Now that you’ve survived your flight or road trip with baby, you’re facing a new challenge: A hotel stay.
Just like when you travel with your infant, you don’t have to merely survive. You can have a truly enjoyable hotel stay. How? Check out these things that we’ve found to be useful.
Having a good stay at a hotel with baby
Create a safe, comfortable sleep space
Many hotels provide portable cribs (either mini cribs on wheels or portable play yards) for babies to use during their stays. To be honest with you, I don’t feel comfortable using these. I don’t have the expertise to examine them and make sure they meet current safety standards and don’t have any loose or damage parts. I also don’t know how they’ve been cleaned and don’t want my baby in contact with unwashed surfaces that have been slobbered or pooped on by another baby. Consequently, we carry our portable play yard with us. Yes, it’s a bulky piece of luggage to bring, but I know it is safe and familiar to my babies (my toddler used to sleep in it in our bedroom and my infant still does).
If your baby is at an age where he or she is curious and easily distracted, it can be helpful to bring receiving blankets or something similar that you can drape over the sides of the crib/play yard so he or she isn’t distracted by other happenings in the hotel room during sleep times.
Use a white noise machine or app
Whether you typically use a white noise machine at home or not, it’s nice to have one (or a white noise app on your computer or phone) when staying in a hotel. This is because you can’t guarantee your room will be quiet. You may be near a pool, elevator, ice machine, or loud neighbors. These ambient noises can make it hard for babies to sleep, but a white noise machine or app helps muffle the noises so naps and nighttime sleep are possible.
Bring toys for play
Obviously you’re going to need to take toys to entertain baby, but which are best? We’ve found it helpful to take a wide variety of small, quiet toys with us. You want small toys so you can transport them easily, a variety so baby stays entertained, and quiet toys so you don’t bother your neighbors.
If you’re going to be in the hotel for an extended period of time, it can be helpful to take compact or portable pieces of baby equipment with you. Examples include a compact bouncer or portable activity center. When my first daughter was an infant we traveled with my husband for work and it was very helpful to have our space-saving Jumperoo with us for her to sit in while my husband was out and I showered.
Use a towel or blanket for play
Let’s face it: Hotel rooms aren’t the cleanest places. I’m no “germaphobe,” but I cringe at the thought of my baby playing on a hotel room floor and chewing on toys that have been on that floor. Thankfully, this is easy to address. I simply take a blanket with us where my baby (and older child) can sit to play. If you don’t want to take a blanket, you can always use one of the towels provided by the hotel.
Stay in a room with a fridge
We try to stay in hotel rooms that have refrigerators. I’ve always appreciated the convenience of being able to refrigerate water and food, but I find it is especially valuable with an infant. It allows you to easily store things like homemade baby foods, perishable finger foods, and pumped breast milk.
Take extra clothes for baby
Spit up and diaper leaks happen in hotels just like they happen at home…though sometimes it seems like they happen even more often on vacations! Unlike when you’re at home, it’s difficult to wash clothes while staying at a hotel. Therefore, it’s a good idea to take along plenty of spare clothes so that you’ll be able to change your little one into something clean even if you don’t have access to (or have time to use) coin laundry at the hotel. It’s also nice to bring along a wet bag so you have one on hand to store any soiled or damp items.
Have a bath game plan
Depending on how long you’ll be at the hotel, you may be able to save yourself some hassle by not bathing your little one while there. If we’re in a hotel for a short stay, then this is what I do. However, if we’re going to stay for a longer time, then I come up with a plan for bathing.
Some hotel rooms have upright showers, but no bathtub. If you’ll be in a room like this, then you may want to take a small inflatable bathtub for bathing baby. These tubs can also be used in regular bathtubs. If your hotel room does have a bathtub, then you can take along a bath sponge or use folded towels to support your baby’s body during bathing.
Try to keep routines
It’s always a challenge when you’re traveling, but to the extent that you can, it’s helpful to maintain your usual routines. Try to maintain your normal nap and sleep schedule, try to recreate your typical sleep environment (white noise, lullabies, etc.), and bring along your baby’s security items (blanket, stuffed toy, pacifier, etc.). Doing these things helps babies feel comfortable in their new environments.
If you’re anxious or stressed about your hotel stay, your baby will sense this and be anxious, too. Relax. Print a packing list so you’ll remember everything you need and won’t be stressed in the days before your trip. Then sit back and enjoy the time with your family! After all, babies grow up so quickly and you’ll soon have a toddler on your hands. Next week we’ll discuss how to have an enjoyable hotel stay with one of these!
Have you stayed in a hotel with a baby? What tips can you share for having an enjoyable stay?
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