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Thank Goodness for Hotel Lobbies

Flickr user fluentDX, CC Licensed.

We Villanos are gearing up for some serious drive-time on our upcoming family vacation to Vancouver Island, in British Columbia, Canada.

The drive, about six hours total, will amount to the longest amount of time R, our nearly-six-month-old, ever has spent in a car. Mapping out our adventure this weekend got me thinking about another road trip—the first one we ever took with L, our toddler, who is now almost three.

That time we schlepped nine hours from our home in California Wine Country down through the state’s Central Valley to Santa Monica.

Along the way, hotel lobbies saved our butts.

We made three stops in all: a Holiday Inn Express in Westly, the Harris Ranch Inn in Coalinga and a Hilton Garden Inn near Magic Mountain in Santa Clarita. At each spot, we changed L (in lobby rest rooms), fed her and let her stretch out on a blanket.

We weren’t guests of any of these hotels. And no, we didn’t feel compelled to ask permission to stop on by. We simply waltzed into the lobbies like we belonged, quietly assumed a spot in some back corner, and went about our business quickly, respectfully and without any sort of fanfare or rigmarole.

Why not capitalize on these resources? Think about it—hotel lobbies provide the perfect combination of space, comfort (in this case, conditioned air) and anonymity.

Sure, it helped that we’re relatively unassuming people with a well-behaved kid. If we had wandered in with a screaming child, or we had made some sort of scene by changing her in front of everybody, a desk clerk might have called the cops.

I’m sure our bravado didn’t hurt either; if one of us had asked permission to feed and change our baby at each place, at least one of the desk clerks would have given us the Heisman.

Call us mooches. Call us squatters. Heck, call us classless, I don’t care. All I know is that lobby-surfing enabled Powerwoman and me to avoid disaster during L’s first road-trip, and you can bet we’ll be employing the same strategy for R’s maiden voyage, as well.

What are some of your secrets for surviving road trips with the littlest little ones?