When I was in my 20s, I would have never thought about renting an apartment when traveling. This was before the days of Air B&B, so just finding an apartment to rent took extra effort. It was effort I wasn’t willing to put forth, and truthfully, an apartment seemed like a waste of money. Hotels were sufficient for my needs, and I assumed much cheaper than renting an apartment. Of course, all of this was BC – Before Child. The apartment or hotel debate didn’t enter my mind until I became a parent. All of a sudden, hotels didn’t seem to cut it anymore. Things are different traveling with our daughter, and while hotels typically have all the amenities needed for kids, there are definitely benefits to renting an apartment when traveling.

5 Benefits to Renting an Apartment when Traveling

No Stress Over Noise Level

Parenthood and Passports - Apartment or Hotel
Our kid… just being a kid and climbing on the apartment furniture.

If you haven’t ever noticed, kids are loud. They cry loud, they play loud, they laugh loud, they even run loud. My house is rarely quiet. If it is, that means my daughter is either asleep or getting into something she isn’t supposed to. Kids, especially really young ones, don’t yet understand hotel etiquette. For this reason, staying in a hotel with our toddler is miserable. When you rent an apartment, the noise level isn’t as much of a concern. Sure, you may still have to share a wall with someone, but chances are the wall isn’t paper thin, and there’s likely more space and even rooms between those walls to act as a noise barrier.

When staying in an apartment, you don’t have to worry as much about your crying baby waking others up. You don’t have to worry about them being too noisy. You’re children can be their normal loud selves (within reason) without being completely discourteous to others.

More Space

Parenthood and Passports - Apartment or HotelWhen deciding between an apartment or hotel, space is also a factor to consider. This is another one of those benefits to an apartment that I never thought about prior to parenthood. My pre-kid mentality was that most my time would be spent sightseeing, so even a cramped hotel room was plenty good enough. My post-kid mentality is a little different. Anyone who has ever shared a single hotel room with a kid with a 7:30pm bedtime will understand. An extra room is a must. For us, it means when our daughter goes to bed, we no longer have to sit quietly in the dark scrolling through Facebook on our phones so we don’t wake her. When we rent an apartment, we can actually sit and enjoy adult time in a living room, have a glass of wine and discuss all of the awesome things we did that day.

Less Expensive

Parenthood and Passports - Apartment or Hotel
The room in our luxury apartment in Poland.

This one might surprise you, but renting an apartment can actually be much cheaper than a hotel. This is especially the case if you are staying in a place longer than 3 days. When we were in Krakow, Poland last summer, we rented a luxury apartment for $60 US per day. It was nice, centrally located, and much less expensive than the surrounding hotels. Having a kitchen also means you can cook meals instead of dining out all the time, which is another huge savings when you’re traveling.

Easier to stick to routine

Remember that 7:30pm bedtime? That’s tough to stick to when staying in a hotel. Children are creatures of routine, and when traveling their little lives are turned upside down. That can make for a cranky kid who doesn’t sleep well and is extra irritable. When considering whether to stay in an apartment or hotel, it’s good to take into account how regimented you’re child’s daily routine is at home. Chances are, just the feel of an apartment will make a child feel more relaxed and comfortable in a new environment.

Traditional Amenities

Parenthood and Passports - Apartment or HotelAlthough hotels can offer a bit of luxury, apartments offer those traditional amenities and comforts that you would find in your own home. A full kitchen to cook in, a washing machine and sometimes even a dryer to do laundry, dish soap to wash bottles if traveling with a baby, a refrigerator to store milk, formula, or baby food if you are traveling with some.

Apartment or Hotel? When a hotel wins.

Although there are definite benefits to staying in an apartment when traveling, there are times hotels are still the better option.
  • When traveling solo or as a couple without your children, hotels can be a relaxing and pampering experience. Hotels that offer a continental breakfast can also save money on dining out, and can be a lifesaver when you have an early flight and no time to run out and grab breakfast elsewhere.
  • Some apartments do not provide cribs while most hotels universally do. If traveling with a baby or a toddler and staying in an apartment, you might have to bring your own if one is not provided. However, you can find some fairly compact cribs that aren’t too difficult to travel with.
  • Another major factor when deciding between an apartment or hotel is location. If you are looking to be close to tourist attractions, you can always find hotels within walking distance. Apartments aren’t always as readily available, but in most major cities, you can still find them fairly close to popular sites.
Parenthood and Passports - Apartment or Hotel
Waiting for the landlord to let us into our apartment in Poland last summer
  • Finally, the check in process for a hotel is typically much easier than an apartment. While some apartment owners will leave a key for you to let yourself in, others will not. Particularly, when renting an apartment where a management company is involved, you will likely have to call ahead to meet someone at the apartment to let you in, and walk you through the studio,  go over any rules and features, and answer questions.
Parenthood and Passports - Apartment or Hotel
Have you rented an apartment when traveling? If so, which do you prefer, an apartment or hotel?

