Hotel versus motel when travelling with a baby

There’s a lot to consider when traveling with a baby. How many hours will I have to travel? Will there be facilities to make a bottle? Will the nappies be the same? Will there be highchairs? Things that were minor details before the little ones came along suddenly become deal breakers, and you are likely to worry or stress over things you never knew possible. Don’t panic though, traveling with a baby doesn’t have to be hard work. It just requires a little more planning! 

One key consideration when planning your travel itinerary is your accommodations. When traveling in the United States, you must typically choose between two lodging types: hotels and motels. But which is better when traveling with a baby? Here is my guide about important things to consider. 

Mode of Transport

Personally, I prefer to travel by car with baby Isla (make sure you remember your car seat, though!). This gives us the flexibility to travel when we want, pack as much luggage as we need, stop when we need to, and break up the journey as required. This worked perfectly on our recent road trip through Canada, when we traveled while Isla slept. The problem is many hotels have limited parking on offer, which can be expensive. A motel is super convenient because we can park right outside our door.

Size of the Rooms

Image via Flickr by caitlinator

More luggage and more people mean you need more space. Even if you’re traveling with a baby, many hotel providers will simply give you a standard bedroom. This can make navigating around your belongings and the cot a challenge. It also limits your little one if he or she is moving around. I recommend researching how much space there is before booking your room. 

Amenities and Facilities

When I breastfed Isla, it was super easy. All I needed was a portable dummy sterilizer and a changing bag. Once I started bottle-feeding, however, I needed space for washing and sterilizing bottles. I also needed bottle-making facilities and needed to lug around pots of formula. Now we need plastic spoons and bowls and a highchair. Child-friendly hotels are likely to offer many of these items. On this front, you might opt for a hotel, although it is important to check first. 


This works both ways. Babies cry, and neighbors can be noisy. Babies need naps and might need peace and quiet during the day, when neighbors are perfectly within their right to make a little noise. So finding an accommodation option that is quiet and not right next to social areas such as bars or pools is a good idea. Motels are often designed in a way that most fellow travelers will be out of earshot, although you can get some very private rooms in hotels, too. This is another aspect worth checking out before you book. 

So these are my top recommendations for things you should consider when booking accommodations for you and your baby. Is there anything that you would add? Please leave your comments below.