Sleep While Traveling: 10 Tips to Keep Your Baby or Toddler on Track

You’ve finally gotten to take a few days off and vacation! All you want to do is relax and have fun with your family, but missing naps and bedtime battles can cause extra crying, tantrums, and stress for parents!

Traveling for vacation, to see family, or out of necessity can be quite a challenge when you can’t get your child to sleep. Even the best sleepers can be thrown off by the change of a new place. So whether you:

1. Are worried because your child already isn’t a great sleeper…

2. Just recently Sleep Trained and you’re worried about a regression…

3. Have a champion sleeper but you’ve noticed in the past travel has caused some issues…

Here are some things you can try on your next trip. Short or long, near or far, anytime your child is in a new place and especially if there is a change in routine, your child may struggle with sleep.

10 Sleep Tips:

1. Create a sleep environment as close to what they are used to as possible.

2. Bring the black out shades, white noise, normal fitted sheets, favorite bedtime books, and loveys.

3. Play with your child in their new sleep environment before trying to get them to sleep there.

4. Do what you can to maintain their sleep schedule and bedtime routines.

5. Be prepared for the first night or two to be a challenge and create a plan that will work best for your family.

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6. Make sure they are getting enough nap time during the day. Remember, poor daytime sleep can cause poor nighttime sleep. You may need to "do what you need to do" to get in those naps (car ride, stroller walk, nap in your arms). It's okay to do things differently if it's needed for a short period of time.

7. If they sleep in their own room at home, its better for them to sleep in their own room when away when its an option. Look for suite hotel rooms with an extra space for that Pack N' Play or Airbnbs with extra bedrooms or big walk-in closets. Of course, it's not always going to happen!

8. Have a plan. If they cry more than normal, what’s plan A, B?

9. Be clear with other family/friends that are with you of what to expect and what your plan is. You may want to even prepare for the unsolicited advice you're going to get.

10. It’s okay if you decide to provide more support than normal even if your child is already an independent sleeper! Just be ready for a longer adjustment period to get back to normal when you’re home.

As with all sleep tips, the tricky part is that each child is different. Some may adjust very easily whereas others take several days.

My own daughter wasn’t affected much by changes when she was 3-4 months old but took a full 24 hours to adjust during our recent vacation when she was 10 months old. Luckily, by night 2 she was back to her regular sleep patterns and we enjoyed the rest of our trip!

When you’re back home from traveling you want to get back into your regular routines and schedules. Don’t be alarmed if there is a few days of adjustment resulting in negative effects on sleep. Stay consistent with what was working before and your child should adjust back to their norms.

If you use any of these tips on your next trip, tag me on Instagram @nights_andnaps

Do you have more questions about Sleep? Email me at or learn more about my Sleep Consulting services!

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