I confess one of the reasons my husband and I decided to stop at two children was for travel convenience. Our classic compact family of four can fit in most standard hotel rooms across the globe, comfortably slumbering away side-by-side in two queen-sized beds. Add another kid or two and the dynamics get a little more complicated.
I’m the youngest of four kids myself, and I remember many a family road trip sandwiched between siblings across the width of a motel bed. Sometimes we tried the alternating head-to-toe configuration, but after a few unconscious kicks one or two of us would inevitably crawl in with Mom and Dad midway through the night. As the smallest in the family, I was often relegated to a fold out sofa bed or rollaway cot, which usually meant a restless night with a metal bar digging into my back. I recall more than once sleeping (or at least trying to sleep) on leaky air mattresses or stiff couch cushions artfully arranged on the floor. As we got older, my folks often had to shell out for two if not three rooms for the six of us.
Nowadays, many hotels, motels, resorts and inns have a strict cap on how many patrons are allowed per room, quoting fire codes and liability issues as the reason. When four is the max, what’s a larger family supposed to do? Leave the toddler in the car? Have one or two kids sneak in up the back stairs and hope you don’t get caught?
It’s not always feasible to put youngsters unsupervised in a room of their own, so most parents of three or more kids are forced by default to divide and conquer with two rooms, thereby doubling their accommodation expenditures and spending chunks of their vacations splintered apart from each other. That kind of defeats the purpose (and purse) of the family vacation.
Thankfully there are some hotels out there that can comfortably accommodate five or six people per room (or suite as the case may be) and now there’s an easy way to find them – SixSuitcaseTravel.com.
SixSuitcaseTravel.com has sourced, researched and verified 2500 hotels in 1,100 US cities across all 50 states that can sleep up to six. Many of the listings are big chains that have tapped into the business and family travel market, such as Embassy Suites, Holiday Inn Express, Residence Inn and Homewood Suites, but there are a few smaller local establishments peppered in there too.
Just click on the state and city you are traveling to, and you’ll be presented with a list of hotel options big enough for your brood, including information on pools, breakfasts and a map to the lodging. One click and you will be taken to the hotel website where you can get more details and make a booking.
Plans are in the works to expand the site to include Canadian and Mexican hotels, plus a forum for reader reviews and feedback. I’d like to see them include apartment, condo and home vacation rentals too, as these properties are often more spacious, economical and amenity filled for larger groups.
It’s not a particularly slick or pretty site, but it is useful to this often overlooked niche of travelers. Even those of us with smaller families should keep this site in mind in case grandparents or friends tag along on a trip – or on the off chance we decide to have another child (don’t hold your breath, Ma).
Be sure you have all the travel accessories necessary for family to fully enjoy their vacation.
It is so great to have information about how to find hotel rooms for families of 5 or 6!
The site referenced includes a link to http://www.sleeps5.com which lists hotels primarily in Europe that have a large ‘family room’ — another source for you!
Reading this article is like reading our life story. We have the exact same issue. I have 3 sisters and a nephew and we are always trying to find a hotel which can accomadate us all. My parents started laughing while reading this because it relates to us so well. However these destinations (SixSuitcaseTravle) are in America and we live in Australia. If only we had this too. Thanks for the entertaining article though. =]