by: Esther Lee
With just one child, traveling is already a big deal. Moms who take care of 3 kids or more like minnemom and 4sixsuit are my heroines. They truly take the saying, "Have kids, will travel" to another level. Not only do they have to pack 5 or 6 suitcases, they have to find hotel rooms and suites that can and will accommodate their larger families.
Theresa Jorgensen (aka 4sixsuit) has decided to take on this challenge head-on and created the website, SixSuitcaseTravel. SixSuitcaseTravel is a database of over 2500 family hotel and suite listings that can accommodate six in over 1100 cities across the United States. Here are Theresa's top tips on traveling with families of 5 or 6
How do you describe your family?
Like most families, we’re always on the move! My twin daughters, 11, and I just earned our black belts in Taekwondo. My son, 14, already has his black belt and my youngest daughter, 7, is on schedule to get hers next year. Throw in band and swim and there’s no time to rest!
What is your favorite family travel story that you like sharing?
One trip I like to brag about is when we moved to Washington state from Wisconsin. We had four children under the age of seven. I made activity and snack backpacks for the older three. On the flight there, baby slept strapped to me and the others happily enjoyed their back packs. When the long flight was over, several passengers told me that they had no idea there were children on board.
Top hotel recommendations for families?
Our last couple of trips have been to Nick Hotel in Orlando and Glenwood Hot Springs in Glenwood Springs, CO. The kids loved the Nick Hotel. They have so much to do there such as two pool areas with slides, a spa, mini golf course, arcade, group activities and so much more. I liked the convenience of a food court with kid friendly choices and the free shuttle to Disney or Universal Studios. The room we stayed in had a queen in the first room, a set of bunk beds with a fold out single in a second room and a sofa sleeper in the living room. A microwave and fridge were also included. I highly recommend Nick Hotel to all families.
The Glenwood Hot Springs was also a great place to stay. Our room consisted of two doubles and a sofa sleeper. The room didn’t have a microwave but the staff kindly popped our popcorn for us behind the desk. Free hot breakfast and admission to the Hot Springs Pool are included with the room. The pool allows rafts and floats which is helpful with little ones. The hotel is close to all the attractions. We greatly enjoyed Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. The Iron Mountain Tramway to the park is breathtaking. The Cavern tours are amazing. The Canyon Flyer, an alpine coaster, was great fun. If you’re a thrill seeker they also have a giant swing shot and a bungee trampoline.
What about vacation home rentals?
We’ve never tried a vacation home rental. Daily housekeeping and free breakfast made by someone else is enough to keep me at hotels.
What do you never leave home without?
Besides DVDs to keep the kids happy? ☺
Camera, Tylenol and cough medicine. Even if it’s the middle of summer I always take cough medicine. No one can get a good nights’ sleep with a cougher in the room! When the kids were little I always looked up directions to the local hospital or urgent care. My son was prone to ear infections and they have a nasty habit of popping up in the middle of the night.
Family travel traditions?
For the last five years, my Aunt and Uncle have let us stay at their cabin on the Platte River. They have river frontage and lake frontage. The kids love to go and fish. They talk about it for months before hand. It’s a great couple of weeks to really unwind and see all the relatives that we live 600 miles away from. One thing we always do to help pack for such a long trip is to UPS 90% of our stuff ahead of us. It helps make more room for everyone during the long 9 hour road trip there. I also ship crafts and games for the kids to do on rainy days or super hot afternoons.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Whenever we go somewhere as a family, we always use the buddy system. Often it’s singletons with one parent and twins with the other. This allows us parents to relax a bit, instead of keeping an eye on four, you’re keeping an eye on two. I also think it helps the kids bond with each of us too.
Theresa Jorgensen is the mom behind SixSuitcaseTravel, a comprehensive database with over 2500 family hotel and suite listings that can accommodate six in over 1100 cities across the United States.
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