Laura Hall is the Director of Communications for Kid & Coe, as well as an avid traveler and adventurer. We recently caught up with Laura to hear her thoughts about family vacations, home exchanges, and valuable tips to make vacation properties kid-friendly.
What makes Kid & Coe different from other travel booking websites?
Kid & Coe is 100% orientated toward families. That means all of the properties on our site are welcoming to families (some even prepare little bags and treats for kids on arrival), and all of our property listings are written to highlight the features that make them work for families.
We offer private homes, vacation rentals, hotels, safaris, resorts, and home exchange. There's an option there to suit every family under the sun. And unlike a lot of other family travel sites, we aren't limited in the geographic locations we offer. We're in over 50 countries worldwide.
What are the advantages of taking a family vacation and staying in someone else's home?
I think the Guardian put it most succinctly when they said, "There's nothing as good as other people's toys." When you're traveling with kids, access to another kids' playroom full of toys and books is fantastic! We also have homes with mud kitchens, playgrounds, pools, chickens, you name it. It's a fabulous chance to try out living in another family's shoes and see what suits you best.
We've seen great friendships spring up through the site between host families and visiting families. Our traveling families have so much in common and love to share with each other. It's so different from staying in a hotel with a kids club - but we know there are occasions when nothing beats them, too!
How often do multiple families or extended families look for a vacation home where they can all stay together?
Our most popular configuration would be a family of 4-6 people traveling, but we certainly do see bookings of larger groups - maybe families plus grandparents, families plus other families, and extended family groups. We have many properties that suit that kind of stay. Houses with a guest house or cabin on the property are a real bonus because they allow grandparents to have a great time with the kids during the day without suffering through early morning wakeups.
Finish this sentence: "If I'm looking for places to stay on my family vacation, the biggest deal-breaker would be..."
Every family is different. For every family out there traveling with a sticky-fingered, high-energy two-year-old needing stair gates, pool gates, and a property all on one level, there's a family with a sensible ten-year-old who will happily rent a non-baby-proofed house. It's about finding the right option for each family, and acknowledging that families come in all shapes and sizes with different needs. Our listings fully reflect that. That being said, anywhere that looks dangerous is a definite no-no.
If a property owner wants to market his or her vacation home to families, what are some important things to include or highlight in an online advertisement?
I'm always interested in what provisions they have for kids. Are there toys, games, bikes, and other items to play with? Where will the kids sleep? What is there is to do nearby? Some of our properties are destination properties (i.e., you don't have to go elsewhere because staying at this resort is everything), while others are popular because they are near great family spots.
How much "child-proofing" is generally expected of a property owner who is renting his or her home to a family?
Again, every family is different, and we aim to cater for those different family needs. We document the items a house has clearly so if stair gates are an essential item and a family won't be happy without them, they know before they book what they're going to get. We want them to make the right decision for their children and their family's happiness rather than tell them what family-friendly has to mean for them.