How Kid & Coe Can Save You Hours when Planning Your Family Vacation
I've been busy planning my family's summer travels. Despite being excited by the possibilities, I've also found myself once again frustrated by just how ridiculously difficult and time-consuming it can be to find a suitable home away from home for our soon-to-be 2-year-old daughter.
I've been wishing that I could turn to Kid & Coe for my accommodation hunt. Kid & Coe is a vacation rental platform that features family homes all over the world (though unfortunately Kid & Coe does not yet have much of a presence in Canada, where we will be vacationing).
Unlike AirBNB, which lets anyone host their home, with Kid & Coe, hosts must apply and make it through the company's selection process. The company looks for properties that are safe for children; in great locations for family travelers; clean; stylishly decorated and which offer amenities that families desire.
According to Kid & Coe, its selection process means that vacation home hunters can pick from a highly curated list of properties that are likely to make the grade for their family vacation.
So, how does Kid & Coe stack up against other popular home rental platforms, like AirBNB and VRBO, for families with babies and toddlers? We turned to parents who have used the site for their thoughts.
Kid & Coe Inventory - Grade: B-
Though Kid & Coe boasts a "curated" approach to its site, we can't help but think that, in some instances, "curated" is just start-up speak for "we haven't built up inventory yet."
I've searched Kid & Coe for accommodations for several different trips, and have yet to make a booking, largely because of limited - and sometimes no - inventory for our particular destination.
However, Jess, mother to a 5-year-old son and now 2-year-old daughter, has booked through the site two times. "I'm a disaster at vacation planning - I hate it. It's easy to get overwhelmed when searching for accommodations on AirBNB or VRBO; I never know if a property is going to be a good choice for my family, and it's such a time suck. With Kid & Coe, the inventory isn't extensive, but it's always a good starting place for a vacation search. And if you know the type of vacation you want - say, a place with a pool that's in a warmish location - but you're flexible on the destination, you can find something great with little effort."
You'll have the best success finding a house rental in large North American and European cities, and in select out-of-the-city hot spots (e.g. the Hudson Valley and Catskills, popular vacation destinations for New Yorkers).
Since it was started over the pond in England, Kid & Coe has more inventory in European cities like London, Paris, Amsterdam and Barcelona - though the company made a push to expand into the United States a couple years back, so it's North American inventory is growing.
Recent searches of properties in San Diego, Vancouver and Oslo returned only a handful of properties in each city. New York City's inventory totaled 26 properties, while there were 33 vacation properties in the Catskills and Hudson Valley combined.
You'll have more luck if you have some flexibility with your vacation dates. In some markets, most of the hosts are renting out their primary residences, which means that the properties are not widely available for renting.
Kid & Coe is particularly great if you are looking to travel with another family, with grandparents, or if you have a large family of your own like my sister-in-law. Many of the vacation homes are large (particularly outside of the major urban centers), and it's not uncommon to see homes that could sleep 8-12 folks.
Bottom Line: Kid & Coe is a great place to start your vacation accommodation search if you have a baby and toddler - you never know when you may get lucky and find the perfect property in your destination. If the type of vacation (beach, country, city) and kid-friendly digs are most important to you, and you're flexible on destination or dates, you'll have more success with Kid & Coe.
Tip: Before you're even ready to start planning, sign up for Kid & Coe's newsletter and tailor your preferences so that Kid & Coe can send you content that's of most interest to you. Then let inspiration and properties flow right into your inbox, no effort required!
Suitability of Kid & Coe's Homes for Babies and Toddlers - Grade: B+
Says Amber, mom to two little ones, "We've used Kid & Coe a couple of times and the houses were lovely. What's also nice is that the homes are usually pretty childproofed, so you may find that the houses come with stair gates, say, and you're not constantly having to move antique vases out of the reach of little hands!"
Though Kid & Coe does select each home for it's family friendliness, do keep in mind that "family friendly" does not always mean that all Kid & Coe properties are baby or toddler friendly (something that we've pointed out in previous AirBNB posts as well).
Kid & Coe lists 33 properties in upstate New York. Nineteen hosts accept babies, and only 7 of the properties provide real cribs, while the others provide pack and plays. If you have a little one that is a fussy sleeper (raises hand), a real crib is preferable to ensure a decent night's sleep for parents and baby alike, in which case the number of suitable properties can definitely dwindle.
From a safety perspective, many properties do caution of potential safety issues for the youngest of guests -- the most often safety concerns were around stairs, outdoor spaces and ungated pools.
Therefore, you do still need to read the property descriptions and review each property's amenities list to determine whether the home has the safety features and amenities needed for a comfortable and safe vacation for your baby or toddler. The great news is that Kid & Coe's standard amenity list makes it simple to see what baby and toddler safety features each property offers.
Also scan the "Things to Know" section of each property's description. Kid & Coe hosts do a great job and spelling out the possible safety risks in their homes and on their properties - perhaps an unfenced yard, a lack of outlet plugs, or poison ivy on the edges of the property.
Bottom line: Although many of the properties have some safety risks for babies and toddlers (stairs that aren't gated, uncovered outlets, and unfenced pools), you'll be able to quickly and confidently understand the risks, and decide for yourself whether you can make a property work with your baby or toddler.
