7 Tips for Staying in a Hotel With a Baby

7 Tips for Staying in a Hotel With a Baby

So you’re staying in a hotel with your baby. Maybe it’s for a night or maybe it’s just for a week. No matter the duration, your sleep and keeping baby in their routine are extremely important. I wanted to share the tips that we have learned over the last 9 months with Oakley (keep in mind we have taken her to Hawaii, Alaska, Nashville three times, a wedding in Ohio, Ft. Lauderdale, Dallas twice, Put In Bay to fish, Indiana to visit friends, etc)- when I say we have learned some helpful tips and tricks- I mean it!

My 7 Tips

  • Match Your Home
  • Use a Monitor
    • If you aren’t going to a hotel, I highly recommend bringing an easy 2 way monitor to set up (in case you use one at home that runs on WiFi). It’s never a guarantee to have good internet when you travel so we always just bring a very simple monitor 
  • Time Zone Tips
    • I always plan flights around naps and bedtimes. The biggest time zone difference Oakley has been through is 5 hours to Hawaii when she was 6 months old and 4 hours when she was 9 months old. I do my absolute best to keep her on her regular schedule, so if bedtime is at 6pm, I have her go down at 6pm in our new time zone. It usually takes a day for her to adjust but pushing bedtimes and naps to keep everything as consistent as it is at home- the better they will adjust!
  • Ask About a Fridge and Microwave
    • If we are going to hotel, I always call ahead for at least a fridge and microwave for baby food
  • Call Hotel for Crib or Pack and Play
    • Most hotels have the option to use their crib or pack and play while you are there. If you are driving and have the room, I recommend just bringing your own. Sometimes it can take some time to get it up to your room. Luckily we have never had any issues with getting a crib or pack and play when we fly but the peace of mind knowing you have it is worth packing it.
  • Bathroom Baby
    • Babies sleep best in the pitch black. If you are in a hotel room, keeping the hotel room black once the baby falls asleep isn’t always the easiest thing. Most hotels, if you call ahead of time, will book you in a larger room if you ask to accommodate getting the crib in the bathroom. This allows you to still work, watch TV, etc while the baby sleeps
  • Consider a Suite
    • While this isn’t always an option, traveling with a baby does increase the need for additional space in a hotel room

I hope these tips help with any travel you have scheduled for you and baby! Full disclosure- I do make a small commission on the links listed above. I prefer to keep my blog ad free and support through shopping my links helps me do just that! Also, all commissions earned go directly into Oakley’s college fund!

 

 

Hiking with A Baby

Hiking with A Baby

Some of the best memories I made in Alaska were when Oakley was strapped to my chest and we are hiking near waterfalls, a lake, through a forest, etc. It was truly some of the most amazing moments in my life and I hope these tips and tricks can help you if you plan to travel and hike with a baby or if you are an outdoor family and like to spend time outside at home! Having a baby doesn’t have to mean you stop doing the things you love- it just means you have to accommodate a few extra things for your fun trips!

Carriers

I bought a backpack carrier that I tested prior to leaving for Alaska and absolutely loved it. I felt my center of gravity was much better when she was on back compared to when she was on my chest. The only negative to the carrier is that it is quite bulky so I did not take it with us on our trip to Alaska. You definitely could bring this carrier on a plane but I would recommend using it as your way to get baby around in the airport and then gate checking it for each flight. It has a stand as well so I can get in and out of it without assistance. The backpack also comes with a canopy shade to keep baby out of the sun

For our Alaska trip, I ended up bring my front facing chest carrier for Oakley. I was able to pack it in my checked bag and it was perfect for all of our hikes- some were up to 3 miles roundtrip!

Other Items

Depending on how long you are hiking for, your packing list will vary drastically. I packed 1 diaper for every hour we were gone, a backup outfit, wipes, sunscreen, her sunhat (that she refused to keep on), water, and snacks for her. If you are planning on a long hike, it is always recommended to have a first aid kit as well in case something were to ever happen. I also recommend to never hike alone and if you do, please carry a back up satellite phone with an SOS option on it in case of extreme emergencies!

If you would like to read about the baby friendly hikes we did on our last Alaskan trip, please visit this blog

Alaska- Packing List

Alaska- Packing List

So you’re going to Alaska- first off, I am jealous. Second- I am sure you are stressing about what to pack. It’s Alaska after all, isn’t it snowing the entire time? Let’s dive into what you should pack for the trip of a lifetime!

My Alaska Experience

June 2017- Alaskan Cruise – blog and youtube video 

August 2018- Caribou hunt 45 miles north of the Arctic Circle

June 2019- Copper Center / Valdez

May 2021- Family Trip to Anchorage, Valdez, and Denali- blog

As you can see from the above list, I have done a lot in Alaska during various times throughout the summer. This list is only based off of my experience and I highly recommend looking at the weather the day before you leave for the most up to date information on where you are planning on being and what you are planning on doing. Each time we have been, we have done a large amount of hiking as well as fishing, exploring, dinners, etc. The days can be random and the weather can change in an instant so I do recommend a lot of layers and some planning ahead in case the weather turns south on you.

