6 Tips to Survive your First Hotel Stay with a Baby

by | Nov 3, 2020 | Family Adventures, Travel Tips

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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. And as a toddler, he is the same. “What’s that noise Mommy?” is a frequent question. That first trip 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.



6 Tips to Survive your First Hotel Stay with a 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. 


Hotel Room - 6 Tips to Survive your First Hotel Stay with a 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 in a bathtub - 6 Tips to Survive your First Hotel Stay with a Baby

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 - 6 Tips to Survive your First Hotel Stay with a Baby

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!


Baby eating cake - 6 Tips to Survive your First Hotel Stay with a Baby

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.


baby products - 6 Tips to Survive your First Hotel Stay with a Baby

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.




6 Tips to Survive your First Hotel Stay with a Baby


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