Welcome home to the Happiness Hotel

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This summer my family is On the Go with Melissa & Doug.
I’ll be sharing some of my favorite travel tips as part of their ongoing weekly series along with Marnie from Carrots Are Orange and Zina from Let’s Lasso the Moon.

This week I’m sharing my favorite tips on how not to go absolutely insane when you’re squeezing your whole family into one {small} hotel room!

Do you have any great road trip tips to share? Leave me a comment, I’d love to hear it!



Keeping everyone sane and happy in the unusually tight quarters of a single hotel room can be daunting. A night or two is one thing but especially if you’re traveling for a full week or more, it is best to establish some great family rules.

1. Keep It Clean!: Nothing makes a hotel room feel more cramped than copious amounts of clutter.

  • The pop-up hamper & essentials box I’ve mentioned are essential. They both made an enormous difference on our most recent trip.
  • I also packed 2 3-packs of child sized skirt hangers (the kind with the clips). These are brilliant: Small, light, packable.We used them for hanging up our wet swimsuits on the shower curtain rod. There just never seems to be enough hooks in hotel bathrooms for both towels & swimsuits. It allowed us to move the dry suits to the closet and out of the way when morning shower time hit.
  • If you drove to your destination: Unpack your suitcases into the dresser and put the empty luggage back in the car!! I LOVED not having to stare at cluttered suitcases for the duration of our trip. It also gives you added space to move. (If you flew, consider nesting the empty suitcases and storing in the closet.)

    Parent Tip:
    Have your kids ride their Trunkis right out to the car!

2. Establish acceptable entertainment options: i.e. The hotel room phone is not a toy! If you don’t want to be charged for odd calls or be a nuisance to the front desk with constant rings, be sure to come prepared for kid-appropriate hotel room activities!

  • We loved the Melissa & Doug chalk activity books because they fit easily into my suitcase pockets and chalk doesn’t stain hotel bedding! I felt ok letting the girls play with the books while we showered and got dressed in the mornings or for a nice quiet activity in bed as a way to settle down from the day.
  • If you brought your traveling lovies be sure to set rules on where they should be put before you leave the room. I was so nervous they’d get caught up in the bedding when the service changed the sheets so we made sure to have a “safe spot” in the dresser just to be sure.Parent Tip: The drawer in the bedside table is just the right size for holding your kids’ books & lovies. Give them total ownership of what goes in that small space! They’ll love that small bit of control.

3. Portable pantry: The first time we traveled with our kids I had completely forgotten about hotel mini bars and room snacks. Of course the kids immediately zeroed in on the candy bars and chips made available in our room by the hotel. Unless you’re interested in paying $6 for a Kit Kat, make sure to bring along your own kid treats and water bottles!

Parent Tip: It’s vacation, have a few fun sweet treats in the mix! Just because you’re saving money doesn’t mean you can’t splurge on candy you don’t normally indulge in. Our girls went nuts for Swedish Fish & Junior Mints–both which are easy to dole out in small portions.

4. Evening illumination & white noise: Sleeping conditions preferences can be one of the bigger pitfalls of everyone sharing one room. One of our daughters sleeps in a dark room, the other insists on having a light on in the hallway. A few family members who won’t be named tend to snore.

  • Pack a night light for the ones that need that extra comfort. In a pinch, we were able to leave the bathroom light on and just shut the door most of the way but some hotel rooms aren’t laid out in a way that makes that helpful.
  • Download a free white noise app for your iPhone. Tim has an awesome wireless speaker we packed just for this purpose. It helped drown out all the bumps (& snores) in the night.Parent Tip: Avoid white noise that has scary undertones–my girls hated the parrots in the Rainforest option on our app!


Did you enjoy these tips? Looking for more great information on traveling with your family? Be sure to check out the Melissa & Doug On the Go hub and the awesome Pinterest boards we’re keeping:


This post was sponsored by Melissa & Doug. I was compensated for my time and provided products to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. You may view my full disclosure here.



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  1. says

    I love to travel and read up on travel tips whenever I get the chance- this is a stand out article! I love the pop up hamper idea. Thanks for these original and fantastic ideas.

  2. Ruth says

    May I add that if you are concerned about bed bugs (and don’t want to unpack into the dresser) you should then store your suitcase in the bathroom. Bed bugs like fabric and carpet. I don’t know if you’d find them in the dressers, so your suggestion to unpack into the dressers might be sufficient. Worth researching because bed bugs are a nightmare to get rid of and tend to show up in places where the heating & A/C move the air through many peoples’ private rooms (such as large apartment buildings).


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