Finding hotels for large families can not only be expensive, but sometimes hotels for big families can be really hard to find! As a family of seven, we’re often looking for hotels for 6 people or more. (Our oldest can’t always join us these days. She has ventured into the Adult World of Responsibility…) 

Over the years, we’ve uncovered lots of tips for traveling with kids. This include finding the BEST hotels for large families! Or sometimes, accommodation for large family groups when hotels are just too costly or hard to find.

Hopefully, you’ll find this post helpful for keeping YOUR large family travel on a budget!

Lathrop family travel tips for hotels for large families

We typically use both Booking.com and Hotels.com to check prices and locations. Hotels.com gives you free nights as repeat stay rewards. On the other hand, Booking lets you earn various travel discounts and perks. 

We typically search hotels AND flights simultaneously. You can often get a better deal by adjusting the dates on one or the other. This is one of our fave family vacation tips for finding the best price combination of hotels and transportation, since these two are often the biggest expenses of travel with kids!

When you’re looking for hotels for large families, make sure you search each site in a new incognito window of your browser. 

Some sites can be sneaky and raise rates if they think you’re more likely to book something. This can happen if you look at the same hotel more than once, for example. Some sites will raise the rates so you think that the price is going up and feel more pressure to book immediately.

As a general rule when booking any accommodation, we always book rooms that have free cancellation. Then, I keep looking for better deals periodically in case we can save some extra cash! Some hotels will have sales or last minute discounts. So pay attention to your cancellation dates and keep checking! (I know, I’m just full of great travel tips for families! LOL!)

Now that we are in Europe, we ONLY book hotels from Booking.com. (And whenever possible, we also book apartment/house/flat rentals from here as well) This is because they have the best worldwide selection. 

Their reward system is also pretty great! We get larger discounts on bookings the more we travel, as well as room upgrades and other perks. Their customer service has been fairly good from our experience, as well.

If you’re traveling within the US, then we suggest using Hotels.com instead. Their customer service is MUCH better than any other site we’ve used. If we’ve stayed somewhere that turns out dirty or sketchy, they have helped us get a refund quickly. They can also help you find another place to stay right away. (This doesn’t happen often, but it IS bound to happen eventually if you travel with kids a lot.)

If I cannot find hotels for large families in our ideal price range, I will also use VRBO.com for vacation homes, condos, and flats. VRBO has incredible customer service, but their selection of accommodations when traveling with a large family can be limited. This is especially true when traveling outside of the United States.

As a last resort, I will search on AirBnb.com as well. I’m not as big of a fan of AirBnB as I am of Booking.com. Their reputation (and many news stories) worries me a bit. (Reputation really matters when staying in places owned by strangers!)

Unfortunately, when you’re looking for large family travel in Europe and other countries, AirBnB tends to have the best selection of accommodations at a wide range of prices.

I would say that for every 5-6 bookings I make, only 1 or 2 of them are through AirBnb. More houses and apartments are joining Booking every day. So we try to use Booking whenever possible for the rewards and streamlined customer service. But I’ll talk more about that down below in my hotel room tips for family travel.

When you’re planning vacations for large families, it’s also important to book hotels as far in advance as possible. 

This helps you get the best selection of rooms before they sell out. In fact, planning vacations at least 3-6 months in advance is one of our BIGGEST tips for traveling with kids. (If you haven’t read my post of tips on how to plan a family vacation on a budget, it’s a must read!)

There can be a HUGE price difference between booking hotels for large family groups 1-2 months in advance vs 4-5 months in advance. And of course, the best hotels for large families will always sell out first. This is because one of the biggest tips for travelling with children is to book everything EARLY. So lots of other families are also planning ahead. 

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The pool view from Hilton Bonnet Creek in Orlando | Tips for traveling with kids

Let’s be frank. We tend to have a LOT of trouble finding a hotel that has enough space for all 7 of us! Sometimes, that means we have to book 2 connected rooms. Some hotels will have family rooms or suites. Hotels with family rooms are usually the best hotels for large families, because they often have other family friendly benefits as well.

