February 19, 2018

7 Questions to Ask Before You Book a Hotel Room


We don’t often stay in hotels, but when we do, I’ve realized that there are certain questions to ask before making a reservation if you want to ensure a stress-free and hassle-free stay. Here are seven questions that are especially important for me to have answered ahead of time (as I’ve since learned).

1. Will the room have a bathtub? For many who have toddlers, this is an important consideration. We recently stayed at an inn that had only a shower stall, which did not go over well at all with my three-year-old. I swear you would have thought I was showering him in blood those nights at the inn.

2. Are the rooms connecting or adjacent? If you’re booking two rooms and want to be able to easily go between rooms, make sure to be clear that you want “connecting” rooms. When we went to Curacao a few years ago with our then four and two year old daughters, as well as our au pair, we got adjacent rooms, so we couldn’t leave their room since it would have meant leaving them behind a locked door.

3. Can I get an early check-in? If you have kids that nap, make sure to request an early check-in when you book your hotel room. We’re in Philadelphia right now and unfortunately the guests staying in our room before us did not check out until 2:30 pm, so we weren’t able to check in until after 3 pm. This was kind of annoying to have to wait with a couple of tired, grumpy kids who like their naps.

4. Is there a pool at the hotel? Ah, the hotel pool. It’s one of the easiest and cheapest ways to entertain kids when you’re traveling. Sometimes when you’re traveling it’s nice to not have to go on a guided tour or walk room-to-room in a museum. It’s nice to just throw on a swimsuit and splash in the pool for a couple of hours. Not every hotel has a pool, so make sure to ask when you book your room.

5. Will my room have a refrigerator? Okay, this was a surprise to me, but not every hotel room comes with a mini fridge. We recently checked into a hotel and after schlepping three blocks with two half-gallons of milk, I discovered that nope, we don’t have a mini refrigerator. After two calls to guest services, we finally got one, but it would have been nice to have already had one in the room.

6. Is the hotel wi-fi free? Similar to the mini fridge, while most hotels have free wi-fi, not every hotel has free wi-fi, so make sure to ask when you book your room. Wi-fi can be expensive too, sometimes as much as $10 or more per day, so if you plan to use a laptop or iPad in your hotel room, make sure that you know whether wi-fi comes with your room.

7. Can I walk to local restaurants or markets? When you’re traveling with kids, you only want to walk so far to pick up a carton of orange juice or to get a bite to eat. When you book your room, call the hotel concierge to find out just how far it is (as in, how many blocks) to a family-friendly restaurant or a grocery store. This is key if you’re staying downtown in a walking city like Boston or Chicago.

When you take your kids to stay in hotels, what are some of the most important questions you like to have answered ahead of time? Just let me know in the comments section below.

Photo Credit: B-Town Mom


  1. Gabrielle says:

    Also of importance…what floor is the room on? My 2 year old twins are loud when walking and we learned the hard way to book a first floor room

    • Erin Gifford says:

      Ooh, good one. Also important is asking and making sure you’re not near the elevator or the ice machine!

  2. We tend to like suite styled hotels / rooms to accommodate our family of 5. All suites are not created equal. Frequently if they have an additional sitting area they are considered a suite. SO if you are looking for a separate sleeping area be sure to inquire about that. Is it all one open room, a partition or a separate bedroom?

  3. All good questions. One more to add- does the room have a balcony. One, so the parents can sit and sip a glass of wine instead of crashing at 8pm with the kids AND so you know what to prepare for if you have little ones. Our girls LOVE to go out onto the balcony but not unsupervised. Oh, and the point you made about having the rooms connected – so true! We just booked a hotel in San Juan and they were going to have us in separate rooms but on the same floor. Had to find another hotel…

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