Toddler Hotel Stay 101

We recently took our first road trip since our move to Atlanta. No, it wasn’t for a fun holiday to some place like Disney. My toddler and I accompanied my husband on his business trip to Augusta.

This wasn’t our first business trip together.

Before we moved, my husband was constantly traveling for work, and although I knew well what it’s like to stay at home when your husband travels, we occasionally tagged along, usually for a two-week period.

So what do you do with a toddler in a hotel for two weeks? Let me share some tips on what we did, so no matter how long your sojourn is, you can have an enjoyable hotel stay.

Try to Stay with Your Normal Schedule.

I really try to keep my son’s regular eat/sleep schedule (no matter what time zone we were in). In this way, we avoided meltdowns. The best way to do this was to keep him busy (read: tired)! See the following tips!

Find Things to Do OUTSIDE the Hotel.

Although we love the hotel pools, I always Google “location + things to do” and make a local bucket list for our stay. Since the my husband’s work locations aren’t always touristy, I get creative. Most towns have libraries, parks, nature centers, or gardens that will keep my little guy occupied. Often I’ll find a weekly story time! Score!

Exploring Augusta’s beautiful nature

Even when I didn’t have access to a car, we would explore the neighborhood around the hotel, asking employees which direction to head. But on days when it was too rainy to walk–or I didn’t feel comfortable navigating a new city in a rental car with hurricane rains (true story!), we would stay at the hotel and get creative!

If you are absolutely stuck in the hotel, here are some ideas instead of turning on the T.V.

  • Bring matchbox cars and a roll of painter’s tape in your luggage to make roads all over the hotel room’s floor.
  • Mini shampoo bottles and soap boxes make great “blocks” for building or set them up to bowl. Use a wrapped roll of toilet paper as your bowling ball.
  • Pack a bug net. Get ice out of the ice machine, fill the tub with water, and fish the ice out of the tub using the bug net. It’s harder than it sounds!
  • Climb the stairs. For older children, see how fast they can do it or have them try to skip a step, count by fives, etc.

Eat In!

Eating at restaurants every day is expensive—and it can wreak havoc on a little one’s digestive system. Most hotels have a fridge and microwave in the room (and if they don’t, they sometimes have ones in their store rooms you can borrow). At a local grocery store I buy some basics, and we munch on them all week long:

  • Lots of fruits
  • Raw veggies like carrots, celery, sweet peppers
  • Sandwich staples
  • yogurt
  • And lots of string cheese!

This is also awesome to have on hand if nap time comes early, and you don’t want to be stuck at a busy restaurant. My goal: do whatever you can to keep the nap schedule!

And Last, But Not Least, Give yourself GRACE.

Living in a hotel for several days with a toddler is not ideal (especially when they put you on the no-children-allowed business floor and your toddler is TEETHING!–true story!). Nap times for us sometimes meant watching PBS kids. But giving my toddler time to spend with his daddy, instead of just quick video chats, totally worth it.

Life with a 2-year-old is always exciting.

Have you ever taken a family “business” trip? What hotel tips would you add?