7 Tips for Traveling in Hotels With a Toddler

Toddler Travel Tips

Last month, I spent 12 nights in a hotel with my toddler. (I know, ridiculous!) Between two, two-night stays to visit friends and family, a three-night stay because of construction in our condo and another three-night stay (turned five because of the epic snow storm) for a work trip where the family tagged along, I’ve become a de facto expert on hotel living with a little one.

In my pre-kids days, the thought of escaping the everyday to enjoy a modern and spacious hotel suite where you melt into the bed’s cloud of pillows would sound glorious. With a toddler, not so much. I worried whether my daughter would sleep in the hotel crib? Would there be a fridge to keep some milk? Would there be any places for her to run around without getting hurt?

The next time you find yourself gearing up for a hotel stay with your kiddo, keep these tips in mind.

  1. Bring your own crib (maybe) and bedding: Knowing we were staying at three different hotels in one week, we opted to bring our own crib (a pack-n-play) to create a sense of stability for our kiddo. It did seem to do the trick, with less fighting at bedtime. BYOC is probably less important if you are going to be at just one hotel. But don’t forget your kiddo’s favorite blanket as well as crib sheet.
  2. Bring a portable cleaning system. If nothing else, this is a must do. Get a portable cleaning system. We have the one for OXO. It’s compact and perfect for cleaning sippy cups, bottles and pacifiers when traveling.
  3. Ask for a fridge. If your room is not equipped with a fridge, it’s likely the hotel has portable ones they can bring to your room. It’s a must have for storing milk and other snacks.
  4. Forget the toys: On all our trips, we bring one book and one other small toy. Hotels have so much for toddlers to explore from the lobby to riding along on luggage carts. And in the room, playing with the plastic cups intended for the in-room coffee maker is easily a 30-minute activity. Sometimes new toys (mostly coloring books and matchbox cars) are kept at the front desk, so be sure to ask.
  5. Use the halls. The hall is your friend. Yes, it may be a pain to be in a room so far from the elevator with all the luggage you have to lug, but it is also your indoor playground. Let your toddler run and run and run safely until they are ready to pass out.
  6. Lock the bathroom down. The bathtubs in hotels (or at least the ones we stayed at) were much lower than our standard tub at home. They were low enough that my toddler could have easily fallen in when she leaned over to explore. Avoid the worry by making the bathroom off limits by keeping the door closed.
  7. Wipe down remote controls, light switches and door knobs. If you are a germaphobe this one is for you (thanks hubby). Wiping down these items with alcohol wipes kills germs to avoid catching a post trip cold.

We’re heading international in April, so more travel tips to come. Do you have other tips from your travels? Add them to the comments below.


  1. Good advice except for the part where you advice people to allow their toddler to run up and down the halls to burn energy. That’s beyond rude.

  2. I can totally see, Kim, if your kid is a screamer while he/she runs that it can definitely be rude to others who could possibly hear the kid through their doors. My kiddo tends to quiet runner, so it was less of an issue. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  3. I’ve now done 26 trips – domestic and international with my little lady who is now 2.

    Bring own crib sheet and blanket for stability. (we never traveled with our own pack and play) – if the hotel did not have a crib, we would fold a comforter and pitt the crib sheet over it and set her up on the floor. Worked great!

    No fridge- bring a small cooler. Ice from hotel ice match ones will keep the small things cold well enough. But yes, most have portable options if you ask.

  4. 26 trips in two years is insane, Jenn! And great tip about turning a comforter into a crib. Very smart. Thanks for sharing.

  5. An additional tip I would suggest after learning from personal experience in our first year of parenting is to bring outlet covers. Some hotels are really good about offering lots of outlets to charge all of today’s everyday electronics, but this is not so good when you have a little one who is anxious to explore every inch of the room. I’ve found them at the Dollar Tree and keep the package in her weekend bag to have on hand for any stay away from home.

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