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Hotel stays with grandkids mean fun, adventure and hard work . This is true if you are going somewhere exciting like one of those Disney World Vacations or the Great America Theme Park . It’s more so if you are headed to a business conference or medical appointment. Kids have to be quieter than normal in the hotel, they’re in unusual circumstances and they don’t usually have a yard to get their wiggles out. A little pre-planning can help a lot when it comes to travel with children, that’s for sure!
Whenever possible, budget permitting, I try to get rooms in reasonably priced hotels with suites. Residence Inns are my all-time favorite choice . Their loft option worked well for my grandkids, daughter and myself on a recent trip to Houston. Even better is their two-bedroom suite! This is true for any kind of travel with children and it’s great for travel with senior adults as well. You have two bathrooms with either of those room layouts, along with a kitchen and living room. The two-bedroom is the nicest as you have a quiet room for the kids to sleep while you can still be up and about with the lights on. The loft is almost as good. It offers a bedroom and bathroom upstairs overlooking the kitchen, living room, and sleeping area downstairs. It’s all open so it’s not quite as quiet as the two bedroom but it’s also less expensive, which is nice.
Another thing I try to find when traveling with grandkids is an indoor heated swimming pool. Residence Inns vary on indoor and outdoor swimming pools, but they usually also have other outdoor play areas such as a tennis court or basketball court so that helps as well. They even provide the balls to play with! This past year I thoroughly enjoyed playing basketball with the grandsons in Houston, as well as swimming in wonderful warmth inside on the opposite coast with granddaughters at a lovely Best Western . Since I was staying in the room by myself, the suite was an unnecessary expense, not to mention unavailable in the city we stayed. Both of these options made for great ways to burn off energy, spend quality time together, and even get some valuable exercise. Always a great thing for us Sandwich Generation-ers.
One thing I’ve learned to do when traveling is call ahead to the hotel/motel itself to verify their pools, courts, etc. are going to be available when we are staying there. I learned that trick the time I planned on playing tennis with a friend when traveling on business. When we got there, we discovered that the tennis court that was listed on the website was no longer available! It wasn’t a big deal, but there were other equivalent places I could have stayed that might have been close to public courts or even had a court of their own.
Of course, I always plan for unforeseen contingencies. When I went with my grandsons to Houston, I tucked in a soft flying disc like a Frisbee, only padded, and some of the ultra-soft balls that are so popular. We had a great time playing catch with those as well.
If you are traveling due to one of those wonderful aforementioned Disney World vacations, you probably won’t need to plan anything else. But if you are there for business or medical reasons, it’s a great idea to intersperse the business time with some fun time by finding interesting museums in the area. A good friend of mine buys an annual pass every year to the Western Nature Center in North Carolina . For as little as $60 per year, her membership offers her free visiting privileges to over 275 museums all across the US including the Smithsonian Zoological Gardens, along with several other great benefits and discounts. And you can add a grandparent for only $15 more!
On their last trip to a medical specialist in another state, they were able to spend as much time visiting fun kid-oriented museums as they did at the doctors’ offices. She makes sure they all have wonderful memories of family fun whenever they come back from these trips. It also ensures tired kids who have an easier time being quieter in the hotels.
Yes, travel with children, including your precious grandkids, does make for extra work. But with that hard work comes great rewards, just as in life itself. So. Now that you’ve read this article, what are you going to do next? I know! You’re going on one of those Disney World vacations ! 🙂