How To Stay In a Hotel With a Baby

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How To Stay In a Hotel With a Baby

When you are at home, you have everything organized just so to make caring for the baby as easy as possible.  However, when you hit the road, all bets are off.  Especially if you are flying, you end up at your destination with the bare minimum (which is still a lot), you may be in a different time zone and you are confined to one or two rooms with very thin walls.  All of these things add up to make staying in hotels with a baby a challenge. It often leaves parenting wondering how in the world do you manage staying in a hotel with a baby?

Despite these challenges, I took my son and husband on 8 work trips during my son’s first year, and for all of these trips, we stayed in hotels.  Here’s what we’ve learned.


Tips for Staying in a Hotel with a Baby for All Trips

Get a Suite If at All Possible

I know it’s often not in your budget to upgrade your room to a suite.  However, if you can swing it, a suite makes life a lot easier. If nothing else, it provides much needed space.  It never seems to matter how we pack or set up the room, it always looks like a bomb went off within 15 minutes of arriving, and never gets better.  A suite at least gives you the extra space to spread out. 

Another benefit of a suite is providing your baby with a sleeping location further away from others in the room.  Especially if your baby is used to sleeping in his own room, sharing a small hotel room can make it difficult for anyone to get a good night’s sleep as you keep waking each other up.  Having a suite with a door dividing the two parts is the gold standard.  However, just having the room broken up into two areas helps a lot.  When you are traveling, you likely have full days planned, so it’s important for everyone to sleep well when you have the chance.

Depending on where you are traveling to, it may be difficult to get a larger room. If you are heading to Disney, check out these options for large families which can also be used to give you more space with a baby.


Request a Pack-n-Play Ahead of Time

Hotels have cribs or pack n plays that you can request for your room.  This is what we always do because it’s one less thing we need to bring with us.  We do still bring out own sheet though.  However, we learned the hard way during our first trip that you have to call ahead and have them add a note to your reservation that you need a pack-n-play. 

The first time we traveled with our son, we got to the hotel really late because of flight delays.  I knew that the hotel had pack-n-plays, so we didn’t bring one with us.  However, I hadn’t actually requested it prior to check-in.  Because we checked in so late, the only people there didn’t have access to the room where the pack-n-plays were stored.  Therefore, our son ended up sleeping on a blanket on the floor.  This was horribly stressful for me and I didn’t sleep a whole lot. 

I have called ahead of time since, and never had a problem.  Sometimes the pack-n-play is already in the room when we arrive, and other times I have to remind them at check-in, but they always have someone that can bring it right up.


Rearrange the Furniture

The first thing you should do when you get to your hotel room is rearrange the furniture.  Hotel rooms are definitely not set up to be compatible to kids.  The furniture is also arranged in a way to take up about as much floor space as possible.  Start by condensing as much of the furniture as possible.  Push tables together, put chairs under tables, and squish the furniture in whatever way gives you the most space.

Plan out your “stations” of the room.  You will want a play area, food station, changing station, sleeping station and storage area.  By thinking about these as you are organizing the room, you can maximize the flow of the space to make things a little easier.  Something to consider is where to put the pack-n-play.  Ideally you want the area that is the darkest and furthest from the rest of the family’s stuff.  If you can find a nice corner to tuck the pack n play into, that usually works best.  Ideally you want to be able to move around a little without waking up the baby.


Bring a Sound Machine

Whatever you can do to block out the noise of other people in your room and in the hallway is a plus.  I love this travel noise machine which we take with us on every trip.  We hang it on the side of the pack-n-play which helps keep our son in his own little world.  We also bring an extension cord in case we want to put the pack-n-play someplace that isn’t right by an outlet.  For everything else that I pack, check out my packing list.


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Consider What Needs Childproofed

If you have a young baby that isn’t mobile, this isn’t a big deal.  However, for an older baby, a hotel room is full of lots of new things to get into a play with.  Consider hiding cords, pushing things to the back of end tables, and put trashcans on top of tables so they are out of reach.  If your child happens to be into playing with outlets, it may not be a bad idea to travel with a bag of outlet covers to use in the hotel room.


