Single rooms and single parents: travel logistics in hotels

Since I haven’t yet won the lottery, I can’t afford to get two adjoining rooms each time we travel, and more and more I’m finding that it’s a real drag to share a room with little ones.
Not because of the chaos, not because they wake me up – all of that is [begrudgingly] okay – but because of what to do after they’ve fallen asleep.


G- (my 7yo), K- (my 4yo) and I just got back from a mini-holiday to beautiful Glenwood Springs. Three hours drive from our home through the glorious Rockies and it feels like a world away.
Aside: Glenwood Springs has the largest hotsprings-fed pool in the world. It’s an awesome outdoor pool, especially when it’s cold because there’s a constant trail of steam rising from the water’s surface. Better yet, if you stay at the Glenwood Hotsprings Lodge, admission to the pool is included in the price of the room and we had a deluxe room for a sweet $103/night (after 20% mid-week discount and a credit back because their deli was closed, meaning we couldn’t actually enjoy the included breakfast).
Our “Deluxe” room, however, means that it had two beds and a couch, all in the same room. Which sounds nice until you want to keep it dark so the little ones stay asleep.
For too many years, I admit that I have hung out in the bathroom of hotel rooms, laying on the floor and reading books while Linda put the little ones to sleep (before we split up, obviously) and now subsequent to them falling asleep.
So by 9pm the kids were both asleep and since I had decided not to bring a computer with me, I had no illuminated device which I could have presumably used in a dark room. The result? Back into the bathroom to lay on the floor and read a book until it was my own bedtime.
To say it politely, this sucks. Hotel bathrooms were designed for a sink, a toilet and a shower, not for someone to be laying on the floor trying to read a book. To say it’s uncomfortable is to understate the problem!
When the three kids, Linda and I were jammed into a room, I’d often just duck out and go to the hotel lobby until I got the “all clear” sign (usually a text message via cell phone or similar), but that’s not realistic when you’re a single parent. Or, at least, that’s not what I’m willing to do and leave my little angels to their own devices, conscious or unconscious.
I’m curious: how do other single parents deal with this when they’re in a hotel room with their little ones? Do you just go to bed crazy early or let them stay up later until you’re all ready to sleep, or do you have a little book light, or … ?
Me? I’m glad to be home. Home where there’s more than a single room and I can look forward to light, couches, phones, and, yes, wifi. 🙂

7 comments on “Single rooms and single parents: travel logistics in hotels

  1. I am not a single parent, but I do suggest a reading light. I use one to read after when my husband wants to sleep. It clips on my book or the shelf next to my bed and shines directly on the page I am reading.

  2. I’ll second the reading light. Generally though, it is just a boyscout’s motto thing, Be Prepared. I always take my laptop (good for plugging in a movie as well as entertainment for me). Also, I invested in some wireless headphones that I can plug into the TV.
    Even still, I often find myself just climbing into bed with them. They wake up so early when we are travelling because everything is new and different and FUN! If we have to mandate a nap the next afternoon, I can putz around more easily when it is light out, and they are old enough now that naps refresh without taking hours.

  3. Not a single parent here.. but lots of hotels and two kids.. and.. well.. I’m the guy that puts em to bed.. .. and .. well.. you’ve been gettin’ off light.. but that’s cool..
    Anyway.. I second the book light (the guy at the front desk may have had one).. and I also say don’t worry ’bout them waking up.. after a time or two of staying in the room, they’ll stay asleep.
    It’s when a parent makes an overy big deal about something that the kids start reacting to it.. they learn very quickly what bugs you.. and them waking up obviously does..
    When they wake up and I’m watching the TV I just turn the volume off, let them mumble whatever they mumble.. say.. uh huh.. and they go back to sleep.
    But if I panic.. and restart the bed routine.. well.. they learn that this is something that they are in control of .. not me..
    You can’t control if they wake up.. just what you do..
    Hiding in the bathroom may make them feel like their being with you is imposing.. and that may make them uneasy.. and may keep them up..
    They may wonder what’s going on in the bathroom and wondering wakes the brain.. whereas sleepily looking over at comfortable Dad assures a young mind.
    That’s just my few cents.. ..you could also bring a portable baby monitor and us it to go sit in the lobby or the floor’s common area.. et’s probably no farther than you go from them at your house.. just guessing that with the wifi, etc and the average Boulder house..

  4. Have you ever considered taking a tent, air mattress, and noise-maker with you when you stay in a hotel? I’d rearrange the room, set up the tent w/ mattress inside, put the kids in the tent with the noise-maker and watch TV. Most TVs in hotels come with a subtitle option, so even if you don’t have it on full blast you know what they are saying. Also the kids would probably think this “camping out” in the hotel is super cool, especially if they don’t get to do it at home.

  5. I guess it depends on the sleep tolerances of the children. I am a single mom of 2 (now 5 and 7)with lots of hotel stays. When they are asleep, I just get up and do my thing. My children have always slept through lights and even conversation, but they have always been solid sleepers. Sleep matures as children age, even a child who wok easily at two or three may sleep sounder a few years later. I’d say give it a try and turn on the light, you might be suprised!

  6. I am a single father. I have full custody and she has no visitation. Like others have suggested here, a reading light works wonders! I have used so many times, for so may things over the years. Definitely a must pack for travel.

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