One thing that I stressed about while traveling with our kids was getting them to sleep well. But, know that it does not have to be super stressful. There are some things that you can do to make sleep happen while traveling the world! Having a plan ahead of time is helpful.
It is ideal for your child to have their own sleep space. If there is an extra room, well that's perfect! But it doesn’t always work out that way. Sometimes you've just got to get creative. If you have a hotel room with a separate living space, that area could work for your child. Or if you’ve got access to a bathroom or walk in closet that has airflow to it, that works too! My husband and I have done many trips where our child slept in a bathroom or walk-in closet and it was a great set up for them.
During our trips, our son sleeps in a pack n play and now that my daughter is close to the age of 3, we’ve switched her to an inflatable toddler bed. Because we used a pack n play so much with my daughter, we purchased a more comfortable mattress for it. This is only safe for 1 year old and up!! We've brought it on road trips and have even packed it in a checked suitcase for flights.
Try your best to recreate a good sleep environment. A dark room is ideal. An easy way to do this is by bringing portable black out curtains. There are a couple that we use and like! These curtains have suctions cups on the back of them and are super easy to stick on the window. And these shades have a strip at the top of them that easily apply to the window frame. Both work great!
Another must is a sound machine! It’s helps to block out other noises, and is a positive sleep association for many babies and toddlers. This is the sound machine that we have in my daughters room that is easy to travel with, and this is a smaller more portable sound machine that we use in my sons room and also travel with!
Bring any items that may comfort your little ones. For a baby under 1 year, this may be a swaddle, sleep sack, or paci. For a child over a year old, it may be a sleep sack, paci, lovey, stuffed animal, or a blankie. Both of our kids, even my 2.5 year old, use sleep sacks! I like these.
If possible, its great to stick to similar nap and bedtimes because a well rested baby is usually a happier baby. Napping at your home base may not always be possible, so you can try napping on the go, whether its baby wearing, in a stroller, or maybe in a pop up tent on the beach. If naps are missed or just not happening on some vacation days, then try to move bedtime up an hour.
Lastly, follow your usual bedtime routine. Babies and toddlers love routine and it can give them comfort knowing what comes next. It's a great way to help calm and settle them before sleeping in a new place.
If your baby's sleep does not go as well as you'd hoped while traveling, don't sweat it. When you get home, get back on track with your child's normal sleep routine. If some bad sleep habits were started on vacation, let it end there. Your child will get back on track within a few days!
Your Sleep BFF,