Family Travel Tips: Staying Organized In A Hotel Room

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Have you ever dreaded a trip?  I don't mean the obligatory kind that one must take for a job or family obligations.  It's a fun trip for all intents and purposes. It just may come at an inopportune time.  Not everyone in your gang is traveling with you.  You've visited that location before. Or, perhaps you're just not prepared. 

For me, it's all of the above.

I really love to travel.  I love the adventure, and although I procrastinate like everyone else, I honestly like to pack.  It's an organizer's ultimate challenge. To fit everything one needs in a certain amount of time for such an occasion in a specific location? 

Bring it!

Yet, our trip to Washington, D.C. was met with some reservation.  (And I don't mean the plural kind in terms of fancy dining and adventurous tours.) My heart just hasn't been in it.  The views from and within my hotel room sort of speak to my attitude -- overcast outdoors and my hubs brings enough documents to work on to choke a mule? 

(Do folks still use that phrase or is my Southerness showing?)

Anyway...after a nap, a bottle of water and a snack (which cure many traveler's ills), I started getting pumped about being in our nation's capitol and began setting up our hotel room.

Here are a few traveler's tips which help us stay organized in a hotel room as a family:

* Send someone off with the kids to run an errand or to case the joint after everyone has a chance to see the room. You need some alone time to figure what and WHO will go where. I tell my kids that Mom and Dad pay for the room (or are responsible for getting it paid for).  Therefore, WE say who sleeps where.

* Completely unpack if your stay is longer than two days.  Otherwise, you're living out of your luggage which makes it difficult to find things. Plus, your stuff gets squished, and you have to iron more.

* Hang up as much as you can.  Pack lightweight hangers and vertical organizers for the closet.  

* Pack a clear, over-the-door shoe organizer to hang in the bathroom for toiletries. Put kids' stuff down low and adult items and medications up high.

* Bring along a few Command Strip hooks to temporarily hang in your room or bathroom to get day bags off the flat surfaces, toiletry bags off the counter or backpacks off of the floor. The small ones are great to hang on the back of the hotel door for credentials or lanyards at a convention or conference. They easily come off and don't leave marks.

* Always include a plan for dirty laundry. We've tried a bag, but the kids actually have to open it to stuff their dirties inside. So, I opt for the collapsible, mesh pop-up hamper. It folds flat in the suitcase and is light weight. When we get to where we're going, everyone recognizes it and knows that only TRUE dirty clothes go in -- sweaty, stained, muddy or underwear. (I usually run a load through guest laundry or wash some out in the sink if they're really gross before packing them to go home.)

* Have a plan for used clothes. I distinguish between used clothes and dirty clothes when traveling. Used clothes get hung up or put back in the drawer to be worn again...dirties go in the hamper. When kids (and hubbies) realize that jeans, shorts and dressy clothes can be worn more than once, they are more careful with them, and they don't pack as much.

* Pack refresher spray like Febreeze for used clothes or pack a stack of dryer sheets in a zip-topped bag to place in the drawers. 

* Establish designated areas for stuff (no matter how small the space). If we bring books or technology, it goes on or near the desk.  This also helps to remind us to charge electronics at night. Everyone has a dresser drawer, and shoes go in the bottom of the closet.  The only exception is that sometimes boys' shoes may have to stay outside. (No explanation needed there....blech!)

* Put luggage away. Store the suitcases in the back of the closet, under the bed or in that forgotten area between the bed and the wall. 

* Move furnishings or decor around. If an ottoman is in your way, shove it against the wall. If you keep tripping over a chair and you don't need it, kindly ask housekeeping if it can be stored for the duration of your stay. There's sometimes cute little trays with toiletries or coffee supplies in the bathroom. That's the first thing to be tucked away. I need more counter space.  I usually put everything back as we leave so that they know I didn't steal it, but sometimes what is cute, isn't practical.

I hope this helps, and Bon Voyage to you and yours!


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