Renting an Airbnb home or apartment is a great way to travel with young children. Having access to a kitchen and washing machine, common space to relax while baby is sleeping, and even an outdoor play area makes your day-to-day baby routine easier than it would be in a hotel. With many families doing smaller driving trips this summer and autumn, now is the best time to get up to speed on vacation-rental tips that take the stress out of your stay.
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What to Look for in an Airbnb Listing
Pre-baby, you might have been more interested in luxury amenities, but post-baby, it’s all about safety and comfort. Here are questions to consider as you review Airbnb listings:
1. Does the listing say that the home is family/kid-friendly?
2. Are there stairs, fireplaces or other areas that seem unsafe for little ones? If so, is it possible to put up a pressure-mounted baby gate to block them off?
3. Is the floor comfortable and clean for kids to crawl and play on?
4. Are there sharp edges on coffee tables and fireplaces that could cause injuries?
5. Do low kitchen cabinets have knobs you can fit a temporary cabinet lock over?
6. Are there fragile items your child could pull down and break or be injured by? If so, are there closets or high shelves where these items can be placed during your stay? (Remember to put them back where they were before you leave.)
7. Is there an on-site laundry? This is key when traveling with a baby, so you can bring less clothing and wash what gets stained.
8. If there’s a balcony, does it have railings so your baby can’t slip through?
9. Is the home near a park, library or other child-friendly spot? Is it near a busy road that could be loud or dangerous?
10. What do the reviews say? Comments from other families are especially helpful in determining if a home is right for your family.
Questions to Ask the Owners
Reach out to owners before you book to let them know you’ll be bringing a child and to ask questions about the home. Some questions you may want to ask include:
1. Does the host add a fee for children to cover messes or damaged property?
2. Will you have access to garbage cans outside the home? Unless you plan to travel with a diaper pail, you’ll want to dispose of dirty diapers in a place where they won’t smell up your living quarters.
3. If you’re bringing a travel crib, confirm that its dimensions will work in the room you plan to have baby sleep in. Also make sure it can fit in a spot that’s away from windows and drapery cords for safety.
4. If the owner has indicated it’s a baby-friendly home, ask about specific safety issues, like if furniture is secured to the wall.
5. If there’s a pool or hot tub, is there a functioning safety gate or cover?
6. If the listing states there are high chairs, play pens and/or a crib available, ask if you have to request them in advance and if they’ll be on site when you arrive.
7. Ask if there are any potential concerns for families with a young child, such as windows that don’t lock or steep stairs outside that you’ll have to lug a stroller and car seat up and down multiple times a day.
photo: RetyiRetyi via Pixabay
What to Bring
Pack smart and keep your child safe and comfortable in your rental home by following these guidelines:
1. If you’re staying in a larger city, look for a baby rental store near where you’ll be and find out if they can supply you with a high chair, crib, toys and more during your stay.
2. Pack black garbage bags and duct tape to put over the windows in baby’s room if light streams in, especially if your child is used to sleeping with blackout shades at home.
3. Bring your own sheets for the crib even if they’re provided. Yours will likely be softer and won’t smell like a detergent your child isn’t familiar with. You’ll all have a happier stay if your baby sleeps well.
4. Throw rubber bands, outlet covers, and a roll of painter’s tape in your bag. When you arrive at the home, do a babyproofing sweep of each room. Secure drawers with rubber bands if they contain cleaning products or fragile items. Put covers on the outlets, and use the tape to raise drapery cords and blinds out of baby’s grasp. Check out these genius ideas for DIY babyproofing that can make your rental home safer.
For more on keeping your kids safe, read Airbnb’s article on safety tips when traveling with children.
— Eva Ingvarson Cerise
featured photo: iStock