(This arti­cle may or may not con­tain affil­i­ate links. What does that mean?)

There are babies that can sleep any­where, and my kid was not one of them. If you’re the kind of per­son who finds your baby nap­ping on the floor, I’m jeal­ous. My child needs per­fect con­di­tions to sleep. I can’t tell you how much mon­ey I have spent in TJ’s two short years on earth buy­ing prod­ucts to get him to sleep. As you might guess, our first hotel stay was a total dis­as­ter. Any­time my hus­band moved in his sleep the baby woke up. If one of us sneezed, he was up. Phone made the slight­est ding? You guessed it, TJ is up. That result­ed in cranky, sleep-deprived par­ents and a vaca­tion that was far from relax­ing. I almost kicked my hus­band out of our bed. He came this close to sleep­ing in the bath­tub. And we were all up for the day by 5:45, because, at that point, we just gave up on sleep. But, we even­tu­al­ly fig­ured it out, and here is what you need to know to have a great vaca­tion with your baby.




Upgrade to a Suite


If at all pos­si­ble, find a hotel room that has a sep­a­rate space for the baby to sleep in. It does­n’t nec­es­sar­i­ly have to be a whole sep­a­rate room, just some space where the baby will feel like they are off on their own. I’m a big fan of Sher­a­tons for this rea­son, many of their rooms have a sep­a­rate sit­ting area. The sit­ting area is per­fect for putting a lit­tle one to sleep. While we still have to be qui­et with him in the room, if he’s off in his own lit­tle sec­tion, at least we don’t have to be silent. You might want to invest in a white noise machine too, which will help drown out the nois­es your lit­tle one is not used to. 

Don’t have the option of a suite? Bring some head­phones or a book so you don’t have to just sit there in silence after the baby goes to bed. Or, if the bath­room is big enough, hide in there. I won’t judge you, par­ent­hood is weird. 



Tips to survive your first Hotel Room with baby

A room with a sep­a­rate sit­ting area makes all the dif­fer­ence! Pho­to cour­tesy of Gary Meule­mans on Unsplash



Bring your own Pack N Play


Many hotels pro­vide portable cribs or Pack N Plays for free, but if you have the room in the car, you might want to con­sid­er bring­ing your own. We’ve got­ten a few pack n plays that were not com­fort­able at all, and not sur­pris­ing­ly, TJ did­n’t sleep very well in them. Tight on space? Con­sid­er pick­ing up a mat­tress to bring with you. I picked up this portable crib mat­tress before our last trip, and it made a world of dif­fer­ence. TJ slept so much bet­ter and as a result, so did I. It was well worth the $30. 




Stick to Your Routine


Try to keep your baby on the same napping/sleep sched­ule as home as much as rea­son­ably pos­si­ble. I like to do the bulk of our dri­ving at TJ’s nap time, he sleeps in his car seat while we dri­ve. Plus, then he isn’t yelling while we try to dri­ve. A win-win! 

If you have a bed­time rou­tine at home, stick to it. Give your baby a bath, brush their teeth, read them a book, etc. What­ev­er you do at home, try to repli­cate it at the hotel. I always bring a set of warm weath­er and cold weath­er paja­mas, in case the room is hot­ter or cold­er than we are used to. 



Baby, Bathtub

With all the fun you’re hav­ing, your lit­tle one will prob­a­bly need a bath any­way! Pho­to Cour­tesy of Hen­ley Design Stu­dio on Unsplash



Pro Tip: Hotel does­n’t have a bath tub? No prob­lem! Have one par­ent take the baby in the show­er with them! I rec­om­mend hav­ing the oth­er par­ent stay dry and ready to receive the wet baby. You don’t want to slip try­ing to get out! And gen­tle­men, if you have a hairy chest, con­sid­er wear­ing a shirt in the show­er with the baby. I know some­one whose baby pulled a large chunk of his chest hair out. Ouch!


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Tire Them Out!


If your baby is old enough to walk/crawl, try to plan some activ­i­ties that will wear them out. After all, we all sleep best when we have had a fun day! Just be care­ful not to over­do it. You don’t want the baby in that zone where they are so tired that they are too tired to sleep. 



Photo of toddler with a snoopy statue

I let Char­lie Brown here walk around a lit­tle more than I nor­mal­ly would at Cedar Point, best way to wear him out!



Have a Plan for Meals


Depend­ing on their age, you will need some­where for the lit­tle one to eat. I’ve nev­er been able to put TJ on my lap to eat, he is way too excit­ed about his food. We both end up wear­ing our food instead of eat­ing it. I have a high chair seat cov­er that I use if we are super tight on space in our lug­gage. But, I much pre­fer our camp­ing high chair. It folds up real­ly small, and it’s super con­ve­nient to bring. I’m espe­cial­ly thank­ful for the camp­ing high chair on trips where we stay in and cook a lot, like when we rent a con­do at the beach. Don’t for­get to bring some sip­py cups!



Photo of baby eating cake

My lit­tle guy does­n’t even need a cake to make a mess like this! Pho­to Cour­tesy of Chris Ben­son on unsplash


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Bring Plenty of Supplies


I’m usu­al­ly a fan of the min­i­mal­ist pack­ing style. After all, there are stores at your des­ti­na­tion! But, I make an excep­tion with a baby. Espe­cial­ly if baby has sen­si­tive skin or aller­gies. Make sure you pack plen­ty of wipes, dia­pers, and clothes. I usu­al­ly pack at least 2 out­fits a day for TJ. If you are low on space, pick up some Tide Sink Deter­gent, and wash out some of the clothes so they can be worn again. 

Pro Tip: Many hotels will receive a pack­age for you at the front desk. Order dia­pers, wipes, bot­tled water for for­mu­la etc and have it deliv­ered. Call the front desk to ask about their pol­i­cy and what address you should send your stuff to. Depend­ing on where you are going, you might even be able to get instacart deliv­ered to your hotel. 



Photo of baby products

Babies trav­el with so much stuff. I nev­er thought a duck toy would be a must-have for my trips. But here we are. Pho­to Cour­tesy of Sin­cere­ly Media on Unsplash



Your first time trav­el­ing with a baby can feel real­ly over­whelm­ing. But don’t fear! As they say, an ounce of pre­ven­tion is worth a pound of cure.  In the end, I think our kid­dos often do bet­ter trav­el­ing than their par­ents! If some­thing goes wrong just roll with it. Our first hotel stay with our lit­tle guy was a total dis­as­ter, but hey, we learned. If we can han­dle it, I know you can too!


Dis­claimer: I recent­ly became an affil­i­ate for the Ama­zon web­site since, as a mom, it’s the most fre­quent way I shop now and it’s also how I rec­om­mend prod­ucts to friends that I’m using and love. You can’t hold back my love. Yet, I’m not an affil­i­ate of any of the oth­er prod­ucts I rec­om­mend­ed. See? Love.


Emi­ly House­hold­er Stacey is a writer and trav­el agent based in sun­ny Cleve­land Ohio. When she’s not work­ing, you’ll find her wran­gling a tod­dler, dream­ing about roller coast­ers, or snug­gling her cat.