Hotel Hopping with Children



A very special friend of mine went on an adventurous trek around California recently, hitting San Diego, LA, and a few National Parks, including her favorite which was Yosemite.

Her family slept in about 7 different places during those two weeks, so there were many ins and outs of hotel or home stays.

She asked me if I had any tips for doing that more efficiently the next time they try it, so I thought I’d share a few things that saved us some time and hassle:

  • Have a small hotel bag. – It helps if each person has a backpack or small bag with what they need for just one night. A change of clothes, something to sleep in, toiletries, electronic devices and chargers. The rest of the things can just stay in the car for the night. Our favorite brands for backpacks are
    • Tom Bihn – the Synapse 19, or even the Sprout for smaller kids. We each have their clear 3D organizer for toiletries.
    • Go Ruck – the Echo Rucksack is a great size for an overnight. The GR1 can hold even more if you need it, though.
  • Bring a laundry bag. – We use the Tom Bihn Shop Bags all the time, especially for groceries. But when we travel, we use one to hold all the laundry for the night. I keep the laundry pods, dryer sheets, and a container of quarters in it, too, so that if available, I can easily do laundry at the hotel. All the kids know to put dirty clothes into the bag, and it just makes it easy to deal with overall. Washing clothes frequently is imperative with teenage boys! (#stinky socks!)
  • Breakfast at hotel? – With just one bathroom to share, it’s kinda nice for people to rotate between eating and getting ready. We take turns heading down to breakfast. We eat pretty healthy these days, so it’s often hard to find things in the buffet to enjoy.When available, we like to stay at Embassy Suites and order their made-to-order omelettes. Or sometimes Don and I will make ourself an Arbonne Vegan Protein smoothie in our shaker cup. Other times, we’ll pick a local restaurant via Yelp and just try to wake up early and quickly head out the door. The goal is to be able to enjoy the day’s activity as soon as possible!
  • Meet in the lobby.– Speaking of getting out the door! It usually takes longer than expected. But one thing that helped us was to lead out and tell our kids to meet us in the lobby. If your kids are old enough, it’s nice for them to just start heading out the door one at a time when ready. It makes it easier for the subsequent people to find and pack up all the rest of the things. We usually send one person back up to do a last check, and then we load up the car and are on our way!

And last but not least, wine! If your kids are old enough to fall asleep on their own, you will do yourself a favor and invite your spouse to the hotel lobby to enjoy a drink while they go to sleep. Everyone wins! It really was a neat late-night date for us and removed any stress of frequently telling the kids to be quiet and go to sleep.

We hope these little tips help for those longer vacations where you are staying in multiple locations. Keeping packing minimal is the key to reducing time and stress! We heard once that the amount of things you bring is inversely proportional to the amount of fun you have. Pack less. Less to manage and track….and wash. 😉




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