Once upon a time, not so long ago, my husband and I could throw a couple changes of clothes in a single shared bag and be on the road in minutes for a weekend out of town. These days now that we’re traveling with children, packing and being away from home even for an overnight trip is a lot more work and a lot more packing. However just because your family has grown in size, doesn’t mean that you still can’t have a great time traveling! Whether you’re traveling to Hotels St Paul MN or headed down to see Mickey in Orlando, Florida, here are some tips to make staying in a hotel with your family more enjoyable.
Pick Kid Friendly Properties
Yes, you’ll want to keep price and location in mind too, but kid friendly amenities like “kids eat free”, swimming pools, waterparks, special activities and more can be a lifesaver especially after having kids cooped up in a car or airplane all day. Kid friendly properties will be more open to the patter of little feet running down the halls and jumping on the beds than stuffier business oriented hotels and your family will probably be more comfortable.
Let’s face it, once the initial novelty of checking out the closet and opening all the drawers wears off, for most kids a hotel room is boring. There’s not much to do, they don’t have their belongings from home and there’s often some extra time to kill between activities. To help keep the kiddies occupied and to save mom and dad’s sanity it can help to bring some easy to transport entertainment.
For short trips (overnight) our kids are typically allowed to bring one toy to play with into the room as well as one beloved sleeping companion like a blankie or stuffed animal. For longer trips we typically will allow them to bring a few more. My little man has a tiny backpack of “chugs” his word for toy trains that he takes with him on the go and my 8 year old will typically bring one of her baby dolls and a diaper bag of accessories. Older kids might want to bring an iPad or a DS, or you might want to bring a portable DVD player and a few movies.
Kids and grown ups alike need to eat and feeding a family on the go can add up quick. To help watch expenses and make sure your family is getting more nutritious snacks than what come out of a vending machine or from a gas station it always pays to pack snacks. Depending on the length of our stay, I usually pack a small bag with bottled water, juice boxes, packaged crackers, fruit snacks and etc. If I know our hotel room has a refrigerator, I’ll usually pack in a cooler (or pick up on the go) some fresh fruit, string cheese, fruit juice and other healthy choices.
Hotels are a different place from home, and are also filled with strangers. Be sure to set ground rules with your kids on what they are allowed to do, where they are allowed to go, and any additional safety guidelines (like flipping the door lock at the top of the door) that they might need to know to stay safe.