Sleep Tips and Tricks While Traveling

Your suitcases are packed, your out of office email is set up, and you are ready for a nice, long, relaxing summer vacation trip! Said. No. Mom. Ever…

While vacationing as a parent is fun, it definitely comes with its fair share of stress and let’s face it, isn’t always a true “vacation” for moms. Going into the trip you may be worrying how your travel plans are going to impact your little one’s sleep habits. Whether you’re heading to a beach house, staying in a hotel, a family member’s house, or even traveling internationally there are things you can do to remain consistent with your sleep routine. 


First, try to recreate your baby’s sleep space at your travel destination. You don’t need to drive yourself crazy packing their entire room but bring the things they are used to and make for a good night’s sleep. Things like their sound machine, swaddle or sleep sack will definitely help make the new space feel familiar. 

It is also important that safe sleep doesn’t take a backseat while traveling. Your baby should still be in their own sleep space, alone. A Pack n’ Play is a super easy thing to bring with you and is usually suitable for children from birth to two or three years of age. After they graduate from the pack n’ play there are several, portable bed options for toddlers. Helpful links to these items will be linked at the bottom of the article! 


If lugging things like pack n’ plays and toddler beds isn’t something that sounds realistic or attainable for you there are companies that you can rent baby equipment from. and are two companies where you can rent not only sleep essentials but also car seats, high chairs, and even toys while traveling!

Secondly, keep your baby’s sleep space as dark as possible. Sometimes when traveling, sharing a room with your little one is unavoidable. If that isn’t something they are used to, it can cause some disruption in their sleep. You may need to get creative and place baby’s sleep essentials in a space like a walk-in closet (with the door cracked and a fan for ventilation) or even a bathroom so they can get the uninterrupted sleep they need. There are also some breathable covers, like a Slumber Pod you can add to a Pack n’ Play to make it feel like baby is in their own room. Personally, I use this on every trip, it is amazing and makes room sharing so much easier!

While vacation is supposed to be care-free and fun, sticking somewhat to your infant or toddler’s sleep schedule will help make the trip more enjoyable to everyone. Try to fit in naptime somewhere around their normal time, even if it means having to do it on the go. Pick and choose which nights will be more casual nights where your baby can get to bed at a normal time and which nights you’re going to be out later than normal. It’s totally fine to adjust their bedtime and nap schedules to fit your vacation lifestyle but try not to do it the entire trip. Keeping your littles well rested may seem hard to fit in during your trip but traveling with a well rested baby is much easier than an overtired, cranky one! 

If you’re traveling somewhere with a time difference, night time travel will most likely work best for you and your baby. Ideally, your little one will sleep through the travel part and wake up, being able to start their day in their new time zone. The best thing to do is to jump right into the new routine with the appropriate wake-up, nap time and bedtime in their new time zone. Try to maximize your baby’s outside time and physical activity to help reset their circadian rhythm. 


When returning from your trip, whether there be a time zone change involved or not, it is best to jump right back into your normal, daily routine. It’s the best way to ensure your child gets back into their sleep routine and habits as soon as possible. 

When all is said and done, however, try not to stress too much about sleep on vacation. Follow these basic guidelines to help you have a smooth trip but don’t let it ruin your trip. Have fun and enjoy the time away with your family! Sleep routines will be waiting for you when you return. 


Travel Sleep Links:

Toddler Travel Bed:


Travel Sound Machine:

Emily Vogel
I am a former Jersey Girl, turned NC gal after moving to Charlotte 5 years ago. I was a teacher of 10 years, and have recently shifted gears to becoming a Pediatric Sleep Consultant, helping and teaching families to get their little ones a restful night's sleep. I am a wife to Ben who I met in Charlotte, mom to a 1 year old little girl, Maeve, and a dog mom to a 3 year old Great Pyrenees pup, Cooper. I am passionate about helping and building connections with other moms, as it does truly take a village! Follow along on Instagram for all things infant and toddler sleep at @teachingsweetsleep or by visiting


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