5 tips for staying in hotels with kids

5 tips for staying in hotels with kids

Having just returned from our European road trip with our boys, which took in six countries, and eight hotels over eleven nights, we’ve pulled together some tips for staying in hotels with kids.

tips for staying in hotels with children

Don’t take your whole suitcase in unless you’re staying for more than one night.

We found moving between hotels to be much easier when we used an overnight bag with the essentials in; nappies, wipes, pjs, and a change of clothes for the next day. We use food bags from Ikea to hold all our toothbrushes and other toiletries – you can see immediately where the thing you’re looking for is, and if something leaks it really doesn’t matter – the leak is contained to that bag.

Hotel verger des château

Cut down on costs

Take a travel cot with you – lots of hotels charge for a crib.  We also found that hotels were struggling to find us room – they thought we needed space for four adults, which was obviously because we were including Noah in our head count (even though we listed him as an infant). When we cut Noah out of the search we suddenly found a lot more choice because we don’t need four beds. It also reduced the price considerably because we could use a more standard double room with a sofa bed.

Hotel zum fröhlichen Landmann

Take something that means home

We love bedtime stories and when we went to Chicago I made the mistake of packing brand new books. What we needed was a familiar book to help the bedtime routine – everything else is new so a book your children know inside out can really help.  Similarly you might find it helpful to take a portable dvd player or an iPad with leads to the tv so the kids can watch their favourite movie; this is especially helpful if you are in a foreign country where the TV is mostly in another language. Don’t forget the special blanket, or a sheet from home, which can also really help the transition to sleeping in a hotel.

Beverley giraffe on holiday road trip


If you can get a suite, it really makes all the difference, especially when it’s the children’s bedtime but adults want to stay up. A balcony or a separate seating area in a suite away from the bed space can help with this, so that everyone doesn’t have to go to bed together (adults rarely feel grateful for a 7pm bedtime!) But what if you can’t have somewhere adults can hide away? Well, we found that bedtime is a good time for one adult to take a lovely bubble bath while the other does the bedtime routine. If you’ve timed it well and the day has been balanced, bedtime usually goes quickly and there isn’t too long until some of the lights can go back on (and the wine can come out!) after the kids are asleep. But sometimes you just have to acknowledge that staying in an hotel is exciting, and going to bed at the usual bedtime just isn’t going to happen. In which case, don’t get stressed, and enjoy a family movie night together!

And finally…

Planning our next European road trip

Don’t hold back!

Travel! Kids are so portable. So many people stop going on holiday when they have children, but honestly new environments, new smells, new experiences are all so great for children.

Do you have any top tips for travelling with children?

Travel Monkey


  1. October 19, 2015 / 7:31 pm

    Fantastic tips for parents going on holiday. I’ve sent this link to my sisters x

    • October 19, 2015 / 7:36 pm

      Thank you Claire, I hope it’s of benefit to them 🙂

  2. October 19, 2015 / 8:51 pm

    I love these tips, especially the point about bringing something familiar! We try to keep a particular blanket in our carry on!

  3. October 19, 2015 / 8:52 pm

    These are such great tips! We stay in a lot of hotels in the summer. We travel with my husband while the boys are out of school. I could not agree more about not bringing the whole suitcase. They less you have to bring up and deal with the better!

  4. October 19, 2015 / 10:01 pm

    Excellent tips! I can only imagine how much your children will garner from their early travels!

    • October 19, 2015 / 11:05 pm

      I really hope they love travel when they grow up too.

  5. October 19, 2015 / 11:02 pm

    We do go to Europe with small children. The biggest pain is that most hotels have rule about no more than 4 people per room. And since we have three very small children, we can’t send them to a separate room. So we had to pay for a second room, but nobody would stay in there because we wanted to be together. How crazy is that!

    • October 19, 2015 / 11:04 pm

      Man that sucks!
      In that case, Airbnb is definitely your friend! Or joining rooms could work?

  6. October 19, 2015 / 11:03 pm

    Great tips for parents going on holiday with children that can be very unpredictable when they want to be! You always write great posts.

    • October 19, 2015 / 11:05 pm

      Ana, that’s such a compliment coming from you! Thank you.