Packing List with Links

Tops

Puffy Jacket

Rain Jacket

Short Sleeve Tshirts

Vests

Long Sleeve Tshirts

Flannels

Pull Over

Tank Tops

Jean Jacket

Sweatshirt

Sherpa

Bottoms

Leggings

Jeans

Hiking Shorts

Tactical Pants

Randoms

Hiking Boots

Hiking Socks

Backpack

Hats

Beanies

Fanny Pack

Bug Spray

Thermacell

APEX Meat Sticks

Bowmar Nutrition Protein Bars

Hiking Poles

Water Bottle

Sunscreen

Sunglasses

Poncho

If you are spending a week in Denali to hike some pretty serious trails, I do recommend a lot more hiking gear than what is listed above (first aid kit, emergency blanket, flares, iodine tablets, etc). Please refer to the itinerary blog listed above for our last trip’s details to see if this list would suit you!

For full disclosure, the links above do generate a very small commission back to me. If you find this blog helpful and these links helpful, I so appreciate you choosing to shop directly through the links above so I can continue to keep this an ad free blog. Thank you!

Alaska Eats

Alaska Eats

On the last trip to Alaska (our fourth time there), my mom, 2 of 3 sisters, and I explored Anchorage, Valdez, and Healy (Denali) and Talkeetna. I wanted to do a breakdown of the places we ate + some of the ones that came highly recommended that we just didn’t have time for!

If you are looking for the entire itinerary, please visit my Week in Alaska blog (linked)

Anchorage

Lucky Wishbone

Bear Paw and Grill.

Simon and Seaforts

Sandwich Deck

Moose Tooth

Glacier Brewhouse

Dino’s Donuts

Valdez

Fat Mermaid

Latte Dah

Healy / Talkeetna

Denali Brewing Company

49th State Brewing

Other Recommend Options

Gwennies (Anchorage)

Tequila 61 (Anchorage)

Snow City Cafe (Anchorage)

Humpy’s Alaska (Anchorage)

The Potato (Valdez)

The Wheelhouse (Valdez)

Valdez Brewing (Valdez)

Black Diamond Grill (Healy)

The Totem Inn (Healy)

Mountain High Pizza Pie (Talkeetna)

Flying Squirrel Cafe (Talkeetna)

I hope this guide helps you if you are planning to travel to any of the above places in Alaska! We had an absolutely amazing time and didn’t have one bad meal while we were there. Thank you to everyone who made recommendations as well for me on social media! Planning a trip can be so overwhelming so I know I appreciate the help just as much as the next person!

Flying With a 9 Month Old

Flying With a 9 Month Old

We are back home from our week long trip in Alaska and what a difference it made on the flight now that Oakley is 9 months old and crawling! The last long flight we took (Hawaii at 6 months), she was barely sitting up on her own! And now- eating snacks and wanting to crawl around like a big girl!

Luckily- I have some tips that I wanted to share with anyone who is looking to fly with a baby at this stage!

Tips, Tricks, and Toys

We had a 45 minute flight to MSP and then a 6 hour flight from MSP into Anchorage. I chose the flight path that put us in the air for a majority of the evening so she would sleep for the better part of the second flight. She slept for the entire first flight and then for 2.5 hours of the second flight- which worked out great because it kept her on the proper timezone when we landed in Anchorage! Planning around naps and bedtime is huge with a crawler!

In order to get the best sleep possible for baby, I think emulating as much as you can for them to make it feel like home is vital. For this reason, I highly recommend downloading the Guva app (I have talked about it a few times on the blog). The free version has a ton of white noise sounds and even though a plane is somewhat loud, it still an help to get baby to fall asleep. I also bring a thin cover up to cover myself and her up (like a tent, never place a cover up directly on to your baby), for complete darkness while she is trying to fall asleep!

If possible, select the front row of whatever cabin you are flying. This makes it much easier to set baby down if they are getting squirmy and you don’t have to worry about them kicking the person in front of you. It worked great for us to allow her to sit on the ground and play with toys and books when the seat belt sign was off (flight attendant said it was fine to do).

A new toy I brought this trip was a set of window clings. This kept her entertained for about an hour (which is a godsend) and she liked playing with them even when they weren’t on the window. I also bought her a new farm book that makes noises that I didn’t let her have until we got on the long flight- she played with it for about another hour, cumulatively.

Snacks were also huge for us on this long trip- now that she is eating a ton of solid food and airlines hardly serving anything, we had to come prepared with finger foods that she loves (and that would keep her occupied). She has been loving the magic spoon cereal and I bought some cups to bring them in to prevent her from throwing everything across the airplane. I also brought her sip cup for water on top of her bottles with formula.

