hosting in the motherhood

5 Ways to Give Families a Kid-Friendly Home Away from Home, Part 3

There are a lot of details families need to keep track of when they’re traveling- what to do, what to pack, check in, check out, rental cars… the list goes on and on.  Traveling with kids makes it harder, and traveling with young kids makes it harder still!  It’s almost impossible to plan a trip without something falling through the cracks, but your hosting skills can help keep that from happening.  To help your guests have their smoothest stay ever, use these five tips:

1. Keep it Flexible with Check In and Check Out

Missing naptime can be a recipe for disaster in a family with little ones, and a strict check in or check out can force families into that not so pleasant situation or one of many others.  Being just a little bit more flexible can save some families a lot of hassle.  But this doesn’t mean every guest needs a completely unique time to arrive and depart, don’t worry! There’s a middle ground where you want to be.  Have a consistent check in and check out time for all of your guests, whatever works best for your schedule.  But, if it’s at all possible, give the guests the option to adjust it.  Even moving their arrival a half hour earlier or later could make all the difference to an exhausted family.  Most STRs have strict times, and just a little bit of flexibility can make others’ lives so much easier and maybe help you get that glowing review. 

2. Washers and Dryers are Must Haves (with directions!)

Laundry is a necessary part of life, and, despite everyone’s wishes, part of vacation as well.  So make it easy!  Make sure all of your properties have a washer and dryer, and keep them somewhere easy to access.  On top of that, provide instructions on how to use them.   Every machine is a little bit different, so let your guests know how to use them and save everyone the hassle!  Everyone has accidentally shrunk something in the dryer, but we can all agree that vacation isn’t the time for it. 

3. Help with transportation

Nobody wants to get trapped at the airport!  Guests traveling from far away destinations can run into a lot of trouble trying to find transportation, so give them a hand.  Providing your guests with a list of local places to rent cars can be a big help.   Let them know which places you can call to book in advance, which places are close by, and anything else they might want to know.  Also provide them with bus or subway information, if your area has them. 

4. Safety First

If your rental has a pool, a pond, or a lake, it should have some life jackets, too.  Make sure you have a wide range of sizes, so that anyone who needs a life jacket can find one with the proper fit, which is a safety necessity.  Include any other safety equipment that might be needed for activities, such as a fence if there’s a drop off in the woods or helmets for any bikes, roller skates, or skateboards.        

To make your house safe for kids, consider having childproof locks on any low cupboards that not just anyone should be getting into.  Make sure your rental has up to date smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, and fire extinguishers.  It’s also helpful to provide baby gates.  But be careful- these aren’t all of the safety features you need, they’re just a jumping off point.  Safety is key, and your renters will appreciate you for it!


5. Area Guides

Exploring a new area is one of the best parts of traveling, but getting lost isn’t.  Help your guests out by giving them a local area guide of all the go-to spots and necessities.  Make sure to include grocery stores, parks, playgrounds, and restaurants, as well as any local gems, such as museums or nature hikes.  Make sure your guide is organized and easy to use.  You can either keep it completely digital or leave a printed copy in your houses.  Some great ways to make one are Canva and TouchStay.  You can either combine your area guide and house guide, or keep them separate- both are good!

Traveling can be a pain, but you can help fix it!  Every little thing you do to help make guests’ trips smoother will help them have more precious family time, and will leave a lasting impact.  Helping guests get to know the area can introduce them to their new favorite park, museum, or restaurant that they’ll talk about until they come back next year.  Having safety gear wherever it’s needed will ease parents’ nerves and help them to get in on the fun too.  The small changes you make can lead to big results and the memories of a lifetime, so make it happen!

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