8 tips for staying in hotels with kids

We recently went on a three-day trip to Ottawa with the kids and learned that the best part of the trip for them was the hotel, especially the pool.  We could have taken them on a “trip” to Markham or Ajax and just got a hotel with a pool and they would have thought that was an amazing vacation!  So, for the next decade or so, I need to make sure the hotel is done up right when travelling with kiddies!

  1. If you can, splurge for a two room suite. I have found that this doesn’t cost a lot more than a regular room with two queens.  They get away with calling these “two room suites”, but often, they are regular rooms split down the middle by a washroom or a set of French doors. It is so key to have one of these rooms and it has become our #1 rule when booking a hotel for us and the kids. With two little ones who go to bed in the early evening, hubby and I have a room to ourselves and we don’t have to worry about tv volume or lights.  It is so worth it to not have to whisper from 8pm on.
  2. Most hotel bathrooms have a retractable clothes line over the tub, but if not, bring a skipping rope that you can tie up and hang wet bathing suits from.
  3. If the hotel that you are staying at does not have a mini fridge, bring a cooler for snack foods. This is helpful to stock with yogurt, milk, cheese curd, smoothies, (and wine and beer for grown ups!)
  4. Bring a blanket or quilt. On our recent trip to Ottawa, I put a quilt from home on the pull-out sofa for the kids. It’s nicer and more homey feeling. Also if there isn’t a table in your hotel room, put the blanket on the floor and you have a picnic for the kids during snack or dinner  time.
  5. Don’t forget paper plates and cups. We ordered in pizza and sushi to our hotel room. After long days of touring the city and going to museums, we all wanted nothing more than to come back to our room, put our comfy clothes on and order some take out. Most take out restaurants don’t bring cutlery or plates unless you request, so it is always good to have some handy.
  6. Pack some flameless tea light candles. I bring these to put in the bathroom and kids room in case they need to get up in the night and forget where they are.  Plug-in night lights are great as well, but you can pack lots of  tea lights and place them wherever you want.
  7. Don’t forget flip flops or slippers for wearing around the hotel (for kids and you!). Also, for the kids, little robes to wear to and from the hotel pool.
  8. Bring lysol wipes! These are my favourite thing. My husband will tell you I use them at home for EVERYTHING.  I also use them at work for my phone, desk and laptop too. In a hotel room, these are great. I don’t usually worry about dirt and bugs when my kids are playing outside, but hotels are a different story, especially if you have seen this episode of CBC’s Marketplace like I have.  Lysol wipes are great for chairs, door knobs and just about everything that you or your kids touch.
Our "two room" suite

Our “two room” suite

Tea lights

Tea lights

And more tea lights

And more tea lights

I hope that these eight tips help you in your travels.  What are you favourite travel tips for when you go away with your kids?

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