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Occupancy in Europe is a little different than it is here in the USA. In the United States, it’s pretty much assumed that kids stay free with a paying adult. In fact, we’ve had success with all 8 of us in one room at a hotel, though that was at a suite-style room. The other benefit of kids staying free is that if the place has breakfast, that can be a lot of free meals! One of our best large family travel hacks is staying at a hotel that offers free DINNER in addition to free breakfast – you can read more about that at the interview I did with Carrie of FreakinFlyers.com
(SEE ALSO: Which hotels give dinner for free?)
Travelodge Family Room – kids stay (and eat) free
Travelodge UK is a budget hotel chain in Europe, and is different than the Travelodge in the rest of the world, but one of the benefits (especially in London and the UK) is that they offer the Travelodge Family Room, which will sleep 3 adults or 2 adults and 2 children.
(SEE ALSO: 3 reasons “budget” hotels DESTROY nice ones)
Travelodge offers have single rooms, double rooms, and family rooms, and they all typically are the same price. In the Travelodge family room, you get the double bed, a sofa bed and pull out bed in a family room. Some hotels also offer cots (check with your hotel) and if so, you can get a 5th person as a “baby” on the cot.
Does the Travelodge Family Room sleep 4 adults?
How many adults can you put in a Travelodge Family Room? While it does gives a listed occupancy of 4, it specifically does NOT allow 4 adults. Now, that isn’t to say that you couldn’t try it (I have been known to sneak our family of 8 into a 1 bedroom suite before), but you’d have to be sneaky and have a backup plan. Similarly, if you’re wondering whether you can use a Travelodge family room for 5, the answer is, well, sort of. The official Travelodge terms of occupancy state that you can use a Travelodge family room for 5 if it’s 2 adults, 2 children (under 16) and 1 baby in a cot. Anything other combination is not allowed, not without being sneaky. Though the definition of “baby” is not defined, so if your youngest child is young, you might be able to pull it off. Again, I do not necessarily endorse this plan but respect that everyone has to come up with their own ethics on things like this.
Travelodge family room – booking example
I took a look at a random night upcoming in London, searching for 2 adults and 2 children, and found the Travelodge London Central Kings Cross hotel. Not being familiar with London, I can’t speak to this particular part of town, but here is what came back from the booking engine.
77 pounds at the current exchange rate is ~USD$115, which is a bit pricier than I like to spend, but pretty competitive compared to the rest of London hotel options, which are pretty pricey. Personally I think I would try to stay on points, but I have not even begun to think about taking all 8 of us to London so I am not 100% sure on how that would work out.
Kids eat free in the Travelodge family room
Another bonus is that kids eat free in the Travelodge family room. Now, that isn’t to say that YOU eat free – oh, no, breakfast is not included in your base fare and is instead an additional price.
But if you do opt for the breakfast, you’ll pay for the adults, but (up to 2) kids eat free.
Hopefully this gives some people an idea of what to expect in a Travelodge family room. I personally have not stayed in one, so if you have, make sure to leave a note in the comments with your experience on how it was!
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That price is quite reasonable for London. This hotel is near one of London’s major train stations, which also might appeal to Harry Potter fans for having the (fake) track 9 3/4. The area isn’t glamorous, I would say it is reasonably safe but in the process of being gentrified. Family rooms are a fairly common room type in the UK, like a suite, but as with suites, availability is limited. If you search a particular date range and find that room type is not available, try searching a single night a couple months out to see if the hotel offers that room type. Among the global brands, Marriott properties in Europe tend to have double rooms that accommodate 4 people. Even when they list an occupancy of 3, they will sometimes allow 2 adults/2 small children in the existing bedding (contact the concierge by e-mail to get written confirmation). Another UK chain that caters to families is Premier Inn. They have some great reasonably-priced locations around London and one of the best is County Hall which is right next to the London Eye. See http://www.premierinn.com (disclaimer: I have not stayed at one of their hotels because I’m usually at a Marriott/Hilton/IHG property when traveling in the UK – gotta collect points that I can use – but I have heard this brand recommended by British colleagues and they seem to have a good reviews on TripAdvisor).
Awesome! Thanks for sharing that! I had heard of Premier Inn as something similar to Travelodge
Personally if you go over the weekend in London you can find Ibis for £40 with their Accor promotion. You can check it on my page or just email me. They do have some good choices for central London and I personally think it beats Travelodge. 🙂 Though £77 is still reasonable for central London.
Does the Ibis / Accor promotion include room for family, or is it only single occupancy?
I haven’t finished reading your article yet, but just want to say that in the UK “cot” means crib. So, if you book a room with a cot, what you will get is a room that has a pack n play type baby bed set up for you in it.
OK, one more point now that I’ve finished reading this article… I have stayed in a family room in this actual hotel. We were three adults and two kids… a 5 year old and a 3 year old. The third adult was my cousin who just graduated from college and we had brought her along on the trip to help with the kids.
This is the only time in my life I’ve ever been questioned on the number of people staying in the room. It was supposed to be 2 adults, 2 kids. There were two twin beds, a skinny couch, with a skinny extra mattress that pulled out from under it (I’m remembering from 3 years ago, so the way the couch worked is a little fuzzy). I said, oh no, she’s not staying with us, she’s just hanging out with us for the day and helping us with the suitcases.
They also would not let us check in early without charging us, even though the room was empty.
I would absolutely NOT stay in this hotel again. Not because there is actually anything wrong with it, but it is definitely what I’d think of as the Ryanair of hotels. They will nickel and dime you for everything. We didn’t pay any of the extra nickels or dimes, and we didn’t get anything at all extra with the room. No internet, no food, no shampoo, etc. It’s super crappy, but not actually dirty or gross. Just so cheaply furnished.
Premier Inn’s are very nice. They are basic, but the furnishings are a lot nicer. And the extras are more reasonably priced. When we were there (3 yrs ago) each device got 30 min/day of free internet. It seemed to be cumulative, i.e. you could check email for 10 min in the morning + 20 min in the evening and still be free. The up charge for 24hrs was also something I thought was reasonable, but can’t remember it. They also had a family room which was 2 double beds and a rollaway. Plenty of sleeping space… no space for moving around in the room after the extra bed was crammed in. I think kids eat free there, too, but adults also do not, but I always find the food to be really good at Premier Inn’s.
Wow! Thanks so much for the detailed report on this hotel. I think your comparison as the “Ryanair of hotels” is probably a very apt one!
Pretty good post.
Late year we did a trip and had to stay at a premier inn (which I personally like) booking a family room, gambling it’d be ok with 2 adults a 4,6 and 10 yr old. Gladly we had no issue even at breakfast. The hotel chain gained much praise from us and advertising.
We’ve stayed in hotels, mostly when the youngest was still under 18 months old so never an issue. After that we’ve resorted to skip hotels to avoid the issue and head for apartments instead which loses hotels our fee of course, whilst makes it less convenient having to organise breakfasts especially if you arrive late.
On this late trip, we took the gamble since they had no adjacent rooms with connecting door and no suitable adjourning rooms (though it’d be complicated to decide who’d stay where). Besides the 4 year old still often ends up in bed with us in strange environments. And given we don’t spend much time in the room don’t see it as an issue till DD is 14 and the youngest is 8. Though id still need rooms being very very close…