Part of the Permanent Change of Station (PCS) process is staying in a hotel for awhile between pack out and when your goods arrive at your new home. Luckily we found a nice pet friendly extended stay hotel in the area. While it has some awesome perks, it still isn’t easy. Being able to go downstairs for breakfast is great, but that means I have to shower and get dressed 🙂 Having a kitchen is also helpful but cooking without any of your own cookware can be challenging.
We finally leave this week for Canada and I spent some time reflecting on what we brought to make our stay feel more like home. I also thought about a few things we didn’t bring that would have helped. Here are just a few of the most important ones I came up with.
1. Pillows and blankets, and lovies
While they can take up a lot of space in a suitcase, it’s amazing what a difference having your own can make. The smells you are use to and the textures can instantly remind you of home.
2. Hand Soap
I don’t know about you but using the bar soap in the bathroom always annoys me. For a short weekend stay it isn’t a big deal but with lots of diaper changes and messes to clean up I wash my hands a fair amount. Instead of throwing away our soap containers from the apartment I brought them along to use in the hotel bathrooms and in the kitchen. Having a familiar scent around was refreshing.
If you tend to use a lot of candles in your home or diffuse essential oils, I think having 1-2 in your hotel is a must. We brought along our main diffuser for our room and our travel one for the kids room. Not only did it help me keep calm during a pretty stressful time, like putting together my daughters ONEderland birthday, but it kept the rooms smelling nice.
Even at the fancy hotels towels are a little gross. I mean, think about where they have been. Even bleached I still cringe. Now most people who have to fly out on a PCS won’t want to waste valuable space on towels but depending on how long you will be in a hotel it may be a worth while investment. You can find reasonably priced linens at Walmart and Bed Bath & Beyond using coupons.
VTech Spinning Lights Learning Hippo | Lamaze Flip Flap Dragon | Play-Doh | VTech Write and Learn Activity Center | Tinkertoy Wild Wheels Building Set
5. Books and Toys
I will admit most of our car was toys and books for the kids. While it was a little bit of a pain to pack them up and haul them to the hotel and then to Canada, it was WELL worth it. Having some familiar toys around to keep them busy really helped keep all of us sane on those rainy days when we didn’t want to venture out. Here were a few of our favorites that still packed fairly well in suitcases.
6. Hanging Clothes
Utilizing the closets and drawers allowed us to put away all of the suitcases which instantly made it feel more permanent. It was easier to find clothes, pack for our vacation, and keep the rooms as clutter free as possible.
Even a small bouquet in a glass will instantly brighten up a room and help it feel a little more like home. Some of my favorite places to grab a bunch of flowers or nice arrangement is Costco and Wegmans.
8. Kitchen Items
I found this mini IKEA dish rack at a thrift store years ago and it is my favorite travel item. It’s great for keeping the kids cups and medicine droppers off of the counters. I also always have a small bottle of Dapple (for the kids stuff) in our travel bag. Instead of throwing it away, I brought along the left over dish soap from the apartment. Although the hotel provided us with dish soap and dishwasher pods, it was nice to have our own.
9. Snacks and Drinks
Most extended stay hotels have a kitchen that comes with the basic necessities to cook meals. It was nice when we got tired of eating out to make spaghetti or make a quick PB & J. In addition to a few staple groceries, we made sure to have some of our favorite snacks on hand. It saved us money buying in bulk instead of raiding the vending machine late at night. I had the kids favorites including apple juice to maintain their routine of after nap snacks etc…
10. Night Time Routine Comforts
Special bath toys, sound machines, and lovies really seemed to help Parker and Caity adapt to their new home. Nightlights and battery operated candles are also helpful to light up the rooms enough to move around without having to turn on the harsh hotel lighting.