Tips for Travel with a Baby // Pt. 3: Hotels & Accommodations

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This is part 3 of a guest post by Nick. You can read part 1 and part 2, which talk about planning, the airport experience, and flying.

Staying at a Hotel With a Baby

Ok, it took a while to get this last post in the series up, which seems appropriate since flying with a baby can feel like an eternal, drawn-out process. Here are some tips to help you enjoy that vacation or family reunion or whatever occasion you deemed worthy of this masochistic aviation adventure. FYI, most of the baby gear and gadgets we rely on when traveling and at home can be found here.

1. Welcome to My TRAVEL Crib

When booking hotels or apartment rentals, we specifically look for ones with a crib to help us travel light. (see below for the filter options on Airbnb, but note that searching for “high chair” may severely limit search results so we don’t usually check it). If you book a place online, it’s a good idea to contact them and confirm the request. And if you’re arriving later at night, ask to make sure it’s already in the room so that sleepy babe can go seamlessly from car seat to crib without waking up (Lol, right).

If you’re bringing your own travel crib, we’ve tried the Guava Lotus, Baby Bjorn Travel Crib, and the Graco Pack n’ Play. The Guava is the most carry-on friendly for airplanes as it folds up into a convenient backpack carrier, the Baby Bjorn is quickest and easiest to set up and has worked well for our needs (road trips or short stays at a friend’s). The Graco Pack n’ Play is the most affordable so we keep it at grandma’s, but it’s notably heavier and clunkier.

how to find airbnb apartment rentals with cribs

2. Oh Sheeeeeeeeeeet

Hotel sheets can get washed with bleach and harsh, fragranced detergents. It’s not an issue for most kids but if your baby has eczema or very sensitive skin, we like to bring our own crib sheet. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to have a familiar smell for them when sleeping in an unfamiliar environment. Just remember to take it when you leave!

3. 7:30 Doesn’t Have to be Bedtime for Everyone

One of the biggest struggles when staying at hotels is what to do after your baby goes down for an early bedtime, confining you to your dimly lit hotel room. While it might seem like the only choice is to order $50 of Panda Express on Uber Eats and watch Netflix shows on your phones in total darkness, there are other options!

For instance, frequent travelers could try one of these breathable pop up tents. Add a trusty portable white noise machine, and go about your business while baby sleeps in blackout conditions. This contraption is pricey and seems absurd at first, but has been a game changer for us and takes up about 1/5th of our bigger checked suitcase. We started using it every day at home when we have to share a room in our small city condo (have confirmed with other Boston city parents at the neighborhood park, we are not alone). We just vent the lower flaps for extra circulation and keep the room cool as it can get 2-3 degrees warmer inside, and the small clear pocket works well with our baby monitor.

slumberpod traveling with a baby hotel black out tent

We were highly skeptical at first, but this blackout tent c/o has been a godsend (SLUMBERPOD10 for $10 off)

4. Room Location Strategery

Here’s a tip from many readers: ask hotels for a room close to their lounge or restaurant/bar. Or for a room with a large closet that can fit the crib (keep the closet door open) or with a corner that can be darkened. And, who knows, maybe you’ll get an upgrade to a multi-room suite. Just don’t forget the baby monitor. We’ve found that our non-WiFi one that we use at home is quick and easy to setup when traveling.

5. Time Zones and Schedule Changes

Try to start shifting bedtime by 30 mins to an hour the day or two before you leave for your trip. When you arrive, try to get the baby (and yourself) on the new time zone as quickly as possible by fighting the urge to sleep at odd hours. Expose them to plenty of natural light during daytime hours and do things when they’re supposed to be up, and try to make it as dark as possible when it’s sleepy time.

6. Some Strollers = Portable Changing Table

For if we’re traveling without a car. This tip only works if your travel stroller can recline in some way, but rather than chance a restroom changing table coated in mysterious substances (it’s coffee, right? someone just spilled their coffee all over it?), we just find a secluded corner far away from public nostrils and do the changing on the partially unstrapped Yoyo stroller. If you’re going to brave the changing table, the Mens room one tends to be cleaner if it has one.

baby travel guide babyzen yoyo changing table
baby travel guide hotel room naptime
Left: Nifty Yoyo changing station // Right: Dark days prior to discovering the SlumberPod

7. Travel High Chair

Call your hotel ahead of time and see if they can provide a high chair. If there’s a restaurant in the hotel, we ask if they can borrow one to put in your room. We’ve had luck with this several times, and our two recent Airbnb rentals also provided high chairs!

