Now that you’ve survived your flight or road trip with your toddler, you’re facing a new challenge: A hotel stay.
Just like when you travel with your toddler, you don’t have to merely grin and bear it. You can have a genuinely enjoyable hotel stay. How? Check out these things that we’ve found to be useful.
Having a good stay at a hotel with a toddler
Address any hazards in the hotel room
Your home may be “toddler proof” (to the extent that any home can be), but hotel rooms aren’t. Take a quick look around and see if you need to make any adjustments. Do you need to elevate any cords that are hanging down from blinds so your little one doesn’t get entangled in them? Do you need to pick up the pen that is on the desk so your toddler doesn’t get hold of it and draw on the wall? Is there a coffeemaker with a glass pot perched on the edge of a counter, beckoning your toddler to grab it? Taking care of these things can prevent many accidents from happening.
Create a comfortable sleep space
When thinking about how to get your toddler a good night’s sleep in the hotel, it is important to consider how he or she sleeps at home. My toddler sleeps in a twin bed at home, so sleeping in a regular bed at a hotel is no big deal. If your toddler uses a big kid bed, then I imagine your experience would be similar. However, if your toddler sleeps in a crib or toddler bed at home, he or she may not feel comfortable in a bed as large or as high as those in the hotel. Taking a travel toddler bed or inflatable bed rails with you might be better options.
As I discussed in last week’s post about staying in a hotel with a baby, a white noise machine or app is useful when staying in a hotel. This is because there may be a lot of loud noises around you (neighbors, elevators, ice machines, etc.). White noise muffles these sounds, making it easier for your toddler to sleep.
Take along a nightlight
If your toddler usually sleeps with a nightlight, then you’ll want to take one along with you because most hotels don’t provide these for guests. A nightlight won’t take up much room in your luggage, but it will go a long way in making your toddler feel more comfortable!
Plan activities and take plenty of toys
Toddlers often have short attention spans and abundant energy. Therefore, it is important to provide activities and toys to keep them occupied while staying in hotels. Great activities include singing songs and doing finger plays (e.g., Itsy Bitsy Spider, Five Little Monkeys), playing “I Spy,” and playing hide and seek by hiding a small object (like a stuffed toy or ball) in various places around the room.
The best toys are generally those that are small, quiet, and engaging. You want small toys so you can pack them easily, quiet toys so you don’t disturb your neighbors, and engaging toys so they keep your toddler occupied. My daughter’s favorite travel toys include a magnetic drawing board, books, puzzles, and a peg board.
Have food and drinks on hand
If your toddler is anything like mine, then hunger makes him or her super cranky. We don’t go anywhere, including hotels, without snacks! It’s nice to have a couple of easy-to-eat options available (e.g., dried fruit, pretzels, string cheese). I try to avoid messier options like peanut butter on crackers or veggie sticks with ranch dip.
Try to maintain your routines
It’s hard to do so when traveling, but try to maintain your usual routine to the extent that you can. Your toddler will be comfortable and happy if he or she goes about activities in a typical order, takes normal naps, and maintains his or her usual bedtime. He or she will also benefit from having access to any usual security items, such as a blanket or stuffed animal. Maintaining routines helps toddlers feel like they know what to expect even though they’re in new environments.
Consider staying in a suite
If you’re able to stay in a suite, then seriously consider doing so. We love staying in suites because they are more spacious and provide separate areas. The additional space means our toddler can move around a bit more and the separate areas means we can put her down to nap in one room while we have lights on and visit or do some work in the other room. It may cost a bit more, but it’s often worth it!
Toddlers are naturally curious and energetic. You can actually use this to your advantage as you stay in a hotel. Talk about the features of your new surroundings. Explore the view from your hotel window. Test the beds and other furniture to see if they are comfortable. Make it an adventure so it is just one more fun part of your trip!
Take advantage of this printable packing list to help simplify your trip planning. It will help you remember everything you need so you can relax and enjoy the time with your family.
Have you stayed in a hotel with a toddler? What tips can you share for having an enjoyable stay?
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