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Travel & Sleep

I remember our first trip with the twins… I did the thing where you actually pack every single thing in your house for the babies… then you look at your pile of stuff, then your suitcase, and realize that you can’t physically carry all of this stuff and 2 babies...

Traveling can be a big, exciting time for your family. It’s so fun to make memories in places you love or have new experiences with your little ones.

Traveling can also cause some anxieties...

WHERE are they going to sleep?

HOW are they going to sleep in a new place?

WHEN are they going to adjust to the time difference?

WHY is sleep still so important when you’re making these memories?

Well, let’s go question by question, and I will give you all my travel sleep tips for littles!

WHERE are they going to sleep?

There are SO many products out there for littles to sleep in, mainly pack n plays. I don’t really have a favorite pack n play, but I do love them for sleep on the go.

If bringing a pack n play just isn’t an option for you, then there are places to rent pretty much anything you could need for baby sleep. One of my favorites is called You can rent pack n plays, cribs, car seats, strollers etc… so you don’t have to lug all of those things around with you.

When you get to your location, I recommend sleeping baby in a well ventilated, but DARK space. I love a walk in closet or bathroom for sleeping, especially for our little babies. This will help with noise and darkness which are our two biggest issues when traveling.

For our slightly older kiddos who don’t fit a pack n play anymore, this is a great time to consider renting a full size crib. You would also be surprised at how long littles can fit in a pack n play as they spend a lot of their sleeping moments curled up anyways. If that isn’t an option, or if your child is already out of a crib at home- then you can definitely just sleep them on a bed in your accommodation or an inflatable toddler bed. If your toddler sleeps on a mattress on the floor, then just pull a mattress onto the floor for them! We get to be creative here.

HOW are they going to sleep?

So we want to try our best to make their sleep accommodations while traveling as similar to their sleep space at home as possible. This will help with them waking in the night and not knowing where they are.

Comfort items

Bring a stuffy, blanket, pillow from home that they are used to sleeping with. This familiar feel and smell will help them settle into a new space


Have a plan for darkness. Find some portable black out shades, or purchase/rent a SlumberPod (if you don’t know what they are, check them out!) And in a pinch, black trash bags or aluminum foil work too!


Bring a portable sound machine or if you have room, just throw their sound machine into your suitcase- it will make all the difference and muffle any unfamiliar sounds.


Sticking to a pretty normal routine while on vacation will be so helpful in your child’s ability to sleep. Yes, that won’t always be possible, but trying to keep things pretty predictable around sleep whenever you can is awesome. This routine will be the biggest cue to them that sleep and the expectations around sleep have not changed even with the change in scenery.

WHEN are they going to adjust to the time difference?

If you are traveling to a new time zone, there are a few things to consider:

1- Prepare in advance. Just like with Daylight Saving Time, you can begin to prepare for the time change before you go on your trip by adjusting your schedule slowly at home.

2- Just go with it. If preparing in advance is not an option, then just go with it in your new time zone- you may have some early mornings or earlier bedtimes, but with time the shift should settle in.

3- Be patient. With every hour you shift your time zone, expect the adjustment to take a day. So say you go somewhere with a 2 hour shift, expect that shift to settle in after 2ish days. If you are traveling overseas and the shift is much bigger then know that you need to give it more time.

WHY is sleep so important when you’re making these memories?

If you think about your child’s normal day. They thrive off of routine. Most families do. So when we travel, not only do they not have the routine of getting out of their bed, eating in their chair, playing with their toys…. they are experiencing SO much new stuff. While this is exciting and fun, it is also extremely stimulating and exhausting!

So we want to be sure that we offer them their rest as much, if not more, than we typically do when we are at home, because they will NEED it. And to be honest? SO WILL YOU.

Final tips:

-Plan car travel around sleep times. If you have a 2 hour drive, plan it around nap time. I am not a huge lover of naps in the car, but if you can fit it in within your travel plans then it’s not a bad idea. Then when you get to your destination, you’re not running around getting everything set for bedtime, but you can settle into your space.

Another consideration for slightly longer rides with younger babes is to start the ride at bedtime. If you have a longer drive to do, you can consider getting your babe all ready for bed and letting them sleep the first part of their night in the car. Is it the most perfect sleep? Probably not. But it does keep you from multiple meltdowns and trying to juggle feeding, play time, and fussy babes for a longer ride.

-Make a plan. It’s always nice before you travel to just sit down with your partner or travel companion and make a couple of plans for different things. One of these plans can include sleep, so you don’t get blindsided by things you have not considered.

-Be prepared to sit out once in a while. If you know there are several big events planned in a day, you are totally allowed to sit one or two out to protect your child’s sleep (and everyone’s sanity)- it’s okay. You’re traveling with littles, you need to take space and ask for what you need.

-Get creative. If you have multiple children on different amounts of naps, you may just have to get creative. Plan to do a car nap or baby wear for a nap. Just make a plan and go with the flow. It’ll be okay.

So basically- don’t be scared to travel! You can do it. Are there many moving parts? Sure. But when you do it once, you will get better and better at doing it again.

Enjoy those trips with your littles, can’t wait to see where you adventure next.



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