True story: I’ve lived in a hotel before, as an Army Wife, for six weeks when the government shut down in 2013. My husband and I had turned in our condo keys and started the drive from Northern California to Arizona when we got a call a few hours into our trip to turn around, come back and oh yea, “We don’t have housing for both of you so you’re on your own”. We moved into the historic Hotel Del Monte at the Naval Postgraduate School and it ended up being one of our favorite adventures to date. We made friends with the staff, were able to stay together in Monterey a little longer and I didn’t have to clean my room everyday :)
However, that was then.
Fast forward four years to this past February. We packed up our little family of now five (including our 45 pound Goldendoodle) and trekked from Washington State down to Austin, Texas. I wasn’t really looking forward to the move, if I’m being honest, and knew we were going to be holed up in a hotel for a little while. A “little while” became 3 and half weeks (I know, it could have been worse), but there’s more. We had one car that my husband used every day to drive 45-60 minutes south to work.
I was alone in a single hotel room that wasn’t near any good restaurants or things to do with two small kids. Some days were really, really long and yes, the hotel TV was on more than I liked (thank you Disney Channel!), but we did it (mostly) with smiles.
- I made the room as “home like” as possible. When we packed up our old place, we made sure to bring a box of toys and some “comforts” from our place so we could attempt to make the hotel room more comfortable. After arriving in the hotel, I hung up clothes, put away shoes, had a laundry bag, made “sections” for the kid’s beds and play things (which inevitably ended up everywhere) and had a kitchen set up.
- We bought groceries and utilized the hotel’s free breakfast and all-day coffee. (Bonus in that if you really wanted to you could socialize and it was a reason to get dressed.)
- We kept up with house rules — cleaning up after our messes, being respectful of each other’s sleep with dimmed lights and low noises, and eating meals at the coffee table.
- We still exercised. The hotel had the world’s smallest dog run that was perfect for my almost 3-year-old to run around in with the dog. We also packed her balance bike in the car so we could zip around the parking lot or sidewalk behind the hotel. A couple times I attempted walks around the hotel that ended up in sketchy industrial areas and yes, one time a young woman pulled over to ask me if I was lost or needed help (which officially ended my walks). We used the hotel gym and also YouTube videos (my go-to’s are Blogilates and The Balanced Life Online and recently army veteran and spouse, GlowBodyPt ).
- We got out. My husband would come home and we would all hop in the car to get out - walking around Barnes and Noble, playing at Chick-fil-A play grounds, etc. I was also honest about needing to get out sometimes by myself and my husband would take over the kids while I sped off.
- We were friendly to the staff and said thank you for everything!
- Unexpected bonus - Our kids learned to sleep in the same room which was immensely helpful when we moved into a three bedroom house, but decided to make one room a guest/office space and have the kids share.
- We laughed at the ridiculousness and soaked up the sweetness, because being together all the time in one room can drive you nuts and bring you closer in ways you never expected.
I knew we did something right when my daughter said she never wanted to leave that one room hotel (but thank goodness we did)! It wasn’t always easy, sometimes we were crabby, but overall, we were thankful to be together in a safe, clean hotel and living our adventures together.
I know with PCS season, you may be about to embark on a hotel living adventure of your own. I know you can do it! if you get stuck read, this post again for inspiration.
****In case you are about to start your own hotel living here’s some quick ideas on groceries for your mini fridge (thankfully in a hotel toilet paper, towels, soap and often breakfast is taken care of)
-bagged salads or spinach/kale with cut veggies
-small bags of frozen meals/veggies that only require a microwave
-bread and peanut butter and jelly or other toppings (chicken salad, chick pea salad, avocado and tomato slices with balsamic dressing)
-popcorn and dried fruit as snacks
-yogurt, berries, cheese sticks
-A quick Pinterest search for “hotel meals” will show give ideas for crock pot or Instapot recipes, but we didn’t bring either