Verify There is a Fridge in your Room

With a baby, there is almost always a reason why a fridge is useful.  Maybe you are pumping and need to store breast milk, maybe you have an older baby that’s drinking milk, or you just need to keep some snacks cold.  Most nice hotel rooms are going to have a fridge.  However, this isn’t an absolute.  If you are breastfeeding and need a place to store pumped milk, definitely call ahead and request that they put a fridge into the room if there isn’t already one.  Most hotels have at least a couple they can put in if a guest specifically needs it for health (or breastfeeding) reasons.

Baby drinking a bottle on a pillow.

Make Sure There is a Continental Breakfast

A continental breakfast is helpful when you are trying to save money.  It’s a meal you can go eat in your PJs if you want, and it’s free.  If the hotel has a good breakfast, you can use it as a source of milk (if your baby is over a year) and even collect enough food to feed a toddler for most of the day.  Items like bananas, dry cereal, yogurt, and hard-boiled eggs are all common items included in hotel breakfasts.

Baby eating off a spoon at public location.

Request a First-Floor Room

We don’t always do this, but it can be helpful.  Having a first-floor room means you don’t have to drag baby and all the stuff that comes with said baby up and down the stairs or elevator.  This little detail can be helpful when you are tired after a long day.


Consider a King-Sized Bed

If you don’t have a reason you specifically need two beds, opt for a King room.  The single king bed gives you a little more floor space, and when traveling with a baby, every little bit counts.

Baby sleeping on pillow.

Bring Swimming Stuff

When traveling, it’s really easy to go an entire day with very little time where your baby actually gets to work out some energy.  This can make for a cranky child that doesn’t want to sleep.  If the hotel has a pool, this can be a great way to tire out your baby.  Bring a swimsuit and a swim diaper or two as well as swimming stuff for you.  If baby seems like he needs to work out some energy, you can hit the pool for a little bit at some point during the day.  This isn’t something most babies get to do on a regular basis, so it doesn’t take much to tire them out.

baby swimming outside

Be Strict with the Bedtime Routine for Everyone

You may want to put baby to bed before you go to bed, and I bet you have a perfect bedtime routine that you plan to use in the hotel as well.  However, don’t forget to adapt your bedtime routine to suit baby’s.  This means getting yourself organized so that you know where everything you need is and don’t need to turn on lights outside the bathroom after you put your baby to bed.  The last thing you want is to just get your baby to sleep and then realize you can’t find something and end up waking baby up looking for it.


Set the Air Conditioner Fan to Run Constantly

This can provide some background noise to cancel out the noise from other hotel guests (and you).  You just need to make sure the temperature is set appropriately.  Most hotels have an option where you can set the temperature, but also set the fan to run consistently to cycle room temperature air.


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Plan for Nighttime Crying

No one likes to be the room that’s so loud it’s waking up everyone on the floor, and a crying baby can certainly do that.  However, there’s a big difference between being loud because your baby is crying and being loud because you are up partying and just generally be obnoxious. 

If your baby wakes up crying during the night, handle it similarly to how you would at home.  The only exception may be if you usually let your baby cry it out for an extended period at home, consider putting a shorter limit on it after a certain time at night.  Just remember that the majority of the people in the hotel are going to have kids, so they know what it’s like when your baby won’t sleep.  Do your best and know that rough nights may be part of traveling, especially if there are major time changes involved.   This is why you set up your room to make it as easy as possible to find a bottle and necessary supplies quickly in the dark.


Tips for Staying in a Hotel with a Baby for Long Trips

Consider Renting Baby Equipment

You don’t appreciate things like a jumperoo or baby swing until you are stuck in a hotel room without them.  Renting baby equipment can be just the solution to have these items while traveling.  I’ve never personally renting baby equipment, but I’ve heard many positive reviews from moms that have.  You can check out a couple of different companies here and here.


Splurge for a Kitchenette

When you travel with a baby, you will find yourself washing bottles and sippy cups.  If the only place you have to wash these is in the bathroom sink, it gets old real fast.  Having a kitchenette gives you an extra sink and a place to spread out things you’ve wash while they dry. 

