We are in Budapest for 5 days and we have checked into a fabulous 1 BR apartment in the heart of the city. I was feeling fatigued, so it was a perfect excuse to skip any sightseeing and just sit back with a cup of coffee and relax while Isaac ran around the apartment and T stepped out for some informational meetings.
Which brings me to the case for renting apartments when traveling. Before Issac, T and I always scoped out boutique bed'n'breakfasts which gave us the best flavor of the country that we were visiting. But when traveling with a toddler, laundry piles up fast and washing milk bottles in a bathroom sink gets tiring. Besides even $100/night hotel rooms are cramped and tight.
We first rented a apartment in Kyiv, Ukraine purely by chance because none of the other accommodations worked out. After that it has been'apartment fever' all the way. It has alleviated all my travel issues thus far - mainly washing clothes in a bathroom sink and constantly eating overpriced restaurant food.
I have stayed in 4 apartments thus far, and all of them came with well equipped kitchens and all (with the exception of 1) have had washing machines. And they are *SO* much more affordable than 2/3 star hotels, almost always less than $85-$90 a night. We have found apartments for just 1 or 2 nights, at short notice and there are tons of online reservation websites. The apartments are often located in the suburbs but for about $10 more, you could find one pretty close to the city center.
We have thoroughly enjoyed the novelty of buying local produce and wine, and cooking meals in the apartment. And the biggest advantage - it is almost always located in a historic district or building, making the travel experience so much more authentic than a cookie cutter hotel room. And yes, our toddler gets to run around and wear himself out.
I feel I have stumbled on a priceless piece of travel wisdom that I wish someone had pointed out to me earlier. While traveling with a toddler or even otherwise, renting an apartment is definitely far more value for money.