Everybody has a different idea about what makes for a great family vacation. For some, it is about convenience and comfort all the way down the line, and for that, you can’t beat a decent hotel. But even if your idea of perfection is a camping trip in the wild, the kids will really appreciate their vacation if you can top or tail it with a few nights in a rather special hotel. Choosing the right one just requires an awareness of your priorities.
Before you start to look for a hotel, have a clear idea about the important things you want or need. Draw up a list of your priorities. Whether you are going to Dallas, Disneyworld, or San Diego, what you are looking for will be different. If your kids are old enough, involve them in the process, and secure an agreement on the place you finally select. It will give everyone a better picture, teach them the art of compromise, and protect you from taking sole responsibility if things don’t work out!
The biggest thing that will control your choice is the price. Two things matter here:
- You will need to set a budget early on. Make sure that you have a realistic division of cost between the accommodation and the other things you will spend money on.
- Be clear about what you are getting included for your money. Don’t pay for things you don’t want, and don’t let the cost of extras take you by surprise.
One of the most important things about your hotel is its location. You may choose to be:
- Near the airport—but not too near. Look for a hotel that will provide a (free) shuttle service.
- Near the main attractions. For many people, that will mean being in the center, like the Marriott hotel in Dallas, as a base for exploring the city. For others, it will mean easy access to the child-focused venues like parks and shows.
- Near a range of decent restaurants and shops. You don’t want to feel like a prisoner in your hotel.
- Near the beach.
Your list of priorities will show you which facilities you need. Decide what you want in the way of:
- Eating and drinking. Having a decent choice of restaurants within your hotel can make life easier at the end of a busy day.
- Somewhere to swim is a huge factor for most families. Make sure that your hotel offers a good one if that is what will keep your kids happy.
- Child friendliness. The kids will appreciate being treated specially, and you might appreciate children’s events or childcare provision.
It’s Meant to be a Vacation
At the end of the day, when you have made your choices and committed yourself, remember that this is a time to enjoy. Things will go wrong with most vacations, so don’t obsess about making everything perfect. Enjoy the good things, and your family will probably do the same.