Not long ago I traveled from Portland to Seattle for my younger sister’s baby shower. (Squee! A squishy niece-to-come!) We spent just one night in the emerald city to the north and stayed in the Alexis, a boutique hotel blocks from Pike Place Market with gorgeous, spacious rooms and a fantastic restaurant downstairs.
Hotel stays used to excite me—a night away, someone else to make my bed, and all those toiletries in tiny bottles. (I’m not the only one who gets excited about mini shampoos, am I?)
But now? Not so much.
I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in feeling a wee bit anxious bringing a baby to a hotel. Will the guests next door call the front desk if my little cries? Will the guests next door throw a raging party and prompt me to call the front desk?
Luckily, you can take some of the uncertainty out of the travel-with-baby equation by planning ahead. Here are tips to make sure both you and Baby have a good stay in the hotel.
1. Match your home. Mimicking your baby’s bedroom will make her more comfortable—and more likely to sleep in a new environment. For us that means we travel with a white noise machine (we use and love this one, and it’s sturdy and compact enough to travel); otherwise, this free app is great, and it doesn’t turn off after 20 minutes like some others do. Rooms usually have blackout curtains that block light from the street outside. Do anything else that will make the hotel feel more comfortable—bring a lovey, play Baby’s favorite lullaby, whatever.
2. Arrange a baby bed. If you don’t bed share, call ahead to ensure the concierge has a crib or pack n play waiting in your room. But ask if there will be a charge (some places tack on an extra $10 a night); if that’s the case, it may be cheaper to buy one and have it shipped to the hotel ahead of time. You can always arrange to have it donated if you don’t want to lug it home. And if your baby sleeps in a rock n play, you’ll need to bring or ship one—I’ve yet to find a hotel that has them.
3. Consider a suite. I once spent most of an evening in a hotel bathroom with the door closed because my daughter was sleeping in the main room and I didn’t dare disturb her. Now we reserve a suite as often as we can. Just call to ensure the suite actually does have space where you can close the door. Then you can enjoy your stay without worrying you’ll wake the baby.
On the other hand, if you’re traveling with others you can just hang out in their room once Baby goes to bed.
4. Set up a monitor. If you’ll be spending time in another room, make sure its adjacent to yours. (Make that request when you reserve the rooms.) That way your monitor will stay in range.
5. Ask about the fridge. If you’re pumping, or you need to refrigerate baby food, call to make sure your room has a mini fridge. And while you’re at it, ask them to empty it. Some places will automatically charge you when something is removed, and you probably won’t be drinking all those tiny bottles of booze anyway.
6. Do not disturb. Make good use of those little door hangers. There’s nothing worse than housekeeping knocking and interrupting your little’s nap!
7. Consider a babysitter. Traveling to a new city with a baby can be so frustrating—having to be back at the hotel for naps and bedtime makes it tough to explore. On the other hand, doing all the research to find a babysitter in a place you don’t know is overwhelming. Luckily, many hotels have a relationship with a babysitting service that’s already vetted—leaving you free to go out to dinner, see a show or just relax at the bar downstairs. Heads-up, though, many places have a time minimum (it was four hours at the Alexis).
What about you—do you have tips to make traveling to a hotel with a baby any easier?
About the Author
Catherine Ryan Gregory is just trying to be a good mom—whatever that means. She has a high tolerance for mess, can read upside-down and talks about boobs way more often than is socially appropriate. Follow along on the crazy, crumb-covered journey of motherhood! She blogs at TenThousandHourMama.com; you can also find her on Twitter and Facebook.