For the most part, we consider hotel rooms to be a place to sleep after a long day of exploring but we have stayed at some amazing properties that were destinations in themselves. If it makes sense, we will invest in a suite or a vacation rental that includes a kitchen. When we went to Disney World for a week with five other family members, it made sense to invest in a suite with a kitchen. We cooked meals, prepared lunches to bring in to the theme parks and enjoyed the extra space. We also saved money because we were able to rent one property rather than three to suit the needs of the three families.
Sometimes, I just can’t justify the cost of anything more than a standard hotel room. This summer we are planning a trip traversing the state of Florida. At one point during the trip, we will be stopping for the night after driving about 9 hours. We will probably arrive late and it is just a stopping point before we continue on. I found a brand new, 2-3 star hotel off of the Interstate for $60. We will arrive late, get a good night’s sleep and the next morning we will eat a continental breakfast and then continue on the road. This is an example of when we would save the money and stay in an inexpensive room.
I am defining a standard hotel room as a room with two beds and a bathroom. There will probably be television and internet access but there are likely no additional amenities in the room. No kitchen. No room with a door to close when it is time for the kids to go to sleep and the adults aren’t ready.
We are a family of four, which right away makes it easy to choose a standard hotel room when we are traveling but I have a boy and a girl. I know that sometime in the next few years they will not want to share a room with each other (or their parents) and we will be ready to upgrade but until then, this is how we survive a stay in a standard hotel room.
We throw the bedtime schedule out the window. I should probably preface this with the fact that we aren’t really a scheduled family. We didn’t institute a consistent schedule until our kids entered school and were forced in to a schedule. Once summertime hits, the schedule disappears. It is what works for our family. When we travel, we don’t worry about a strict bedtime. If the kids are still awake at 9pm, I don’t panic. I know that after a long day of adventures, they will fall asleep quickly the next night.
Invest in a book light. My husband and I can read in bed at night while the kids are trying to fall asleep. We use book lights so that we can read without really disturbing the kids.
Watch television at a low volume. Depending on what we can find on the television, we will turn it on at a low volume and bore the kids to sleep. It is amazing how quickly my kids fall asleep while watching the late night news or a sports game.
Book a room with a sleeper sofa or book a roll-away bed. Hotels like Comfort Inn usually offer an room option with a sleeper sofa. It typically only costs a few dollars more than a standard room. The sofa comes with all the bedding you need and is a perfect way to separate my children so they aren’t fighting, crossing the line, or doing any of the numerous things they do to annoy each other. Another option is to book a roll-away bed but be sure to book it ahead of time.
Divide and Conquer. I will lay down with my daughter and my husband will lay down with my son until they fall asleep. Then we move them to the sleeper sofa or bed that they will sleep in.
Book a room with a balcony. We have spent many an evening chatting on the balcony while our kids fall asleep in the hotel room.
How do you make your stay in a standard hotel room more comfortable?