Baby Sleep While Traveling: 10 Crucial Tips

Are you planning a trip and wondering, where does baby sleep while traveling? What does baby sleep IN when traveling? HOW do I get my baby to sleep when traveling??

Since our little guy was born, he has been on more trips than we can count, and it’s not even his first birthday yet!

We’ve tested out the most recommended sleep products for traveling with a baby, and experimented a little ourselves too. We’re here to tell you what’s worked for us!

Keep scrolling for product recommendations, setup arrangements, and tips for what you might expect from your little one!

Note: This is from our experience with our baby who is less than 1-year old! We don’t have experience with toddler sleep travel (yet!) but we will update this as time goes on.

10 Crucial Tips for Baby Sleep While Traveling

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1. Research Your Accommodations

Baby sleeping on hotel bed supervised
Note: Baby was supervised while sleeping on this hotel bed!

If your baby is used to certain conditions at home, it IS possible to try and recreate those conditions somewhere else too!

Before booking, I have a series of questions to ask our Airbnb host or hotel staff before we visit. This helps me know what to expect with room conditions, so i can pack accordingly!

Here are my questions for baby sleep when traveling:

  • Does the room have windows? Roughly how large?
  • Are there blackout shades? How dark does the room get?
  • Does the hotel provide travel cribs?
  • What is the wifi situation like? (some baby monitors require it)
  • What is the quietest part of the hotel? Could we be placed there?

We have called to ask these questions before, and hotel staff have changed our room to accommodate!

We were given a space with darker light, and they provided us with extra sheets and towels for the baby too. It never hurts to ask!

2. Bring Familiar Sleep Essentials

what does baby sleep in while traveling - sleep travel gear

Here are the familiar baby sleep essentials we bring for our little guy:

  • Portable crib
  • Sound machine 
  • Pacifiers (bring some backups just in case!)
  • Sleep sack/swaddle/sleep suit
  • Blackout shades or Slumberpod
  • extra crib sheets
  • Other routine essentials (books, etc)

You may be wondering, “do I need a travel crib?” The short answer is, yes, you probably will need something for baby to sleep in!

However, some hotels provide travel cribs (mostly pack-n-plays) but if you’ve got a teeny newborn, those may not be the most comfortable! (More bassinet-style suggestions in Tip #4)

3. Be flexible in sleep schedules (But Try hard to Maintain!)

It’s not always practical to emulate the exact sleep routine you have at home! We elaborate on this with Tip #5 and #8, but it’s important to try and stick to a general sleep routine!

That can look like going to bed at the same time every day or sticking to (or at least trying!) a predictable nap schedule.

Whatever that looks like for you, attempting to keep as much normal routine as possible can help your little one adjust on the go.

4. Understand the Safe Sleep 7 Guidelines

The AAP does not recommend sleeping with a baby in your bed, for the increased risk of SIDS and suffocation.

However, sometimes no matter how hard you try to put them to sleep in their own space, you’re desperate for everyone to get a good night’s rest!

Now, co-sleeping (sleeping in the same bed as your baby) is not for everyone. We aren’t here to tell you HOW to sleep with your baby, but we do think it’s important to know how to do it safely!

Here are the Safe Sleep 7 – tips for co-sleeping with your child if you choose to do so:

  1. No smoking
  2. Caregivers are sober, no drowsy medications or alcohol
  3. Breastfeed if possible
  4. Make sure baby is healthy and full-term
  5. Baby is on their back, on a not-too-soft bed
  6. Baby is lightly dressed, no swaddling
  7. Keep sheets, covers, pillows away from their body, close any gaps in the bed.

Note: Some hotel beds are too soft, therefore restricting baby’s ability to move to safety if in a compromising position. Always assess your sleep area (ideally before everyone is tired!) and have a plan for if things go awry at night.

Alternatives and safe preparation gear include the Baby Delight Snuggle Portable Bassinet (up to 5 months), the huggybee baby travel bassinet, or even the Uppababy bassinet (with the stand) if you have that system for your stroller!

5. Try for (at Least) one good nap a day

baby sleep while traveling

Vacation inevitably takes you outside of your normal routine, and that’s okay!

It’s important for Berty and I to instill some level of flexibility in our family, especially since we travel so much!

That being said, we DO know how important sleep is, so we strive to have at least ONE solid nap in a familiar and comfortable space.

Other naps can be on the go (in the car, in the hiking carrier) but there should be at least one block on time with deep, quality sleep.

For us, this looks like returning to the hotel during the day, and letting him sleep in a familiar environment. Honestly it’s a win-win because Berty and I get a break too!

6. Practice with your travel gear at home

Do you know how to get up your travel sleeping gear for baby?

Things like the Slumberpod are amazing, but honestly a little tricky to put together your first time around!

Just like when practicing setting up your camping gear (like during backyard camping!) practice setting up your baby’s travel sleeping gear at least once before your trip!

7. Set up your sleep space right away

As soon as you arrive at your destination, set up all your baby’s travel sleep gear RIGHT AWAY.

Don’t leave this to the last-minute, especially if your baby is overtired.

Setting their sleeping space up ASAP means you’ll be ready for them when they are!

Remember, this also includes a diaper station for easy midnight changes. If you are breastfeeding or pumping, make sure all your equipment is out and ready to go!

8. Lower Your Sleep Expectations (Give yourself Grace!)

Sleeping tips for baby while traveling

It’s OKAY if they don’t have the best time sleeping. They aren’t in their usual environment!

Just remember that you are doing the best you can. Even reading this blog post means you care about their sleep, and want the best for them on your trip.

Give yourself a lot of grace and patience. If you implement these tips, you are on your way to setting up the best possible travel sleep for your baby!

9. Have a plan for midnight cleanup!

Blowouts happen. In fact, it’s probably best if you expect them!

Prepping for cleanup BEFORE the mess happens will make those late night emergencies a little easier to deal with!

One way we like to prepare is by creating a cleanup bag. This bag includes:

10. Know the temperature of your sleep space

This baby travel sleeping tip seems to be overlooked, but it’s VERY important for a good night’s rest!

Are you changing weather environments? Are you going from a hot to cold climate? Vice versa?

Remember that safe baby sleeping clothing varies based on the temperature and humidity of the room. It’s important to dress baby accordingly.

If you need more information on how to do that, read here for TOG ratings in clothing and an infograph on how to properly dress your baby for sleep!

What other tips do you have for baby sleep while traveling? Let us know in the comments!


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