We’ve done a bunch of traveling and staying in hotels over the last few months so I thought that today I would blog about traveling with young kids.
In some ways I really enjoy traveling and staying in hotels with the kids. There’s something actually relaxing about getting to a hotel and letting my kids roam free in the room while I have nothing to do. No laundry, no cooking, no errands to run (and currently no laptop to get work done on – this post is brought to you by my iPhone). It kinda forces me to just chill and forget about everything else that can’t get done right now. But I will tell you that 3 days is usually the max that I (or the kids) can handle without having other outside activities to do. And then of course there are other challenges! I’m sure every family will have their different set of challenges staying in a hotel depending on your kids ages but I’ll go through some of ours and how we combat them.
Our major issue right now (and for the last year really) is Darby’s sleep. We have found that Darby is an extremely light sleeper which presents us with lots of hotel sleeping difficulty. We always bring a pack and play and box fan with us and try to set her up in a corner of the room then we rig a little ‘curtain’ around her pack and play so she doesn’t see us. Usually we set the ironing board up with blankets on it to ‘hide’ her. Normally I have her just take one nap a day when we are in hotels because two is nearly impossible. And at night time I usually have Gabriel run an errand with Gracen so they can be out of the room while I’m putting her down. This is when a hotel with an indoor pool comes in really handy – while I’m putting Darby down Gracen gets to go swimming with daddy. It’s something special that Gracen really enjoys about hotel living – and a good chance for one-on-one dad time.
When we are packing to go anywhere we always have Gracen (our 4 year old) pack a little backpack with toys he wants to bring, and throw a few in for Darby too. The kids also each have their ‘blankie’ that they sleep with every night so they can feel a little more at home.
We try to always choose a hotel that has breakfast included, it is just so much easier to walk down to the lobby with the kids and eat rather than getting everyone ready to go out – even if we are sacrificing on quality!
Always ask for late check out – this is a major factor for me. The trips we take are for Gabriel’s business so we are usually leaving town in the late afternoon. If we had to check out at 9am every time it would be super difficult with the kids. Usually late check out is at 1pm so then I can take my time packing up and go get lunch with the kids before we meet daddy to leave town.
I have found that the best place for lunch is anywhere with a play place. Chick fil A is my number one choice (I find them to be much cleaner overall). But if it comes down to it, anywhere with a play place is better than without. Having them be able to get their energy out and play is so good for all of us! And usually it also eats up a couple hours of our day too!
I’m kind of picky about what my kids drink so I found that to be another challenge of hotel living. I always pack a little cooler with some ice packs for this reason. It holds a half gallon of organic milk and juice, also some healthy snacks that are easy to travel with. I usually fill some baggies up with ice to keep it cool if our room doesn’t have a fridge.
Even though there are a lot of changes when you are staying in a hotel it’s important for your kids that you continue as much as you can with their normal routine. Bath times, play times, learning time – all the things you would normally do can still be accomplished in a hotel. It’s tempting since there is a tv right there in the room to let your kids just sit and watch it but when we are in a hotel the rule of watching two shows a day still applies. I have found that if I let my little ones sit and watch tv for any longer than that it dramatically affects their attitude. And a cranky kid with a bad attitude is so much harder to deal with in a small hotel room!
If you have any more questions about hotel living feel free to ask in the comments section.