TIP: Even if a Kid & Coe property isn't completely baby or toddler-friendly, there may be ways to make it work.
In some markets, Kid & Coe has partnered with a reliable baby equipment rental partner. Look for the icon on a property's listing to see whether you have the option to rent the crib, bed rails or stair gates that you need.
Location of Kid & Coe's Vacation Rentals - Grade: A
In various searches, I noticed that Kid & Coe does a great job at selecting properties in desirable family neighborhoods. I've lived in a lot of cities - including Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto, NYC - and know these cities well. The Kid & Coe offerings in these cities are all in great family friendly neighborhoods, close to public transit, offering playgrounds and activities for little ones and cool things to see and do for parents.
What's more, each listing includes an "About the Location" section where you can read more about the neighborhood and the nearby attractions and restaurants.
This is a clear advantage over other home rental websites like AirBNB, VRBO and HomeAway that offer no element of curation. I often get asked by parents "What are the best neighborhoods to stay in?" or "I'm considering these three AirBNB rentals - are they in good neighborhoods?".
(Also, if you're traveling to Montreal, be sure to check out our blog post about Montreal's best family-friendly neighborhoods).
Bottom Line: It can be difficult to assess the family friendliness of a neighborhood in a city you have never visited. With Kid & Coe, you can feel assured that the neighborhood has been vetted along with the home.
Tip: If you can't find a suitable property on Kid & Coe's website for your desired destination, take note of the neighborhoods in which Kid & Coe's properties are listed. This can be used to inform your search on other more populated accommodation rental websites.
Ease of Search on Kid & Coe - Grade: A-
Searching for suitable properties on Kid & Coe is relatively easy. You can enter your desired destination (either the specific city - or in some cases a region or country) and/or travel dates to get started.
Once you have the search results for your destination, you can refine results further using the search fields on the left side of the webpage. Unlike AirBNB, you can select from a robust amenities list that includes things like "baby monitor", "bed rails" and "safety gates".
For Jess, her family needed to travel during her oldest son's school break, but they were flexible on location. "My priority was someplace fairly warm, and a property that had a pool. Then I set our price range to see what listings matched what we were willing to spend." From her search parameters, Jess and her husband settled on a gorgeous 3 bedroom, 2 bath cottage - with the required pool - on St. Simon's Island, Georgia.
There are some oddities to destination searches on Kid & Coe. For example, to find properties in Canada, you can search by city, or by entering "Canada" as your destination, but you can't always search by province.
The only big oversight in Kid & Coe's search functionality that parents reported was the inability to select a real crib (versus a pack and play) from the amenities list. In fact, neither pack and play nor crib are searchable amenities options. The best you can do is to identify the number of babies among the guests, which will then provide listings that have either a pack and play or a real crib.
Bottom line: The amenities search options are much more robust on Kid & Coe than on any other home rental site. However, if a real crib is a necessity for your family's comfort, you may still find yourself doing a lot of manual searching before identifying a property that works for you.
Tips: If you have flexibility in your travel dates, opt to keep the date fields blank - given the curated nature of the site and the smaller amount of inventory, you will find more options this way, without getting overwhelmed by the number of results returned.
If you're not getting many results from your refined search, consider which amenities you can unselect. For example, stair gates may not be required in a one-level home, or bed rails may not be required if you can easily place a mattress on the floor.
Cost of Kid & Coe Vacation Rentals - Grade: B-
"Some of the properties were wildly out of our price range!" commented one mom we interviewed. Indeed, Kid & Coe's beautiful, curated properties rarely come cheap - partly because of the designer chic nature of each home, partly because many of the properties sleep several people.
However, if yours is the type of family that likes to splash out on vacation, with beautiful surroundings and amenity rich accommodations, you'll likely find that Kid & Coe homes, with their (often) large designer digs, great locations, and backyards/ pools to be on par cost-wise with luxury resorts.
And if you're traveling with extended family or friends with kids, then you may find some good deals. For example, I've started browsing properties for a trip to Norway that my family plans to take with our then 3 year old and her grandparents. There is a charming 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom apartment available in central Oslo that can be rented for €269 per night before fees (currently $315 USD/night), which is a good deal when compared to renting two hotel rooms in Oslo - especially since it offers room to spread out, a toddler bed, a beautiful back yard, a kitchen and dining table, a tons of toys that our daughter will enjoy playing with when we are taking a break from playing tourist.
Bottom line: If you're budget conscious travelers, Kid & Coe may not be the site for you. But if you're willing to pay for a beautiful vacation home, or if you're traveling with others, you'll find many drool worthy properties that may entice you to splurge a little.
Kid & Coe's Customer Service - Grade: A-
"Unlike AirBNB, which is incredibly hands-off platform, Kid & Coe's customer service team reached out both before and after our trip - to see if there was anything we needed for our stay, and to check-in on how our experience had been," said Jess.
Of course, Jess mused, so much of a vacation rental stay depends on the host, so the level of care provided by each host can vary greatly from rental to rental.
Bottom line: Although none of the parents we spoke to had complaints with their rentals, the personal outreach of Kid & Coe both before and after each stay likely means that you'll have fewer issues and greater support from the company should you encounter the sorts of issues our family encountered last summer with an AirBNB rental.