Sleeping on the Go: Essential Tips for Baby Sleep and Travel Success

Well, we are about half way through summer!  I cannot believe how time is flying by!  I am guessing that you may have a trip or two planned before the summer ends, so here are my essential tips for your baby’s sleep while you travel.  As a parent, you know that sleep is crucial for your baby’s overall health and well-being. A well-rested baby is a happy baby, and adequate sleep is essential for their physical and cognitive development. When it comes to traveling with a baby, ensuring they get enough sleep can be challenging. However, with proper planning and preparation, you can create a sleep-friendly environment that will help your little one rest comfortably while on the go.

Challenges of traveling with a baby

Traveling with a baby can present a unique set of challenges. Babies thrive on routine, and any disruption to their regular sleep schedule can result in crankiness, restlessness and difficulty falling asleep at naptime and at bedtime. Additionally, the unfamiliar surroundings of a new destination can make it difficult for them to settle down and fall asleep. As a parent, it can be stressful to navigate through these challenges while still ensuring your baby gets the sleep they need.  But don’t cancel those plans just yet… here are ways to make the trip go smoother so you can all enjoy your time together.

Tips for creating a sleep-friendly travel environment

It’s important to try your best to create a sleep-friendly environment for your baby while traveling, but with a little creativity and some items from home you will have your little one sleeping in no time!

  1. Pack familiar items: Bring along your baby’s favorite blanket (18 months+) and stuffed animal (age 12 months+)  that they associate with sleep. Pack their crib sheet from their crib (I even suggest not washing it before you leave to keep the smell of home om it)! These familiar objects can provide a sense of security and help them feel more at ease in a new environment.  Also, bring along your sound machine and any other easy to pack items that will help create an environment like home.
  2. Choose appropriate accommodations: When booking your accommodations, opt for a baby-friendly hotel or rental that provides a quiet and comfortable space for your little one to sleep. Look for amenities such as blackout curtains and cribs.  Bring black trash bags and painters tap with you to black out the windows if need be, or opt for a portable blackout curtain.  I also suggest bringing a dark sheet with you if you are sharing a room.  You can hang it with thumbtacks to create a separate sleep space for your little one.
  3. Stick to a routine: While it may be challenging to maintain your baby’s usual sleep schedule while traveling, try to stick to your consistent routine as much as possible. This means keeping their nap and bedtime routines consistent, even if it means adjusting the timing slightly to accommodate your travel plans.  The more that you can

Establishing a sleep routine while traveling

Establishing a sleep routine while traveling can help your baby adjust to new surroundings and promote better sleep. Here’s how you can create a sleep routine while on the go:

  1. Maintain familiar sleep cues: Use the same sleep cues that you use at home to signal to your baby that it’s time to sleep. This could include singing a lullaby, reading a bedtime story, or giving them a warm bath before bed.
  2. Create a peaceful sleep environment: Dim the lights, reduce noise, and ensure the temperature in the room is comfortable for your baby. These factors can help create a calming atmosphere that promotes sleep.
  3. Be consistent: Try to replicate the same sleep routine every night, regardless of your location. Consistency is key when it comes to helping your baby adjust to different environments and sleep well while traveling.  The more rested your baby is, the better the trip will be.

Essential sleep aids for traveling with a baby

When it comes to traveling with a baby, certain sleep aids can make a world of difference. Consider packing the following essential items to help your baby sleep better:

  1. Travel crib: Investing in a portable travel crib or playpen (with a playpen mattress) can provide a familiar and comfortable sleep space for your baby, no matter where you are. Look for a lightweight and easy-to-assemble one that meets safety standards.
  2. White noise machine: A white noise machine can help drown out unfamiliar sounds and create a soothing environment for your baby to sleep in. Choose a portable and battery-operated option for ease of use while traveling.
  3. Blackout curtains: Again, if your accommodations don’t have blackout curtains, consider packing portable ones  or black trash bags and painters tape, that can be easily attached to windows. These curtains can help darken the room, creating a sleep-friendly environment for your baby.
  4. Slumber Pod :  Consider purchasing or renting a Slumber Pod for your trip.  These can help to create a dark environment for your kiddo.  Want to take a look?  Check them out and use this discount if you decide to purchase.

Managing time zone changes and jet lag

Traveling across different time zones can disrupt your baby’s sleep patterns and cause jet lag. To help them adjust more smoothly, consider the following tips:

  1. Gradual adjustment: If possible, start adjusting your baby’s sleep schedule a few days before your trip. Gradually shift their bedtime and nap times closer to the destination’s time zone to minimize the impact of jet lag.
  2. Expose them to natural light: Natural light exposure can help regulate your baby’s internal body clock. Spend time outdoors during daylight hours, especially in the morning, to help them adjust to the new time zone.
  3. Stick to local schedule: Once you arrive at your destination, try to adapt to the local schedule as soon as possible. This means feeding your baby and putting them to bed at the appropriate times according to the new time zone.

Tips for keeping your baby comfortable during travel

Ensuring your baby’s comfort while traveling is essential for a successful trip. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Dress in layers: Opt for lightweight and breathable clothing that can be easily layered. This allows you to adjust your baby’s clothing according to the temperature changes during your journey.
  2. Pack essentials in a carry-on: Keep a well-stocked carry-on bag with essentials such as diapers, wipes, extra clothing, and snacks. Having everything within reach will make it easier to address any immediate needs that may arise during the journey.
  3. Take frequent breaks: If you’re traveling by car, make sure to take frequent breaks to allow your baby to stretch, feed, and have a diaper change. These breaks can provide much-needed comfort and help prevent restlessness.  Leaving 30 minutes before their regular naptime can give them a chance to settle in first and then drift off to dreamland close to their regular time.

Handling sleep disruptions while on the go

Even with the best-laid plans, sleep disruptions can still occur while traveling with a baby. Here’s how you can handle them:

  1. Stay calm and patient: Remember that babies are sensitive to your emotions. Stay calm and patient when your baby experiences sleep disruptions, as your stress can further exacerbate the situation.
  2. Comfort and soothe: If your baby wakes up during the night or has difficulty falling asleep, do a few checks to offer them support and comfort.
  3. Adjust expectations: Understand that your baby’s sleep patterns may not be perfect while traveling. Be flexible and adjust your expectations accordingly. Focus on creating a comfortable and nurturing environment, rather than striving for perfect sleep.

Traveling with a baby: Dos and Don’ts

To ensure a smooth travel experience with your baby, keep these dos and don’ts in mind:


  • Do plan your travel itinerary with your baby’s sleep needs in mind.
  • Do bring plenty of snacks, toys, and entertainment to keep your baby occupied during the journey.
  • Do research baby-friendly activities and attractions at your destination.


  • Don’t overpack unnecessary items that will only add to your baggage.
  • Don’t disregard safety precautions when choosing accommodations or transportation.
  • Don’t stress over every little disruption to your baby’s sleep routine. Remember, adaptability is key when traveling with a baby.

 Enjoying travel with your baby

Traveling with a baby may require some extra planning and preparation, but it can be an incredibly rewarding experience for both you and your little one. By creating a sleep-friendly environment, establishing a routine, and packing essential sleep and comfort items, you can help your baby sleep better while on the go. Remember to be flexible, stay calm, and enjoy the journey. With the right approach, you can create lasting memories and ensure a successful sleep and travel experience with your baby.

Did you find this article helpful? Please comment below!  Want to make sure that you don’t miss my weekly tips and blog posts? Follow me on Instagram for more tips and advice! If you need more support with your little one’s sleep before you set out on your adventure, take a look at my Private Sleep Coaching Packages to the support that I offer families that work with me.

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