My husband has been traveling a lot for work in the last couple of years, and we like to go with him when we can.
We try to see the area whenever possible.
But these are trips of three weeks to a couple of months at a time.
So they are not really vacations when in a hotel room with kids.
We aren’t out of the hotel all the time, we couldn’t afford to be, and we’d be exhausted!
I like to think we’ve fine tuned hotel living to work pretty well for our family by doing the following, which I’m sure will help even if you are on a true vacation.
10 Tips for Living in a Hotel Room with Kids
Pick a Good Hotel
We don’t always have a choice of hotels.
But when we do some of the things we look for are a kitchen, a pool, free breakfast (and often other meals!), and a room with enough space for the kid’s beds.
Sometimes we are lucky enough to get a one bedroom location instead of a studio, but that’s rare.
The hotel we are in now does have some great bonus features, though, that I would look for if at all possible.
An outside grilling and eating area, much more convenient than eating inside and with a little space to play.
A “great room” and a little “den” area, which is great because sometimes everyone goes to bed before I am ready to.
It’s really nice to have somewhere else to be where I can have the lights on!
It’s nice during the daytime, too, and a good way to possibly make friends.
This hotel even has free laundry—that’s a luxury we’ve never run into before, but I’ll take it!
We are always looking for future vacation destinations.
This article, “Family Vacations on a Budget” is a great resource.
We have written before about the Peapod Plus travel bed.
We bought some for our very first trip and they are AWESOME.
They pack up tiny during the day and they give everyone a little privacy at night.
My husband gets up for work long before the kids wake up, and the Peapod blocks the light from the bathroom and kitchen a little bit. (We also take them camping and the smaller space helps keep them warm inside our bigger tent.)
For this trip, I finally learned that there will not be enough chairs for the kids and us, especially at meal times.
In fact, we only have a couch and a wheeled desk chair, neither a good match for dining preschoolers.
So I brought the kid’s camping chairs, small to carry and easy to stash out of sight when not in use.
Finally, I bring collapsible luggage.
The kid’s backpacks and the reusable grocery bags that I brought down all fold down to fit inside my backpack, which is squashed flat in the closet!
Much better than in the past when we had to work around bulky suitcases. (Although this hotel remarkably has guest storage lockers where we could store luggage!
That’s another first, though.)
Try Minimalist Packing
I’ve recently written on my blog about the packing techniques I used for this trip. In short, the kid’s and I each ended up with a backpack (sized in proportion to our size) for our clothes.
Of course there were toys and stuffed animals and the beds and the chairs and the things I needed for work, BUT I’m still happy to report we’re not using more than a third of the storage in the room.
Now that’s luxury!
Keep it Tidy
I haven’t completely figured out how to do this, but I try to just pick things up throughout the day.
It definitely helps with the sanity!
We devote one nightstand to toys (and we don’t bring more than can fit there.)
This really helps as the kids always know where to find them and also where to put them away when I say it’s time.
Meet Local Moms
I’m a member of a Facebook group of moms that went to my college, so every time we travel, I ask if any of them live at our destination and what they can tell us about it.
This time one of them suggested a play date, and her kids are just about the same age as mine!
I have found local moms fitness clubs (Stroller Stride is one) and MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) in many locations.
Of course, you can meet people who aren’t moms to hang out with and get to know the area, but it can make things easier if your kids are welcome, too, and it’s nice to find friends for them.
Find the Free Fun
Libraries, parks, mall playgrounds, and museums are just some of the local free fun you can find.
As I write this, I discovered that the Barnes and Noble has story time every week!
I have to admit, we live in a very rural area, so it’s a treat to be able to go to something like this 5 minutes down the road.
If you find some local friends, they can probably help point you in the right direction, too.
Take the Stairs
It’s a little thing, but when you don’t have a lot of room for physical activity, stairs are good.
Especially since in some areas the only thing outside is a sketchy parking lot—every little bit helps.
Of course, taking the stairs is always good exercise.
But it’s a particularly good idea when you have a great surplus of wiggles.
Walking Distance to Activities
Walking is another place to use up the wiggles.
When we can’t drive to a location, it saves a lot if we can walk to our daytime activities rather than getting a rental vehicle.
Often, this doesn’t work out, but it’s a real bonus when it does.
Find a Place for Work and Play
I need to be able to keep writing while we are on these trips. So I try to find places where I can type while the kids play.
My kids are quite small, so something contained works best.
In some places, I’ve found cafés with kids play areas which is my perfect scenario.
Awesome is when they have a counter where I can see them play, drink my coffee, and write. Now that’s the life!
Some people think it’s crazy to live in hotel with little kids, but I enjoy it.
I love travel, I love having someone clean my room and make some of our meals.
It’s a blessing to be able to take these trips!
What are you best tips for living in a hotel room with kids, whether for a vacation or a little longer? Read this; Safety Tips for Travel with Kids, 3 Tips for a Less Stressful Family Vacation and 8 Ways to Prepare before you Travel.