Depending on our budget and the cost of accommodations in the area we want to visit, there are a few different ways we structure our hotel stays:

We will always book a family suite any time the hotel has one available in our price range. This usually has a queen bed, a pair of bunk beds, and a pull out sofa. Hotels that can accommodate 6 people tend to be the most difficult to find. These rooms also tend to be fairly expensive. (When traveling with a large family, hotel costs can often be the biggest expense, so this matters a lot!)

When we go to Disney World, for example, we always stay at the Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek. They have family rooms that comfortably accommodate all of us. And they also have TONS of resort-style features that our kids love. (As Florida residents, we’ve been to Disney World a ridiculous number of times, and this is always our go-to hotel!) There’s a few Wyndham hotel options here, but this one is the best for family travel on a budget.

Wyndham Bonnet Creek family room is the best hotels for large families

Hotels for 5 people can usually be found in a variety of locations and price ranges. But hotels for 6 and 7 people? These can leave you feeling like Harrison Ford searching for lost treasure! 

But don’t worry, we have backup plans for our backup plans. Great tips for traveling with kids is the whole purpose of this family travel blog, after all! *wink wink*

Sometimes, hotels for large family groups will offer a room that has two queen (or double) beds and a pull out sofa -or- pair of bunk beds. These rooms are a bit more popular, but tend to fill up quickly. 

One of the best tips for traveling with kids that we’ve learned is that you can usually request a FREE cot from the hotel (this is a playpen type crib). This is typically big enough for babies or toddlers to sleep in. 

When we traveled with a baby AND a toddler, we would put our 2.5 year old in our bed with us. The baby would then use the free crib. It’s not ideal, obviously, but it helps us out a lot when booking rooms! 

If the hotel has a small suite with two queens and a sofa, one big kid generally takes the sofa. The other two kids then share the second queen bed. This is a bit easier for us since our youngest is the only boy. He typically sleeps between my husband and I, leaving the girls to the other beds.

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Sometimes, our family travel budget is a bit tighter and we cannot book a suite. (Or maybe one isn’t available where we’re going. In that case, we will look for a room with one bed (king or queen) and a PULL OUT sofa. 

This way, we can bunk the two older girls into the sofa bed. Then we use the removable couch cushions as another bed for the 7 year old. You can request an extra set of bedding from the hotel. Then, we request the free cot/crib for the baby and put our toddler in our bed.

Again, this isn’t ideal, but sometimes you have to really squish in there depending on the prices of hotels and their various options.

We ran into this situation when traveling with a large family to New York City. Hotels for large families are very hard to find there. Plus NYC hotels are more expensive in general, making large family travel a bit more costly in general. (I have a great article about our family trip to NYC, including the exact hotels we stayed in if you’re planning to visit New York one day! It’s got some great family vacation tips in there.)

Hilton in Frankfurt hotels for large family

When we stayed in Frankfurt, Germany, we booked this lovely Hampton By Hilton Hotel that had a sofa bed and it was very comfortable! The room had plenty of floor space as well, making it easy to fit an extra cot inside. The hotel staff was also incredibly helpful and friendly, which was a huge plus!

If none of the above options are available, we will look for a flat or house on Booking.com. If there’s not much available, then we search on VRBO or AirBnB. 

We try to avoid this when traveling to big cities, because these types of accommodations for 5 people or more are often outside the city. This means you might need a car to drive into the city for sightseeing. That has entirely different challenges of its own. (You can see what I mean in my post of tips for driving in Paris!) And, if you’re not driving your own car, renting one big enough for large family travel can REALLY crush your budget.

Another reason we try to avoid booking flats or houses is because there’s often a list of chores, limitations, and other risks involved when staying in someone else’s home. When traveling with family, we have learned that hotels with housekeeping can be such a blessing! (But don’t forget to tip your housekeepers!)

There are other perks to getting houses or flats, however. For example, we found this awesome vacation home on Booking.com for Moraira, Spain. It had plenty of space, plus its own pool- and LOOK at this patio view!! It was surprisingly affordable, too! 