One last tip- during any layovers- let baby crawl as much as humanely possible. We fly a lot and I always trying to look for gates or areas with only one entrance and not a lot of traffic. During our 3 hour layover on the way home, I found an elevator corridor that her and I sat in for about two hours and we maybe saw ten people use the elevators during that time. It was a dead end hallway and it was perfect for her to crawl and play the entire time without having to worry about chasing her in the busy part of the airport. This does mean though that I didn’t eat lunch but I had a few snacks and it was the best option for us given our layover!

I hope these tips helped, please reference my other blogs as well when it comes to flying with a baby!

Other baby flying related blogs:

Flying Solo With Baby

Flying with a Newborn

8+ Hour Flight with a Baby

A Week in Alaska

A Week in Alaska

This blog is going to be a long one so buckle up! Josh is hunting on the Alaskan peninsula and I knew I wanted to bring the baby to Alaska but I 1- did not want to explore alone and 2- could not take her to the peninsula with Josh. So I asked my mom and my sisters if they wanted to come to Alaska- we have been here four times now and I knew I could plan an amazing trip for all of us! My mom and two youngest sisters were able to come so my trip planning began!

Below, I have our itinerary by day, links to everything we did, and some food recommendations as well from various places we ate. I highly recommend anyone interested to visit Alaska, as it truly is the Last Frontier.

Day 1: Fly In

We left DSM around 1pm, landed in MSP, and then left for Anchorage. We landed in Alaska around 6pm and went straight to the hotel to hopefully calibrate the baby properly for the new time zone (3 hours different for us). I ordered take out from Lucky Wishbone and Josh had to get some last minute things from Cabelas so he grabbed food at the Bear Paw and Grill. My biggest tip when it comes to a new time zone- go to bed at your normal time and do not take any naps!

Blog Link: 8+ Hour Flight with A Baby Tips

Day 2 Anchorage:

Josh and our cameraman left for their part of the bear hunt early in the morning. Oakley and I took them to their float plane and then came back to the hotel for her nap. She napped for nearly 2 hours and I was able to get a ton of work done! We then started our drive to Eagle River Nature Preserve where I had mapped out two different hikes for us to do that were deemed “easy” and “well manicured”. On the way, we drove through downtown Anchorage and saw a moose in a cemetery, so naturally, we had to stop to go say hi to him. Oakley kept calling it a kitty the entire time.

We then made it to Eagle River which is about 35 minutes outside of Anchorage. We spent a few hours hiking, taking photos, and having snacks with the most beautiful mountain views. Afterwards, we went to pick my mom up from the airport and then ran a few errands to get her diapers, snacks, etc. For dinner, we went to Simon and Seaforts where I highly recommend getting the crab and artichoke dip as well as the reindeer sausage fettuccine. Traveling with a baby means your days are pretty much over at 6:30pm for their bedtime but we were able to just hang out (as her pack n play is in the bathroom where it is pitch black)!

Day 3 Anchorage:

My mom and I headed to the Snow City Cafe as it was highly recommended by social media. Unfortunately, with the limited capacity in some restaurants, the wait was over an hour long. With a hungry baby, we knew that wasn’t going to be an option. We walked a block down the road to the Sandwich Deck and had an amazing breakfast, the reindeer sausage breakfast sandwich was amazing!

We then headed East on the Seward highway- I have never taken this route before and the inlet with the mountains was absolutely breathtaking.

I found the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center on TripAdvisor and knew we had to go! So many Alaskan animals such as brown bears, musk oz, bison, wolves, etc! It is a sanctuary dedicated to protecting animals through research and rescue- we had an amazing time. The location is hard to find on google but it is located at Mike 79 Seward Highway in Anchorage. We spent about an hour walking around and looking at the animals- it is about a 2 mile loop if you do it by foot and go to all of the animals. We then spent about 30 minutes in the gift shop and eating reindeer bratwurst from a food truck outside.

On the way back from the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, we stopped at Turnagain Arm Trail in Chugach State Park for a hike with again, some of the most breathtaking views I have ever seen! As always, it is recommended to bring bear spray and to know what to do to protect yourself with a wildlife encounter. Please, never approach a moose calve and never, EVER, approach a bear cub if you see one. We started on the Potter trail head at mile 115 and did a 2 mile loop- there is a little trail off the path once you hit the summit of the hike that I highly recommend taking for an overlook view!

My two sisters flew in and we picked them up that evening. We had ordered Moose Tooth pizza, as again- it came highly recommended. If you order from there- expect at least a 90 minute wait! But totally worth it! We tried the mac and cheese with reindeer sausage, white pizza, and chicken ranch.

