Like so many others, when we first started traveling as a family, the first thing we would do after checking into our hotel was we tossed our suitcases in our room and left. We never gave a second thought to checking anything in the room. However, after multiple mishaps, some literally in the middle of the night, we learned that if we wanted to experience a pleasant and uneventful stay, we should dedicate the first ten minutes after entering our hotel room to checking the following:
Hotel Room Balcony Lock
I usually advise families with young children to avoid, for safety reasons, booking hotel rooms with balconies. If that’s not a possibility, then do check to make sure the lock works well. You don’t want to be stuck on either side.
Booking a room with a fireplace though romantic as it may sound to some is also on my no-no list when traveling with kids.However, if your booked room has one, make sure to ask the hotel for a proper fireplace cover, and ask them how to disable the system if it operates on gas to prevent any mishaps.
Our son with autism is extremely temperature-sensitive, so five degrees up or down can make a big difference for him. Therefore, one of the things we make sure to learn is how to change settings and turn the mechanisms on and off. We also crank the system up if it isn’t on already and check to make sure it not only works well but stays on since we’ve had two cases where the system short-circuited after several minutes and left the room hot and stuffy in the middle of the night.
There’s nothing quite like a toilet or tub that backs up when you flush the water down or turn on the shower in the middle of the night. We’ve had times when we discovered plumbing problems when we returned to our hotel after an exhausting day and had to sit and wait for maintenance to show up and repair these things.
While I’m addressing the subject of water; it’s best to check and make sure the shower, faucets, and toilet aren’t dripping, since the sound can be quite annoying when you are trying to sleep, especially if anyone in your family is noise sensitive.
I know this might not be an issue that would come to the minds of many travelers. However, it can and will be a big deal to families with children, especially those who have children with autism. My son needs his daily Nickelodeon or Disney fix, so unless I prepare him in advance to the fact that the hotel network does not have these channels, he expects to be able to watch them and might have a meltdown if he won’t be able to.
In today’s world, bed bug infestations are much more commonplace than you might think.
It is critical to check your room for bed bugs before unpacking anything, as travelers who pick up bed bugs usually have to throw out the infested items. If you want to avoid bites and the possibility of bringing unwanted ‘souvenirs’ back home, lift up the bed mattress and check its corners for telltale black dots or tiny blood stains.
Also, you should always keep your suitcases on a rack since bedbugs find it harder to reach or climb certain surfaces. If you do find bed bugs, be sure to report the infestation to the hotel staff. You should demand a room change or receive a refund from the hotel.
The Nearest Exit
Make sure you read the exit map posted on the back of your room door and furthermore, teach your children the location of the nearest stairs to use, in the case of a fire. If you have the time, take an extra five minutes and walk to the nearest exit with them, so they know where it is.
Do you check your hotel room when you first arrive? What do you check for?