Hotels seem to be a dime a dozen these days, but when it comes to staying at a hotel with your kids, you definitely want to narrow down your choices. Not all hotels are actually kid-friendly. In fact, some won’t even allow kids to stay, which is why you need to do you homework. Many of the big chain hotels will offer family amenities, although some may charge a price for that luxury. Whether you are looking to stay at a chain hotel, a boutique hotel, an independent hotel or just a random mom and pop shop, there are a few things to consider before you book.
Cribs are a very simple item that a hotel can offer a traveling family. It is one less thing for parents to have to pack. Generally you will be given a Graco Pack n’ Play, which most parents are familiar with, at least when you are traveling domestically. Always bring a sheet and your own blanket though. A familiar smell will help your baby sleep better.
No matter your plans for breakfast, you will want a mini fridge, especially if you have babies and toddlers in tow who drink milk or formula. Even older children who get up earlier than you can benefit from a fridge. Throw a jug of milk in the fridge and few yogurts so your kids can help themselves to a 6am breakfast while you snooze away until a more reasonable hour of the morning.
Check in and check out times tend to fall right around nap time, or just after so you miss that entire window. Although many hotels can’t guarantee it, ask if early check in or late check out is a possibility so you can sneak in a longer nap for the baby before you head home or you can all crash after you arrive.
Club lounges, generally on the higher levels of a hotel, are a huge perk for families that can actually save you a lot of money. Many lounges offer breakfast and an evening snack hour that will fill your kids up before you head out for dinner. Some hotels will charge a bit extra for rooms on this level or access to the lounge, but calculate how much it will cost to feed your family every morning and you may find it is worth the extra price for this perk.
Generally, you want to be able to walk to a few sights or at least a park when you are staying at a hotel. Having to drive everywhere can slow you down and will wear on the kids after a while. Pick a hotel in a quiet location, but one that gives you access to restaurants and a few attractions so you don’t have to strap the kids in every time you step out of the door.
Oh the hotel pool. Not every kid needs one, but I guarantee you very few would be sad to find one at their hotel. Pools are a great place for kids to unwind after a day of sightseeing. They just get to be kids in a pool. They don’t have to keep their hands in their pockets so they don’t break anything. They don’t have to be on their best behavior. Just make sure the pool is not an exclusive amenity of a gym nearby that you have access to and it is actually at the hotel. Gym pools are not a fun zone for kids.
Although many people will just want to know if the rooms are as clean as they look in the photos, parents need to know a bit more. Did you feel welcome or were you sneered at by the staff for daring to bring a child into the hotel? Read reviews written by parents to find out. Were the rooms quiet or is it a party/spring break hotel that will keep your kids up all night? Were the rooms even big enough for your family? Get your questions answered before you book so there are fewer surprises after you arrive.
What other things do you look for in a family-friendly hotel?
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Keryn is an East Coast native living life as a freelance writer in Seattle surrounded by her two little boys and one incredible husband. When not dragging the men in her life across the globe you can find Keryn writing on her blog Walking On Travels, a site that gives hope to today's modern parent that doesn't see kids as a roadblock to travel, but an excuse to get out the door and explore. Keryn has laughed at the naysayers by bringing her boys to far off lands like China, Hong Kong, Japan, Hawaii, back and forth across the USA, Mexico, Canada, and even across Europe. Keryn loves to encourage families to take that first step out the door, the hardest step of all. Follow Keryn on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google Plus.
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