Hotel life isn’t all breakfast in beds and plush terry robes when traveling with tots. With ten hotels over the last 2 months, one of which was an overnight on a junk boat in Halong Bay and one which we were evacuated from due to the monsoon in Hoi An, we are well practiced in navigating life on the road. I love staying in hotels – I love turn-down services and a cuppa brought to me in bed. But the last couple months hasn’t just been me. There are these three little rugrats that seem to follow me everywhere. I’m not saying that I need a vacation right now (because the comments I would receive would be horrendous I know), but hotel life can be full on with all the unpacking and packing up and trying to give our kids some sense of stability even though we are nomads. The nice thing about being at home is that you have your creature comforts with you – so how have I tried to replicate our home life in our hotel globeTOTTing world? My top tips for hotel life below:
TRAVEL COT: We love the Baby Bjorn Travel Crib Light for hotel travel. Of course most of the hotels we stay in do provide some sort of baby cot, I’m not always happy with the mattress or the crib. Having this crib tucked away in Sadie’s suitcase gave me a sense of security that I could always just pop it up (it is super easy to open and close) and she could go down for a nap. She was also more comfortable sleeping in the bed that she knew, rather than constantly finding a new bed in every hotel we moved to.
TRAVEL HIGH CHAIR: I travel with two chairs, both the Peg-Perego Rialto and the benbat. The Peg-Perego Rialto is the dream travel chair – you can adjust the height and it comes with an eating tray – it is really the sturdiest most innovative chair I’ve seen. It is a little heavier and sturdier than the benbat, so we leave this chair as our hotel chair – leaving it permanently in the hotel room or if we’ve rented a villa, in the house we are staying in. I also keep the Benbat Yummigo Booster on hand for meals out – it is extremely lightweight and can be easily clipped onto Sadie’s Babyzen Yoyo stroller. Obviously if you are traveling to places where they will have child seats available, no need to bring high chairs with you – but safe seats aren’t widely available in Southeast Asia and so we’ve come prepared and I’m so thankful as when the kids are comfortable in their seats, they eat better and meal times are more enjoyable and less like feeding times at the zoo. (I also love having two seats with me, as if we inevitably loose one, I have another one in my back pocket).
BLUETOOTH SPEAKER: We always have music at home and so, in my attempts to create a little home in our hotel rooms, I always pack a bluetooth speaker for afternoon Raffi sing-a-longs and as Christmas is coming up, Jingle Bell dance parties. We also have fallen in love with Audible.com – so for afternoon colouring time or playdoh creation, our speaker acts as storytime as well. AND, as there are always unpredictable noises in hotel rooms (our amazing hotel room in Chiang Mai was next to a massive construction site – and drills aren’t conducive to naptime) – I pop a little White Noise Machine sound (on spotify or on youtube) while the kids are going for a nap or sleep, and it seems to help block out the background noise.
BABY LIGHT: Creating a sleep environment that is as close to what your children are familiar with is the key. Sadie (and the boys) use the TOMY First Years Starlight Dream Show to calm them to sleep (while I sneak out of the room) and so I tuck this into her travel crib so she can have it during hotel bedtime as well. Whatever your kids have during bedtime at home, try to tuck it along during your hotel travels as well.
NIGHT WATER: Our kids are forever waking us up in the night to ask for water – at home they always have a cup next to their beds so they can help themselves. On the road, we bring each child a Klean Kanteen – safe, durable, and leak-proof – and labeled with their names on a label for easy identification. Great for car journeys and of course, next to their beds so they have one less reason to wake you up in the middle of the night.
CLEAR TRAVEL BAGS: If there is only one take-away from these travel tips, it is to stock up on these essential Marks & Spencer Clear Bags – they come as a set of three and I use all three sizes for life on the road. I keep the smallest bags for carry-on travel first aid kit and the largest one for a proper full medical kit (more on travel safety in another blog). I also tuck all of my electronic chargers and wires into a bag, all of our sunscreens, repellent, and lotions and potions into another, and so on. When you are unpacking and packing up day after day, you don’t have time to properly ‘move into’ a hotel room. There are things to do, cities to see, and the last thing I want to do when I’m unpacking is organizing everything or when packing up, trying to find everything that I’ve tucked in drawers. These bags are brilliant as I can unpack the bags – line them all up on a shelf – and then I can see which bag I need and go from there. Just makes life easier when you can clearly see what you have – while everything is still tucked away for easy grab-and-go.
ELECTRONIC CHARGING: There are never enough chargers in a hotel room for all of our gadgets. 5 ipads, 4 phones, a bluetooth speaker, a laptop, a camera charger, and probably other items that I’m forgetting. I’m probably late to the game, but I just discovered universal travel adapters with dual USB ports – so you can charge your computer AND two ipads in one plug (the dream!) Maximizing charging stations is key – so these solve our port issues.
ACTIVITIES & SNACKS: Proper blog posts on both hotel room activities (for the downtimes in between beach time and tour time) and also the best travel snacks to keep on hand for early morning nibbles before you get down to breakfast… but will write those later as the kids are all waking up from a nap now and its time for me to take off my blogger hat and put on my mom hat.