I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “traveling with kids isn’t a vacation… it’s just parenting in a different location”. Which from experience is pretty accurate.
Full transparency, I don’t have any magical tips or tricks to make traveling with littles feel like vacation because well, we are parents of babies and toddlers… but I can help you prepare for sleep-filled nights, even when traveling by following my 5 simple travel tips.
Do you imagine your trip going like this…
You are visiting family for the holidays. It is 7 pm. Time for bedtime and then enjoy a nightcap with your sister whom you rarely get a chance to catch up with. But instead, you end up being bed-trapped. You tell your toddler that it is time for bed. You tuck them in, say good night, and leave the room. Just Kidding! Your toddler is refusing to go to sleep unless you lay in bed with them. Say goodbye to that glass of wine and hello to being bed-trapped every single night on vacation.
Maybe you are dreading bedtime because your little one is overtired and wired. Which means no sleep for anyone, especially you. Are you ready to get back home yet?
It doesn’t have to be that way!
Traveling with your little one doesn’t have to be stressful when it comes to sleep.
Here are 5 travel tips for successful sleep:
- Replicate their bedtime routine as close as possible. An example of a healthy bedtime routine is:
Bath (if bath night)
- Total Sleep. Depending on the age of your little one there is a goal total amount of sleep that little ones their age typically get over 24 hours. It is so important that get as close as possible to this number. If not, then you will have a child that is both wired and overtired – which iykyk is not a good time. Grab my FREE Sleep Chart here to use as a cheat sheet when it comes to overall total sleep.
- Separate Sleep Space. A separate sleep space is so important. Try to have a separate room for your little one to go to sleep alone, as they do at home, if possible. If in a hotel, try to reserve a suite so that there is a separate sleep space. This will help them stay on track with their bedtime, especially if staying in a hotel.
- Pack the bedtime essentials with you: Replicate their sleep space as closely as possible.
- White noise sound machine. We have travel sound machines that we keep in the stroller or the van, but we typically bring our regular sound machine when we travel. It just works best for us. We love our Hatch!
- Favorite nighttime book. Pack the book. Even if you know the book word for word front to back. Our kids thrive on routine.
- Favorite stuffie. Never forget the stuffie. Parent tip (from someone who has a toddler that misplaced her beloved stuffie): buy multiple of their favorite stuffed animal. Keep one in the car, and the other in your bedroom closet.
- Bedding. If your little one is using a pack-n-play then toss the pack-n-play sheets in the dryer with their other clothes so that it has the scent of home. I also suggest packing their blanket and pillow. We always bring our kiddos’ favorite blanket and toddler pillow. Our faves are linked below!
- Room darkening shades: We LOVE the Sleepout shades. They are easy to pack and easier to put up. I have them linked below!
- Give yourself some grace. It may take a few days to get back on track once you return home. Be patient. Try to stick to your daily and bedtime routines as closely as possible.
Our favorite sleep products:
- Hatch Rest– Our all-time favorite sound machine. My favorite feature is that I can change the settings from my phone in the other room. This is a staple in our home.
- Toddler Pillows– The cutest little pillows that fit perfectly in a crib or pack-n-play.
- Baby Monitor – This is our personal favorite. The split screen feature is so convenient when you have two under two. And the 1000ft range is a game changer. We can be out in the driveway or backyard with the neighbors but still able to keep an eye on the kids. Winning!
- The Sleep Out – Complete Game Changer. Perfect for replicating a dark room when you are traveling. Honestly, I wish that I had The Sleepout years ago when Charlie was a baby.
- A few of our favorite bedtime books!
Remember – once a little one has the skills of independent sleep (falling asleep and back to sleep on their own), they are able to get back on track quicker once returning home than if they don’t have those skills.
Interested in helping your little one learn these skills? Let’s chat! Grab time on my calendar here for a FREE Sleep Assessment Call.