Hotels and Small Kids-how Do You Do It?

Updated on March 07, 2012
H.D. asks from Allen, TX
20 answers

Hi all,

When you stay in hotels with your young kids that go to bed way earlier than you are accustomed to, how do you do it? We are a family of 5 and my youngest who is 3, still doesn't officially sleep through the night. She wakes up a couple times at night but it's either to moan herself back out or, she wakes up enough to sing and play in her bed for an hour or so before falling back to sleep. For this reason, we always get a 2 bedroom suite so she doesn't bother anyone.

I'm planning a summer vaca right now at a resort that the suites are WAYYY over our budget. The rooms we can afford are all your standard hotel room with 2 queen beds and a rollaway. We'd all be going to bed at 7:30-8pm when my youngest does and I just REALLY don't want to do that. So how do you deal with young kids/early bed times and hotels?? Is there a way to do this without all of us turning in earlier than we would want? I picture my hubby and I sitting very quietly on the bed in complete darkness and silence in absolute boredom.


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answers from St. Louis on

with 9 years btwn my sons....& my sis having the same situation, we've always had fun with vacationing. We have found that by letting the little ones stay up a little later & the older ones having quiet activities to keep themselves entertained.....we had zero sleeping issues. :)

We have also split the parental duties. One adult at the pool late with the older kids....& the other adult in the room with the little ones. Most of my traveling was with my Mom &/or Sis. But the same method worked when my DH traveled with us too. Conquer & divide works wonders!

Good Luck & enjoy! You are creating a lifetime of memories!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

It's tough but workable. The bigger kids can stuff ipods in their ears and you can put the little one's bed as far from them as possible. If you have a portacrib, try to block the light from the room/TV as much as you can. In one place, we made up DD's bed in a closet. It was just the right size for her and with a partially closed door, she felt snug and special.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Detroit on

We have made up a "bed" for my son in a hotel closet -- used couch cushions and the spare blankets. Everyone just relaxed quietly (reading, iPods) for about an hour until he fell asleep. Then we could be more "normal" after he was out and the door shut almost all the way.

Other times, we just let the youngest stay up late. When you're out of your routine it's hard to make them go to sleep anyway -- they don't want to miss any of the action! Then go back to the room for a nap in the afternoon if you feel she needs it. Typically my son is so excited on vacations being in new places that he sleeps a lot less and still does OK.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I think you will find that being in one room will work out.
We have always traveled a lot, from the time our kids were infants.
Keeping a regular schedule/routine is just about impossible, especially when you go to another time zone.
Get up early and spend the day wearing the kids out!
Come back to the room and watch a family movie together. The kids will crash and then you and the hubby can dim the lights, open a bottle of wine and watch a little quiet late night television.
It's actually really sweet and fun, it's like a family sleepover :)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Williamsport on

We've usually just toughed it and had everyone in the same room and it works out OK. If anything, the kids are awake a bit longer than usual because we're watching TV etc, but more often than not, they drift off while we're still awake. The babies somehow managed to sleep in their cribs with noise going on for a few hours after they fell asleep. I say just get what you can afford and wing it. It will work out!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Bloomington on

We've done a lot of traveling with our kids (ages 4 and almost 2) and have stayed in hotels.

What I've found:

*We are usually all so tired that by the time they stay up past their bed time (and summer it is much brighter out) we are all ready for an early bedtime.
*Look at staying at a motel. There are lots of nice ones out there. You and hubby can sit outside the door (with a monitor on -that's what we did once). We just enjoyed the fresh air and got a chance to talk.
*If staying in a regular room in a hotel, take a loud fan for white noise and ask to not be near an elevator or near a large group of people. They tend to make a LOT of noise in the hallway and let their doors slam shut (pet peeve of mine).
*Take a portable DVD player (if the hotel doesn't have one) and turn the tv on after the kids are asleep. Redbox is a great way to rent movies on the run.
*Ask for extra blankets and make a tent in the room if you think the tv will be too bright for them after they are asleep. The kids will like this, too. Camping inside!
*Pack a couple of books for you and hubby to read while the kids are sleeping.....when else do you get to read?
*Stagger bedtimes from youngest to oldest if you have to by having the other parent take the older ones to the pool --- but have them take their showers and put on PJ's at the bathhouse and text message each other when it's ok to come back. (one of us will stay to put the youngest down and take the oldest to the pool or for a long walk)

Good luck!!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Austin on

As a mom to twins and 14/19 year old, we would be finding a different hotel. A 2 room suite is an absolute must otherwise the older kids are cranky and the younger kids are cranky which is no vacation for anyone.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I second looking into renting a house or condo. When go to FL we rent a 5 bdrm house with a pool that cost just under what a hotel would normally cost. Everyone gets their own space and we have the kitchen and laundry rooms so much easier

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Richmond on

Wear them out.

