International Travel With a Toddler: AirBnB/Apartment Rentals
On our Iceland trip itinerary included 8 nights of camping in a rental campervan, with 1 AirBnB rental scheduled for the middle of our camping trip to give us the ability to do laundry and 2 nights in an AirBnB rental in Reykjavik at the end of the trip.
Family friendly rentals seemed like a really good idea to us. We figured an apartment would give us space to cook, but also space to relax in the evening once Little MPB went to bed.
The first place we rented was really great*. It was clearly set up to be a full-time rental property, which was just fine with us. It had 2 bedrooms, 1 bath and a full kitchen. More then enough space for us. It was rather new and simply decorated, and met all our needs. Our biggest struggle was keeping Little MPB out of the mini-fridge – evidently he thought a mini-fridge was the best toy he’d ever encountered. Which was rather cute and made me realize we probably should get him a kids kitchen to play with at home. Also, to our surprise they had a pack’n’play waiting for us when we arrived. This was the only night on our entire trip that Little MPB slept in his own space – it was a dream come true! We even met the gentlemen who rented us the apartment and he was very nice. The only downfall of this place was that we booked it solely for doing laundry halfway through our trip. I understood from the website that it the laundry was in the room. In fact, I even asked before we booked to confirm that we would have access to laundry while we were there. Much to my surprise it turned out that laundry was shared with the neighbouring apartment. And unfortunately the neighbouring apartment arrived first and used the washer and dryer straight until after 11pm. At this point, travelling with a toddler, laundry was a basic necessity for us. So, this meant I stayed up almost all night doing laundry (Mr. MPB was the driving, so he needed his sleep, and I didn’t dare set an alarm clock to wake me up each time a load would be done for fear that the alarm would wake up Little MPB). So the first night we had space and a real bed to sleep in, I basically pulled an all-nighter. Which combined with all of Little MPB’s sleep troubles so far on the trip, was beyond frustrating. I have to say, asides from the badluck with the laundry, this apartment was great. I’d absolutely recommend this place to others travelling through Akureyri.
The second apartment rental* was for 2 nights in Reykjavik at the end of our trip. This apartment was beautiful, and a 2 minute walk to everything – it was perfect by all of my previous travel standards. It was a 1 bedroom place, but it was very spacious. The pictures made it look perfect, and upon arrival it looked exactly like the pictures. We were really happy with our choice the second we walked in. However, within about 2 minutes of arriving we discovered the problem – it was so not baby proofed. I didn’t even think of this when I booked the rental, and looking back at the pictures of the rental I should have clued into this problem. The apartment was beautifully decorated, but many things were easily reachable and therefore breakable for Little MPB. We promptly moved all the low and breakable decorations to the kitchen counter. And, once we moved the breakable things, it worked well for us. I’d highly recommend this rental to any adults visiting Reykjavik.
So, the lessons about Apartment rentals are:
- I still think the AirBnB apartment rental was the best approach. Hotels are freakishly expensive in Iceland, and sitting quietly on a hotel bed hoping Little MPB would fall asleep just wouldn’t have been as comfortable for the Adult MPBs.
- With a toddler under the age of 18 months, the biggest thing I’d pay closer attention to in the future is the decorations of the rental. When travelling with a toddler, minimal/simple decorations are best.
- I’d also ask about the availability of a pack’n’play and a high chair. Given Little MPB’s refusal to use his peapod, the surprise pack’n’play made our night. And, neither of our rentals had high chairs, and that would have made life just slightly easier.
* This is not a sponsored post. My comments regarding AirBnB and the specific apartments we rented are based solely on our recent experiences.
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We have done some traveling with our son as well and, thanks to my husband’s preference of “finer” holiday homes, we have always ended up in places that are really nicely decorated but not remotely kid proofed at all. We have accepted the fact that the owner of the rental’s job is to provide a nice place for travelers to land and not change the space because we brought our toddler along. So what we usually do is take pictures of the rooms before we even do anything else and then we remove all of the items we know H will immediately go for. When it comes time to leave we pull up the pictures of each room and are able to put everything back where it was originally. We thought about leaving the stuff for the owner to put back but…we’re Canadian lol. We felt bad making them deal with something we changed. It’s quite a game changer going from international travel as just a couple, to international travel with a child hey?
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A complete game changer from travelling as 2 adults to travelling with a toddler! It really wasn’t a big deal moving all the breakable stuff out of reach, just something We didn’t think about. We never thought to take before pictures, but that’s a really good idea for next time!