We talk a lot about hotels in our accommodation post. As we say there, it’s important to realise that while hotels are easy to book, a standard hotel room may not be the same as a ‘baby friendly hotel’ (unless of course you take our advice and book a suite rather than one room).  Here’s a few things to consider so you make sure you choose a baby friendly hotel if that’s your preferred accommodation option:

What makes a baby friendly hotel anyway?

For our money – a hotel room is baby friendly if:

  1. There is a little ‘nook’ in the room where the baby’s cot can go. (Or even better, it’s a suite – so the bedroom is separated. Even if you’re all sleeping in the same room, the adults don’t have to go to bed at 6pm when the baby does.)
  2. There are extras like travel cots available so you don’t have to lug one with you? If you are – here’s the ones we think are the best travel cots.
  3. There are at least some basic cooking facilities like a fridge, microwave and kettle at minimum. Add in a cooktop and that’s even better.
  4. The restaurant has a buffet option. You may not want to use this all the time but if your child is on solids, a decent buffet ON SITE is fabulous – it’s an easy way to feed them instantly.
  5. There’s a bath rather than a shower.  It’s true, some parents are happy showering with their baby rather than putting them in a bath, but this tends not to be the case for newborns (who can’t hold their head up) or babies who aren’t yet able to sit up.  If there’s no bath and your baby is little you can always use the bathroom sink? We are serious 🙂

Why babies under 6 months are easier in hotels than older babies.

You may find a simple hotel room still works for you if:

  1. Your baby is a newborn, and at the stage where noise (think television, adults talking, or a kettle boiling) doesn’t disturb its sleep, AND
  2. Your baby sleeps in the same room as you at home, AND
  3. Your baby isn’t yet on solids (and if they are on formula – you ensure your hotel room has a microwave and kettle for heating/sterilising).

If all of these conditions spell out your current situation; go for it. In this case, simple hotel room will probably be all you need. However, for everyone else…

3 things you’ll want to consider when sharing your hotel room with a baby:

1.     What will you do when he sleeps?

Will you collapse on the bed with them and get some much-needed rest? How about when they go to bed at 6 or 7pm? Will you do the same? Or will you be wanting to watch TV, talk, eat, or socialise for another few hours? If the answer to any of the latter is yes, make sure you get a suite with a separate bedroom if you’re staying in a hotel.

2.     Is it a nice place to hang out?

As we note in our accommodation post, many parents of babies decide to pay for nicer hotel accommodation than if they were travelling without the baby, in recognition of the fact that you’ll probably be spending a lot more time at your accommodation than sans bub.  A balcony can also be a worthwhile addition.

3.     What will you do for meals?

If you’re feeding your child solids, you’ll probably find a kitchen makes life much easier, even if you only use it occasionally. The exception is if your child is still eating purees – in this case, a fridge and microwave would get you through.

None of this is insurmountable, of course. It’s just much better to think about it before you book, rather than when you arrive.

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Aussie journalist, travel writer and founder of babieswhotravel.com Sue White has always been a traveller. When her son was born, Sue knew her travel itch would still need regular scratching. But how do you travel with a baby under one and still have a good time? Is it even possible? Where do busy new parents discover practical tips to support those first few trips? To find out, Sue and her baby son travelled both Australia and Europe doing house sits and house swaps; cat sitting and car journeys; took on 24 hours flights and short domestic jaunts; travelled with friends, solo and family members; and cycled, drove, flew and train-ed around seven countries, all before his first birthday. Learn more about Sue.