Finding an Airbnb that is family-friendly isn’t as hard as it might seem! It does involve a bit of research but these tips will ensure that you find the perfect, safe place for your family the next time you take a vacation!
We love staying at Airbnb’s and prefer them to hotels! However, it’s really important to be able to find a place that’s great for our family and not too much of a tight squeeze or an awkward and hard to find location.
Our family has stayed at Airbnb homes in Florida, Missouri, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Indiana. Stays have included a townhome, full size home, condo, studio “cabin” below a main home (just my husband and I) and an Amish “Dawdi Haus” (in-laws home attached to the Amish family’s main home). So we have a good amount of experience to go off of! :)
We have four children, so there are six of us who need a place to stay. Our oldest is 15 and our youngest is 7, just for reference!
To find a good Airbnb for your family, you’ll want to follow these 7 tips!
First though, make yourself an account on Airbnb if you’ve never used it before. It’s very simple and takes just a couple of minutes and it’s free of course to look around. Sign up with an email address that you check frequently otherwise you may miss messages when you book a stay.
7 Tips for Finding a Family-Friendly Airbnb
1) Try for a home with a Superhost.
Superhosts have the highest ratings and are evaluated frequently to be sure that they still fit that qualification. They have to complete a certain number of stays (10+) and maintain a rating of higher than 90% satisfaction. Most superhosts are experienced hosts and know what families need.
That being said, there certainly is the possibility that those who aren’t yet rated as Superhosts can still do a great job!
But when we first started staying in Airbnb’s and I wasn’t sure exactly what to look for, I narrowed my search down to only Superhosts (you can do that in the search function under “more filters”–see photo below).
2) Look for homes with lots of detailed reviews, specifically as it relates to families.
We like to pick homes with many reviews. And if there is a bit of a “ding” on their rating, I like to read the negative reviews. Sometimes it is a problem with the guest, not the host!
Read the reviews VERY carefully. If there are issues with cleanliness, that will often come up in reviews. I’m very picky about having a clean Airbnb (not even because of the pandemic, but just because I don’t want other people’s hair and garbage left behind!)
Many times I’ll look for descriptions that say “this is for families, this home is not a place for parties”, because what other people have said is that the homes where there are parties are more “worn out” if that makes sense. This is fine for those who are looking for a place to have parties with friends! That’s just not us. We prefer locations that are geared toward families.
You may also want to notice how many people comment on the friendliness or availability of the host. When I’m on vacation with my kids, I don’t want huge issues with the house to come up and then not be able to get a hold of the host!
We also look for homes where we have the entire place to ourselves (there is an option for that under “more filters”. I don’t like sharing a home with another family because I always feel like we make too much noise!!
Below: enjoying some time on the porch homemade strawberry lemonade at our Amish “Dawdi Haus” in 2019! It was arranged by a guy who books Airbnb stays for the Amish, since they of course don’t use the internet!
3) Use the “more filters” function to narrow down your results quicker.
When I first do a search and results pop up, I then select “more filters” and start choosing specifics.
You can pick certain amenities you want, such as hot tub, pool, pets allowed, property type, cancellation flexibility, and more.
You can also choose a specific number of beds and bedrooms, though sometimes I leave that as is because if a house has a loft with two sets of bunk beds, for instance, Airbnb won’t “pick up” on that for a number of beds and you may miss the perfect place!
Especially in a location with a ton of stays, it makes it less overwhelming if you narrow things down from the very beginning. Once you get more experienced with Airbnb, you can use fewer filters in case there’s a place that you missed the first time around due to some strange filter response by Airbnb!
4) Look for great amenities for families at the Airbnb.
Notice what amenities they have that would be appropriate for your family. If you have little ones with strollers you may not want to pick a place that is accessible only by steep flights of stairs. If you travel in a big SUV, you probably want to make sure that there is space in the driveway for parking.
Some condo resorts have pools available for you to use as a guest (for no cost). Some locations are close to a Walmart or restaurants. Do you want to be closer to those things or more off the beaten path? Do you want extras or are you just looking for a warm place to sleep at night because you’ll be at nearby attractions or theme parks from open to close?
Want a pool or board games? Strollers and pack and plays provided? Room fans for noise included? There are LOTS of options for amenities, you just have to look closely!
Also be aware that some hosts provide more “starter” items than others, like toilet paper, kleenex, coffee pods, towels and more. Don’t get caught at an Airbnb with no toilet paper when you arrive! ;)
5) Look for a place you can really spread out and that has attractions nearby for kids to enjoy.
There are some really cute cottages on Airbnb, but that may not be enough space if you’re crammed inside for 6 days during the winter on a “vacation”!
You have to decide HOW you will be spending your time to know how much space you need. I made a mistake for our family choosing a condo in one location that was so cute but did not have a lot of space. We were there during a cold time of the year and our kids were basically on top of each other the whole time.
Since then, I’ve made it a point to look for Airbnb locations with “spread out space” as I like to call it. And two bathrooms, at least ;)
I also like to try and choose locations that aren’t in the middle of town. I think downtown areas are cute for couples but for our family it just isn’t our style. Preferably, we choose a place with a big yard or some playground equipment for the younger two kids, but try not to be too far from the attractions we are visiting.
BUT, there may not be a way to be both close to attractions and have space. We personally would choose a longer drive to attractions over cramming into a smaller space but you have to do what works for your family!
6) Figure out what you as the guest need to do before you leave.
If a host requires you to take out the trash, do the laundry, strip the beds, and more, and you have an early morning flight, you may not want to have to do all that when you’re rushing out on your departure day. It’s completely their right to require that of guests! But you’ll want to be aware of those details before you book.
7) Compare prices closely.
Cost isn’t everything but it does matter. If you pay more for a place, you should reasonably expect an excellent stay and more amenities. On the other hand, there may be Airbnb’s that have great amenities but actually cost less. (As with everything, YMMV–your mileage may vary!) You just have to do a lot of looking around to make sure you’re getting the best deal and if the price seems too good to be true, there may be a reason.
The exception to this is if you’re looking for a place off-season, you can find a great deal. For instance, when we stayed in Missouri this past November, we stayed at a condo on a lake. Because there aren’t lake activities going on at that time of year (though it was in the low 60s when we were there!), the cost was much lower than it would have been if we’d come in the summer.
Pay attention to the fees as well. Some cleaning fees can be higher than others and that can often make up for a difference in nightly price between places you are comparing.
Below: The view from our Branson, MO Airbnb in November of 2020!
Feel free to contact the host with any questions before you book!
Most hosts for Airbnb are super responsive and friendly. If they’re not, that’s probably a sign you don’t want to book their location! Ask lots of questions before you secure your booking.
It’s very important to research what the cancellation policy is too–you don’t want to get caught not being able to go on your trip and then lose all your money.
Staying at an Airbnb that is family-friendly is a great way to spread out and enjoy some time together in a place that may actually save you a lot of money over a hotel and has more amenities that you’ll enjoy!
Have any questions about staying at an Airbnb? I’d be happy to answer in the comments!