Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Hoteling-It Around the Country

What is Hoteling It?

You might be thinking, is this like when we go to the beach for a week? Not exactly…
This may not be something you ever need to do, but some people plan this type of trip occasionally while for others this is a daily way of life.

For those of you that might be new around here, my husband is known nation-wide as the Chicken Whisperer. A couple of times a year, he tours the country to speak at workshops and do book signings. These typically last 6 – 8 weeks. Normally, we do this in our RV. I’ve covered the Chicken Whisperer Tour a few times before: Florida Bound 2014, CW Fall Tour 2015, Chicken Whisperer Fall Tour Complete, CW Tour Update, and more…  

This time, things are a little different. About a month before the tour, my husband threw out the idea that we might want to stay in hotels for this trip. I made that face like, “You’ve GOT to be crazy!” He ignored me and continued sharing his thoughts about how it would be great on our gas mileage and since his events are back to back causing us to have to stay in a different place every night after traveling 2 – 3 hours every day to the next event, it might work better for us… this time.

I am NOT a hotel person, especially with kids. First, the last few times we’ve stayed in hotels it’s like moving a mountain of toys, snacks, books, shoes, computer bags, diaper bags, homeschool materials, clothes, a radio for music we listen to at bedtime, Lily’s eating chair, etc. You’re exhausted after rolling the cart where the wheels are always flat to your room.  Then, I feel like I have to keep them really quiet the entire time we’re visiting, which is like asking someone to keep a rooster from crowing all day long. It’s not possible without making them stew meat. Not to mention, there’s just the stress of being somewhere that’s not yours, night after night. Not your bed, not your shower, not your carpet, not your light that you can dim in the bathroom, and not your kitchen… which leads us into another issue. This trip is going to last 4 weeks round trip. Four weeks of not having our own kitchen to cook our own food. I really wasn’t looking forward to it, BUT my hubby had a point, so I said I’d give it a try, but we had to do things different. We made a plan on how to organize everything we were taking to keep things at a minimum. This is how we did it…

How we pack for multiple hotel stays

This hotel stay was going to be different. We were not lugging everything including the kitchen sink into the hotel room as we normally do. We were going to be organized, so we came up with a plan.

Packing the truck
We wanted to pack the truck to make things easily accessible when we needed them. Here’s how we did it from the front to the back.

What we bring inside the car:

In the seat between the kids, we always bring a toy bin of things the kids can play with. I have them choose their own toys they want to play with on their trip before we leave. They can only reach the toys on top, but it’s not too hard for me to turn around and hand them what they need when they ask.

Behind the toy bin is a red bag that holds some of our school materials including clipboards with blank white copy paper, workbooks, coloring books, and construction paper.

In the floor…

In front of Lily are 2 bags of snacks.
In front of Caleb is another box of schooling supplies.

What we bring inside the Camper Top:

Closest to the tailgate (See the picture above from Left to Right):
Box of shoes: We brought 3 pairs of shoes each. In the box we have our tennis shoes for times we needed them, but this box eventually made its way toward the back. We didn’t wear shorts often in the northern climate, so we just stuck with the boots we wore each day. We kept our sandals in a plastic bag in the hamper that we took into the hotel each day for showering.

Cooler: We brought a few cool foods that we would bring in with us to put in the fridge each night.

Computer Bag: This is my husband’s computer bag and it went with us everywhere.

Hamper Basket: This worked like a suitcase for us and went in the hotel each night. There were a few things that always stayed inside it like the medicine bag, diaper bag, and AED. We often stacked the bath bag and shower bag on top of it. Each time before entering the hotel, I would pull out clothes to wear for the next day from the black drawers, which we would talk about next.

Black Drawers: These drawers held all of our clothes. Each person in the family had a drawer. Additional drawers held swim suits, cold clothes gear (hats, scarves, & gloves), and pajamas.

Hanging Clothes: On the left are my husband’s work clothes and on the right we hung our heavy jackets.

The next section shown above includes these items…

On the left, is where my husband’s work box started out. It soon ended up under the dirty clothes hamper on the right because it was a frequently used item. We took it out at each of Andy’s events. We also kept his stool with the event box, since it would come out each time.
We brought a black bin that we filled with water bottles at the beginning of our trip. It was a lot cheaper than picking up a bottle of water at the gas station all the time.

Beyond that on the left are boxes of extra books, magazines, and pamphlets that we would use for Andy’s events over time, but we didn’t need all of them every time. For each event, I would pull out one box of each so I had them stacked with that in mind.

On the right, you’ll see the filled gas can, which we always carry with us on trips like this. You never know when you’ll be traveling in the middle of nowhere and need gas, but none of the stations are open.

Further back, are tools that always stay in the truck. Better to be prepared.

Once we checked into the hotel, the right side of the bed next to the black drawers was empty, so we brought Andy’s work stuff that he would need for his event forward for easy access.

After his events, we put all Andy’s work stuff back where they started and we’d return to the hotel.

The next morning everything we took into the hotel was returned to its place in the truck, but all the dirty clothes would be placed in the dirty clothes bin and would be replaced with new clothes for the next day.

Every couple of days, we tried to reserve a hotel that offered coin laundry, but occasionally we had to find a laundromat.

What do we take into the hotel?

Not the kitchen sink. I mentioned most of the items earlier in this post. Our list is much more streamlined and efficient. We quickly figured out a Tetris method of how to fit everything on the cart each time we roll it into the hotel. 

What homeschool materials did I chose to bring?

I minimalized my homeschooling materials for this trip, not because I didn’t plan on working with my kids, but because we didn’t have a lot of space. With what I know how, I could have weeded out even more. Here’s a list of things we actually used…

Dry erase markers
Dry erase board
Clipboards with blank copy paper

Before leaving, I found some worksheet resources I thought would benefit my kids on Teacherspayteachers. They have a lot of great products for all price ranges, even FREE!

I actually created a new product while on the road, so I used the business centers at various hotels along the way to print out the pages as I completed them for my kids to test out during schooling time. You can check out Veggie Themed Basic Math Activities at The Learning Wagon Store!

How and where do we fit in time to school?

We were able to fit in a little homeschooling every day. I tried doing things at various times during the day, but on event days, we had fun carschooling. After getting Daddy all setup, we went back to the car got down to work. Sometimes, we just sat in our seats and used our clipboards to practice writing our last name, write numbers, or do basic addition. I used the dry erase board to practice reading letters, blending, sight words, and sentences. Other times, we had fun in the back of Daddy’s truck. With the hotel items dropped off and Daddy’s work stuff out, we had some space to have some sensory play with kinetic sand and play dough. When we had a day off, we homeschooled in the hotel or even better, we roadschooled. We found some awesome places nearby to learn from. The most memorable was seeing one of the Great Lakes, Lake Michigan. This was a first for our whole family! We had a great time playing at the beach, but we also enjoyed our trip to visit the De Zaan Windmill at Windmill Island Gardens. It’s the only authentic Dutch windmill still working in the United States! These were just a few of the great adventures we had traveling around from state to state.

I hope you found this post helpful or at least interesting to see a different way people live. In a future post, I'll be sharing some of our hotel traveling hacks! I hope you come back and join us! 

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God Bless You on Your Learning Journey ~

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