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Advice on surviving in a hotel with a toddler ?

13 replies

Willow2 · 20/07/2001 21:14

First family holiday now booked - portugal in september. Opted for hotel as has childcare option and fancy a chance to pamper myself. But, aside from taking some cupboard locks and those things you can put on sharp corners (to stop your child losing an eye on that oh-so smart glass table) has anyone got any tips on baby-proofing the room and things to pack to help make life as easy as possible.

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Willow2 · 26/07/2001 10:08

Come on you guys, I know it's a bit of a daft question but it's our first holiday, I'm a tad nervous and seeking inspiration.... and you lot have never failed me yet.

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Bo · 26/07/2001 10:17

definitely black out lining - a couple of metres maybe. We had a bit of a nightmare in Malta when the beatiful sun rose through the almost see-through curtains, waking our boy up at about 4.30 am - every morning.

A travel kettle - most 'foreign' hotels don't have them.

I'll see if I can think of any thing else later - we spent 10 days in a hotel room with our toddler (16months) and it was rather memorable - but not for the right reasons!

Good luck.

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Croppy · 26/07/2001 10:41

We've never bothered with any baby proofing of hotel rooms. The only thing I would watch is where you have a mini-bar in your room. Some are computerised so you are charged as soon as a bottle is removed. Our son has always loved removing the entire contents.... The other problem can be when they chew the seals on bottle. We have a fine collection of esoteric miniature liqueurs from countries as diverse as Poland, Finland and Greece which we had to pay for due to damage to the seal.

Our son has always adored hotel rooms and we have never bothered bringing toys with us as he is quite happy playing with the phone, the telly and the bits and pieces in the bathroom.

The only thing we have ever brought with us that we wouldn't pack for a day out in the UK is sterilising tablets.

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Twink · 26/07/2001 11:42

We've only stayed in a normal hotel once since we had a toddler, and to be honest, I was dreading it. But I needn't have worried, she went straight to sleep at night & was the star attraction in the dining room - which seemed to have a positive effect on her table manners i.e. Weetabix went in mouth instead of hair.

The only thing I wished I'd taken was a rubber mat for the bath as there were a couple of heart-stopping moments. Apart from moving the heavy ashtray out of reach and checking the settings on the clock radio before bed, we didn't do anything else and it was fine.

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Bugsy · 26/07/2001 12:43

Willow2, don't be nervous - if your hotel has some childcare then may well be geared to children generally. I would definitely telephone ahead and find out about the curtains. Don't burden yourself with too many child safety devices. None of the cupboards in your room are likely to contain anything lethal. You may want to pack a few extra plasters as these make great plug socket covers, if you are worried about your little one sticking fingers in small holes. We have stayed in several hotels at various stages of our son's life (he's 22 months old now) and we have never had any major problems.
Top tips would be to take teething gel, calpol, baby nurofen, baby rehydration sachets and every other medicine you think you could possibly need - and then you definitely won't need them!
The Portuguese love children, so I'm sure you'll have a lovely time.

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Lisav · 26/07/2001 12:54

How old is your child Willow2? We went to Malta with our little 'un for a week when she was 6 months old. The hotel did childcare but it cost £3.50 an hour and the staff all looked very young and inexperienced - I might have been wrong but I didn't want to risk it. Instead we befriended other families there and they would offer to look after our little 'un for us.

Blackout blinds are a good idea and we took the baby bouncer too, as she was in the pram most of the holiday so we felt she needed the exercise. It's a great way of entertaining her too when you want a bath, etc. We also took the baby alarm - a real lifesaver! We took our end of the alarm with us to the bar, so we could socialise and not be stuck in our hotel room all evening. She didn't get disturbed and we got to meet other people!

Don't bother with a kettle, as most hotels will provide you with one if you ask. We just soaked her bottles in boiling water overnight so that did away with the need for sterilising equipment (it doesn't matter too much at that age anyway).

You'll have a great time, your little 'un will love the attention and the new sights and all will be happy! Have fun!

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Willow2 · 27/07/2001 20:56

Lisav, my son is sixteen months old and a complete nutter with a self destruct button. He is just getting the hang of walking - infact today was the first day that walking seemed his preferred method of transportation over crawling, so I am praying he'll be a lot steadier on his feet by september!

