Real Estate

4 tips for booking a multi-generational cottage rental

Mother and Daughter Taking Selfie with Dog in Kayaks while on family Vacation Photo by Christine Glade/Shutterstock

From grandkids to grandparents and all the aunts, uncles, and cousins in between, many families travel together and this often includes multiple generations.

Many memories made on trips like this, and group travel is often more economical. It does, however, require some extra planning, boundary setting, and communication.

If you’re looking to book a cottage rental for your next family getaway, the first thing you need to consider is the area that you want to visit. Once that’s decided, your next challenge is finding accommodation that can cover the varying needs and interests of your larger group.

Here are some suggestions to help you find the perfect rental for your next large, multi-generational family vacation.

Set a budget together

You need to get everyone on the same page when it comes to the budget. While some may be happy to have more rustic accommodations, others may prefer a more luxurious trip. Plus, not everyone wants to (or can) spend unlimited amounts of money for a vacation home. Before booking, try to determine a price range to look within when using a site to search properties. Be sure to set a maximum limit to avoid disappointment or surprises.

Remind everyone in your group that there may be fees for cleaning or supplies that are not included in the rental price (look carefully at your booking site). This is also a good time to consider opportunities to share the cost of food.

Location, location, location

When choosing a location, you not only need to consider your budget, but also that property’s distance from where your group lives. Can everyone get there easily, and how isolated or accessible is the property? Will it be easy to get diapers if someone runs out? If there are health concerns in your group, is there a nearby hospital?

Determine what activities are a priority

When you have grandparents and babies— plus every age in between—finding a place with activities or space that accommodates everyone may not be easy. You’ll want to figure out if there are activities that require you to leave the property to enjoy. For example, travelling to the nearest beach will mean packing everyone up for the day. Conversely, if there is plenty to do on-site, you just need to show up and unpack.

You may find locations with a communal sports area or a private playground for the kids. Additional things to look for your rental to include could be board games or gaming tables, such as air hockey or ping pong.

If you are renting a place with a pool, it is recommended that you have family rules not just for the kids to follow (such as no swimming if there aren’t adults around), but also for the adults. Rotate adults as lifeguards to be within arms reach and help ensure the kids are being watched. Review the property’s pool area for safety.

Maximize the space and sleeping arrangements

Many of us have stories about when we were kids, sleeping together on the floor or small cots with cousins or siblings when we were on vacation. However, you will need to not only abide by the maximum occupancy numbers in your rental agreement, but also figure out the comfort level for your group. Those with babies will need a quiet space for naps and bedtime, while teens may want to stay up later even when the younger (and older) relatives have gone to bed.

Larger outdoor and indoor areas offer adults (and older kids) more quiet spaces to read or take time away from the entire group.

Find a space that is comfortable for everyone. Sharing rooms for the kids may seem like no big deal, but adults will likely prefer to have their own rooms. The same may go for bathrooms. Is one bathroom enough for your family of 13? If not, maybe filter your search to include rental properties with two or more bathrooms.

Making memories with your extended family is precious, but it does take some extra planning to get it right so that everyone leaves with happy memories, not sour ones.

Not sure where to begin? Check out these properties:

Ashton Villa Retreat, Ashton, Ont. 

Le Légendaire, the Laurentians, Que.

Avalon, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.

Rideau Lakes, Ont.

Kemptville, Ont.

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