A relaxing stay at a hotel sounds like the perfect vacation, but sometimes traveling with baby on board can change your lens. Start thinking about the hotel room with its potential hazards and all the gear you’ll need to bring, and you might wonder if it’s worth it. Good news: It is! Read on for 7 tips on how to make your hotel room better for baby.
photo: Zhu via Flickr
1. Borrow the hotel’s baby supplies.
Call ahead to find out what your hotel provides for babies so you can travel lighter. Most offer cribs free of charge (bring your own sheets), and many lend out high chairs so you can leave the travel chair at home. Some chains even supply bottle warmers, diaper pails and sound machines. If you’re staying at a hotel with minimal options, look online for rental firms that can outfit you with everything you need for your room — as well as a car seat or stroller for outings. If you’re aren’t staying in a metropolitan area, consider shipping must-have gear so it’s at the hotel when you arrive.
2. Have necessities delivered.
Why waste suitcase space with extra diapers, wipes and other daily needs when you can have them delivered to your hotel? Many cities now offer grocery-store deliveries through regional services like InstaCart and Peapod. If you’re traveling to a location that doesn’t, put that Amazon Prime membership to good use. Or, if you’re staying at a higher-end hotel, they will often pre-stock the room with all of your parenting needs.
photo: Caitlin Regan via Flickr
3. Do an initial cleaning.
When you get in your room, plonk baby on the bed with a toy and give the room a quick cleaning. Bring disinfecting wipes to clean telephones, TV remotes, alarm clocks and other objects your child might put in their mouth. Move garbage cans up to countertops so your little one can’t get into the trash. Then get on your hands and knees to assess the room from baby level. Are there any coins or small, sharp objects on the floor? Any sharp edges on furniture to watch out for? Did a previous tenant leave anything under the bed or couch that you don’t want your child to play with?
4. Create a kitchen.
If your hotel room doesn’t include a kitchen, you can easily set up a makeshift command center to handle everything from warming bottles to making oatmeal. The in-room coffee machine can steam veggies or boil eggs for your little one. And if your room doesn’t have a refrigerator, bring a collapsible cooler to keep your child’s food fresh. You can also tote it along on your daily adventures (ice from the ice machine keeps things cool), so it’s worth making room for it in your luggage.
photo: Mali Mish via Flickr
5. Don’t forget the tape.
While your home may be decked out in safety locks, corner guards and outlet covers, all you need to pack to babyproof your temporary abode is tape. It can be used to secure drapery cords, seal electrical outlets, keep toilet lids closed, and more. If your furniture has sharp edges, place a washcloth or spare rolled-up hotel sheet over the edge and tape it in place! Running low on tape? In a pinch, Band-Aids can cover outlets to keep curious fingers safe.
6. Create baby stations for daily tasks.
Since hotel rooms aren’t set up for children, tasks like changing diapers or heating bottles can be tricky. Designate the desk as your baby changing station and move other items to a different spot. A collapsible shoe rack or shelving unit won’t take up a lot of space in your suitcase and can hold diaper cream, wipes, and diapers to organize your changing area. A hanging cosmetic case attached to a door can double as a bottle-making station.
photo: C.K. Koay via Flickr
7. Ensure a good night’s sleep.
Give yourself the best chances of sleep success by re-creating the soothing comforts of home. If your child falls asleep to music or a noise machine, bring them. (If you play them through your smartphone, placing it in a coffee cup can help amplify the volume.) If you’re using the hotel’s crib, bring sheets for a sanitized snooze that smells, feels and looks like home. If your baby is used to sleeping in their own room, create a separate space by placing the crib in the bathroom or closet, or tucking the crib behind the couch or TV. And if your baby can’t get comfortable in an unfamiliar bed, make a baby nest by rolling extra-large hotel towels lengthwise and forming a pod, placing a spare fitted sheet (check the closets for extras) over the pod and the entire mattress to make a cozy, taut sleeping space.
— Meghan Meyers