First, none of these entities/products have paid me for or requested an endorsement.  These are strictly my opinions.

Families of five+ have all sorts of logistical issues that smaller families do not face.  Restaurants, cars, hotels, etc. are all arranged around families of four.  And, we went from three directly to five!

For years we tried to stay at Embassy Suites hotels.  We could put the kids in the bedroom (two queen beds) and at least have the pull-out living room couch to ourselves.  Plus, they usually have above average breakfasts.

Last summer we stayed at a Homewood Suites near Philadelphia.  It was not as nice a breakfast, but they have two bedroom suites.  So, the little kids were in bedroom 1 (two queens), we were in bedroom 2 (one king), and our oldest got the pull out couch.  Plus both bedrooms had a bathroom, which is great for so many people.  We would do it again if we found such an arrangement.

When those two options are not available, we get adjoining hotel rooms.  This gives us four queen beds and two bathrooms.  But, while you can ask for adjoining rooms, the standard line is, “we’ll do our best, but we can’t guarantee it.”  It has almost always worked out though.

All that being said, this post was not supposed to be about hotel room configurations, but what you might want to bring to a hotel with your family that you’re not thinking of.

First, what not to bring.  At home kids often sleep with a bedfull of stuff – toys, stuffed animals, favorite blankets, etc.  The fewer of these you can bring the better.  It is just too easy to lose things when you have a lot of people in an unfamiliar cramped space.  If you do bring such items, I recommend making a list of them so you can do a complete check before checking out.  We did have one hotel call us and mail us forgotten items, but I would not want to rely on that, particularly for sentimental items.

There are other things we have brought over the years.  When you have small children with bottles, sippy cups, etc.  you will need to bring your own cleaning supplies.  Bring some dish detergent, a brush if necessary, and gloves if you prefer.  I usually lay out the cleaned items on a washcloth from the bathroom, but you could bring a towel for that purpose also.  Realize you will be using the bathroom sink so you really will be making do.

Another thing you must consider with small children is baby proofing.  Your hotel room will never be baby proofed as well as your house, but you can improve it from its basic state.  Upon arrival, remove anything you can that will be dangerous for your child or that you don’t want them getting in to.  First on my list is almost always those pads and pens near the beds.  Next, you will probably want to move the TV remote to a less accessible location.  If they will be an issue for your child, you can unplug table lamps and put them on the floor of the closet.  Other miscellaneous items can be moved to the top shelf of the closet.  Ideally, these would be put back at checkout, but the hotel will understand if you don’t.  The things I’ve never found a good way to babyproof is the phone, which is always in a very accessible location and cannot be unplugged.  Since you are unlikely to use it, I’d recommend tucking it behind the nightstand/under the bed before the child notices it.

If you are staying for any length of time, you may want (or find you need) to do laundry.  For many years I brought Purex 3-in-1 laundry sheets.  They do fine for everyday wear.  You will need more if you have a true stain, like spaghetti sauce, or a sick child.  Today, I’d recommend throwing a couple of Tide pods in your luggage as well.  They’re not as mess free in luggage so double wrap them, but they’ll do a better job on your laundry if needed.

A couple of other things to consider:

  • laundry bags of some other method by which your kids will know dirty laundry from clean
  • a portable booster seat if you have a little one
  • a boot dryer comes in handy in ski country, but also if your sneakers get rained on
  • hangers with clips to dry swimwear in tight spaces

Apologies again for the lack of pictures.  I think that will be a theme with this series.