Food when you travel can get expensive quickly, especially when you are feeding the whole family. You can also save a lot enough money by preparing some meals in the room, that it balances out the cost of getting the room in the first place.  Also, meals out with a cranky and tired baby/toddler are draining.  After a long day, it can be nice to just eat in your room.  I do like ordering a pizza once in a while, but I don’t want to rely on that every night I’m too exhausted to go out.


Pack Everything

When you are only gone for a couple of days, you can survive the stress of not having something.  However, for longer trips, it can get rough if you find you didn’t bring something because you weren’t sure if you really needed it.  Grab my Ultimate Packing List and my list of travel essentials.

Baby in a car seat surrounded by luggage.

Final Thoughts

Staying in hotels is definitely not as easy as staying home.  However, travel may be necessary for work and the rewards of traveling as a family can be great.  If you follow these tips and take everything in stride, you will soon become a pro at staying in a hotel with your baby. You will get better at it the more you do it.

To make sure you don’t forget everything when leaving home, make sure to download my checklist here.

Are you going to be flying to your destination?  If so, you will definitely want to check out these articles.

Is the sheer amount of information overwhelming as you are planning a trip with kids? My family travel planner is designed to help you plan every detail no matter how major or minor. This step by step planner takes into account the unique aspects of traveling with kids, to address all your needs.

How To Stay In a Hotel With a Baby

Have you stayed in a hotel with your baby?  If so, what did you do to make it easier?  Let me know in the comments.

How To Stay In a Hotel With a Baby

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

36 thoughts on “How To Stay In a Hotel With a Baby

  • March 12, 2019 at 6:16 pm
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    I’m 50 years old and many of these tips apply to me today! I love my sound machine though at home its Alexa and on the road its my phone, I always keep the AC Fan on, and I always try to stay where there is continental breakfast! (Marriott Platinum status comes in handy). The baby proofing thing has gotten to be an even bigger thing these days just based on teh amount of extra cords that are lying around for phone chargers etc. I don’t even like my iPhone charger cord lying around with my dogs for fear they will bite it let alone a baby doing the same. That being said and all kidding aside these are great tips for traveling with babies (or 50 year old men).

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    • March 14, 2019 at 12:40 am
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      Haha I guess they do say that you revert back to being a baby when you get old 🙂

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  • March 12, 2019 at 7:30 pm
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    Reading this makes me realise how stressful it must be travelling with babies. It’s hard enough travelling with just myself and my husband. These are fantastic tips, Lauren.

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    • March 14, 2019 at 12:40 am
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      Thanks! It definitely takes a certain skill set to travel with a baby.

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  • March 12, 2019 at 10:50 pm
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    that baby, is so adorable!!! There are a lot of creative solutions to common problems when traveling with kids. MacGyver could learn something with you , great tips, thanks for sharing

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    • March 14, 2019 at 12:41 am
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      Thanks I think he’s pretty cute too 🙂 I’ve definitely figured out the hacks as I’ve gone along.

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  • March 12, 2019 at 11:56 pm
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    A noise machine can be a lifesaver! Also, a suite with two rooms is a great idea if it’s affordable.

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    • March 14, 2019 at 12:42 am
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      I lucked out on my last trip where the King suite was the same price as a regular King room and it had two rooms! Made the trip much easier.

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  • March 13, 2019 at 2:50 am
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    Travelling with babies does take a lot more thought and planning and your suggestions are excellent.

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    • March 14, 2019 at 12:42 am
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      Thanks! It’s all about the planning.

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  • March 13, 2019 at 12:08 pm
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    The baby is so cute. I’d not travelled with my babies when they were toddlers simply cause I might not have been able to cope. However these days some mothers have to travel with the baby for work. In those cases, these tips are so useful. About moving furniture in a hotel room, with or without a baby, hubby has to move it! He says to give it a personal touch !

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    • March 14, 2019 at 12:42 am
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      I recently saw an article about a mother who spent her maternity leave traveling the world with a baby and toddler. I guess the sky is the limit.

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      • March 14, 2019 at 5:57 am
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        Wow, hats off to her.

