If you're traveling with a large family, whether it's a multi-generational family or just more than two kids, you know how difficult it can be to find suitable lodging. Most hotels offer standard rooms for two adults and two children. They won't allow you to exceed that occupancy limit, even if your family would be fine with sharing a single standard room. There's a good reason for that—they need to follow local hotel codes, and that most often includes setting and enforcing strict occupancy limits on their rooms.
What options does a large family have available for lodging? Thankfully, it's still possible to find inexpensive accommodations even when you're traveling with a large group. Read on for the three best options and how to save money on them.
1. Vacation Suites
Vacation suites nearly always have higher occupancy limits than standard rooms, and they offer more sleeping space—some may have the standard double beds with an additional roll-out bed, while others can feature three or four queen size beds. They're the natural option when large families travel together.
Of course, the immediate problem with vacation suites is that they're much more expensive than standard rooms. When families are traveling on a budget, many ignore them entirely and don't look at which suites are available. However, you can stand to save money on a vacation suite by booking a standard room, calling the hotel staff and asking for a guaranteed upgrade to a suite.
This strategy is more likely to work if it's the off-season in the area you're vacationing in and if you're a member of the hotel chain's rewards club—guaranteed upgrades are a good way for hotels to get repeat business from their guests. If you can manage to find a hotel in the area that will agree to a guaranteed upgrade to a suite when you check in, then you've managed to book a vacation suite for the price of a standard room.
2. Connecting Rooms in a Hotel
The typical budget option for large families who want to stay in a hotel together is to book connecting rooms. Some hotels also refer to these as adjoining rooms. They're connected with a door, which makes it easy for you to keep an eye on your children while you're staying in the hotel.
Booking two connecting rooms in a hotel usually means that you'll pay for two standard rooms, but not always. If you call the hotel and ask, you can often receive a discounted rate on adjoining rooms. Again, you'll have more luck trying this tactic during the off-season. You're filling two vacant rooms at once, which makes them more willing to negotiate room pricing with you.
3. Rustic Lodging
Rustic lodging is a great option for large families who are traveling on a budget, as room prices tend to fall as you get farther away from the city. Many offer spacious lodging options that will easily accommodate large families. You and your family will also have some privacy away from the city, even though you might have to travel a bit to get to your vacation destination.
The best part about rustic lodging for large families is that there's no need to negotiate—you're not relying on hotels needing to fill vacant rooms during the off-season. Prices are simply lower to begin with, which allows you to save money by selecting this lodging option.
Overall, traveling on a budget with a large family is best done during the off-season. Hotels are more willing to work with you on pricing and room upgrades. However, if you're traveling during the busy tourist season or aren't having much luck negotiating with hotel staff, it's best to choose rustic lodging for your family vacation due to its lower pricing and ability to accommodate large groups.