12 Days of Travel Tips: Three reasons to consider a hotel staycation in December

Have you ever thought about booking a hotel for a night or two in your own hometown?

We love a hotel staycation any time of year… This summer we splashed away and were pampered in The Woodlands, this fall we kicked back, ate some delicious food, took in a movie and watched our kids play games with new friends at CityCenter in Houston… but December really is a perfect time for a little family getaway.

With all that is going on already this month you might think I’m crazy, but stay with me here.

December is when the hotels really pull out all the stops on decorations, special events and more. It’s like every hotel is sprinkled with fairy dust and everyone is just that much nicer. And, in December, stopping to spend time with just your family and not being distracted by dishes, laundry and other chores can truly be a beautiful gift for each other.

If that isn’t enough to get you going, here are three reasons to consider a hotel staycation this month.

1. Get your shopping on

Look for a fun hotel near or adjacent to a shopping center and take turns with the Santa runs. One parent can hang with the kids and splash in the pool or take in a few other hotel or nearby activities while the other shops, and then you swap the next morning. Or take lots of mini missions so the kids get a chance to shop for each other, too. Plan a special hot cocoa time with a movie all together at night and you are good to go. (Many hotels, like One Ocean in Jacksonville also offer warm cookies from room service!! DoubleTree hotels offer cookies at check in!!) Some hotels offer shopping shuttles. Call and ask… and get Santa’s sleigh ready!!

2. Escape from the hectic homelife

Sure, the season is a blast, but sometimes all those parties and events keep you running from place to place and you need to set aside time just for yourselves. A hotel staycation helps us to stop and focus on each other and our kids and keeps us from scheduling just one more (or three more) events in our schedule. We treat staycations as though we are really on vacation and leave work and social obligations at home.

Taking a break to just have fun together can be a great gift for the entire family that’s a cinch to arrange.

3. Celebrate New Year’s Eve with your own hotel party

A few year’s back we decided to stay in a suite hotel in town with our (then) two boys and we had a total blast. It felt extra special because we weren’t at home, but the effort was minimal.

To start the vacation, my husband and boys dropped me at a movie theater to take in a chick flick solo while they went to the grocery store to buy all sorts of crazy party food and new year’s hats. They came back to get me and off we went.

We decorated our suite, ate junk food, and just acted silly together. We even paraded through the hotel lobby and lounge in our New Year’s garb and all the adults smiled and made my boys feel special. (They were 2 and 4 at the time.)

After that we headed back to our room, ordered room service and watched a Sesame Street video about New Year’s Eve all around the world. The boys were thrilled to get to try and stay up to midnight (I think they made it to 9:30 that year!!) and it was an amazing, yet totally goofy night. My older son still talks about it and he is 10.

Hotel staycations are easy

When we decide to spend the night in town, or in a different suburb, something magical happens. We are transformed into low-stress vacationland and always have an amazing time. Packing is simple because we know the weather and the places where we will be going, and the travel time is definitely short. When we get there, we always feel like we are worlds away (even if we are only 30 minutes away) and we have a blast focusing on each other.

 Bonus: three tips for planning your hotel staycation:

Think a fancy hotel might be too expensive? Here’s my bargain-hunter tip:

Check in to traditionally business hotels in your area. We have found that the hotels which cater to business travelers usually drastically cut their rates on the weekends, making them a perfect bargain staycation destination.

Looking to get the most out of your stay?

We have found that one night is enough if we book wisely. Consider booking the hotel for Saturday night and requesting an early check in. Even if you can’t check into your room until regular check in time, stow your bags at the front desk or with the bellmen and start your staycation early. On our last Houston staycation, we arrived at about 11:30 Saturday morning and filled our day with lots of fun exploration before we even checked into our room. The early start to the fun made our trip feel like a full weekend of play. Also, many hotels and resorts will allow you to stow your bags after check out. Ask in advance if you can check out, stow your bags and continue splashing in the pool, or whatever strikes your family’s fancy. (Pack dry clothes in a small tote for changing into if you go that route.)

Plan most of your outings before you get there.

Will you be splashing in the hotel pool? Taking cooking classes? Shopping for Christmas gifts? Watching a movie or a live show? Or will you just lounge, dine and play games?

If you don’t know what to do near the hotel and would like to do more than just explore the hotel, call the concierge in advance and ask for help on ideas things to do. Sure, it is your town, but the concierge might still have a few insider tips for you.

So what do you think? Is a December hotel staycation in your future? Have you ever indulged in one?

Miss any days or want to know what’s ahead? Here are all 12 Days of Christmas Travel Tips on MomsTravelTales:

Day 1: One pep talk about family travel

Day 2: The two best ways to manage a time zone change

Day 3: Three reasons to consider a hotel staycation in December

Day 4: Four ways to minimize stress on travel days

Day 5: Five ways to be a gracious overnight houseguest

Day 6: Six ideas for pampering overnight guests

Day 7: Seven people to tip when traveling (and how much)

Day 8: Eight tips for international travel

Day 9: Nine secrets for a great hotel stay with kids

Day 10: Ten things to keep in mind when flying with children

Day 11: Eleven tried and true ways to beat boredom while waiting

Day 12: Twelve things I’ve learned about travel with kids

Want to know more than just travel?

Swing by any of the other 7 sites during the 12 Days of Christmas and here’s what you’ll learn: (And these girls know their stuff!)
Christmas Homeschool Fun: 1+1+1=1

Christmas Decorations: Songbird

Tips for a Healthy Holiday: The Thrifty Mama

Saving Money: Surviving the Stores

Christmas Recipes: Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures

Christmas Family Fun: Life as Mom

Homemade Christmas Gifts: The Happy Housewife

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