Traveling with little ones can be so daunting, add in a hotel stay with a baby and that could be enough to make you think twice. I’m always nervous if we’re going to be changing the scenery, sleep situation, or routine with our daughter.
Our first hotel stay was when Maddie was 7 months old. I was worried about sleep, solids, pumping, crawling around, and if anyone would have fun. We learned a few things during that stay that will make our lives easier in the future and hopefully yours too! Here are some of my top tips and a short packing list to make your next hotel stay easier and, maybe even enjoyable (?!) with a baby.
Keep Sleep As Familiar As Possible
Whatever that looks like for you and your baby, keeping the setup as similar to home as possible will be one constant in a different place. When you’re packing, think about what you’ll need (within reason) to make that possible. I have some ideas based on what sleep looks like for us in the packing list below.
Put The Crib In The Bathroom
Hear me out on this one. If your baby sleeps in a crib in a dark room at home, it can be really hard to mimic that in a hotel. The closed bathroom is usually the darkest place in a hotel room. Yes, this means you can’t go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. We used the lobby bathroom, the sacrifices you make for your baby to sleep, right?
Plan Ahead For Meals
Hotel rooms are small spaces, when you’re planning your trip, think about what you need for meals. Pouches, pre-made food, formula, milk, and the utensils or containers you’ll need to serve it. Most hotels can provide a small fridge in the room and some even have kettles for boiling water, so call ahead and ask for that if you need it.
Think About Clean Up
If you’re using bottles, pump parts, or other baby plates and utensils, clean up can be challenging. Having the right soap, a bowl, and a way to sterilize can go a long way. When you’re packing, make sure you have what you need to clean whatever it is you need to clean.
Make A Safe Play Space
If your little one isn’t mobile yet or is just starting to crawl around, designating a play space can be helpful so you have somewhere safe to set them down. We brought a light quilt to put down on the floor for this purpose which was so great to have. You can also do some quick baby proofing of outlets with duct tape if your little one is on the move.
Rent Or Borrow If Possible!
Baby Quip is a great resource for renting items like cribs, bouncers, and high chairs from local families. The process is super simple and it’s a way to support local parents while making your bags lighter. If you’re plugged into a local Facebook group, that could be a good place to source items to borrow from parents in the area. Lastly, always call the hotel to see what they have. Some have cribs, and some will even have booster seats or high chairs, it never hurts to ask!
What To Pack
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it’s a good starting point to cover the basics plus some extras to make your hotel stay a little easier.
Pack ‘n Play – This can double as a place to sleep and a place to play.
Sound Machine – We love this little travel sound machine and use it all the time on the go.
Baby Monitor (Audio and Video) – If your baby is going to sleep in the bathroom, these travel monitors are a convenient way to keep eyes (and ears) on them. You can also easily bring your monitor from home if it isn’t attached to the wall.
High Chair – If your baby is old enough to be eating solids, having a small, foldable chair with a tray for them to eat in the hotel room will be super helpful during mealtime.
Microwave Sterilizer Bags – If you have access to a microwave these are so great for bottles and pump parts.
Travel Liquid Containers – For dish soap, baby soap, and everything in-between.
Duct Tape – For easy outlet baby-proofing if your baby is on the move.
Chip Clips – If sleeping in the bathroom isn’t an option, having a few chip clips to close the curtains can help keep the light out during naps.
Blanket – Any thin blanket or sheet that you have will do for playtime.
Wherever you are going, I hope that some of these tips and products can help make your next hotel stay with a baby enjoyable for you and your little one. Remember, even if there are a few days that are off-routine, everything will be okay in the long run, have fun! Happy vacationing!