I will be traveling throughout Europe alone with my two children, ages 7 and 9, while my husband works in Germany for the summer. I would rather reserve double rooms, as there are more available and the price is lower than a triple. I know we'll be fine on space, however I don't want to show up and be refused because we are a party of three. I would love some advise, or feedback from parents who traveled alone with their kiddos!
It's quite consistent throughout Europe. A double room is two twin beds (sometimes just pushed together with one comforter over them. A tripe room has three beds, sometimes the two twin beds and a couch type bed or a roll-away brought in. Unless your kids are willing to share a twin bed, you need a triple.
If you are traveling as a party of three, then yes, you need to book rooms for three people. How would you plan to fit three people into a double room, anyway? And wouldn't the front desk staff notice there were three people standing there? And lastly, if you end up staying in a hotel that provides breakfast (which, depending on the hotel, may or may not save money), you'd need breakfast for three anyway. Unlike some (many?) places in the U.S., where rooms with two double or queen beds are common, rooms in Europe almost always fit exactly the number of people that there are bed spaces for. So if you want bed space for three, that's what you'll need to book (i.e., a double and a single bed, or three single beds). My husband and I have traveled in Europe with one kid, so we've often booked triple rooms. Usually we get one double bed, with either a another full-sized bed or a cot. Sometimes the cot is more suitable for a kid-sized person than an adult, but that shouldn't be a problem for you, as your kids are still smallish. Also, as an FYI, "double" beds in Europe aren't always one double mattress with a double bedspring and frame. Often, it is two single beds pushed together (or maybe a double bedframe with two single mattresses, I haven't really looked at the bottom of the bed), but made up with double sheets and comforters or blankets. It works just fine (for us, anyway), but sometimes you notice the crack between the mattresses. Often, what is billed as a triple room is actually the same room as a hotel's deluxe double room. That means it's a double room that's large enough to also fit a cot. Many European hotel rooms are much smaller than the average U.S. hotel room; they may not physically be large enough for a double bed AND an extra bed - that demonstrates how small some rooms are.
Just to reinforce Lexma's response. In the US we most often sell the room and the number of people are not critical. In Europe you pay for the number of people with some exceptions for kids. So be very clear about who is staying in the room. Also, you might ask for family rooms.
Agree with above - what you should do is contact the hotels and ask. We travel with our son a lot and in the US I would never think about it as the three of us can make do with a double room and most places that is fine.
We booked doubles when our son was 3, but let them know that we had a little one with us. One place had a twin bed they brought in, the other had a bunch of blankets, so we piled them up and made a bed. But, your guys are bigger. Some hotels/B&B's give discounts for kids, so ask. It's worth a shot. Another option would be apartments. If you're doing short stays, like only a night or 2, it may not be worth it, depending on if there's an extra charge for cleaning. Apartments are a bit harder to find. If you go on the town's website (www.(name of town).de), there's usually a link for accomodations. If it's in English, look for apartments, in German, either Ferienwohnungen or FeWo for short.
Thanks everyone! The most important thing I've gleaned from all this is not to give up on hotels with only double rooms as they may be able to accommodate the three of us for an extra charge. I am certainly not trying to weasel out a cheaper deal, I just don't want to be limited in my choices of where to stay, and at least one of my kids will undoubtedly wind up crawling in bed with me anyway so space just isn't much of an issue. The apartment idea is great, and I'm actually in the process of securing a week-long rental in Paris that will fit us perfectly, however for two to three night stops, a B&B or hotel is probably easiest. Thanks again!
My husband and I just traveled in Germany and Czech Republic recently with our 7 yr old. Sometimes while pricing hotels I would just send the hotel and email asking what kind of rate could I get for a double plus one child. Both hotels we stayed at offered us a package that wasn't on the website. We had double beds with a pullout bed at one and the other had a small bed set up for her in the room. Also letting them know there are three will allow the three of you to enjoy the free breakfast if one is included. They will also provide enough towels, pillows and blankets (and at one of our hotels, nightly chocolates!) So we never paid the price of a triple. Our rooms were doubles + one child.