It’s almost impossible to travel light with babies and toddlers. You’d think it would be easy as these little people are tiny, but it’s the littlest ones who need the most stuff! Once you’ve packed their clothes and enough spares for inevitable accidents, toiletries, blankets, toys, nappies and enough snacks to feed an army you’ve already got a suitcase full.
Luckily, there are family friendly hotels out there that make travelling with babies and toddlers a whole lot easier. They have homely comforts and understand the needs of parents and the wants of babies.
We asked Monica from The Travel Hack for her ultimate wishlist to make travelling with tots much easier…
A cot with bedding[caption id="attachment_6292" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Baby George is entertained by the hotel’s play mat[/caption]
Of course, a cot or a toddler-friendly bed is the most important thing on the list. Even the smallest, lightest travel cot is a pain to carry to your destination, especially if you’re travelling by plane. A good quality travel cot is ideal as it can also double up as a mini play-pen; perfect for that stage when they’re into everything!
It’s even better if the hotel provide sheets and blankets for the cot, too. I hadn’t realised that a lot of hotels don’t provide baby bedding and my little guy once ended up having towels instead of blankets for the night.
Space for the cot
If you’ve requested a cot it would be nice if the hotel ensure you’re in a room that actually has space for said cot. I’ve stayed in a hotel where we had to move the bed and dressing table in order to unfold the cot.[caption id="attachment_5016" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Kid’s games package at Rubens at the Palace, London[/caption]
If you’ve ever tried to feed a toddler without a highchair you’ll know how important this one is. It’s impossible to give them their dinner without at least half of it going all over the table, chairs and floor. A high chair will minimize the damage…slightly.
Baby baths and toys
Little baby baths are great for the stage when babies can’t sit up but love to splash about in the water. Hotels that provide toys for the bath will quickly become favourites for all the toddlers out there.
In the UK it’s almost unheard of to find a hotel room without a kettle. We Brits like to make ourselves a nice cup of tea! But not all countries are the same and a kettle isn’t guaranteed.
If you’re bottle feeding, then a kettle is needed to make up feeds as it’s so much easier than heading to the hotel kitchens asking for water, particularly at 3am! You can also warm up baby food by popping the jar or pouch into a cup of boiling water.
And let’s not forget that parents are going to need a caffeine fix or two before they make it to the breakfast buffet![caption id="attachment_6294" align="aligncenter" width="551"] Enjoying a very rare grown up meal in Paris[/caption]
A fridge is needed to keep the beer, wine and chocolates cold for after the kids go to bed. Oh yes, you might need it to keep baby food, snacks and milk chilled, too.
Hotels that offer bottle sterilisers for the room are legendary in the eyes of parents. Bottles can be sterilised using microwave bags, which you can give to hotel staff to pop in the microwave. But it’s so much easier if you can do it yourself in your room. I pack some washing up liquid and I’ll wash them in the bathroom sink before sterilising them in the room.
These are definitely needed for kids who wake up at the first sign of daylight or refuse to settle until it’s dark.
A baby bouncer[caption id="attachment_6296" align="aligncenter" width="551"] George loves hotels with baby bouncers[/caption]
It can be difficult to keep babies happy in a small hotel room without the usual array of toys you have at home. Baby bouncers keep little ones entertained for just the right amount of time for you to have a shower/get dressed/do you hair or sit down for a cup of coffee.
Kids TV channels
It’s unusual to come across a hotel without a TV but they’re often only tuned to a couple of channels, especially when you’re abroad. No one wants their kids in front of the TV all day but, let’s be honest, we’ll all pop them in front of Cbeebies for an extra 10 minute lie-in.
Baby listening service[caption id="attachment_6300" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Making the most of the hotel baby listening service[/caption]
Many baby-friendly hotels offer a baby listening service when parents go for dinner. A member of staff (usually at reception) will listen to a baby monitor and come and get you if your baby wakes up. This means you can relax during dinner knowing you’ll be with your little one within a minute or two of them waking up. Romantic or grown-up meals are one of the things you miss out on when travelling with children so this is a great service.
Sunday Morning Breakfast Club
Now this is the stuff parent’s dreams are made of! Some hotels offer a Sunday Morning Breakfast Club where staff will whisk your little one away at 7am and bring them back at 10am. This gives parents a much needed lie-in and the chance for breakfast in bed.
For hotels that fufill your wishlist, check out our top family-friendly hotels in London
Feature image: The Goring Hotel
About the author
Hi, I’m Monica, otherwise known as The Travel Hack. The Travel Hack is a blog about affordable luxury, weekend escapes and finding the best deals when you travel. It’s more recently become about travelling with a baby and proving adventures don’t need to stop when little ones arrive!
I began the blog back in 2009 when I travelled around Australia and Asia for two years. I’m now a full time travel blogger and The Travel Hack is listed as one of the top 10 travel blogs in the UK.