How We Decide Where to Stay When Traveling with Kids

When it was just Kev and me, it was much easier to pick a hotel because amenities and activities on-site were not a priority. We were out and about most of the time anyway so the criteria was a nice property in a safe neighborhood and that was about it! Since having kids, we’ve developed a different process for deciding where to stay when traveling with kids. In today’s blog post, I’m sharing what we’ve learned over the past 10 years of traveling as a family.

how we decide where to stay when traveling with kids

As Parents, We Decided…

Becoming parents, we decided early on that having kids was not going to stop us from traveling and wanted to make sure that it was going to be enjoyable for them and US.

Yes, I said it. LOL don’t judge me. I am not the least bit embarrassed to say that we don’t just travel to places that are specifically kid-friendly or catered to kids. One of the beliefs we have is that it is important for our kids to know early on that we (as parents) matter, too, and that it is not just about them 100% of the time.

What a Family Vacations Means for Us

A family vacation should be just that – a vacation where every member of the family can enjoy themselves too. We really believe that it is equally important that the adults feel rested, refreshed, and satisfied post-vacation. I think of it as a recharge of our batteries so we can continue to be sane, present parents the rest of the time we’re not on vacation haha! So, how do we accomplish this?

Here’s How It Works Best for Us When Traveling with Kids…

If I were to tell you it was always easy, I would clearly be lying. It was not easy in the beginning because we had no clue what we needed to look out for. Now that we’ve been traveling with them for over a decade, here are some tips that I hope you’ll find helpful!

#1 Mindset

Erase the mom/dad guilt! Mindset is everything even when you’re making vacation decisions and this is no exception LOL! Embrace the fact that it’s ok if you want to go to a golf or spa resort. It’s ok if you don’t want to do Disney or a Water Park again and again. If you do, that’s cool. Those are magical places! If you don’t, that’s cool, too. It does not make you a selfish, horrible parent. After all, kids are happy when their parents are happy, too, right?

#2 What Type of Travelers Are You?

You know your family best. Think about how you would describe your family when you’re doing something you all love to help decide where to stay when traveling with kids. For our family, there are 2 main themes. We love lazing by any body of water (beach, lake, pool, etc) and we also love immersing ourselves in the culture. Other examples that might describe your travel themes could be: We absolutely love hiking in nature. Cruise ships are our thing!
What’s your family’s travel theme(s)?

#3 Location Selection When Traveling With Kids

Based on the above, decide if you want to find a place that can cater to ALL your needs or if you want to do alternate holidays with a focus on being a beach bum or avid explorers of the city. Most of our vacations are alternate ones with maybe 1 or 2 activities that satisfy another family favorite. 

traveling with kids in Malaysia

Here’s How We Chose the Meritus Pelangi Resort in Langkawi, Malaysia

Let me give you an example using our trip to Langkawi. We chose the Meritus Pelangi Resort because we decided to focus on a beach vacation and searched for a property that had a white sandy beach and water sports. A resort with pools was a bonus with onsite activities for the kids and a spa for the adults. We managed to sprinkle it with a healthy dose of culture, too, as they had henna tattoo artists and local batik painting activity onsite. Et Voila!

If you’re thinking well that must have cost a pretty penny! As always, I’m going to be honest and say yes, BUT… it also wasn’t too crazy. How? To our advantage, it was courtesy of the foreign exchange rate. $1 US Dollar is approximately $4 Malaysian Ringgit. I LOVE a good deal so I do invest the time to make sure I’m getting the most for each dollar spent. The research pays off and I’ve scored many great savings by meticulously comparing cost on various sites and sometimes even breaking up flight from hotels. This is especially helpful when you have points you can redeem for flights or hotels. If you don’t know already, several points programs release points deals for specific locations several times over the course of the year so make sure you pay attention to those!

Have you been to Langkawi? What Are Your Best Tips for Traveling with Kids?

Where did you stay and what would you recommend we do next time we are there? Let me know in the comments! 

XoXo, Mirfie & the Chan Fam

PS Don’t forget to check out the rest of our culturally inspired stories from travels around the world on the blog HERE!

Mirfie Chan

Hi, I’m Mirfie. Born and raised on the beautiful tropical island of Singapore, love led me to a magical winter wonderland in New York City. An unexpected plot twist in the love story and I found myself moving to NYC permanently. My heart refuses to choose so I call both these amazing cities home! Today, I share this imperfectly perfect life with 3 of my favorite humans. Welcome to my little haven – imagined in 2020 where I share the adventures, recipes and glimpses of our daily life.