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Rhiannon · 29/07/2001 21:10

Willow2, don't know how old your baby is but I recommend a little blow up paddling pool to fill with water and put next to you on your sun bed (by the beach or pool). It will keep her safely by your side I hope!

Calpol is available in sachets now, v. handy.

Take 'special' cot sheets or blankets so it's a home from home.

Buy what you need now as in September they'll only be selling wellies and fleeces!!

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Tigermoth · 30/07/2001 12:03

Rhiannon, what a brillieant way of helping to keep a water-mad toddler safely by your side - a small blow-up paddlng pool! So transportable as well. I'll definitely pack one when we go on holiday. Thanks!

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Rhiannon · 30/07/2001 19:15

Tigermoth, glad to be of assistance, will invoice you later! Have a good holiday.

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Hmonty · 01/08/2001 16:25

Just got back from a week in Portugal myself. Where are you staying? We've been there several times due to family connections and have stayed in various hotels. The Portuguese do love children but don't necessarily have baby equipment ie high chairs and baby changers in toilets etc. Consequently I always take a baby harness thing for 'tying' the kids to chairs during meal times. They fold down to nothing so are well worth carrying around. If you have room you could always take a portable high chair.

Are you hiring a car? We also always take our own car seats (although you can usually hire these - but book in advance). Even if you are not and are just transfering from airport to resort in a coach you may want to take one with you. The Portuguese aren't renown for their conscientious driving....In fact the road from Faro airport to Lagos is one of the most dangerous in Europe. Also useful to take the roller sunshades that go on car windows.

Ditto on the small paddling pool. Especially if you are heading for the beach. The sea around portugal can be very rough. However, mine love the beach. It's a giant sand pit to them!

If you head for the beach you'll need some shade...I usually take our ELC pop up tent. It provides some shade, a place for storage on the beach and folds flat (although hubbie hasn't mastered that bit yet!). You'll need lots of sun tan lotion and sun hats etc. I got a burnt back last week whilst sitting on the beach during a cloudy morning...Should have known better.

An excellent toy to take is a stack of plastic beakers....the kind that stack on top of each other or slip inside each other (so packing small). They make excellent bath and beach toys.

You can get pampers and baby food etc at the local supermarkets so you don't have to lug a pile out with you.


If you are flying to Faro (I'm kinda assuming you're heading for the Algarve)....there is a small play area in the departures lounge. Nothing special but enough to pass a few minutes and burn off some energy. Also they have a toy shop that has some lego on display to play with. A top tip is to slip some bubbles in your changing bag. Excellent entertainment if you get stuck.....

Hopefully your son will be nice and steady by September as a lot of Portuguese accomodation comes with tiled floors....Nightmare. Been there and don't want to repeat that...

Oh, another thing you might like to try if your boy is a good sleeper....We normally take our baby monitor with us. Once the boys are asleep (an provided it's in range) we can take it down to the bar for a quick coffee (!) knowing we can hear if they wake up. You'll need a travel adaptor though unless yours is battery powered.

I'll let you know if I think of anything else.

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Willow2 · 01/08/2001 21:15

Hmonty - we're staying at Le Meridien Penina resort. Let me know if you have any insights. Also, how easy is it to lug a car seat with you - and what if it doesn't fit the hire car?

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Hmonty · 02/08/2001 08:05

I've driven past Le Meridian and it always looks very nice. It's a big hotel so I'd be surprised if they didn't have high chairs...but I'd still take something incase you decide to eat out. The local restaurants etc won't normally have them. It's a little drive outside town ie not in the middle of things - but it isn't too far a drive to Lagos. Don't forget to pack a parasol for the pushchair if you plan to go strolling round the town.

If you get sick of sunning yourself by the pool (hard to imagine I know!) try Zoomarine. If you head back towards the airport you'll see signs....The hotel is bound to have details. Our kids loved it there. There's a seal lion show and lots of animals and rides.

We find it quite easy to take the car seats as we use them to get to the airport, check them in and then collect and use them at the other end. The only trouble can be trying to pile all out luggage on one trolley to wheel across to the check in desk..(2 car seats, travel cots, suitcases etc) whilst pushing a double pushchair with 2 toddlers....

The seats we tend to take are those that are basically a foam shape with a shoulder fastener that use the adult seat belt. (We have Britax ones but I can't think of the name now). That way they fit any car with rear seat belts and they are very light to move around.

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