Renting an Airbnb home or apartment without kids is convenient. But when you have young children, staying in a vacation rental is mandatory. Having access to a kitchen, common space to relax while baby is sleeping, and maybe even an outdoor play area makes your day-to-day baby routine more like home and easier than it is in a hotel. With many families doing smaller driving trips this summer and Fall, now is the best time to get up to speed on vacation-rental tips to take the stress out of your stay.

photo: Picsea via Unsplash

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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. Is the home family/kid-friendly? Check out Airbnb for Family for places that are great for kids.

2. If there are stairs or an unsafe area inside the home, is it possible to put up a pressure-mounted baby gate to block it 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 décor items your child could easily 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. Use the map to review the location. Is it 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 if determining if a home is right for you.

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Questions to Ask the Owners
It’s a good idea to reach out to owners before you book a home to ask questions and make sure the house will work for a family with a young child. 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’ll use for baby to sleep in. Also make sure it can fit in a spot that’s away from windows and drapery cords for safety.

4. If it’s listed as a baby-friendly home, ask about specific items, like whether there are unbreakable cups and plates, and if plug outlet covers are available.

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 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 issues for families with a young child, such as steep stairs outside the home that you’ll have to lug a stroller and car seat up and down multiple times a day.

photo: RetyiRetyi via Pixabay

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What to Bring
It’s tough to pack lightly when traveling with a baby. But these tips will help you pack smart and keep your child safe and comfortable in your rental home:

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 in a roll of painter’s tape. You can use this in a pinch to cover outlets, tape up drapery cords, and tape shut drawers and doors you don’t want your child to get into.

For more on safety, read Airbnb’s article on tips when traveling with children.


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What are your best tips for renting a vacation home with a baby? Let us know in the comments!

— Eva Ingvarson Cerise


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