traveling with little ones and big ones too, the
of the hotel
be on the top of our list. On one of
our many trips from California to Virginia, we
had reservations at a quality hotel.
we arrived late. We’d had a long
flight and a longer check-in. All we
wanted to do
We stepped inside our room to put our bags
down and as the kids were excitedly turning
on every light switch in the room, I spent
the next few minutes focused on the walls and
floors and whether or not it was safe to put
down my luggage.
Glancing down, the first thing I noticed was
that the floors had not been vacuumed. Then,
surreptitiously, I peeked underneath one of
the beds. Gasping, I found the most repulsive
items stuck to the floor. My intake of breath
was enough to grab my children’s attention.
As I attempted to keep their little noses above
ground, I wondered how long it was going to
take me to get a maid up here stat.
Suddenly, one of the girls yelled from the
bathroom. In a second I was on my feet and
heading for the noise. As I came around the
corner, the image of a toilet that had not
been cleaned by a long shot (no pun intended)
greeted me. Nauseated, my other child and my
husband shrieked from the bedside - where they
all stood staring the dry mess on the wall
where someone had vomited.
Remember this was a new, 4 star, less than
one year-old hotel.
I gave a quick look at my family and they
knew what was coming next. I grabbed the bags,
threw the coats at the kids and yelled at my
husband, “Let’s go!”
My family is use to me doing the once over
mom inspection and if I feel it is not clean
enough for my family – out we march to
another room or hotel. It is the mother hen
in me and I can’t help it. Well, this
room was beyond imagining, but I kept thinking,
what if we had kept the lights off and just
plopped into bed?
It was now 11:20 pm and finding another hotel
was out of the question. We gathered in the
lobby, scooting the kids to the waiting area
to sit while I asked for the manager. A neatly
dressed man was soon directed towards us and
I nicely explained what was found and shared
Now, I am never mean, but this time - the
business woman/entrepreneur in me took over. “Here’s
a piece of advice,” I said. “If
you keep your rooms clean, your guests will
come back and your housekeepers will get a
tip and your boss won’t fire you.” It
was very simple and in language he could understand.
I’ve learned that when I run into a
situation like the one above and I share with
the desk clerks and managers my thoughts and
feelings, they usually respond. I inform them
nicely but directly, that I run my own companies
and if I ran them like they cleaned their hotel,
well… Then, I nicely ask them to make
a note of the problem and to put us into another
room. This time, the young manager smiled and
took notes as I handed him a pen and my business
The next room was a little better, but doable.
The next morning they thanked me and we were
on our way. Two days later we came back to
the airport and decided to give them one more
try. Yes, maybe crazy, but I like to give people
another chance; we all make mistakes.
Greeted by a middle-aged woman, she handed
us the key card that informed me we were on
the 4th floor. I asked if they had any rooms
on the ground floor and was promptly told, “I
am sorry, ma’am. The entire first floor
is closed for cleaning!”
I smiled, turned to glance at my husband and
the kids and they all grinned. We all shared
the lesson of speaking up, of being kind yet
firm. We found our 4th floor room much cleaner.
I ask housekeeping to bring
me clean pillowcases, freshly washed blankets
wrapped in a plastic bag from the laundry,
(be sure to mention you want it in plastic),
and flat sheets for each bed. I put the clean
pillowcases over the dirty pillowcases; I replace
the dirty blankets with the clean blankets
then put a flat sheet over the bedspread.
: I have
been in many countries and traveled in many
I have found an all too common problem. Most
hotel pillowcases and blankets are dirty
or even in some places downright
filthy -- even if they are 5 star hotels
and have freshly washed linens.
Most hotels put a soiled bedspread
over clean pillows and blankets. While watching
the staff work, I noticed most hotel maids,
as a rule, throw the bedspread on the dirty
carpet while making beds. The bedspread picks
up plenty of dirt and whatever else is
brought in on shoes etc… and then the
maid puts the unclean bedspread over the
pillows and blankets.
Now the kids can sit on the clean top sheet
instead of the bedspread and I can breathe
easy while we enjoy sleeping on truly clean
bedding. I have traveled to pick up babies
and I wouldn’t think of putting a newborn
down on the top of a bedspread in a hotel
Here is a list of things I bring with me when
we have to stay at a hotel:
- Lysol spray - sample size.
- Slippers – the foldable kind made
for kids and adults.
- Plastic bags for extra laundry, swim
- Tissue toilet seat covers.
- Flash light and remember to check the
- Diaper wipes - travel size are good
for quick hand, face or counter clean
Remember, traveling with kids can be the adventure
of a lifetime! Be proactive with hotel management
and you will have much less to worry about.
Travel Tip from Mardie Caldwell!