Where we stayed on our family vacation to Moriara Spain, large family travel

I’m going to be writing an entirely different post about tips for booking VRBO or AirBnB accommodations, so if that’s not out yet, be sure to join our newsletter and we’ll let you know as soon as it’s published!

But keeping all of this in mind, finding a place that can accommodate large family travel can still be expensive on AirBnB and/or VRBO. In that case, we have one more option left when figuring out how to travel with family sizes of 6 or 7 people.

Sometimes, the only hotel room we can find in our budget is a standard double room with two full or queen beds. In this case, we typically bunk the three older girls into one queen bed together. This is usually not a lot of fun for them, so we try to avoid this whenever possible. 

Make sure you look at the specific photos of each room to make sure it has the amount of beds it says it does. For example, when we stayed at the Best Western Hotel Le Bordeaux Sud in Bordeaux, France, we found a lovely family room with a queen size bed and then two single beds. This was great, because the two twin beds were pushed together, making plenty of room for 3 kiddos to sleep comfortably!

Bordeaux Best Western family suite hotels for large family

Also, in recent years, hotels have begun charging different prices for different numbers of guests. This means that you will pay more for a family of 7 to stay in the exact same room as a family of 4. 

To avoid this, I typically book the hotel for 4, and then my husband or I will enter the hotel and check in and go up with a couple of the kids first. The other parent will then follow us up with the last couple of kids. 

This might be a bit dubious, and I am sure there are legitimate reasons why there is a higher cost for each individual, but if we aren’t getting a free breakfast then I genuinely don’t see any reason to pay extra, especially since our younger two kids are so small. We aren’t using any different amount of bedding, and we typically bring our own soaps, shampoos, etc. 

I should also add that we will ALWAYS clean up our hotel room before checking out, including stripping the sheets off the beds, so it truly is NO extra work for the hotel than if there were actually 4 of us.

Another one of my family vacation tips is to bring our own pastries, yogurt cups, etc for breakfast rather than pay for the hotel breakfast or rely on drive through. 

But keep in mind that this is literally our WORST CASE scenario when staying in hotels for large families. Any time we can get a bigger room, or an AirBnb in our price range, we do.

Now that our kids are getting older, we no longer have a baby and a toddler. Our youngest is a preschooler, and our oldest is in her early 20s! (Yikes!!) This makes squishing into one hotel room impossible, even with two double beds. 

In this case, what we typically do is ask for two standard hotel rooms that are connected. Connected rooms usually have a heavy-duty door between them that can be opened to create a doorway between two private rooms. 

Booking two rooms is generally more expensive than a family room or suite, but sometimes sacrifices must be made if that’s all you can find.

Now, we find that booking a 3-4 bedroom flat or a house on Booking.com is often more affordable. (Not to mention more comfortable!) We don’t have to compromise on crappy customer service (sorry, AirBnB, but it’s true!) and our kids can stretch out.

One of the favorite places we’ve stayed overall was this charming 2 bedroom flat right in the city of Cordoba, Spain! They had a beautiful patio area to enjoy in addition to plenty of space inside the flat. We booked this one on Booking.com as well, which was great!

Cordoba flat on Booking has hotels for big families

You can also cut your family travel budget a bit by shopping for groceries when you have a kitchen in your flat or house as well. We typically stock up on breakfast foods no matter where we stay. But when you have a kitchen, you can also utilize the fridge for picnic lunch foods, and even opt to cook dinner at home once or twice! This can REALLY cut back on food expenses when traveling with kids. 

Overall, there’s LOTS of ways to configure hotels for large family (and sometimes the occasional airbnb style stay). Hopefully these tips for traveling with kids help you find the PERFECT place to stay on your family vacation, WITHOUT breaking the bank! 

Please comment below if you have a great way to find or book the best hotels for large families- or if you have a question about anything family travel related! 

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Click to read related post 'How To Book Hotels for Large Families: Budget Tips for Traveling with Kids' by LathropsGoneAWOL Family Travel Tips Blog

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