Hotel day rates can save your day, and your sanity, when you’re stuck with a long airport layover. 
The kids were thrilled at the idea of spending almost nine hours stuck in the airport.

The kids were thrilled at the idea of spending almost nine hours stuck in the airport.

Someone was crying in the playground. That someone was me.  I wasn’t actually crying, but  just on the verge of tears. I think I was too tired to cry. We’d all been up since 4 am and had just missed our connecting flight by one minute. One. The next flight was in 8 1/2 hours. For the moment the kids were having fun at the indoor playground. But I knew any time now they would tire of the pretend air traffic control tower and I’d be facing eight hours negotiating screen time, sugary treats, petty arguments and purchases from HMS Host.

The playground at O'Hare.

The playground at O’Hare.

Then I noticed a small item on the airport map marked ‘hotel’. Cut to the three of us snuggled under fresh sheets in a quiet hotel room. Curtains drawn, lights out. Cue soft snores. Saved by the hotel day rate.

The glamorous scene in an airport terminal.

The glamorous scene in an airport terminal.

Many airport hotels offer day rates for travelers who want to stay between the hours of 9am and 6pm at a much discounted price than an overnight (hours and rates vary from hotel to hotel) . Finding a hotel with a day rate is easy with several sites like BookADayRoom.com, DayUseHotels.com and Between9and5.com where you can search by city or airport. Or like me, you can can the hotel direct and ask if they offer a day rate. Airport info kiosk also may also have information and costs for daytime stays. The day rate is pretty common knowledge in Europe, but here in the US getting the day rate is like ordering a Flying Dutchman at In-N-Out Burger. You just have to know to ask.
We checked out of the hotel in time to grab a bite to eat and board our 9:30 pm flight. My 6 year-old insisted that we had spent an entire night at the hotel, and I, being so rested and revived, didn’t care to argue.

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