditioning is very important.
I only look at places that have lots of excellent reviews. Read them carefully to see what people have said. Was it noisy? Next to a bar that is open late at night? Upstairs neighbors who wear bricks for shoes? Near a smelly landfill? Host unavailable? In an unsafe area? Watch for the details in the reviews and read them with an eagle eye so you don’t get any nasty surprises when you check in. If you have never used Airbnb before, if you signup with this link you will get $40 credit towards your first stay.
I know that seems like quite a bit of things to look for, but after all it is your vacation. You want to make the most of it! What is the most important thing to you in an Airbnb rental?