Vacationing with children can be an oxymoron. Sleep schedules are disrupted, parents turn into grumpy pack mules and there is inevitably a sick child spewing snot on the beach. The peaceful ocean waves are drowned out by the whining of small children who need to go potty. If there is a time change, your up at 5am doing puzzles with the littles.
Last Spring Break we took the whole family to Maui, Hawaii. When I say “whole family” I am talking about 4-year-old triplets, a seven-year old, three car seats, one booster seat and eight pieces of luggage. In the end, we had a fabulous time and it was well worth the challenges, even if it did start of rocky when my husband had a manly meltdown in the Maui Costco parking lot.
This year we are off to San Diego for Spring Break. Getting there is the easy part since we are driving. Finding the right accommodations can be worse than having a hangover and a sunburn simultaneously.
The main goal in the vacation accommodation search is to find that home away from home; that place where your family can have their needs met and everyone is comfortable. For a family with more than two children, it is imperative that we get creative to find a place with two rooms and sleeps six people. My kids are asleep by 8pm while my husband and I enjoy another few peaceful hours of quiet, so a room for kids and one for adults is awesome.
Traditional hotels offered up by Google do not work for our family; too much money for too little space. Then, a moment of genius: I would find an App for my iPhone that would allow me to search for our perfect rental while out and about. I started with VRBO (the popular vacation rental website) because we used that website to find our Maui resort (which we did not love). I found two: the first was a free App run by VRBO which gets low ratings from customers for poor user interface. So I skipped that one. The next App that came up was Vacation Props, coming in with 4 stars but costing $4.99. Forget that.
Then I remembered the newer vacation website Dwellable, which actually posted a couple of my posts on Maui on their website last Spring Break.
When I find a good thing I need to share.
It turns out Dwellable recently launched a new highly rated App for the iPhone and Android…and it is FREE.
Here are my top three favorite things about the new Dwellable App: The pictures are clear and easy to scroll through; the descriptions are concise and informative; and contact information for the property manager is easy accessed.
The key for me is that the Dwellable App is impressively easy to use. Dwellable doesn’t have rentals for all destinations, but they have many of the great places we like to visit, such as Hawaii, Lake Tahoe, and San Diego to name a few. I typed in “San Diego” and from there I was able to use the “filter” component to narrow down the 1,184 rentals down to a manageable few. The result was a list of properties that included only the condos or houses in certain parts of San Diego with 2 bedrooms in my exact price range. From here, pictures of each property are easily viewed and there are long descriptions provided. The phone number, website and email are listed toward the top so I could easily contact the owner/manager to see if the property was available during my travel dates.
The only improvement I would suggest for the Dwellable App would be an availability calendar for each property. At the top of the screen there is an icon called “Dates” that is supposed to provide a calendar of availability, but when I clicked on it is said “Sorry – sadly we don’t have the exact calendar dates . . .”
With five-year old triplets and my wild eight-year old, it is important for me to find new technology tools that will make my life easier. It is also Über important for me to find great places for my family to stay on vacation so we can all be comfortable and happy at our temporary home away from home.
In two weeks you may find this family of six in Mission Beach, San Diego, comfortably lounging in this two bedroom house on the beach. Of course, I found this gem on the new Dwellable App. Now maybe vacationing with my kids doesn’t have to be a contradiction in terms.
If only I had a new iPad Mini to browse vacation properties on a bigger screen. . . a girl can dream.
Until next time, the mothership is signing off.
Disclaimer: I was not paid to write this review of the new Dwellable App. But, if my post is deemed the best post submitted, Dwellable will award me with a new iPad Mini.