Mommy Travel Hacks

Since I spent a good deal of time in a hotel room with three little kids last week, I was limited as to how much “going out” I could do to track down stuff we needed.  If we were in the room, usually Willa was napping.  I couldn’t take some of the things I would normally pack for a trip because we were flying.  So I had to rely on a grocery store trip after we arrived to stock us up on the necessities for function.

And, of course, I didn’t buy everything I needed.

So I had to make do.  Which is what mommies are really good at.  I always say, “Motherhood necessitates invention.”

Here’s my list of “hacks” for the week:

1 – All we had in the way of silverware was Willa’s rubber tipped baby spoons.  So I washed them and used them to eat my oatmeal in the morning.  (I made my oatmeal by running the coffee maker without coffee so I could fill my cup with hot water and then soak the oats.)

2 – The same baby spoons doubled as knives.  I turned them around and used the handles to spread peanut butter on our sandwiches in the morning.

3 – I didn’t have a refrigerator in the hotel, so I bought some sort of cocoa butter/acai spread that didn’t require refrigeration instead of jelly.  However, it did need to be warmed in order to be spreadable.  (Note to self:  Read The Entire Label Before Purchasing.)  At any rate, I put it in the sink and ran hot water over it until it reached a smoother consistency.  The next morning, I just put it on the side of the tub while I took a shower.  Steam and humidity did the trick.  (The boys loved this spread, by the way, and insisted that I lug it home with us.)

4 – I didn’t have any sort of work space for sandwich-making since most of our available surface was covered with STUFF, so I used a paper bag and called it my “kitchen counter.”  Laid out on my bed, it caught any crumbs or spills.

5 – I never seemed to have enough napkins for cleaning Willa up when she was eating her food, so I just draped her pj’s from the previous night over her like a towel and used it to wipe her face at the end of the meal.  (She usually wears a bib around her neck and a towel over her legs.  She likes to spread her food around when she eats.)

6 – A closet makes a perfectly acceptable bedroom for a baby who naps a lot.  But then, this is one of the oldest tricks in my book, so it shouldn’t surprise you.

7 – I did struggle trying to find a noisemaker to drown out the boys so Willa could nap.  I downloaded this app for my iPhone and put it in the closet with Willa.  (Of course, the door was partly open to allow for proper ventilation.)  During the day, when the boys were awake, I also turned on the water in the bathroom.  I apologize for wasting all that water, but I was desperate.  And it worked like a charm.  Although we did all make a lot more trips to the bathroom when Willa napped.

8 – I didn’t have any fancy identification bracelets for the boys in case we got separated, and they wouldn’t know my cell phone number from their ABC’s, so I gave them a business card to carry in their pocket every day.  We checked for it when we left the room and I always made sure they had it when we got back, just so they’d have some accountability.  It made them feel like big boys, carrying a business card, and it made me feel a bit more comfortable about taking them out in the Big Unknown.

9 – I’m sure that we stood out as “not from around here” just because I had children and because we were NOT inconspicuous with our funny hats.  But I didn’t want to stand still in the middle of the street with a map and draw attention to the fact that I was a woman alone in the city with small kids.  So before we went anywhere, I studied the guidebook and memorized the street names, the places I wanted to go, and a few extra activities we could tack on if we had time.   I hid the guidebook in our stroller in case my brain failed me, but I never had to pull it out.  And I only used the GPS on my phone once.  I figured if I faked confidence in where I was, maybe we wouldn’t stick out quite as much.    And since we didn’t get mugged, followed, or kidnapped, I’d say my plan was a success.

But, oh, my brain is tired from all the hacking and the memorizing.  And, yes, contrary to what it seems like, I DO have a brain.  I just don’t always operate it properly.

R writes about our visit over at The Farmer Files today.  And I’m pretty sure she and S will insist on a rematch in euchre.  Which is fine.  We have no problem bringing our mad SKILLZ to the table again.



  1. Great tips! Especially the coffee pot for hot water.

  2. oops – wasn’t done yet.

    I bet, if your hotel had room service, you probably could have gotten your hands on some silverware from them.

    Question about the whole baby-closet sleeping thing – did you have a PnP? How did she fit n there?

    I ask b/c we will have the same dilemma soon in our upcoming travels and I’m tempted to put the child in the bathroom, forsaking potty breaks for all else just to get good sleep.

    In the immortal words of Patrick Swayze (sorta)

    “Nobody puts baby in the closet…” 🙂

  3. I was also wondering if you had some sort of pack-n-play set-up going on for the closet. FANTASTIC idea. The business card idea is brilliant, too.

  4. Kendra & Megan – No, I didn’t have a pack ‘n play. I brought some sheets and baby blankets from home. I used an extra blanket from the hotel and those sheets to make a pallet for her. Then I put her baby sheet on the pallet so it all stayed together and smelled like home. The size of the closet was just right for her. I also put a pillow at the bottom of the pallet so she wouldn’t go scooting all over the closet.

  5. Fantastic! And then you don’t have to lug a PnP around with you. Of course!

  6. Jumped over from BooMama’s. What an awesome adventure! And you are so creative. Totally enjoyed reading this post and browsing your site. On my way over to The Farmer Files to get another perspective. ;o)

    Mary O.


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