We love camping, but camping with kids ages 2-8, not easy! And we only have 1 tent, AAAND I'm not talking about going to an actual campground, this is 'let's canoe along the river and find a spot to set the tent'... and the 2 year old is still in a crib. There are no pack and plays in camping!

I set the older 2 kids to work. Dig a sand pit, find kindling, this, that, and the other thing. The 2 year old wears himself out exploring around the camp site ;)

In a hotel, that's a bit harder. Let them stay up past their bedtime and (quietly!!) watch a movie, play a game, read a book, do a puzzle. That will work for the older ones. Bring a fan or anything that makes white noise, that will help ALL of you (especially when the 3 year old wakes up). Tell the older kids that whoever wakes up with the 3 year old and gives her some milk and a snack gets a prize (and savor that extra 5 minutes in bed!)

It's not easy or ideal, but definitely do-able!! Have fun!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Seriously, we have always rented a house or condo for JUST the reasons you have. Check out for great direct from owner rentals everywhere....

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Salt Lake City on

Here is the way we do it- get the suite with a kitchenette if possible- that way you have at least one room that the little one can go in and sleep. Also you save money on food- you eat breakfast and dinner in your room. My mother in law taught me this- we have actually packed a box full of basics- and shipped it to the hotel so it is there when we get there that way you are not paying tourist grocery prices and the money you will save on eating out three meals a day will help make up the money for the suite. Usually by dinner kids are tired and they just want to relax and you can keep some resemblance of a schedule.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Denver on

What about getting two regular rooms that connect through a door? We've done this in the past and it's not ideal but works. Otherwise we ALWAYS get a one room suite (with a bedroom that is separate) and let the kids share a bed in the "living room" - it's worked well for us in the past.

Good luck.



answers from Beaumont on

We meet somewhere in the middle, at 9ish going to bed. The older ones could reallyenjoy the extra sleep.



answers from New York on

We put him to bed and went into the hallway with the door "cracked" and either had a glass of wine or played cards for 15-20 minutes until he was asleep. After that... we could go in, turn on the t.v. and/or finish our card game without waking him up.

I would also suggest starting NOW on getting her to sleep through the night, or at least sleep through the noise. Have her fall asleep in quiet and then open her door a little so she gets used to sleeping with talking/ laughing/ t.v. noises in the background.

I also really like that idea of a "closet room"... dark, quiet and you can keep an eye on them! Great idea!



answers from Seattle on

My idea has been taken. If the closet is big enough, put her in there. Otherwise, one of the parents can take the older kids out for a while/walk while the other puts the 3yo to sleep.


answers from Austin on

Can you get 2 rooms with an attached door between them? That is what we did when we went on a trip with a group.. It worked great also at nap time.


answers from Washington DC on

We normally travel in timeshare suites so it's also not a problem. When we do have to travel and use hotels (like we will this coming weekend) we do our best to wear the kids down so they kid the sack and go to sleep. If they are kept busy enough during the day, come 8pm they will want to go to sleep. We turn the lights low and just chill. Once they are asleep, we'll put on what we want and just chill.

If the kids aren't tired, it's going to be bad for you guys, in my experience.


answers from Dallas on

I travelled with a large group sharing one big space. What I did was stay in the room with the baby and let everyone else go out and have fun.

I have also gone and just "toughed it out" stayed with the group and kept the little one with me. It woked out fine, because she eventually would fall asleep in the stroller or car seat anyway. I just had to deal with a little crankiness 1st. That way I didn't miss out on anything and the baby slept through the night, no problem!



answers from Chicago on

might be the time to start stretching the young ones bedtime a little later. if its possible get a crib for her is she in a crib at home? or is she in a bed? if a crib have them bring that instead of the rollaway. put her in the crib in the corner and lights off over there. maybe tv turned away from her bed and on low? it was not a problem for us as we took the kids swimming and used up all the energy. then little one into room first for bath and bed then older ones in for shower and bed. on vacation everyone is tired.

posters below suggesting renting a house instead of a hotel room are right on the money. we did that the last 2 times we went to disney. the house was $650 for a full week. it had 4 bedrooms, slept 10 had a kitchen, dining room, big liv room, 3 bathrooms and a screened in pool. way better option than the disney hotel for us.



answers from Cleveland on

we travel with our 3 yr old all the time since she was a yr old, and we are so busy during the day we are ready for bed by 9ish we normally stay up later then usual as well which isnt a big deal

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