I tend to stay in a wide range of accommodation types when I am travelling around the south. With kids, this becomes even more necessary as I try and keep costs down, allowing my family and I a chance to see and do more, rather than spending money on where we sleep. Touring and vacations can be expensive, so I try to minimize the costs where I can. Taking our kids bedding with us is a big help.
Taking What You Need With You
It is something I started doing when we traveled as a family with out first born. Babies need many things, and that includes bedding. Taking a portable travel crib for our baby, I realized that a familiar, constant, bed time environment helped our baby get to sleep quicker. Sleep was more settled and better as well; sleeping in provided bassinets or cribs didn’t result in the same good night’s sleep for everyone.
Having realized this I tried to take as much of the bedding/bed equipment that we needed as was possible. Traveling by car made this easier.
Budget (and Free) Accommodation
I’ve talked before about how to keep the costs of accommodation down. We make a big effort to stay with people we know. Budget accommodation helps in that by and large kids are free. You pay for the room and not how many people are staying. If you bring your own beds, and bedding, you don’t need to pay for extra beds.
When we stay at other people’s places, such as relatives, it can be very welcome if you bring your own bedding. This lessens the impact on your host.
Between using these two options as our main source of accommodation, I’ve become used to packing and taking bedding for kids when traveling around the South.
What We Use
Now our kids are older, we don’t take travel cribs. Instead I like to use self-inflating mattresses, like the type hikers and campers use, because of their low weight and size when not in use.
These work well in rooms with a carpet and underlay floor. It isn’t the softest bed ever but it reasonably comfortable with a good pillow. On harder surfaces I’ve experimented with bringing our own foam underlay as well as inflatable mattresses but these take up much more space.
Inflatable mattresses work well when we have the space but require that something be brought along to inflate the mattresses, as something like a reversible vacuum cleaner or even a pump is rarely available.
On The Bed
On the bed itself, I try to keep things as much like home as possible. To do that I try and bring the same bedding the kids use. We bring their pillow from home, for example, with their favorite cases on them to help with the sense of continuity.
I’ve found the best choice for bed covering isn’t blankets but instead are some smaller goose down comforters, like toddler down comforters, that feel like what our kids use at home (just a bit smaller).
Sheets and blankets can feel nice but the goose down comforters are able to keep the kids warmer than a similar weight or volume of blankets. Plus it makes the kids feel like they are sleeping in their own beds. We don’t take the full sized ones we use at home, instead we try and find smaller ones that are big enough to cover the kids, but small enough to pack in a car and carry around.