I took this photo while we were living in a hotel in Cleveland. We ended up in a room without a tub because it was simply more affordable. No tub is not really a big deal – we just improvised… we kept the water running in the shower and gave him a big bowl he could fill. He didn’t seem to mind at all. In fact it didn’t just work for bathing him, but also as a way for him to entertain himself in the evenings. It really helped to pass the time.
Living in a hotel room calls for some creativity. I’m sure any parent that has traveled with their kids knows how even a few days in a small room can wear on you and your kiddos, let alone weeks, so having activities and making the place feel as much like home as possible is not just helpful, it’s essential. Here are a few tips that helped us survive the many times we have found ourselves living in situations like this sometimes up to 2 months.
- First, (and most importantly) pack a bag or bin full of toys and various activities. I know how difficult it can be to justify this when you are flying, but I promise you its MUCH more important than extra clothes or shoes for yourself. (For us it was: blocks, cars, one favorite stuffed animal, art supplies, puzzles, and once I even took a shopping cart apart and fit it into one of my large suitcase so J could have something to push around when he was just learning to walk and we used it every single day).
- Make the most of your bath/shower. Have tub crayons or paints and let them go to town (We always bring our own cleaning supplies and scrub it down before because you never know how deep of a clean the maids do)
- Movies (obviously). Bring a computer or portable DVD player (just in case your room doesn’t offer one) – even if it’s only background noise, it can help make a stark hotel room feel cozier.
- Turn on music.
- Unpack suitcases into drawers and on hangers and stow your bags out of the way.
- Bring masking tape and create race tracks for cars/kids on the floor or even on the beds to run back and forth (tuckers them out pretty good), or make obstacle courses using arrows that point to the next point (if you don’t have issues with them jumping from chairs to beds to the floor, this is a favorite)
- Hot lava. We all know this one, right?? (some call it “sharks”) But place items around the room to stand so no one touches the floor.
- Cover hotel artwork with wrapping paper or use some of that tacky putty stuff and hang your kids own artwork over it, as well as any other place on the walls. This instantly makes the place feel more personal.
- Tuck away hotel bed spreads and use your own blanket (not just so it feels more like home, but because those things NEVER get washed!! Yuck!)
- We bring a small shark vacuum with us as well because sometimes its nice to not have people come into your room every day, and any mother knows that it doesn’t take much for cracker crumbs, raisins, cereal, etc to spill and make messes that you don’t want to just leave. Some hotels will let you use their vacuum as well (we did this before we got smart and brought our own – again, it depends on your space), so just ask and you can keep your place clean and comfortable as well as maintain your privacy.
- Open the curtains! Get some dang sunlight into your room. There is nothing more depressing than a dreary hotel room. If they don’t have a sheer curtain or blinds that help you maintain your privacy when they are open, we brought a sheer panel with us before (they take up like no space at all) and you can drape them up over the curtain rod.
- Sidewalk chalk. Now this one is iffy. Not all hotels are cool with you marking up their walk ways, but we found that some where fine with it in certain areas. Or you just don’t ask and take a chance…
- Now we have never been in a hotel during warm summer months so we have never had the option of using the hotel pools (in the few that had them on site) but I’m sure this would be absolutely wonderful.