What to Pack for a Hotel Stay with a Baby or Toddler
Fear not; if you're prepared for the trip, getting out of your comfort zone may be just the thing to help you adjust to life with a baby. After all, you can only have so many weekends working on naps in the crib and trying to find a shirt without spit up on it before you just NEED to see other people.
And that often means traveling.
While you will definitely need more stuff to travel comfortably with a baby than you did before your new addition, it's not as bad as you might think. So, I'm going to run through everything you'll need to make a hotel stay with a baby or toddler more enjoyable.
The list is comprehensive because I want you to be as comfortable as possible. While I don't recommend packing your entire house for a weekend trip, my motto is that it is better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.
Without further ado - here are the things you'll need to make everything easier during your hotel stay with a baby or toddler.
Extra diapers and wipes
Trust me; a vacation is not the time to run out of diapers. You probably don't know where the nearest store is to pick up more, and you don't want to waste time. You could be out having fun instead of locating more diapers.
Estimate how many you'll need each day you're gone, and then add 5 to be safe. If you're driving and traveling with a young baby, I'd even recommend just bringing an entire sleeve of diapers from a big box. If you're flying and have luggage space issues, pack enough for two full days and then find somewhere to buy diapers when you land.
Your own pack n play or travel bassinet
This is usually only relevant if you're driving, although there are some portable baby beds that you can pack in your suitcase. That said - space is usually at a premium in the suitcase, so in many cases, it's just easier to get a bed when you arrive if you’re flying.
In that case, most hotels have a pack n play or crib option. The reason I recommend bringing your own if you can is that your baby is likely already familiar with the sleep space, and you know how to set it up. While all cribs and baby bassinets are tested to the same standard, when you use your own, you know without a doubt what you're dealing with.
Also, many hotels won’t guarantee a pack n play or crib will be available. While it’s incredibly likely, you’ll get one if you request it, being 100% certain is always a better option.
Familiar comfort item/lovey (9 months +)
For babies over nine months, a familiar comfort item or lovey may help them sleep better and adjust to a new sleep environment.
You don't want anything in bed with an infant younger than nine months, but if your pediatrician gives the OK, a small comfort item may help ease the transition of sleeping away from home.
We introduced a lovey at 13 months and now bring one with us when we travel. It's just another way to bring consistency on the road.
Books/toys for daytime entertainment
Hotel rooms are small, and there are still probably lots of items you won't want your baby or toddler playing with, especially if they're mobile.
Bring a couple of books and a few toys to help keep your baby entertained between naps and outings with toys you know are safe.
SlumberPod + fan
To ensure we don't disrupt our sleep routine, we started using a SlumberPod during any night away from home. The best thing about the SlumberPod is that your baby is in a DARK and separate sleep space. You're able to sleep in the same room and continue with your day, all while the baby naps or sleeps overnight.
After a couple of months, daylight can really start to disrupt your baby's ability to nap. While you can't control whether or not your hotel or Air BNB will have blackout curtains, you can ensure your baby will have a dark sleep space with a SlumberPod.
Additionally, the SlumberPod provides a barrier between you and your little one. As your baby becomes more aware, he may not want to sleep when he can see you. But, with the blackout material of the SlumberPod, you're off the radar.
Bring a small portable fan to keep the air circulating inside the pod so your baby doesn't get hot. While it's perfectly safe to use the SlumberPod without a fan, I sat in mine to make sure my daughter wouldn't overheat. I found it more comfortable with air circulation.
Just don't forget your sound machine to block out any noise!
Sound machine / white noise
On that note, definitely pack a portable sound machine — preferably one that plays the same white noise you usually use. This provides an added sense of comfort and consistency to the sleep environment while also allowing you to move around the room and not wake up your baby.
If you don't have a SlumberPod, you won't need this, but since it's so awesome, I'm assuming you'll use one and will want a monitor as well. While your baby can't see you in the SlumberPod, you also can't see your baby. Luckily, the creators at SlumberPod anticipated this issue and made a handy pocket for your monitor. Problem solved.
Stocked diaper bag/travel bag
This should go without saying, but you'll need your baby's own suitcase or bag when you travel. Be sure to pack extras of everything—pajamas, onesies, and any special outfit you may need. Inevitably you'll need an extra of something due to a blowout, spit-up, or other unfortunate mess.
Don't forget your sleep sack (or swaddle if your baby is still sleeping with one).
While your bags may be fuller traveling with a baby, there is no better way to make family memories. As long as you're prepared and try to recreate a sleep space that is as close to home as possible, you'll set yourself up for an awesome trip!
Carly is a mom of two lovely ladies who is passionate about talking about the reality of motherhood. She blogs about making the transition to motherhood, parenting, awesome products, and staying sane at The Mamma's List. Her hope is that sharing her stories and tips will make this mom gig easier for all of us. Connect with her on Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram, or sign up for her newsletter here!
Note: Guest blog posts are shared for informational and educational purposes and may not reflect the official policy or position of SlumberPod (parent company, Dovetail Essentials, LLC), our employees and/or contractors.