FIRST TRIP WITH A BABY
It is obvious that first trip with a baby is associated with some stress for parents. Young parents feel the best at home where surrounded by all the necessary equipment are safe and well prepared for all the baby’s daily rituals. Finally that day of first holidays or a weekend getaway will come. How to handle everything, how to plan the trip to have everything under control and make this time be pleasure for everybody? Based on own experience we gathered few tips what to pay attention on, apart from price and location, while choosing a hotel for our family trip. Check what you can expect and what you can demand from the hotel when visiting together with a little one.
Whether going on an organised trip or traveling on your own when choosing the hotel you should make sure that the hotel you want to book welcomes babies at all. When looking for accomodation on the internet rember to check the box to search for hotel ready to host babies. When booking the room add to the reservation your baby’s name – that will be useful in some countries for example when applying for visa. Some countries demand hotel booking in the procedure of getting a visa. Eastern countries require also all guests to register their stay in a hotel so don’t forget to give at the front desc your child’s passport as well. But the most important is that the hotel can simply prepare for your arrival and have the baby cot already brought to your room.
To make your stay a good time and arrange your baby conditions to get peaceful sleep you can kindly ask for a room away from hotel bar or a busy street. Don’t forget to use „Don’t Disturb” sign when your baby is asleep. Sometimes during the day hotel staff comes not only to clean the room but also to deliver newspapers or check and fill up the minibar, so have “Don’t disturb” sign on hand and use it whenever you want to be sure you will have silence. If you do not wish staff to come to your room at all you can make such a request at the front desk.
BASIC EQUIPMENT – BABY COT
Basic and the most important equipment that parents should expect from the hotel visiting with a little child is a baby cot. Usually hotels indicate in their offer whether they are able to provide a crib to the room or not. This service is in most cases free of charge but it’s worth to make sure. Right after booking a room you might want to contact hotel to inform them that you will be coming with a little one. Although hotels usually have more than one baby cot in the peak of the season or in places popular among people with children it might not be enough for everyone. We faced such situation in Oman, in Sur where in the seaside hotel they ran out of baby cots and Ola had to sleep together with her parents. Next day she was the only one fresh and rested in our family.
Together with the crib you should expect a pillow and a blanket for the baby. However it happens that hotel staff forgets about it and you can get only a cot. Feel free to ask for some bedding for your kid, even if they don’t have one they will try to find something that will let your baby sleep comfortably. Before leaving home you have to know that different hotels prepare different beds for children and their quality does not always go hand in hand with hotel level and room price. Going on holidays you can expect for your baby beds starting from regular plastic travel cot up to really sweet, wooden professional crib. Hotel staff might ask you about your child’s age, in order to properly prepare the crib – with two or three months old you will need a crib with mattress at the highest level and with one year old the lowest. However in most cases you will get the lowest option what with an infant will make you exercise taking and puting him or her to bed. So far we havet seen anything worse than the cot delivered by Belarussian hotel. Beautiful wooden white cot turned out to have so high sides that to easily put Ola inside we would need hands half a meter longer. After first night we put the crib to the corner and put Ola to sleep on the mattress between two “adult” beds.
If you are affraid that your hotel will not be able to provide a baby cot or its quality will not be satisfying (internet forums are great source of information) you can always consider taking your own travel cot with you. However the name travel cot is kind of mistake because those things are totaly not suitable for travel – usually those are big and heavy packages. But if you are travelling by car you will surely fit it somewhere. What if you are flying? It depends. All airlines allow babies to take their pushchair free of charge but some of them let also some additional accessories. Ryanair, comparing to other airlines, looks very favourable – they allow two pieces of children stuff: a pushchair and car seat or travel cot. But I think it’s obvious that it’s better to relay on the hotel in this matter and not to carry unnecessary things accross the world. Even if provided cot will not meet your requirements, don’t worry, you will handle it somehow – creativity of parents for the sake of their children is limitless and remeber: the less things you take with you the easier your travel will be.
