Planning a vacation with the kids? We’ve been travelling with ours since they were about 6 weeks old. We’ve always had family out of town, so road trips and flights were necessary to visit them, and as the years have gone by we’ve planned many fun vacations as a family of four.
This often has required us to stay in hotels and resorts. Sometimes it’s for a quick night while we continue on to another location, other times it’s for a few nights as a mini vacation in itself. Over the years, we’ve picked up a few tips along the way that make each of our stays even easier. Have questions? Ask away!
Pack for the hotel
When we go on long road trips, and have a lot of items, we don’t love carrying every single baseball bat and beach towel into the hotel room, especially for only a simple overnight stay. Instead, we make sure that our hotel items (the overnight clothes we need for example) are either in a smaller bag or on top of the rest of the clothes we pack in our main suitcase. We only take what we need. Some items can stay in the car, while others will remain neatly packed in the suitcase thanks to some pre-planning.
Find a place that includes breakfast
I love places that include breakfast. It not only saves us money, but breakfast is the meal that my kids are guaranteed to eat so much of. Some places off a hot continental breakfast which is always amazing (and usually have coffee to go when we hit the road again!) Other places offer a voucher for room service (I love this!) or a restaurant meal, depending on the package you book. For us, finding a place with breakfast is always worth it.
A fridge can help
Especially when the kids were younger and their diet was more limited, a fridge in the room was exactly what we needed. This isn’t included everywhere, but some places offer mini fridges and I love having them. We can keep yogurt or a small milk container and bring along some cereal which makes a perfect bedtime snack (especially if the kids are fussy and don’t eat much at dinner). It also means cold drinks are always handy which saves you money at the vending machines or restaurants.
We don’t go anywhere without a favourite stuffy friend (or, sometimes, many). Not only do they provide a cuddle buddy for sleeping, but also a play mate for quiet time. When the sleep environment changes, having a friend from home is often more comforting for kids.
Consider the bed set up
Most rooms will have double beds, others will have a king bed with a pull out couch. If you need an extra cot, check to see if they are available, if there is a charge, or if you need to request it earlier. You don’t want to assume there is a cot or crib, and then find out that the hotel doesn’t provide it.
Look into booking a Suite
There are many suites and longer-stay style hotel rooms that are perfect for families. Having an extra room when you have young kids that you are trying to put to sleep might be exactly what you need. Having a kitchen set up in the room will also be helpful, especially if staying longer. Yes, sometimes suites are expensive at some hotels, but we’ve found many that are reasonably priced, include breakfast and even other food like evening receptions.
Is there enough to do?
If you just need a place to rest your head before continuing on your way, look at the room itself as a priority. However, if you need a place to spend some time, even if it’s for an afternoon, check out places with pools or play areas for kids so you don’t have to spend all your time in the room.
Sometimes, hotel stays are nothing but a stressful event because kids won’t sleep or the set up isn’t ideal for families. With a little advanced research, hopefully you’ll reduce the number of nights like this. And remember, part of the adventure for the kids is sleeping at a hotel! They’ll likely be excited no matter what. Have fun!