Vacations are a time for rest, relaxation, and time well spent with family, but traveling can be far from relaxing if you are stressed out about how your baby will sleep during your time away.
So, if you’re worried that trying to balance nighttime sleep routines, and naps will get in the way of you enjoying your vacation, read on. I am breaking down how you CAN enjoy your vacation, relax even just a little bit and still have a well-rested baby to enjoy the trip with you.
7 Tips For Traveling With an Infant or Toddler
#1 Make Sure Your Baby is Rested Before Departure: A great start leads to a great finish in this situation! You want to make sure you are starting out with a well-rested baby before you head out for your trip. You want to make sure your baby is getting enough sleep to prevent an overtired and fussy infant during your travels, so strive to really stay on your current schedule the week leading up to your vacation, even amidst all of the packing and preparation.
#2 Plan, Plan, Plan: Planning is going to be key. Try to plan as much as you can beforehand. Call the resort you are staying at and inquire about cribs or pack n’ plays, or consider renting from babysaway.com as they will deliver and even set up in most major cities and even the Hawaiian islands. It’s a total gamechanger for convenience when it comes to traveling with a baby or toddler.
#3 Pack the Essentials: If your little one is used to a noise machine, a certain security blanket, or a sleep sack or swaddle, be sure to pack these with you! You can also bring your own crib sheets to keep things consistent for your baby or toddler and recreate a very similar sleeping environment for when you are away.
#4 Focus on One Solid Nap Per Day: It’s totally understandable that you don’t want to be stuck in a hotel room planning your day around every single nap, so just focus on getting one solid nap per day. Try to get one in early before you head out for the day, or in the early afternoon after your activities. Don’t worry if your little one needs to take a nap on the go during vacation.
#5 Adjust Sleep Times as Needed: If you are traveling to a new time zone, then you will need to adjust sleep time accordingly. If traveling west to east and staying for five days or less, keep your infant/child on the same time zone. This is called "vacation time."If traveling west to east, and staying more than five days, move your infant/child to the new time zone. Your child's body (their circadian rhythms) will naturally adjust on its own. If traveling east to west, it may be a little harder as your infant or child will want to wake up earlier. Push out bedtime and stretch out naps the first few days you are in your new location to help your child adjust.
#6 Start Your Bedtime Routine Earlier: When you are away, your infant or toddler may need a little more time with you before they go to bed, and that’s ok! Plan to spend an extra 10-15 minutes with them at bedtime, and start your bedtime routine earlier to be consistent with getting your infant or child to bed at the same time.
#7 Be a Little More Flexible: Last but not least is to be a little more flexible while still avoiding establishing new habits while on vacation. This is vacation, after all, so your routine may look a little bit different. Your little one may not be napping as much, and their bedtime may have to be adjusted a bit according to any new time zones. Be a little more flexible, and try to enjoy your time away as much as possible. You can get right back on track when you get back home, just do what you can while on vacation!
If you’re planning a vacation this summer, and are super stressed about how it’s all going to go with your newly sleep trained infant or toddler, fear not! There are so many ways to keep a routine even on vacation, and not completely disrupt your little one’s sleep routine. The bottom line is that with a little preparation, you can enjoy your trip, relax a little bit, get some sleep yourself, and have a well-rested baby even while on vacation.