Knowing how much space a baby cot needs it is very important to pay attention on the size of the room you are booking. Even the sweetest crib will make you go crazy if you will not have space to move in the room or play with your child. Imagine what will happen if you in addition come to the room with the pushchair! Some hotels’ loyalty programs are very useful in such situations – sometimes even at the first levels of participation you can count on upgraded room standard and thus bigger size of it. You should pay more attention when choosing those charming hotels in historical buildings in the cities oldtowns. Hotels in such locations have more difficulties to arrange big rooms and adding a baby cot might not be possible at all.
BABY IN BATH
Very important thing when leaving your home with the baby is providing him or her the necessary hygene. Although there is a hundred ways to bathe the little one without the baby bath tub, some people cannot imagine handling without it. If you are one of them you might ask at the front desc, some institutions are equipped in baby bath tubs. It’s avaliable very rarely so you should rather pay attention if the room you are booking has shower or bath tub and choose where it will be more convenient for you to do all the hgenic procedures.
As for the issues related with bathing, we were nicely surprised when in one of the hotels we recevied a set of baby cosmetics together with a sweet washcloth. A set of shampoo, body foam and body butter made us really appreciate the hospitality of that place. Arriving to hotel with the baby you should of course expect additional towel.
Last thing connected with an infant that sometimes is avaliable in hotels is changing table but in our opinion it is not really useful. Some places offer delivering one to your room however you will surely handle diaper changing for example on the bed. Remember that such table will take space in the room!
ADDITIONAL EQUIPMENT – WHAT MIGHT BE USEFUL
There is something more that you might apprciatie when staying out of home. It is not indispensable but can be useful and it doesn’t come to mind right away. This is an electric kettle. It will be appreciated more by people feeding their babies with infant formula milk. Thanks to the kettle in the room you will prepare the meal, clean the bottle and teats with boiling water or heat up dinner in the jar. Hotels that win chid-friendly rankings offer also bottle warmers, humidifiers and outlet plugs but the chance that you will happen to stay in such is very little so you’d better just pay attention on room equipment in regular hotel.
BREAKFAST IN HOTEL RESTAURANT
We usually eat only breakfast in the hotel restaurant but still the most important for us is the fact if they provide a baby high chair. Booking the room you will usually not be able to check that but if you happen to find one in the restaurant once you’re there before you put your whole world in it make sure it is stable and has seatbelt. Using the high chair you will feed the baby and have your meal with pleasure but only after you check it is safe! In case of longer visits in the restaurant you might want to look around for a room for changing the diaper or breastfeeding.
HOW TO GET AROUND IN THE HOTEL
After choosing that perfect, well equipped hotel, located exactly where you need it, either at the beach or in the city center check one more thing. Even the prettiest place you will be leaving sometimes so make sure the building has such a great invention as lift. Imagine only having the room on the third floor and the necessity of carrying the stroller each time you want to leave the place or come back. Downstairs at the reception they might not have enough space to keep the stroller there. Besides your baby might suddenly decide that she or he will now be falling asleep only in the pushchair. Than what? After even few days back pain guaranteed.
CHECKING IN AND CHECKING OUT
Traveling with an infant we can often count on hotel staff not being so strict with check in and check out hours. After all, children do different tricks in the least appropriate moments and leaving the room on time is sometimes, despite the best intentions, impossible. Apart form courtesy of the personnel good help in early check in and later check out are the loyalty programs of hotel chains. Often being a member allows us to stay on the last day in the hotel a little longer than standard 12:00 and lets your son or daughter finish a nap and parents pack all their stuff.
Most of above described things can be expected in international hotel chains. Small local objects, not being a part of any chain, have their own standards of customer service, including the service for the smallest ones and very often there you can get the basic option – only a travel cot. However even in the smallest places you can find nice people with imagination who will do their best to make your stay a good memory.