Day 4: Valdez:

When Josh and I last came to Alaska, with Arrow, we stayed in Copper Center (as he was on a hunt). I just came for the adventure and to go on a ton of hikes with the dog. During those ten days, I learned so much about the area and I also drove to Valdez twice! I knew I wanted to take my mom and my sisters to the little seaside town. For reference, it is a little over ra 5 hour drive if you don’t stop. I told my mom and my sisters I would stop as much as they wanted, we weren’t on a time crunch.

If you are planning to do this drive- you will not have many options for a bathroom, food, snacks, gas, etc until you hit Palmer and then not much until you hit Copper Center. We stocked up on snacks before we left and didn’t stop once for gas or snacks until we made it to Copper Center- there is a very cute gas station there at the intersection of HWY1 and HWY4 that has a gift shop with a ton of locally sourced Alaskan souvenirs.

Our first stop was Mirror Lake right outside of Anchorage. It’s a calm lake with the reflection of the mountains and trees and looks just like a mirror. We then hit the road and stopped about 5 more times before hitting Copper Center- many scenic overlooks! You will lose service for about 3 hours of the drive as well so if you have waypoints you want to hit, it’s recommended to have them mapped out ahead of time with mile marker references.

Once we left Copper Center, we drove about 15 minutes down the road to the Princess Lodge. It has an amazing view and very easy hiking trails to stretch the legs. We spent about 30 minutes there and hopped back in the car and didn’t stop again until we hit the Thompson Pass pull off. We stopped again at the Horsetail Falls and then finally made it into Valdez!

After checking into our hotel room, we did the 1 mile loop hike called Dock Point Trail (it’s at the end of the pier near the marina). We ate at the Fat Mermaid and I highly recommend the halibut or red salmon as it is caught fresh and you will most likely see the boat come in with your dinner if you sit at the marina in the afternoon! Traveling with the baby, as mentioned earlier, means early dinners and accommodating to their schedule- so we put the baby down and played Euchre- luckily there are 4 of us! With her waking up at around 6 each day, we have all been ready for bed before 9pm so it has really worked out!

Day 5: Drive Back to Anchorage:

We spent the night in Valdez, woke up, walked to a cute coffee shop for breakfast called Latte Dah. We enjoyed our coffee and pumpkin rolls on the pier near the marina and then walked to the Prospector Outfitter. Before leaving Valdez, we drove to the Valdez Glacier Lake (turn onto airport road and follow the road down). Unfortunately the glacier itself is changing and the lake was less full than it usually is but it was still a beautiful site with the ice chunks and silt water. Had it been Josh and me on this trip, we would have went fishing out of Valdez- I highly recommend looking into fishing charters!

On our way home, we took a 20 min detour to hike Liberty Falls and have a packed lunch at the base of the waterfalls. We also stopped at Matanuska Glacier with the intent to hike it but they are no longer allowing self guided tours. They do offer tours every few hours but you have to time it perfect. Instead, we sat up at the lookout point and had several moose feeding around us. As we got into Anchorage, we ate dinner at the Glacier Brewhouse (highly recommend the harvest salad, halibut, and the cinnamon bourbon donuts for dessert)!

Day 6: Denali and Talkeetna:

We woke up with breakfast donuts from Dino’s Donuts, let the baby play and crawl around in the hotel room until it was time for her first nap, and then started the 4 hour drive to Denali. We stopped 2 hours into the drive at Talkeetna, had lunch at Denali Brewing Company (the sweet potato fries and reindeer meatloaf are a must) and picked up some gifts at various local shops in their downtown area! On our way up to Denali, we stopped at a few scenic viewpoints. I had rented a log cabin for us for the night and made reservations at 49th State Brewing in Healy for dinner (please do yourself a favor and order the homemade blueberry cream soda and the yak burger). We spent the evening drinking protein hot chocolate and playing euchre!

Day 7: Drive Back to Anchorage:

Our morning in Denali was spent hiking Horseshoe Lake Trail (it took us about 90 minutes with all of the photos we took plus exploring the Nenana river). I surprised my family with an airplane ride out of Talkeetna to fly to see Mount McKinley (also known as Denali as the mountain keeps getting renamed back and forth) and to land on a glacier. Unfortunately our flight was not able to leave due to weather. I knew my sisters wanted to see sled dogs so we found a man who runs Iditarod that offers tours! His company is called Snowhook (I couldn’t find a link but it was through TripAdvisor). We got to play with his 60 dogs and 15 puppies and earn about the race and the history of it!

We made it back to Anchorage around dinner time but we were all exhausted so we decided to just have some food delivered to the hotel and pack everything up for our flights out the next day!

Day 8: Fly Out

After a week in Alaska, our trip came to an end! We all left in the morning! It was an absolutely incredible trip and I hope this itinerary helps you if you plan to make it up to the Last Frontier!