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Local Treks

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

How to Safety Hack a Hotel Room

[Welcome new travel guide Erika S.!]

Before I started traveling with my toddler I scoured the internet for tips as to how to ease traveling.  Now that I have traveled to Asia, Europe and several American cities with my son, who is under 3, I have realized many of the tips weren’t useful.  The main pieces of advice about hotels rooms were to remove breakables and to tape over outlets.  First, most hotel rooms don’t feature many breakables.  Generally they are filled with items that are perfect for breaking your child, like glass topped coffee tables and unstable chairs.  Second, I have never been a hotel rooms that has featured an empty electrical plug.  By the time I have plugged in the mobile phones, cameras, and lap tops, I have typically run out of plugs.  In fact in most rooms I really need a powerstrip rather than outlet covers.  However, I have discovered that there are a few strategies to securing a hotel room so that it is mostly toddler proof.


Secure the minibar.

If you toddler is anything like my son then the first thing you need to secure is the minibar or before you have unzipped your luggage you will be faced with a toddler holding a $5 candy bar crying, “I’m hungry!”  If you are lucky, the minibar in your room will be the standard honor bar with a little card to record what you have eaten.  Just empty out the fridge and put it all in the top of the closet.  If you are less fortunate you will have one of those wretched modern minibars that has a sensor that detects when an item has been removed.  In this case hope your toddler doesn’t notice the minifridge or wedge a heavy object in front of it. 


Unplug the phones.

Hotel rooms are full of phones.  Phones on the desk, beside the bed, heck sometimes there is one in the bathroom.  I have yet to meet a toddler not fascinated by phones.  The best thing about hotel phones is that you can reach actual people with the press of a single button!  Room service, housekeeping, the front desk are all just a button press away.  Unless you want to alienate the entire hotel staff, my advice is to unplug all of the phones and only plug them in when you need to call out.  (Say to order Mommy a little relaxer from room service.)


Lock the safe

Some things in the room can be helpful.  I view the digital safe in a room as an educational toy.  Throw your valuables in, lock it with a code, and start teaching junior his numbers.  My son can spend 20 or 30 minute at a time at his safe cracking attempts.  Digital safes light up and beep, which is better than any leap frog product for which you shelled out $20.  Just be warned, after three failed attempts some safes won’t open for an hour or so, so make sure your valuables aren’t trapped right before check out time.


Check the crib early

Cribs in hotel rooms are easily confused with baby death traps.  They can be dated, broken or just assembled incorrectly.  Always, always look it over first thing because you don’t want to find out there is a problem at bed time.  In a hotel in Vienna we just glanced at the pack and play that had been set up.  The side seemed sturdy so we thought all was well.  After we put m son down he began complaining “Bumpy road, bumpy road.”  We thought he was thinking about the cobblestones we had rolled him over all day. “Don’t worry honey,” we soothed “go to sleep.”  But he kept complaining.  Eventually we got up and went over to the crib to discover whoever set it up had forgotten to put the board down on the bottom so he was sleeping on unpadded rails and a little quilt.  Bumpy road indeed!  It took an hour for the nightwatch to bring a replacement, which had a side that wouldn’t lock.  We frankensteined the two pack and plays together to make one semi functional bed and slept the night.


Of course the real goal of any trip is not to spend much time at all in the hotel room, so I hope when you have the chance to travel with you kids you get out and see the world.


Posted in Americas : Asia : Carribean : Dec.-Feb. : Europe : June-Aug. : March-May : Sept.-Nov. : South Pacific : Toddler by Erika S at 3:43 PMPermalink

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