My #1 Baby Travel Hack

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When you regularly travel with kids you eventually pick up a trick or two that makes your life easier. Whether it is no-limit-screen-time on planes, or always having a big plastic baggie in your purse to hold contaminated items, or having diapers and other baby items delivered to your final destination ahead of time, there are endless ways to tweak simple family travel tasks to things more seamless.

 

One of these simple but genius hacks when traveling with a baby is to do whatever it takes to make sure that the crib is not in the same sleeping area as the adults and/or older children. In most cases, and unquestionably in our case, everyone sleeps infinitely better when the crib is in an entirely different area of the room, suite, or house.

Whenever possible we like to try and get suites so that we have enough space to put the baby in one area and the rest of us in another area when it is time to sleep. However, availability and budgets don’t always allow for suites to be a reality, and when that happens you have to get more creative.

We are currently at the beautiful St. Regis Bal Harbour in Miami as one of our “SPG Amex Stars” trips (much more to come on this soon!), and while they generously provide two nights in a standard room as part of this program, any upgrades beyond that are up to us to negotiate, pay for, luck into, etc. As I typically do, I tried to see what it would take to pay a cash co-pay to go from a standard room to a suite. This isn’t because I’m a Fancy Pants who is too cool for a normal room, but because we just don’t all sleep well at all in the same space.

Beautiful views at the St. Regis Bal Harbour, but no dice scoring a suite

Beautiful views at the St. Regis Bal Harbour, but no dice scoring a suite

I don’t know if it was because of Labor Day Weekend or if it is just their policy at this specific property, but I was told that the only way to go from a standard room to a suite was to pay the full regular selling price difference. As a side note, I think everyone wins when otherwise unsold suites can be had for a reasonable upgrade price, but I totally understand that isn’t always possible. So, since the $1,000+ it would have cost us to get into a suite wasn’t going to happen for this two-night stay we resigned ourselves to challenging sleep without an extra space for the baby’s crib.

However, as soon as we walked into our 650+ square foot room I saw that we were in the clear. The bathroom had plenty of room for the crib!

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Huge bathroom became a nursery!

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Closet would have worked, too

Not only that, but in a fantastic turn of design events, the toilet was in its own room separate from the bathroom, so putting her asleep in the bathroom wouldn’t preclude us from using the restroom!

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Didn’t even have to give up toilet access!

The walk-in closet was actually large enough for the crib, too. Even though this standard room is unusually large as far as standard hotel rooms go, the baby travel hack is applicable in other rooms, too. Even if you have to potentially give up the bathroom for the night, it is usually worth it to put the baby’s crib in a creative place in order for everyone to sleep better. Since sleep is so important, it is actually my #1 baby travel hack.

Baby travel hack!

Baby travel hack!

After about five minutes of fussing at bedtime, she went to sleep, slept in the dark and quiet room with her iPad white noise app humming all night, and woke at bright eyed 8AM local time ready for the day! I can guarantee if we were all in the same room the tale wouldn’t have been as happy.

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So, it may seem weird or cruel, but don’t hesitate to put baby and her crib in the corner…or the closet, or the bathroom, or wherever in your hotel room that you think everyone will get the best sleep possible!

Have you set up the nursery in the hotel room’s bathroom, too? What is your favorite baby travel hack?

Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.

Comments

  1. Though it’s been almost 3 decades now, Dad occasionally slept in the bathtub — getting more sleep there than in a room with tossing and fussy infants or toddlers who then were finally blissfully asleep when Dad wanted to turn on the light and read his paper in the morning.

  2. Love the service at that hotel. Tiberiu runs a good ship @ breakfast at Kurt will hook you up at the pool. We’ve also creatively used space for a baby’s crib. The closet can be a real asset…

  3. I take it you’re not a fan of cosleeping then. Do you setup a baby monitor in the bathroom, and wouldn’t that wake up everyone just as easily?

    • I have no issue at all w co-sleeping but doesn’t work with this one…yet anyway. We tried everything before she learned to sleep all night. Maybe when she is two it will work. I’ve never used a baby monitor ever. Not at home. Not in hotel. I can hear her fart from 50 yards away…in fact, I’m probably way too sensitive in listening for her. 😉

  4. No baby monitor for us. Bathroom, walk in closet but the best was at this Airbnb loft we rented. Everything was open plan except for the laundry room… Guess where the crib went?

  5. Happy well rested kids/babies, happy parents!! When my kids were little, we did the same…having them in seprate sleeping area as much as possible. We were fortunate that a lot of those stays were in timeshare units. Although the few times when we stayed in hotels with two cribs (twins) were challenging but we survived and still have wonderful memories 🙂

    BTW, baby daughter is darling and best of all, happy!

  6. ‘Travel Hack’ ??? I was REALLY wondering for a moment what trick you have up your sleeve, this time! ‘Travel tip’ would have been more appropriate : )

    Anyways, good post – yes we also learned this the hard way on one of our early trips to a mountains – the long, dark entry way became our son’s sleeping quarters, LOL. We even hung a blanket so as to black out the light coming in from the main living quarters …

  7. My favorite story about our family of five sharing an open plan cabin room was when our baby (about 1 1/2 yrs old) woke up in the EARLY morning. He was in a pack and play next to the bed his brothers were sharing. He whispered really loud, “Hey!! Bubba!! Hey!! Break me outta this thing so we can play!!” At least we all woke up laughing!

  8. Completely agree with your thoughts. Only problem now is as ours grow up, we have become spoiled so sleeping 4 to a room in 2 queen beds is now uncomfortable.

  9. Read this while in a hotel in NYC with our Baby girl who is 1 month older than yours – tridd to hide the PNP behind an extra blanket hung up between the lamp and the ironing board on the other side – no dice, she slept on my chest the whole night…

    I ahd considered the bathroom b/c I remember you doing that a while back somewhere – but figured I/my wife might need it at some point — next time…. we’ll hold it in!!

  10. This is exactly why when we travel as a family, we have always gotten apartments or houses on Airbnb. Once we had to share a hotel room after a flight cancellation led to an unexpected overnight stay neat the airport. Youngest one woke up at 2 AM and wouldn’t go back to sleep. Confirmed the decision to get separate bedrooms when we travel.

  11. Ha! Totally agree with you! My husband has a rule that we can only travel if the kids are in a different room. We’re still reliving the night 2 years ago when we had a 4, 2, and 8 month old in a single hotel room with us. #Neveragain. We did do all 5 of us in a single room a few months ago in Sydney and it was fine. I think the kids were so tired that they all slept through us getting up and showered in the morning…however, our youngest was over 2 by then. I think age 2 is the magic spot for staying in one space. Thanks for being real.

    • Leah, agree about somewhere between 2 and 3 being magic. My first overnight solo trip with C was when she was about 27 months, and she did great. Such a change from 1 to 2 and then 2 to 3.

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