If this isn’t a possibility, we started using the more lightweight, foldable Hiccapop travel booster once Nori could sit up well on her own. It’s great for various surfaces like grassy picnics, soft beach sand, and can also strap to a chair. The moulded Fisher Price booster seat offers more support for younger babies and is a clunkier alternative we keep at grandma’s house. It’s a trade off between the two in terms of compactness and support, so it really depends on your baby’s needs and ability to sit up unassisted.

baby travel foldable high chair booster hiccapop
baby feeding travel high chair
Left: Hiccapop chair goes from dining table to beach picnics // Right: Fisher price seat & travel drying rack


If your baby isn’t doing bath time in a full-sized tub yet or can stand up on her own in a shower, you have a couple options. The easiest is to leave the accessories at home and just hold your baby in the shower with you (yes, they’re going to be slippery, and yes, you are going to get peed on). When we drive somewhere we’d bring this inflatable tub from Amazon, which can double as a beach tub to play in.

We received this affordable inflatable tub for travel, but have been using it as our main one at home too

Well, that’s all I’ve got. May these tips help you get the most out of your “vacation.” Which, as you know, isn’t really a vacation. It’s just taking care of your kids in a different city. Godspeed, and good luck on the return flight.

Hope you guys enjoyed these posts! In general, we’ve found that hospitality and tourism employees are very helpful and accommodating toward parents of babies, so if there’s something you need or forgot, it never hurts to ask!

Fellow parents, do you have any tips for hotel stays that you’ve found make life easier?

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  1. Kim wrote:

    Thanks for the suggestion on sheets. Never crossed my mind and my 1 year old has AWFUL eczema which keeps him awake at night. This will be on our next travel list.

    Posted 5.14.22 Reply
  2. Seema wrote:

    When staying at hotels, I’ve found the baby cloud monitor app to be really helpful. We just bring an old phone and set up in the room and we can watch the baby on our phones from the hotel bar or restaurant. Not an every night thing but a break from the 7:30 lights out for everyone 🙂

    Posted 11.10.19 Reply
  3. Mary wrote:

    Hi Jean, I have two children who have eczema (inherited the genes from the dad). Prior to having children I probably didn’t understand how it felt for people with atopy. But in looking after my children I have learnt so much. I completely agree about being careful with the detergent used as I know it can affect my daughter a lot. She has dust mite allergy so we also have to wash all sheets in 60 degree water, otherwise she coughs her way through sleep. What I am trying to say is that everyone’s health/body is different, and everyone’s baby is different. Sometimes I wish some of the posters here judge less and try to understand more. Anyhow please keep up your and Nick’s wonderful posts. I love them!

    Posted 11.1.19 Reply
  4. Ayme Torres wrote:

    Wow!!! No offense but you guys are really complicating your life with all these extra gadgets…totally unnecessary !!! Lol I’m a mother of a 6 month old and travel at least once a month! In my experience parents really don’t really need most of these fancy gadgets.!!! It’s just unnecessary and an extra burden !! I guess you’re figure that out with your second child! Lol Baby sleeps easily whether is light out or not if your baby is on a routine sleep and feeding schedule. No need for a sleep tent and darkness ! Bring disinfectant wipes and use Wash clothes and hotel sink for a quick bath! Just need to be flexible and make it work ! Remember, just as hotel cribs are available,.. so are hotel strollers for rent! Bring crib bed sheets too? No thanks . Soft pajamas with and mittens and footies give skin enough protection from rough sheets. Lol good luck

    Posted 10.22.19 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Each to their own. Our kid is on a good sleep schedule but definitely sleeps better and longer in darkness, plus we use the tent at home in our small condo. Just passing along an option out there plus gadget-free alternatives like asking for a hotel room with a large closet, crib and high chair.

      The crib sheets are a must for us due to eczema which I learned after bad experiences where her cheeks and scalp become inflamed. If something isn’t necessary for you, that’s fantastic. No need to knock it for someone else.

      Posted 10.23.19 Reply
  5. Julia Pham wrote:

    Lol at “It’s just taking care of your kids in a different city. ” Great post, Nick!

    Posted 10.20.19 Reply
    • M wrote:

      Completely irresponsible to leave a baby alone in a hotel room. Even with a monitor: It is different than your home.

