5 Tips for Surviving a Hotel Stay With Kids
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Staying in a hotel with a baby + toddler
Are you feeling a little nervous and overwhelmed about planning a hotel stay with kids?
Staying in a hotel with a toddler and baby can be stressful, to say the least. I’m not certain about staying in a hotel with older children, and I’m sure it varies by family, but I can imagine that has its challenges as well.
In past experience, one baby or young toddler was manageable.
Of course, I was nervous about staying in hotels when Kenna was younger, but it always went pretty smoothly.
Recently, we made a trip to Aberdeen, South Dakota (and visited Storybook Land — read more about that here!). We stayed two nights at a hotel with a three-year-old and an eight-month-old.
Overall, it went pretty well. The worst part? Not knowing when a meltdown was going to rear its spontaneous head.
If you are the parent of a toddler (or a child of any age), which is likely if you are reading this article, you are well aware that a meltdown can happen at any time, for any reason at all (“I wanted to do it MYSELF! I WANTED TO OPEN THE DOOR!!”)
Sound familiar? (Or is that just my kid?)
In all seriousness, though, I think that planning ahead can do wonders when staying in a hotel with a baby or with toddlers.
Preparing for your hotel stay with kids
While I can’t guarantee a perfect hotel experience, here are a few ways you can try to make a hotel stay with kids slightly more pleasant.
1. Bring a few toys and books
A “few” being the key word. We made the mistake of bringing too many, and the kids didn’t even play with most of them.
We bought a few new toys and books while on our trip, as well, and they kept the girls entertained most of the time we were in the hotel.
Also, you don’t want tons of toys all over the hotel room floor.
2. Keep them entertained with games
Keep in mind that anything can become a game or fun activity.
For example: “Draw” or “write” on the carpet with painter’s tape. (Tip: Temporarily baby-proof the hotel room by covering outlets and sharp corners with painter’s tape.)
3. Bring plenty of snacks
Don’t let them get hangry!
Stay ahead of the game by packing plenty of healthy, convenient snacks, such as superfood pouches, mini boxes of raisins, snack bars, and so on.
If there is a fridge in your hotel room, yogurt tubes and string cheese are quick and easy snacks for kids.
4. Try to follow your regular routine
Vacationing with kids is difficult when meals, naps, and bedtime are thrown out of whack.
If your kids turn into — ahem! — monsters when these things don’t happen on time, then you will definitely want to follow your normal routine as much as possible.
5. Consider sleeping arrangements ahead of time
Think about any special requirements for your kiddos before booking the hotel. If you plan on bedsharing, make sure there will be adequate sleeping space for everyone, and that you will be able to safely bedshare.
Continue reading if you need some ideas for hotel sleeping arrangements!
Baby and toddler sleeping arrangements
Figuring out sleeping arrangements can be stressful when planning a hotel stay with kids. Of course, they can always sleep on the beds, but you might run into various issues when sleeping away from home.
Here are a few ideas that might help.
- Some hotels offer complimentary cribs for families with babies, so check ahead of time if that is an option.
- Roll up towels or blankets and put them under the sheets to help keep kids from rolling off the bed.
- Pool noodles under the sheets also work as a makeshift bedrail.
- Invest in travel cots or mats for the toddlers or bigger kids to sleep on.
- You can put a couple kids in one bed, but if you are afraid that they will keep each other awake, split them up.
No matter how you arrange everyone, it can be challenging to get kids to fall asleep in one room when someone is making noise. At some point, the baby is going to startle awake when the toddler starts talking and the crying will keep the toddler from falling asleep….
Anyway, we decided to bring the pack and play along, so Raelyn slept part of the time in there. However, she is used to sleeping with me at home, so I got one of the Queen beds to share with her, and Dan shared the other with Kenna.
To be honest, bedtime was almost easier than a normal night at home. Normally, I am on my own at bedtime (because Dan works second shift).
While I nursed Raelyn to sleep on my bed, Dan snuggled with Kenna until she was out. She’s a huge daddy’s girl, so it worked out pretty well.
Overall, our hotel experience with two kids wasn’t as bad as you might expect. Every family will have a different experience, though…but I truly believe that being prepared for the worst can help your hotel stay with kids go a little more smoothly.
And if taking a baby or toddler to a hotel is just NOT going to work for your family, no matter how much you prepare? There’s always the option to look into vacation rentals.
They are much more private, you will often have more than one bedroom, plus you get your own kitchen.