Staying in a Hotel With Special Needs Children
We have a lot of parents ask us about travel and staying in hotels. Actually, hotels can be a great experience for your kids! We recommend that you work on that, to help them have that great experience.
1. Consider The Type of Hotel
There are different types of hotels. There are very exclusive, high-end adult hotels, and then there are family-friendly hotels. Think about that when you’re choosing a hotel, and think about the environment your kids will be walking into.
There are many chains of hotels that Marriott and Hilton run, like Residence Inn, Quality Inn, etc. that offer kitchens. A hotel with a kitchen area will make it a lot easier for your kiddos, especially if you have to do meal prep or make snacks for them. Plus, those hotels that tend to be more like little apartments are often more family friendly. The pools, the environment, the food they have at breakfast—all of these things will tend to be more family-oriented. If you’re traveling with babies, these hotels usually have space for a playpen. So consider the family-friendliness of your hotel before you go!
You can visit the nicer, more adult-oriented hotels without your kids. But when you’re with your kids everything will go much more smoothly if you’re in a hotel where your kids are received well and where you have some control over the environment.
2. When To Consider Getting a Hotel Room
The other thing we like about staying in a hotel is that they give you a spot to take a timeout on long trips. It lets you take a break from activities. We tell families that if they’re going to go to an amusement park and get a room to stay overnight, they should remember that they can always take a break from the park and come back to the hotel and rest for a little while, and decompress from all that sensory stimulation. And then after the break, everyone can go back to the park!
Hotels can be a great learning activity. We might advise you not to take your kids for a week-long trip the first time they’ve been in a hotel. If you have a long trip like that planned you might want to do an overnighter beforehand, and then maybe a weekend. Start out slow and build, and that gives you a chance to try out hotels, too. You may find a hotel that your child had a great experience at, and then you can repeat that for future trips. We have several families that have certain chains of hotels they prefer to stay at because their kids do so well in those hotels.
3. What To Do Before Your Hotel Visit
Also, talk to the hotel beforehand. Give them a call and let them know the particular situation with your family member and let them know that it may not be good to have a room right near the elevator, or that it might be better to be at the end of the hallway, or on the first floor. Whatever your needs are you can certainly talk to them. And remember to book far enough in advance that you can make those selections and have some control over your environment.
And have fun on your travels!