When you are moving or remodeling a home, staying in a hotel for an extended stay is sometimes the only option. Recently, SJ and I stayed at a Marriot in Colorado Springs for 41 nights (I was counting) while we waited for our old house to complete it’s sale and for our new house to be ready for move in. Here are 5 things I wish we’d done to make our long hotel stay easier.
Find a nearby dog park or dog daycare (or cat hotel) and check for local vaccination requirements
We have a 7-year-old Boxer puppy, and while he’s the LAZIEST dog I’ve ever known, he needs outdoor playtime every day, preferably off leash. Hotel living for him was probably more stressful than it was for SJ and me. To counter the stress and help him sleep, I took him on long hikes in Garden of the Gods park and for walks around the hotel, but I should have looked online for nearby dog parks before we arrived. If I had, I wouldn’t have spent 4 days trying to find the closest park, and he would have had way more off leash and socializing time.
We also didn’t check out local dog daycare facilities before leaving. There were 2 very near our hotel, but canine flu is rampant here in the Springs (not so much where we moved from). Because it can be fatal, dogs here are required to be vaccinated for it in addition to the other vaccines to be enrolled in any kind of facility (it also makes sense to do this before going to a dog park, even though it’s not required). I’m all for vaccinating, I just wish I’d known before we moved, so I could have taken him to his regular vet and been done before we got down here. He’s vaccinated now, but since its a 2-4 week wait time between the 2 shot series, he missed out on playtime.
Only pack 1 week’s worth of clothing
We brought way too much stuff with us. Because the Colorado weather can be so different from day to day, we wanted to make sure we had appropriate clothing for any circumstance. However, we ended up only wearing about a third of what we brought. Our hotel also had a guest laundry, so I was able to wash clothes when I needed to. I knew there was a laundry on site, I just overestimated what we would actually need. You’d think with all the traveling we’ve done, I would have avoided this problem, but nope.
If your hotel has laundry, or there’s a laundry mat nearby, you really only need 1 weeks worth of clothing for everyone in your family. Added bonus, laundry day means getting out of the tiny room for at least an hour! You might also meet other guests in the same situation. A long hotel stay is a built-in friend making opportunity!
Don’t bring any cleaning products, including shampoo!
Yes, this seems strange, and if you have special shampoos or conditioners or soaps because of allergies, ignore this one. But if you don’t, give the hotel products a shot. I packed our massive pump bottles of shampoo and conditioner so we would have stuff we were used to. It meant carrying around those massive bottles for the 3-day drive down and then hauling them with the rest of our stuff to our new house when we left.
But our hotel had Paul Mitchell shampoo and conditioner for free! Body lotion and bar soap too. Yes, sometimes the hotel products can be awful, but you can call ahead and ask what brand they use. If I’d thought to check, I wouldn’t have needed to pack our Costco sized monster bottles, and I would have saved us money by using the complimentary stuff during our long hotel stay, then using ours when we finally got to leave.
I also packed dishwasher detergent and dish soap. I knew the hotel had a kitchenette, but I wasn’t sure what was going to be available. Again, if I’d just thought to call ahead and ask, I would have known they provided both as part of the housekeeping service.
Bring Your Own Meals if Possible
I brought my electric skillet and my crockpot with us for our long hotel stay. I intended to cook most of our meals to save money and for health reasons, but SJ is a horribly picky eater. Every suggestion I found online for hotel-kitchen-friendly recipes was ruled out because of too many vegetables or not enough meat, or blah blah blah. He never makes eating easy. The kitchenette also had very limited counter space, making any kind of prep work difficult.
We fell back on a couple of not-so-healthy-but-not-too-horrible things: the free hotel breakfast and the family sized frozen skillet dinners. The hotel breakfast was pretty standard. Most days, SJ would grab a breakfast burrito on his way to work, and I’d raid the hotel breakfast for fruit and a bagel or toast with a couple hard boiled eggs. For lunches, I kept sammich fixings in the room along with premade soups.
For dinners, I found a few of the bagged frozen meal kits at the local grocery. They were ok taste wise, but the sodium levels were pretty high. We did eat out a few nights, but the meal kits were affordable and easy to keep in the freezer in our room. They also cooked up in no time.
We did have a refrigerator/ freezer in our room. Thinking back on it, I wish I had taken the time to create a stock of breakfast burritos and pre-assembled frozen meals of our own to bring down with us. We’ve got a massive ice chest that we could have easily packed up. This would have saved us money and guaranteed that SJ like the options. They would have been all around healthier too.
Bring Comfort Stuff!
If you have kids, this is probably a given. They will need favorite toys or blankets to keep them calm and happy. But what about the grownups? We need comfort during a stressful, long hotel stay too.
SJ would have really liked a small throw blanket. We had an extra blanket for the bed provided by the hotel, but on a cold Sunday morning, it would have been nice for us both to snuggle under our favorite super plush blanket from home while we watched The Hunger Games movies on cable.
For me, I love bath time. Yes, the hotel provided the basics, and they were great. But I have homemade lavender Epsom Salts that I regularly use to ease anxiety, and they would have been very welcome. I could just go out and buy these things. But I also could have kept a bit of what I already have with me. I would not only save money but time and effort too. I hate going to the store for something I know I already have somewhere, and my homemade stuff is exactly how I want it, scent and all.
Long hotel stays are stressful and hard. I hope this list of suggestions helps make your next one a bit easier!
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