25 thoughts on “Apartment or Hotel? Benefits to an apartment when traveling”

  1. There are definitely benefits to both and I think you hit the nail on the head with your comments! I have to say, I normally prefer an apartment if I’m staying for a longer period of time because then I can cook and feel more at home. However, if it’s a one or two night stay, I’m all about the comfort and convenience of a hotel!

  2. This is a debate I’m having right now for my next ‘big’ trip! Although I don’t travel with children, many of these benefits are great for adults too – being able to cook my own meals and do laundry are the 2 biggest ones for me! Appreciate your perspective.

    1. Being able to do laundry is great! Even with a kid in tow we often backpack all of our belongings. It helps to have a washing machine so we don’t have to bring as many clothes.

  3. We rented an apartment in Steinhatchee, Florida years ago when the kids were tiny. It was great to have the freedom of room & the kitchen! Always love that kitchen option- it has saved us lots! I have a friend that always rents and swears by it!

    1. Having a kitchen does save a ton of money. We don’t always rent an apartment now but if it’s a feasible option, it’s usually our first choice.

  4. Nice post! Although I mostly use hostel now, because I travel alone, I also prefer using apartment if I go with my family or friends 🙂 Krakow is so cheap for $60 a day in a luxury apartment!

  5. Even when I am just traveling with my partner, he and I both prefer the apartment option. We have found that we are not so cramped, it is a more enjoyable and easier living experience. Plus we generally find it represents better value for money. This is true even if we spend most of our time away visiting sites etc, we at least enjoy our time more in an apartment.

    1. Agree! My husband and I haven’t traveled without the kid in 2 years (long overdue!) but I imagine if we did, we would probably still opt for an apartment.

  6. This is fantastic! We just returned from Spain and France with our baby and 3yo and did a mix of both. Location was definitely a deciding factor as we wanted to be close enough to walk places. It’s also so important to think about the tiny elevators abroad.

    1. Ha! The tiny elevators crack me up. In one of the places where we stayed, I had to ride up the elevator with our toddler and my husband had to catch the next one because it was too small for the three of us.

  7. I was the same way when I was younger and would have never thought of staying in an apartment. But has my tastes have changed, so have what I am looking for in accommodations. One of the added benefits I could see is staying in an apartment could have a better chance of giving you and experience that is more like a local and you can get a different perspective on the city.

    1. Absolutely! We definitely feel more connected to a place when we rent an apartment because we get a feel for what it would be like to live there.

  8. If I was traveling with my 3 year old I would choose an apartment everytime. Not because she’s noisy (I don’t mind her bothering other people being noisy) but for the kitchen. It makes a huge difference being able to feed them a decent diet whilst on holiday. The apartment you rented in Krakow was great value!

    1. The kitchen is definitely the biggest benefit. Although, we are not as strict with her diet when we travel as we are at home. And yes, the apartment in Kraków was awesome. Everything in Kraków is a great value!

  9. For me apartment is better as I am vegetarian so I can cook my style in kitchen. But sometimes hotel is better because they provide 24 hours service. You have highlighted genuine reasons for renting an apartment

  10. I always used to go for hostels or hotels but now I lean heavily towards Airbnb – I think it is the value for money more than anything. I don’t have kids but I find that you often have more space for a smaller price tag and having a kitchen is a great way to save on food costs!

  11. Definitely some good considerations. We particularly need to work on staying on routine, both in diet and schedule, while travelling. This is especially important for extended stays where the check in process becomes significantly less important.

  12. My family recently tried an apartment (booked through Airbnb) for the first time when we went to Hong Kong in January this year, and we liked it so much that we did it again when we went to Sri Lanka in April. I had heard some really bad stories about Airbnb stays here in China and so I was hesitant to try it, but I’m so glad we did. Your post sums up perfectly the benefits of both.

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