      Posted 10.22.19 Reply
  6. MaryInMD wrote:

    A thought on leaving baby in room but within monitor range: I was traveling with my two when they were small, and a fire broke out in our hotel room while they were napping. I was only half asleep so I noticed the room was smoky before the smoke detector or fire alarm went off. Babies were sleeping through it without a peep. We all got out safely, phew! Not judging, just saying I personally experienced a hotel room incident, so it’s something to think about.

    Posted 10.20.19 Reply
  7. Susie wrote:

    ^drown out baby

    Posted 10.20.19 Reply
  8. Susie wrote:

    Is the rationale of asking for a room close to the hotel restaurant so that it is loud and can deepen out the baby if baby cries? Aren’t you worried that it would be loud in the room for you though?

    Posted 10.20.19 Reply
    • ainomiaka wrote:

      I think the theory is to be able to go somewhere else but still be within baby monitor range? That was my guess-I specifically bought one that I could go out to the backyard while kiddo slept.

      Posted 10.20.19 Reply
  9. Holly wrote:

    Thanks for these amazing travel posts! Not directly related, but did you ever get a footmuff for the stroller? I was wondering if there was a brand you recommended!

    Posted 10.19.19 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Holly, which stroller do you have? We were lucky enough to receive the corresponding muffs for our strollers as gifts but you could use thick blankets, or I always hear good things about the 7am enfant muff that grows with your child.

      Posted 10.23.19 Reply
  10. Emilee wrote:

    Hi there,

    I am curious how you knew about nori’s eczema. My baby is knee deep in solids and when we started we went slow and i kept track of what he ate but he HATED food. So I just dove in giving him mixes and spices and he devoured them he has a new love of food. Anyway I’ve noticed a rash start on his back but it looked like dry skin it hasn’t gone away and keeps getting worst. I have a dr apt scheduled but I’d really love your experience.

    Posted 10.19.19 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Emilee! We have a family history of eczema and it was pretty obvious since earlier on for Nori since she had very dry skin, scalp, and red patches that she’d itch until they bled or ooze. We’ve had many dermatologist visits through her first year and our doc had us do some allergy tests before she started solids and they came back positive (but are not always accurate) for many of the common allergens. I was told for most babies it could be affected by a variety of factors like climate change, food, detergents, dust, etc – hope your dr will be able to provide some insight and relief for your baby!

      Posted 10.23.19 Reply
  11. karen w. wrote:

    A tip we used when staying in hotels – cheaper than the pod! We put baby’s crib next to the curtains. We used the blackout curtain around her crib to keep her area dark (assuming it’s already dark out) and a sound machine so we could still have lights on and do quiet activities in the room when it was her bedtime but not ours. When it was time for us to go to bed, we moved the blackout curtains to block the window and keep the room dark for all of us. thanks for all the tips!

    Posted 10.19.19 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Thanks for sharing this tip, Karen!

      Posted 10.23.19 Reply
  12. Hannah wrote:

    Lol at the watching Netflix in the dark. Definitely a big part of my baby life. Man, wishing I coulda employed some of these wonders before with my older kiddos!!

    Posted 10.18.19 Reply
  13. April wrote:

    Lot of big cities have rental service that will rent toys strollers cribs. You name it. They deliver it right to the hotel. I usually have diapers shipped to people in the area where I’m going, if I know any. Makes it easier than bring a whole supply. Or I just hit target when we get where we are going. For road trips, I pack a big Rubbermaid tub with all her supplies. Make it easy for unloading the car.

    Posted 10.18.19 Reply
  14. Beth Diebold wrote:

    Good morning! I am trying to get a winter work wardrobe set up this year and was wondering what is a good work appropriate coat that you could wear with dresses/skirts that are knee length in the winter? And what do you wear for shoes for commuting in when the snow is heavy between home and work? I can’t find anything on these two questions – would love to hear your thoughts on it!! Thank you 🙂

    Posted 10.18.19 Reply
  15. Janine wrote:

    Haha I just love the way nick writes 🙂 great post!
    Xx Janine

    Posted 10.18.19 Reply
  16. Mireia wrote:

    So lovely!

    Mireia from TGL

    Posted 10.18.19 Reply
  17. Rena wrote:

    I see you know how to travel and to stay in a hotel with your baby!
    xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena

    Posted 10.18.19 Reply

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