When I was in my 20s, I would have never thought about renting an apartment when traveling. This was before the days of AirBnB, 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 vs. 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 vs. a hotel when traveling.
5 Benefits to Renting an Apartment when Traveling
No stressing over noise level
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.
Apartments are more spacious than hotels
When 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.
Apartments are often less expensive
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. Unlike most hotels, apartments also have a kitchen, which means you can cook meals instead of dining out all the time. That is another huge savings when you’re traveling!
Apartments make it easier to stick to a routine
Remember that 7:30pm bedtime of our daughter’s that I mentioned early? 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.
Apartments offer traditional comforts of home
Although 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, and a refrigerator to store milk, formula, or baby food if you are traveling with some.
Apartment vs. Hotel? When a hotel is a better.
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 travel cribs that are great for babies and toddlers.
- 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.
- 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.
AirBnB or Hotel: which is best for you?
While we typically prefer to rent an AirBnB vs. a hotel, determining which is best really depends on your travel style, the length and purpose of your visit, budget, and your destination.
Have you rented an apartment when traveling? If so, which do you prefer, an apartment or hotel?