By Dr. Jo Webber
We have a 4 and a 7 year old and travel regularly with them both in and outside of the United States. While traveling in the US, I’ve learned a few things that at first were not so obvious to me.
The first is about the importance of a free and varied breakfast! Never before was this important to me in my choice of business hotels, but traveling with my own kids has lead me to appreciate this very much. Hotels such as the Staybridge Suites and Embassy Suites both do a great job with a free cooked breakfast. I also have learned that suites in business hotels are incredibly – no– unbelievably expensive. The Embassy Suites solve this by offering two rooms for the price that you would pay for a regular room in a business hotel. However sometimes you may want the extra amenities provided by some of the 4 and 5 star hotels. We like to stay at Hyatts – it’s a great hotel chain, but there is one very important thing that Hyatt does that other 4 and 5 star hotels do not do. They accept 3 and 4 year olds into their kids camp program and this is HUGE. This means tons of fun for my kids, and relaxation for my partner and me. Most hotels’ kids camp programs run for 5-12 year olds.
Once you have figured out the basic, but very important concerns about where you are going to sleep and a free breakfast, you need to consider the following: What are the kids going to have to do on this trip? A swimming pool is a big big deal when you are under ten. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it does need to be warm. On a recent business trip, my kids had so much fun at the pool when I went to a meeting. They still fondly talk about ‘that wonderful hotel’. The pool made it for them. Playgrounds are big too – kids like the simple pleasures and making sure that you have access to a playground in or near your hotel has been a very big part of road trips that we have taken in the past
With a bit of in-car entertainment for road trips – maybe a loaded iPad or two and headphones – you can travel inexpensively and successfully with small children. Just don’t try to have a romantic dinner with them. Although I have to admit – I just took my kids to that honeymoon retreat of Bora Bora. All the tables were set for two except ours – set for four every night! •
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