I haven’t been posting a lot lately because I have been doing the thing that inspired me to write this blog in the first place, traveling with my family. First we went on an overnight trip to Loutraki (about an hour and a half away from us) and then we went to Budapest for a week. Budapest is my favorite city in the world! Of course there will be a whole different post just about that, but right now I want to talk about our overnight trip, and staying in a hotel with small children.
We decided to stay in a “suite” instead of a regular double room because it was only 10 euros more, and it was well worth it. If you are going to stay in a tiny hotel, odds are that the room one version better than yours might be worth looking into. In our case there was a small wall with a window in it that was between us and the kids, which made a huge difference. We stayed up talking, and since they couldn’t see we were still awake they went to sleep much faster. In the past when we had a double room, we would just lay down quietly or sit down on the floor outside of the room and talk until they fell asleep (depending on how wound up they were).
Staying in a hotel with kids can be really fun. It is an adventure for everyone in your family. Our kids were so excited! We usually stay with people when we travel so staying in a hotel was something strange and exciting. We decided to bring our LeapPad Ultra with us (a gift from the kids’ Grandfather), and it worked out wonderfully because when Travis and I were unpacking and then packing again the kids watched pre-approved YouTube videos on it. That is actually one of my favorite features of the LeapPad Ultra, the pre approved videos categorized into subjects that are easy for the girls to pick from. I found them being distracted for twenty minutes super helpful while I put the last few things into our suitcases.
Of course, when you go to a small hotel, not everything is drilled down to the tables, and there is more of a chance that things will get broken by curious little hands. I thought we were in the clear (yet again!) but as we were getting ready to leave, Timo broke one of the bedside lamps. Bummer! It was the first time we have ever had the kids break anything in a hotel room. I’m sure there will be at least one occurrence of something like this in your family if you travel as much as we do. But he didn’t cut himself, thank God, so it honestly was not a big deal.
If your child breaks something in your hotel room, take a picture and tell the people working at the front office. We were able to pay for the lamp before we left, and although the manager was disappointed (because Ikea does not make those lamps anymore), she was very nice about it and only added a 2 euro charge to our bill.
We also had one of the girls’ rain boots fall apart and the hotel manager helped us tape it together since it was pouring down rain outside. In case you are wondering where we stayed, it was at the Hotel Marko and we booked through Booking.com. I would definitely recommend this hotel for people with kids. The staff was super nice and accommodating. The beaches in Loutraki are amazing!! In fact, they are a certified Blue Flag beach meaning it is one of the cleanest and friendliest beaches in the world.
Our trip was really fun, and I hope the next time you think about heading on an overnight trip with your family, you will be excited, not scared.
Here are my five essentials for staying in a hotel with small children:
You may need to leave the room and wait in the hallway while your children fall asleep. You may also need to bring food with you because you never know when you are going to eat when you visit a new place. Just remember that when you don’t have a concrete schedule you are less likely to be disappointed. Traveling with your family is much more fun if the adults are flexible based on the schedule of the children. We ended up spending several hours inside of a Goody’s because it was so cold and rainy outside. Luckily they had a unique indoor play place, and it ended up being the hit of the trip with our kids.
Bring Extra Clothes
You never know when someone is going to spill something, or in our case get soaked by pouring down rain. Make sure you have layered clothing options and a few extra pieces of essential clothing for each child, even if you are only staying one night.
Plan Different Options
We went on holiday for Kite Day, also known as Clean Monday in Greece, but the weather was awful for kite flying. Instead we went and ate delicious sea food with great friends, a tradition for Clean Monday in Greece, and took a rainy walk with umbrellas. We still had fun, because we had looked at the weather and planned ahead.
For our almost two year old we brought his portacrib because we didn’t know if the room would have ridiculously unsafe things in it, and he would stay safe inside while we were distracted with unpacking or whatever else we need to do. Of course the room was really safe, but he found the one thing he could break and broke it. Curse you Murphy and your ridiculous law! You can also bring child proof inserts for the outlets if you think it will be an issue.
Know Your Family
We all know that individual members in our family have different strengths and weaknesses. Try to take those into account when planning your trip. For example we ended up taking our nicer, heavier and larger stroller, despite the room it took up in our compact car’s trunk, because we knew our son would need a nap during the middle of the day and he wouldn’t be able to fall asleep in our umbrella stroller. We also did not feed our oldest daughter breakfast, but brought snacks for the car that we could give her toward the end of our drive, since she often gets carsick. Every family is different. Think about the little things that will make a big impact on the success of your next overnight trip with your children.
P.S. You know how I always say that you will forget at least one thing when you leave for your trip? Well this time it was the hair brush!! Oooops!