I never minded staying in a hotel room, it’s a nice feeling of stepping away from your everyday life. And adding a baby to the hotel room isn’t all that bad. We started traveling with our daughter when she was 5 months old. We flew to Phoenix Arizona, spent a few days there and then drove up to Sedona. It was such a great experience after that first night of adjusting with the time change. Since then, our daughter has stayed in probably 50 hotels, if I had to count. She is almost 4. Now we have our second baby and he is just starting to gain his experience with little hotel getaways.
I hope this read finds you planning a getaway. Here’s some great tips to surviving a hotel stay with a baby.
Before arriving to the hotel, call ahead to make some special requests. First, ask if they can set up the pack and play or crib prior to your arrival. This is especially important if you are getting in during the night. And hotels are NOT baby proof…at all. So you’ll need this safe space to place baby while you’re preoccupied.
Ask for a fridge. Some hotels don’t come with them anymore, which I think is crazy. But they are so useful for obvious reasons. Particularly with a baby, you may need it for breastmilk, formula, yogurt, or fresh snacks.
If it’s in the budget, ask for a suite so you have a kitchenette available. The clean kitchen sink is important for washing baby bottles, feeding items, and pacifiers. If not, no big deal, just bring a washing brush and dish soap to wash those items in the bathroom sink.
Things to Bring
Sheets – Bring a top sheet or ask the hotel at check in for an extra sheet, it’s great to throw a big sheet down on the floor for your crawling baby. This creates a nice clean space for baby to play with toys and worry less about all the floor germs. Also, I always bring my own baby’s crib sheet. Some hotels may have a crib but they usually don’t have actual crib sheets and end up using their big bed sheets to fold over the crib mattress. Using our own crib sheets make me feel better about cleanliness anyways. These days we’re packing our own portable crib, but when we start flying again I won’t be bringing that along.
Bedtime – Be sure to pack all the necessities your baby needs for sleep. While packing for a trip I had all our clothes and pajamas but completely forgot a swaddle! That would have been a bit of a disaster, my babies loved their swaddle. But luckily my husband was coming later in a separate car, so he was able to grab it. Other sleep aids may include a sound machine, nightlight, pacifier, etc. We always always use our portable sound machine. And most recently we prefer to bring our own portable crib. It’s super easy to set up and take down.
Feeding Time – Bottles, sippy cup, baby spoons, bibs… whatever you use to feed you baby, you’ll likely have to wash them at some point. I breastfeed my baby 90% of the time, but every night he gets extra breastmilk in a bottle and I pump once a night. So I have a whole separate bag packed with the breast pump and parts, and all the washing items with it. Bottle brush, dish detergent, drying towel (I prefer to place the clean bottles on my own clean dish towel). It’s also good to have these washing items to clean pacifiers or teething toys…or let’s face it, any toy because they all end up in baby’s mouth. For longer hotel stays consider bringing a travel booster chair, we use the Cirrus from Baby Delight Inc. It is so compact and convenient, it’s silly not to bring it.
Bath Time – Bring your own baby wash cloths because it’s typical for those hotel wash cloths to be rough. And your own baby soap/shampoo. Baby skin can be so delicate or sensitive, so stick with what you know to prevent any skin or eye irritation.
Cleaning Time – Particularly now, I take extra steps in cleaning the hotel room. I bring disinfectant wipes, Lysol spray and paper towels. Before unpacking, I do my best to clean everything. I Lysol all the door knobs and furniture handles. And wipe down any surface I may be putting our things on or think we will be touching. I clean the bathroom just as I would at home and run the shower water to wash anything away. It sounds like a lot, but it is rather quick and I don’t stress over it more than just giving it a good run through. After all, we made the choice to leave our house so I’m going to enjoy it.
First Aid – As with any travel time away from home, better to be prepared than dealing with an uncomfortable baby in a foreign town. Consider bringing along nasal saline drops, Tylenol, Motrin, Benadryl, Band-Aids, and alcohol swabs. Just in case. Because if you have them packed, of course you won’t need them.
Ideally you want to pick a hotel that is central to everything, although that may not be possible. But if you plan on visiting a city and exploring different parks, museums, attractions etc, you’ll want to strategically choose a hotel that can be walking distance. It’s so nice to be able to use a stroller and get around everywhere.
Inside your hotel, you’ll want to request a room away from the elevator. Elevators on their own can be noisy and then add other people in and out of them. You don’t need that waking up baby during naps or night time. Or consider the first floor if you don’t care for a room with a view. It’s nice going in and out of the hotel and keeping your baby in the stroller, whether it’s to keep your hands free or load the stroller up with bags and things from your outings.
We all know babies tend to go to sleep and stay asleep better when they can’t see you. A second bedroom would be wonderful but that could be doubling your hotel expense. I’m not for that. Instead we book a two queen bed room, place the crib or pack and play on the far side of the bed furthest from the bathroom (the bed we don’t sleep in). Stack the pillows from that bed up in the middle to make a wall. It works sooo well to basically hide yourselves from the sleeping child. Because that is what parenting has come to. And you know what, I’m ok with it. It means we can still travel and get a good nights sleep.
My best advice to you is to lower your expectations and let go of the little things. You may forget something, but it’s likely you can buy whatever it is you need or live without it. Not everything will go as planned, but make the most of it and have fun. You’ll be home before you know it. Oh and don’t forget to use that “Do Not Disturb” sign so the hotel staff doesn’t wake your baby! Go ahead and just leave it on the door the whole stay.
>>The New England Momma