  7. Jordan Daniel
    October 19, 2015 / 11:26 pm

    I’m definitely adding a link to this post to my Pinterest for future reference! What great tips, I haven’t seen an article like this anywhere else 🙂

  8. October 20, 2015 / 3:19 am

    These are all great tips. We often face the 4 to a room issue since we are a family of 5, but we love the options we have found through Homeaway, Flipkey, and VRBO. Staying in your own places also saves on food costs!

    • October 20, 2015 / 10:14 am

      That’s so true, but you occasionally have an expensive maid service bill added on without a choice to remove it, and if you’re just staying one night it can be cheaper to stay in an hotel.

  9. positivelystacey
    October 20, 2015 / 3:47 am

    Great ideas! Once when we road tripped across country I booked hotels that had indoor pools. That way after spending hours in the car – the kids got to swim and use up some energy – and sleep well at night.

    • October 20, 2015 / 10:14 am

      That’s such a great tip!

  10. October 20, 2015 / 12:11 pm

    These are such great tips for those who want to travel but can’t. Thinking about how they would handle their kids
    Thanks for sharing:)

  11. October 20, 2015 / 2:46 pm

    I agree that travel is important. We never really went too far when I was a kid and I think that’s why I always wanted to move away. I wanted to know what was out there! And your third tip is great. I always pack a little backpack of a few little toys and books so my daughter feels good.

  12. October 20, 2015 / 3:04 pm

    These are all great tips! We love traveling and our son has always been a pleasure to travel with!

  13. October 20, 2015 / 4:05 pm

    these are such great ideas & I agree with taking personal items from home to give the feel like you took it with you!

  14. October 20, 2015 / 6:29 pm

    Great tips – especially the one about taking a travel cot because there’s no sense in paying for a crib.

  15. October 20, 2015 / 6:44 pm

    I find that so many people say kids slow them down and don’t allow for traveling. I believe your tips are so on point – it’s possible, and it can be done well and with fun for all!

  16. Olfa Turki
    October 20, 2015 / 5:49 pm

    These are awesome tips. We love to travel with the kids. A vacation is not complete if I left the kids.

  17. October 20, 2015 / 7:21 pm

    Great tips. I’m very lucky in that both my kids are very adaptable and happy to travel (even though my daughter has ASD) .I try to focus on making everything run as smoothly and simply as possible to reduce any stress, if only so that you can relax. And tag team it if necessary, so you both get time to do your own thing and relax. #twinklytuesday

  18. Susannah
    October 20, 2015 / 7:34 pm

    Great tips! I’m going to remember these for when we travel in the future! <3

  19. October 20, 2015 / 7:43 pm

    Great tips. We always take the girls’ sleeping bags and their bedtime cuddly toys when we’re away from home. When they have these they are pretty much happy to sleep anywhere 🙂 #twinklytuesday

  20. kellyharrold
    October 20, 2015 / 10:54 pm

    These are some great tips! They’ll be useful for when I’ve got kiddos 🙂

  21. October 21, 2015 / 1:50 am

    These are some really great tips! I’ve been traveling with my daughter since she was a month old! Swear the earlier you start kiddos, the better off you will be!

    • October 21, 2015 / 10:36 am

      Absolutely. Noah had taken 8 flights by the time he was 10 weeks old!

  22. October 22, 2015 / 12:29 am

    Great tips! I haven’t stayed @ a hotel with my son yet, but I’ll keep these in mind for the future. I am planning a DisneyLand trip for next year. 🙂

  23. October 22, 2015 / 1:57 am

    A lot of people are scared to travel with their kids, but I think once you get the kids to a new place, they adapt! Just like anyone else.

  24. Lisa (Travel Loving Family)
    November 2, 2015 / 11:11 pm

    Great tips! We also travel with bed sheets, familiar books and fav teddies. We have had many a movie/cartoon night in hotels when one of our boys have refused to sleep, its all part of the fun! #MondayEscapes

    • November 2, 2015 / 11:17 pm

      It is all part of the fun! Thanks for visiting Lisa!

  25. November 6, 2015 / 4:05 pm

    Great tips. You’re absolutely right, a few things from home make kids feel safe. And it’s true – kids are so adaptable, they pretty much go with the flow. I think it’s the parents who worry more! Thanks for liking up with #MondayEscapes

    • November 8, 2015 / 8:40 pm

      I think it is parents who worry about how kids will manage, and we worry they need a routine, and a bath at a certain time, and so on. So hard to be a parent!

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