Knowing an array of tricks and tips for staying in hotels with toddlers is the best way to keep relaxation in a family vacation. Toddlers are challenging enough on the home front, so it should be expected that traveling with the tantrum prone little ones would be similarly trying. However, toddler caregivers often find themselves checking into a hotel with the little person in tow. If dread has overtaken an upcoming trip because the two year-old will be along for the ride, tried and true trips from frequent family travelers are needed. It is more than possible to accomplish a hotel visit, keeping both grown up sanity and the toddler’s safety in check.
- Bring Along a Child-proofing Kit Hotel rooms are absolutely full of new and dangerous things for toddlers to explore. Open electrical outlets, beds that beg for toddler bouncing, exposed cords for curtains, blinds, lamps and televisions, toilets, and sharp furniture corners all add to the risks for curious little ones. Make sure that you pull up cords, block outlets, close bathroom doors, and pad sharp edges and corners. If you are “borrowing” a crib or other toddler items from the hotel, verify that the items are in good working order and are not subject to any recall.
- Seek Out the “Invisible” Babies, toddlers, and puppies have a way of finding things, especially dangerous things, that are virtually invisible to those over 3 feet tall. It’s always a good idea to do a quick “floor check” under beds and throughout the room for anything left behind by other guests or housekeeping. A lost button—or a stray condom, for example—can spell disaster for a family vacation.
- Request a Room Based on the Little One’s Needs & Personality. Toddlers jump, toddlers play and toddlers very rarely walk toward any destination. Requesting a first floor room will help you let your toddler be a toddler without disturbing downstairs neighbors. Also, if your little person has a mild temperament and falls asleep without fail at 7:30 P.M.—do yourself a favor and request a room far from high traffic zones like the pool or elevators. On the other hand, if you are likely to house the wild one on the floor—take adjoining rooms into account and accept a higher traffic room. The higher energy toddler will likely not notice the distractions, the grown ups will not be so "toddler personality limiting" or apprehensive, and other patrons in those areas will be less likely to complain about noises and such.
- Take Advantage of the Hotel Staff and Amenities. The staff are likely area residents and should be used as resources. Need some green space? Ask the front desk about an onsite playground or local park. Hotel staff may also know about some cheap, family friendly events during the trip that did not make the radar of an out of town travel agent. Some hotels even offer free “kid’s travel packs” with coloring books, activities or even games and videos to help families during stays. Let the front desk know of the little visitor and see how the hotel may be of assistance.
- Be Creative with Toddler Meals During Your Stay. Toddler tummies are tiny and meals for the little ones often represent snacking or grazing rather than dining. Toddlers often must eat many small meals a day to keep hunger caused tantrums at bay. During travel, frequent meals can be difficult schedule, so be sure to take advantage of a la carte breakfasts by picking up an extra yogurt or piece of fruit for the mid morning and afternoon snacks. Do not forget to box up larger meal leftovers—or order an extra side for takeout—and store in the room refrigerator for later. Many hotels take light eating toddlers into consideration and offer them free meals with dining adults in full scale hotel restaurants—sometimes even through room service.
Most importantly, be patient and enjoy the trip. Those trying toddlers turn into teenagers in no time—and simply convincing them to take a trip then with the grown ups will be a challenge in itself!