Traveling with our little turkeys is HARD! I’ve been fortunate to travel often with my boys and it’s NEVER, EVER gone according to plan.
That’s tough for this type A, over-planner to swallow! But, after a decade of practice, I’m learning to go with the flow (a bit more!) and not have too many plans or even the highest of expectations that everything will go according to “the plan”.
In other words, I’m trying!
The days of carefree travel and only needing to take into consideration yourself and your partner. Bye-bye!
When planning a family vacation with a little one, it’s important to think about how your travel plans will affect their sleep and yours.
You’ll enjoy your holiday much more if you plan your trip in a way that honors your child’s sleep with as little disruption as possible to their schedule.
If you can try to do this then your baby will be rested, happy & alert for your adventures. Which ultimately means you’ll be happier as well.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when traveling over the holidays or anytime for that matter.
Tip 1: Don’t Try To Do Too Much!
One of the biggest mistakes parents make, they try to do just as much as they did in their “child-free” days.
Let’s not try to go for a hike in the morning, swimming in the afternoon, a tour in the late afternoon, and top the day off with a late-night dinner cruise.
Talk about cruising for disaster!
Slow down a try to get your kiddo regular naps and bedtimes, similar to your schedule at home.
Tip 2: Be consistent with naps and bedtime
As I mentioned above, try to stick to your baby’s sleep schedule as much as possible.
An occasional stroller nap or late bedtime won’t do too much harm provided your baby is well-rested.
But, if you start doing this every day, you’re going to have a very cranky baby and you’ll be headed for a meltdown.
I always encourage my clients to focus on the first nap of the day and bedtime. Those are most important for keeping your child well-rested.
Tip 3: Be patient as your baby acclimates to the new environment
Your baby might be the Michael Jordan of sleep at home but, when you’re in an unfamiliar environment, it can be an adjustment for everyone.
Sleep fact: Have you ever had trouble sleeping in a hotel? Especially the first night? Only half of your brain fully sleeps the first night when you’re in an unfamiliar environment so that’s why! You seriously don’t sleep as well. Usually, by the second night, your body will begin to adjust to your new environment and you’ll sleep much better. The same goes for your baby!
It’s normal for kiddos to have trouble falling asleep in the first few days and even test the boundaries around sleep when traveling.
It’s important to keep expectations the same even when at Grandma’s house!
Be consistent and your child will adjust to the new environment quickly.
Not saying you’ll actually sleep well on the tiny bed at your in-law’s house but, your baby can still have perfect sleep – so let them.
Tip 4: Bring Your Child’s Lovey or Blanket
If your baby has a lovey or favorite blanket, make sure you bring it. This little bit of comfort and familiarity will go a long way to help baby feel safe and fall asleep easier.
Forget it at your peril!
Sleep Tip: Bring your pillow from home and you’ll almost certainly sleep better anywhere you go. I never leave home for the night without mine.
Tip 5: If you’re not a co-sleeping family, don’t start now
Another big mistake parents make is they decide it’s easier to bedshare when they’re traveling. Even a few nights of this and your baby will decide this is the preferred way of sleeping.
You’ll have a huge problem on your hands when you get home and try to put baby back into a crib!
Personally, I’ve never liked sleeping with a drunken octopus that’s looking for it’s keys, so I never attempted this co-sleeping thing. I like my space and so do my kiddos.
The good news is, most hotels have a crib you can use or rent. You could also take your portable playpen along and use that as a crib.
Traveling can be HARD with kids. And, the holidays can be HARD as well.
But, I can guarantee that you’ll enjoy your travels MUCH more if your baby is already a great sleeper AND you can keep them from getting over-tired on vacation.
There’s time to get your baby sleeping well before you go. Imagine enjoying your vacation with a baby that sleeps so that you can sleep!
Sounds like bliss to me!
My clients tell me over and over that, they should’ve hired me sooner!
Book a totally FREE discovery call with me today.
Together, we’ll get your baby sleeping through the night in a few short nights!
Here’s to a well-rested family,