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Zach and I mastered traveling with Kye pretty quickly. We learned little tricks to make life easier while not at home so it wasn’t too difficult to transition into traveling with two kids. Prior to kids, Zach and I would stay ANYWHERE. And I do mean anywhere. Like gunshot-holes-through-the-lampshades-with-bloodstains-on-the-walls type places (remember the second National Championship Game Katie???). Once Kye came into the picture, we still were down for whatever but we needed enough space to fit his pack and play. Now, however, I am much more picky when choosing a hotel.
For this particular trip I used hotels.com. When you stay 10 nights you get a free night. It’s a really awesome rewards program and since Zach does travel we wrack up nights pretty easily. Also we earn extra thank you points per dollar for booking through them online so that’s like more free money. Actually it ended up being that we had earned a free night so we actually stayed at this hotel for two nights and only spent $64!
I searched for hotels near the Jacksonville Zoo. And I searched for hotels with a pool, breakfast and internet. Breakfast is a MUST for us. It makes life sooo much easier and places that serve breakfast typically have milk (I always call and ask ahead) so we don’t have to pack any for Kye. We can just fill up his cups down there 🙂 The hotel we stayed in was the Wyndham Wingate and the main reason I chose it was for SPACE. From now on we’ll be allll about the amount of space a room has!!!
This particular room had a king bed for us and a fold out couch. I could tell from the pictures that we could make this work. I know many of you are probably thinking it would have been smarter to get two double beds, one for us and one for Kye. We aren’t quite ready for him to sleep in a legit bed while traveling. It’s easier to cover him up in either his travel tent or toddler air mattress. I called the hotel and asked them about the pack and play and if it would fit and they assured me it would. I was sure it would too since I knew the couch would be moveable (beds typically aren’t…but we can figure out a way to rearrange a hotel room haha).
We do not have the people clean the room when we travel. I don’t like to worry much about having to hide any valuables and I don’t really want them to mess up anything we have set up either. We’ll often ask for extra towels and stuff if we need them though.
I also prefer when hotel rooms have a fridge and microwave, but we can live without those as we have a travel fridge we can bring to keep the breast milk in. After we booked this hotel room I called and asked and they said the rooms had them so instead of packing the fridge (which takes up a good amount of space in the car) I just brought the breast milk in a cooler with lots of ice packs.
Here’s some essentials we always pack when traveling with kids:
- tacks (you’ll see why…)
- extension cords (for their fans)
- fans (yes, one for each kid…we use box fans as they stack easier for travel)
- both Kye’s pop-up travel tent and his toddler sized air mattress. We decide when we arrive which to use depending on the space. But we prefer the air mattress.
- when Britt gets older we’ll bring our snap on seat or the bumbo for feedings but right now I just need my nursing stuff and Kye is big enough to not even need his booster seat
- travel refrigerator (it works in the car and also has a wall plug in for the room if needed)
- pack and play
- bath for baby
- towels for kids (gotta save the few they give us for US)
- plenty of grocery bags for dirty clothes, blow outs, accidents, wet suits, dirty bottles/cups, etc
- some toys for the room (typically cars and Kye’s “work stuff” is plenty to keep him busy)
- monitor (yes, we’re sharing a room with the baby…but I like to be able to SEE her too and if we happen to have a room on the first floor or something where we may want to leave the room we can…especially if traveling with other people where we may want to go to their room)
My husband is the KING of rigging stuff up! When we got there we moved the luggage rack from this corner and set up the pack and play. It was at the foot of our bed and it was in front of the door that would make the room join to the room next to us. It was great because we could open our side of that door and tuck the sheet into there!
Used a tack to hang up the monitor camera
We use Kye’s pack and play for travel, hers is for independent playtime at the house once that gets started!
For Kye’s bed, we wanted him as away from her as possible. We also wanted her as far away from the door as possible. That being said, after I booked the room online I did call them and ask for the QUIETEST room they had. We were on the top floor way down the hall but it was fine by me. It really was quiet! The worst thing to happen is to do all this work to get your gets comfortable and asleep then have a bunch of noise in the halls keep them up!
We turned the couch sideways and made Kye a fort with his toddler air mattress in the middle of it. Zach probably felt like he was taken back to his childhood getting to build this thing!
The fan in front of the tent, hers was in front of her pack and play but angled towards Kye’s tent
Kye has always gone to bed at 7:30 or earlier. Plus he naps during the day too. We are hardcore schedule and FOR SURE keep them on their schedule while traveling. I’m sure MANY of you wonder what the heck we do since our kids are asleep so much?!?! We have found the best method is to have it completely dark when they first go down to bed.
We whisper. We barely move. We mess with our phones or tablets or something else quiet and not too bright. Once we are sure they are asleep (I like to wait at least 20 min or so) then we cover a lamp with a sheet and turn that on. We will typically watch The Office while on trips and I love that tradition. Zach said it was the thing he was most looking forward to during this recent trip 😉 We both have headphones and use those to watch it. In all our travels I don’t think we’ve ever accidentally woken Kye up (actually, Zach did once. On one of the Labor Day trips with the Parker’s he accidentally kicked Kye’s pack and play haha).
Zach and I both know our days of easily finding a place to stay are numbered. We should be able to fit into a single hotel room as long as it’s just the four of us but baby #3 will probably mean we have to start getting suites.
When I think about us traveling and how much goes into making it all possible I often think of Kate Gossilin. I know, random. She would often say how her children getting to have experiences were the most important thing to her and that she would continue to deal with how difficult it was with eight children (six being the same exact age) because it was all worth it. I 100% agree with that statement and I don’t have it nearly that hard!!! I highly doubt six pack and plays would be fitting into a single hotel room 😉
I think we have a pretty good thing going but I’m sure there are lots of little tricks left to learn…any you care to share with me?