When my husband and I were kid-free, we enjoyed traveling, and we stayed at local mom and pop hotels.  These were off the beaten path and often nicer and cheaper than the chain hotels.  After our son was born, we still tried to travel with him and stay off the beaten path, but it became increasingly difficult.  He was, and still is, a very social child.  If we all stayed in the same room and we tried to put him to sleep, he wouldn’t sleep if he could see that we were still awake.  This lead to several nights where we ourselves went to sleep at 8 p.m. or where we huddled in the alcove by a hotel closet in our room near the bathroom with our laptops on our lap trying to do work without our son seeing us. 

By the time our first daughter was born, we resigned ourselves to hotel suites at the chain hotels.  Now that we have daughter number two in tow, we are committed to only staying at hotel suites when we travel.

During our recent trip to Colorado, we enjoyed several benefits of staying in a hotel suite:

-The girls were able to nap in one room while we and our son did things in the other room.

-The kids could go to sleep without seeing us.  It still took them awhile to unwind at bedtime, but neither of the oldest two would have slept if they could see us.

-Suites have a refrigerator so we could bring our food from home and refrigerate it at night and refreeze our freezer packs.

-Suites have microwaves so we can reheat our food.

-One rocking suite we stayed in while in Nebraska had a stove, dishwasher, washing machine and dryer in addition to plates, glasses, pots and pans and silverware.  That night we did two loads of our laundry and cooked homemade chili we brought from home on the stove.  That saved us the expense of paying for a coin machine and going out to eat.  Believe it or not, that was one of the cheapest hotels we stayed in our entire trip.

-Hotels with suites often serve snacks and refreshments in the late afternoon.  My husband likes a beer two or three days a week at night, so he could get his beer for free. 

While none of these benefits alone would make up for the price difference of staying in a suite vs. a hotel room, our family is now large enough that most hotels require us to stay in two hotel rooms.  That often ends up being just a few dollars cheaper than a suite or more expensive than a suite.

For now, we will be traveling infrequently until our financial situation improves and our children are a bit older, but when we do travel, we are committed to staying in hotel suites because in the long run, they help us save money overall on vacation, especially when we are travelling with people who have dairy and soy intolerances and do not have as much flexibility as those who have no food issues.

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