Hotel Amenities that Make Traveling with Kids More Manageable
I love staying in hotels for a weekend and having kids hasn’t slowed me down. We go on several short family getaways a year. The destination is almost less important as the fact that we are getting away from home.
There is just something special about staying in a hotel. The room is cleaned for us, there is little to no clutter, and our needs are met without me being the one to meet those needs. We also have nothing to do but enjoy each other’s company. There are no errands or chores, no laundry and little screen time. We can just focus on our own little family.
There are specific amenities I look for when traveling with my young kids, as well as comfort items I bring to make the environment more home-like. Here are my hotel travel tips that can help make hotel travel with your little ones more manageable.
Hotel Must Haves for Family Travel
These are some of my requirements for hotel travel with young children. We have stayed in hotels that didn’t have some of these amenities, but it was always more challenging.
- In Room Refrigerator: Having a mini-fridge in our hotel room is a must, even now that we don’t have a baby. My youngest likes milk almost immediately after waking up so having fast access is critical. I don’t want to have to run down to the dining room to get milk before we’re all showered and dressed for breakfast. I also keep string cheese and fruit in the fridge for snacking.
- Free Breakfast: We always stay at hotels that offer free breakfast. If we’re dining out the entire trip, it helps to have one free meal a day.
- Two Beds: We always get a hotel room with two beds. For the time being, we each sleep with one child. At some point, they’ll both sleep in one bed and my husband and I can sleep in the same bed again.
- Crib or Pack and Play: We don’t need this anymore, but if you are traveling with babies, having a crib or pack and play in your hotel room is a necessity. My youngest sleeps better alone so I don’t want to ruin a hotel stay with a kid who sleeps poorly. We usually bring our own crib sheets but I have no interest in traveling with our pack and play.
Hotel Amenity Wish List
The must have list is truly must have. We won’t stay at a hotel that doesn’t have those amenities. However, there are some amenities that I prefer if we can find hotels that offer them in our budget.
- Bathroom Doors that Close: Oh man, my biggest hotel annoyance is those stupid modern sliding bathroom doors, or pocket doors. They are the worst possible hotel feature for young kids. My kids throw it open and closed and there is zero bathroom privacy. My youngest has caught his finger in the pocket door on more than one occasion. If you can’t tell from my rant, I despise them. Note – all handicap accessible rooms have sliding doors so expect it if you are placed in an accessible room.
- Bathtubs versus Shower Stalls: It is far easier to bathe kids in a tub than a shower stall. My oldest son was terrified the first time he had to have a hotel shower. Since we tend to swim in hotel pools or need sunscreen during the day, we usually have to bathe the boys at least once during our trip.
- Larger Hotel Rooms: I once stayed in a hotel in New York that was so tiny that there was no room for the room service cart. My preference now is a hotel room that is a bit larger, maybe even includes a couch or more than one chair. If it is in our budget, we opt for a junior suite. It’s nice to have a place to hang out if by some form of magic, the kids sleep early.
Must Haves from Home To Make A Hotel Home-y
There are a few items we bring from home to make our hotel stay more comfortable.
- Sippy Cups, Water Bottles and Cleaning Supplies: When the boys were babies, we took bottles to our hotel so it isn’t a big change to bring water bottles and sippy cups. We also bring a sponge and small amount of dishwasher detergent to clean them nightly.
- Lovies and Pillows: Both of my boys have a small pillow that they sleep with at home. We always bring the pillow and their nighttime stuffed animals. We have made the mistake of forgetting pillows at the hotel, so I actually have an extra set at home just in case. I am far more vigilant about stuffed animals since we don’t have a replacement and both boys have had theirs since they were babies.
- Entertainment: We usually bring our Amazon Fire Stick to plug into the hotel TV. We also bring tablets in case the fire stick doesn’t work with the hotel TV. I also let the boys pack a backpack with a few toys (LEGOS for older son, trains for youngest son). They can use their backpack in the car on the way to the hotel and when we’re hanging out in the room or packing to return home. For those of you traveling with crawlers or germophobes, I used to travel with a blanket that we spread out on the floor for the kids to play on or crawl on when they were younger.
- Safety: We don’t need this anymore, but I’m sharing it for those of you who travel with babies or toddlers. We used to always travel with outlet covers. Hotels have tons of outlets and none of them are covered. I never noticed until the first time we stayed in a hotel with my newly mobile baby. We moved furniture around to make access more difficult but after that trip, we always traveled with outlet covers.
Some new parents think their hotel days are over once they have kids because it is too hard to travel with kids. I’m here to tell you, with some planning, it can be fun. My oldest son is the first person to say he loves staying in hotels. He has been doing it since he was a baby!
I have a lot of friends who prefer doing a home stay (Air BNB, etc.), but I really have no desire to stay in a home or condo. I don’t want to go out of town just to do what I do at home – clean up after others, cook meals, etc. I understand the appeal of extra space, but I don’t mind tight quarters. It makes for lots of snuggle time!
Hotel Survival Items:
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