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5 Sleep Tips For Traveling With a Baby or Toddler

Updated: Jun 2, 2023

When planning a family holiday with a baby, an important thing to consider is how your travel plans will affect your child’s sleep routine. You’ll have a much more enjoyable vacation if you organise your trip in a way that allows for as little disruption as possible to your little one’s sleep schedule. This will help ensure she gets the rest she needs to be happy, healthy, and alert during your trip, which is bound to make your holiday more enjoyable for everyone!

Here are some top tips from our Sleep Expert Richelle Franklin from Sleep Right Tonight, to help ensure sure your babies get the sleep they need during your travels

Baby sleep tips while travelling

Tip 1: Don’t over-schedule

One of the biggest mistakes parents make is to try to pack in all the fun and adventure they might have had back in their child-free days. The fact is, when you travel with a baby, you can’t plan to go bungee-jumping in the morning, swim with dolphins in the early afternoon, go parasailing in the late afternoon, and go on a dinner cruise in the evening. It’s better to slow down the pace and make sure you schedule regular naps and early bedtimes, just like you would at home.

Tip 2: Consistent naptime and bedtime

An occasional nap in the car seat or a later-than-usual bedtime probably won’t do too much harm. Still, if your baby’s naps are all over the place and she goes to bed much later than usual several days in a row, your baby will become so overtired and cranky that a complete meltdown will be inevitable.

Tip 3: Be patient as your baby acclimatises to the new environment

Even if your baby is the best little sleeper in the world at home, when you’re in a strange environment, things might be very different. It’s normal for babies and toddlers to test boundaries around sleep when they’re someone new. Just because you have certain rules at home, they won’t automatically understand that the same rules apply at Nanna’s house.

In a strange place, your baby might cry for a while at bedtime or wake up at odd times during the night. The best way to handle this kind of behaviour is to react the same way you would at home. Go into the room every five minutes or so to offer a bit of reassurance, but other than that, don’t bend your rules. If you hang on tight to your consistency within the first night or two, your child will be used to the new environment and will be sleeping well again.

Tip 4. Make sure you bring your child’s sleeping toy and/or blanket

If your child has a treasured comfort item, it will go a long way to helping him feel safe and secure enough to fall asleep in a strange environment. Forget it at your peril!

Tip 5. If you’re not a co-sleeping family, don’t start now

Another big mistake parents make is to start sharing a bed with their baby or toddler while travelling. Even if it’s only for a few nights, if your baby decides this is her new preferred way to sleep, you could find yourself dealing with a big problem when you get home and put her back in her crib.

The good news is most hotels have a cot or porta cot you can use or rent.

Enjoy your travels; you have got this.

To learn more about Sleep and your little one, purchase our Parents You've Got This Parenting Portal. Watch videos by our Sleep expert Richelle Franklin and follow her expert articles and guides in our Parenting Portal - your expert guide to parenthood. Alternatively, secure your spot at our free Starting Solids and Infant Sleep Masterclass to learn more.

This article was written by our Sleep Expert Richelle Franklin from Sleep Right Tonight.

Baby Sleep Travel Tips


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