Most importantly I am a mother of two daughters and one son, and a wife to a husband with a demanding work schedule. I also love to travel . . . sometimes live to travel neither of which is financially or logistically easy with a family of five. I hope through this website to give other parents support and help in their efforts to make travel possible for their families.
My husband and I also have three kids: all boys. We’ve been to Legolands in the United States, England, Germany, and Denmark. We like to travel to major cities, and always visit the science and history museums. Traveling as a family of five is never easy, especially on a budget, but it is often fun and we always look forward to the next trip.
Sleeps5 on Other Websites Around the World:
bebe voyage 2017 – family travel community includes Sleeps5 in list of Online Travel Resources
Dutch, Dutch, Goose! July, 2017 – Netherlands-based expat blog – Sleeps5 included in post about European hotel resources
A La Fin de la Route November, 2016 – Author included a link to Sleeps5 in reply to a comment
Baby Globetrotters – October, 2015 – profile about Sleeps5
Trippy.com March, 2015
Crazy 4 Rewards (Crazy 4 Rewards has since dissolved, domain is available) October, 2014
About.com En Espanol August, 2014
St. Louis Post-Dispatch August, 2014
Family Travel Forum May, 2014
TriVienna March, 2014 – Vienna-based resource for American expats
3 Kids Travel October, 2013 – shared a Sleeps5 post on Twitter
minitime – website with family travel advice and reviews
Money Saver India August, 2013
Ian Golding July, 2013 – UK-based international business consultant who wrote about his family’s efforts to find lodging
Caribou Beach January 2013 – Montreal-based family, culture, lifestyle blog
momsontherun (Moms on the Run has since dissolved, domain now redirects elsewhere) – Italy-based website about travel with children
Katze October, 2012 – France-based website about travel in the Western United States
National Geographic Traveller May, 2012
David Whelan April, 2012 – a legal and tech expert who wrote about his family’s trip
Boots n All July, 2011
nos cinco pelo mundo January, 2011 – Brazil-based blog about family of 5 travel
Suite101 (Suite101 has since dissolved) December, 2010
msnbc.com (domain now redirects to Today.com and post’s links to online resources have been removed) May, 2010
WeJustGotBack.com April, 2010
Frommer’s April, 2010
Bargain Travel Europe
travelwithkids.about.com (About.com has since dissolved, domain redirects elsewhere)
Big Family Vacation September, 2009
irishtimes.com June, 2009
examiner.com (examiner.com has since dissolved, domain redirects elsewhere) May, 2009
Why the Ducks?
See Tube, U-Bahn, Subway – Family Travel Safety for an explanation.
How This Site Began
My little sister was planning her wedding, to be held in England, in July, 2005. Of course, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity (great excuse?) to travel far away and be present at the wedding, and good thing, since I was the Matron-of-Honor.
My Travel Nature
Now, we are not world travelers‚ I am fairly high-strung and invariably end up sick to my stomach at least once whenever I travel. For my honeymoon in 1992, my idea of a great vacation was to immobilize myself on a beach somewhere. My future-husband wanted to show me Europe. We went to Europe, but compromised, only changing hotels 3 times during the 2 week stay‚ my husband would have been quite happy to switch cities every day!
Now We Have Kids
Later, when we had kids, we planned to travel with them, but only after they were at an age where we felt they’d really appreciate the history and geography of a location, perhaps age 10. So, in 2005, since two of our boys were still under 10, they had been just to Mexico, Canada, Boston and a few neighboring states. But, suddenly we needed to get them to England. It didn’t quite fit our long-range travel ideas, but we (I) attacked the planning with enthusiasm!
Shocking Airfare Prices!
First, the plane tickets. Searching in mid-winter, there were plenty of advertised deals from Seattle to London for around $400 each. Unfortunately, a mid-summer flight is over two times that amount. Then, we discovered that our accumulated 125,000 frequent flyer miles (gathered through a few years of exclusive airline-VISA use for all household purchases) couldn’t be used, as the airlines restrict the number of passengers per flight who can purchase tickets using miles, and apparently, those seats were sold long before our 5-month advance purchase. So, we had to pay about $1,000 each, for a direct, 9-hour flight from Seattle. There are flights for less, but might include a stop.
Planning Our Days in England
Flights handled, we looked to hotels. And for that, I had to know where we were going. I needed to do research, and lots of it. I ordered take the kids England and Eyewitness Travel Guides Great Britain. My mom got me Rick Steve’s Great Britain 2005. Then my husband bought London for Families and Best Day Trips from London. I read each one and took lots of notes. I also found a few on-line entries about places kids like, and had our cousins (who had been to England with 3 kids) over for dinner so we could get their input (and borrow more books and brochures). I set up a daily itinerary based on our own favorite selections of things to see in England.
No Room at the Inns – Can We Find a Hotel Room for 5?
Then, I began our hotel search based on these books, and suggestions, but that didn’t get me very far. It seems that rooms in England are tiny and often cannot fit 2 people, let alone 5. Further, I was told the fire codes are very strict, and hoteliers are not allowed to squeeze an extra kid in a room designated for 4 (a practice we’ve relied on with no trouble many times in the US). We wanted to make the effort to stay in one room though, for you see, a room for 5 is much less costly (by $60-100 per night) than booking 2 rooms that hold 2 or 3 each. Plus, with two rooms we parents would have to split, as our kids are too young to stay in a room alone. I was concerned that having my husband in another room would decrease crucial traveling communication between us, and increase parental exhaustion! So, the great number of family-friendly hotels suggested by the travel books now was narrowed to just a couple, as most family rooms are meant for 1 or 2 kids, not 3.
Searching and Searching for Large Hotel Rooms
Back to the internet! I discovered that the actual website of a hotel sometimes revealed that their ‘Quad’, or ‘family room’ could indeed sleep 5. Thus began my nearly 40 hours of internet research. I had to locate various hotel search engines (hotels.com, activehotels.com, Travelocity.com, booking.com), request hotels in my price category and city, then identify which were in my desired neighborhood, and which had Quad or Family rooms. Then I checked travelers’ reviews of the hotels on other websites. Then I had to click into the websites of each hotel, to determine if they have a room for 5. Sometimes even the hotel’s own website didn’t specifically say, so then I’d email and ask if they could accommodate our family of 5. The response was sometimes yes!
I spoke with our cousin, Holly, of my frustration with finding hotels. She also had trouble with her family’s European travels, and wanted to create a website to help fellow travelers with 3 or more children. I loved her idea, and offered to help, and here we are!