When I first started travelling I set out to enjoy the world on a limited budget, the best camera I could afford and a willingness to sleep in airports, train stations, and any hostel that appeared relatively safe. Then, life changed, I got a full time job and honestly got old enough that it wasn’t a vacation if I didn’t have a nice clean hotel room. Now, travelling with children, I have much more specific requirements and find that more and more I am paying for hotel amenities that I NEVER thought I would pay for. On this trip alone we have paid for:
– Internet in our hotel room
– children’s TV package
– breakfast at the hotel
– drinks from the hotel vending machines
– bell service
Yes, the add ons sure do add up, but I am beginning to feel they are more and more essential. Getting everyone up and out of the hotel room to go downstairs for breakfast is a feat in itself so having to leave the hotel to find breakfast that everyone would like is just too hard at this stage. I’d much rather have breakfast included so my boys (and my husband and I) start the day off with a solid meal filled with healthy options. This morning we had lovely egg white omelets with fresh veggies, fresh fruit, yogurt and granola.
TV/Movies in the room were something that I always laughed at. I thought, who pays those prices to rent a movie on a small TV screen? Well, when you have kids it sure is a lot cheaper than paying for two movie tickets and a babysitter! And, hotel movies are usually recent. This trip I couldn’t find anything but the Cartoon Network (which does not show programs appropriate for two year olds) so we bought the PBS kids package giving us a bunch of episodes for $9.99 rather than one episode for $3.99. While I restrict TV at home I do let the boys have more leniency while on vacation.
Internet is one of my pet peeves. It cannot cost hotels that much to provide Internet, but it is a great way for them to make money, so they charge for it. When we can, we stay at hotels where Internet is free, but that is not always possible.
Things that you do not need to pay for, but are essential:
– cribs – call ahead and make sure they can have them available. We had a horrible experience where we got to a hotel and they said they didn’t have any. It was a bad night.
– highchairs – if your children will be eating in the room and need highchairs, many hotels will bring up ones from their hotel restaurants to your room, just ask.
Convenience is often key when travelling with kids. While I do sometimes miss the never ending party of a European hostel, I am thoroughly enjoying our family vacation to a beautiful hotel where I get to bed before ten. How the times have changed.