Mark, guest contributor

When going on a road trip or traveling on a budget with your family, you are bound to spend some time in motels. They are much cheaper than hotels, easier to find and there are plenty of them near the roads, which is why they are ideal for spending the night when you want to move on with your agenda the next day.

However, it is all too easy to forget yourself and lower your safety standards when you are surrounded with your loved ones, which can be dangerous if you are traveling with small kids. Motels are simply not designed with kids in mind, so if you want to insure a relaxed, stress-free stay, here are some things you should take into consideration.


Reserve a Room Upfront

Don’t try to leave the choice of the motel to chance so as to make your vacation more exciting or spontaneous, and don’t delude yourself that one motel is the same as the other. This is simply not the case.

If you decide that you and your family should lay your heads near the place where the dusk finds you, know that you may be in for more of an adventure that you bargained for, to put it mildly.

To avoid unpleasant surprises, plan your pit-stops and reserve rooms in motels from the comfort of your home before going on a trip. In addition to probably saving you some money, this will enable you to choose the safest and most comfortable option for your kids.

Looking for an adequate motel with vacancies while darkness falls and you are tired from the driving can be a very unpleasant affair. Therefore, it is best to plan and reserve the rooms beforehand.


Stick to Interior Rooms

Although staying in a room with a separate access can seem more romantic and better for children, it is simply less safe. There is a reason motel rooms like these are regarded unsafe and are often targeted by minor criminals – they are easy prey for them. Therefore, distance yourself from any uninvited guests by choosing an interior room. This way, anyone with less than honorable intentions will have to go through the lobby and pass the receptionist to reach your room, and it will be much easier for you to monitor your children this way.


Check Everything

Check the door locks, the windows and the phone line. Check the placement of the appliances and be sure to rearrange them in accordance with your kids’ age and habits.

Be sure to examine the room and never let the fact that you are staying in a place not adapted to children slip your mind.

If you are staying on the second floor, check the lock and the state of the rails in case you have a terrace. All of this may seem like excessive caution, but it only takes a few minutes, and then you can rest assured that everything is taken care of. Accidents do happen and in this case it is truly much better to be safe than sorry.

This motel safety checklist from Northern Illinois University can come in handy.


Do Not Let the Children Roam Alone

Be sure to drive around the motel when you arrive. See if it has a swimming pool, how far you will have to go to breakfast and what kind of neighbors you are surrounded with.

Most kids will jump to the chance to stray away from parents and to set off on a small exploring mission, as every parent knows well. It is true for teenagers, and especially true for younger kids who seldom get to be on their own. There is a time and place for everything and most motels are simply not places you can let your little ones roam unmonitored.

There doesn’t have to be a child-infatuated serial killer looming in every other room. It is quite enough for the kids to go out to play in the parking lot when a less-than-sober driver is looking for a space to park his car.

Swimming pools are also a cause for concern, judging by the number of deaths by drowning. It is a terrifying fact that kids can drown in as little as one inch of water. A good way to avoid this concern is to choose a motel with a protective fence around the pool.

Keep in mind that these seem like minor issues because mistakes like these will happen only once; but that once is one time too many.


Mark is a father of two great kids whom he wants to grow up in equally great people, so he teaches them important life lessons while he still has influence on their development.