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  • March 13, 2019 at 4:58 pm
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    I love these tips. The sound machine is a fantastic idea. I also second calling ahead for a fridge! We always do that and request a high level floor.

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  • March 13, 2019 at 5:44 pm
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    Awesome tips! I didn’t know many places had pack and plays for use, we always took ours with us because of it which we didn’t mind but it would have opened up more room in the car.

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  • March 13, 2019 at 10:18 pm
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    Love this and these are such great words of wisdom for traveling parents! I think it would be very hard to adjust the sleep schedule considering there isn’t a second room to get away to. lol. I’d probably end up with ear phones and my ipad.

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  • March 14, 2019 at 2:16 pm
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    Such great tips! I will definitely be sharing this with my friends who travel with their babies

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  • March 14, 2019 at 4:54 pm
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    I have learnt that the sound machine is one of Man’s greatest inventions! I love that I can come to your blog and get this amazing and timely tips on how to travel with a baby and toddler! Planning ahead is so VERY important!

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    • March 22, 2019 at 5:33 pm
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      I never appreciated how wonderful a sound machine could be until I had a baby. Now I don’t know what I would do without it!

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  • March 14, 2019 at 9:28 pm
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    Great tips, especially the sound machine. I have heard a lot of weird and funny sound coming from the top and adjacent rooms.

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  • March 14, 2019 at 9:56 pm
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    Very helpful for mommies who travel with their kids! Sharing it with my niece who is about to have her first baby.

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    • March 22, 2019 at 5:32 pm
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      Thank you! Hopefully it helps make her travels a little smoother!

      Reply
  • March 15, 2019 at 1:04 am
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    I LOVE this post. Staying in a hotel is one of the biggest reasons we didn’t travel the first year, and it is something we still think about although our little lady is almost three. Super helpful tips to take some of the stress out of a hotel stay with a baby.

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    • March 22, 2019 at 5:31 pm
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      It can be overwhelming and one of the reasons that may make it hard to bring yourself to travel with a baby!

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  • March 15, 2019 at 3:26 am
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    I agree travelling with a baby could be super stressful. You have shared some very useful tips. I always used to book suites with a small kitchen, when my kids were younger. Every trip made me more experienced and organized, but first one was the most challenging!

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    • March 22, 2019 at 5:27 pm
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      Definitely getting out the door for the first trip is the most difficult!

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  • March 15, 2019 at 9:27 am
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    Super helpful tips, and I agree! What we usually did, since we couldn’t afford auites, was to look for small apartments to rent instead of hotels. That way, we still had a little bit of space and a small kitchen. On the counter effect though, you have to do everything yourself.. which feels less of a vacation after all! But with a little bit of planning, traveling with kids is definitely possible, so thank you for this post, I think it’s an important encouragement for young parents!

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    • March 22, 2019 at 5:27 pm
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      Looking for small apartments is a great idea!

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  • March 15, 2019 at 11:15 am
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    I had no idea you could request a crib or pack-n-play at a hotel. Good to know! I would imagine traveling with little ones would be very challenging.

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    • March 22, 2019 at 5:26 pm
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      Requesting a crib at a hotel makes for one less thing you have to take with you which is a big help.

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  • March 15, 2019 at 1:27 pm
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    These are very helpful tips and if you are ok with this, once I get my OB Nursing page up and running, would love to share this or article along with a direct link and author credit. I’m collecting content now and while it’ll mostly be OB Nursing-related content, I also want to include baby tips for new parents!

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    • March 22, 2019 at 5:25 pm
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      Thanks! That would be awesome!

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  • March 23, 2019 at 11:17 am
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    Wow! Great tips for making your hotel stay with a baby easier! We’ve stayed in a hotel quite a few times with our baby girl. One of the first things we do when we arrive is arrange the furniture and decide on the designated areas. We actually utilized one of the queen beds as the staging area for our clothes and the changing area for our daughter. Also, we made sure everything was laid out that we needed before putting our sweet girl to bed. I like your idea of the traveling sound machine and may look into purchasing one of these for our upcoming trip to Disney.

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    • March 27, 2019 at 11:15 pm
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      The traveling sound machine is great! I actually take it sometimes when I travel without Paxton LOL

      Reply

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