10 Sleep Tips for Traveling with Children

Traveling with children can be a fun and rewarding experience. You get to take the chance to show them things they have never seen and watch their eyes fill up with wonder.

You get to watch as they try new foods, meet new people and gain experiences that will stay with them for a lifetime. Sounds like a lot of fun, doesn’t it?

Most of the time, it is a blast. However, there is one area that can sour your entire travel experience, sleeping.

Most children like consistency. They do best when they are tucked into their beds, perhaps with a favorite stuffed animal and are sleeping on a consistent schedule. Therefore, travel can really upset their routine.

However, this upset does not mean that you can’t travel with your children. You simply need a few tips to make things smoother.

In this article, we will give you eleven such tips, ensuring that both you and your children can sleep peacefully.

1) Be Well-Rested

Babies and children can accrue sleep debt very quickly. For that reason, it is important to make sure your kiddos are well-rested before you begin your journey.

The first thing is to rest well
The first thing is to rest well

Those children who are well-rested tend to adapt far more easily to losing a bit of sleep here and their than their non-rested counterparts.

2) Plan Around Sleep

Most children are excited or stimulated by travel of any kind. For that reason, it is important to plan your departure and arrival times around their naps.

If your little one happens to nap in the morning, leave after that morning nap and not before. Always try to arrive at your destination by their typical bedtime. Naps on the road are always less restorative.

If the child’s nap was shorter than normal, plan for an earlier bedtime.

 3) Think Ahead

Going from their own bedroom to being crammed into a room with you can be difficult for everyone involved, not just the children. For that reason, a little planning can save your sanity.

If you are intending to stay in a hotel, splurging on a suite can be a good idea. That way, you can have more living space.

You can even save on food costs if you have a kitchenette. You can store your own milk and snacks which has the bonus benefit of making feeding your children more convenient.

Plan your departure
Plan your departure

However, sometimes you will wind up in one room. Rearrange the furniture, and hang a sheet from the ceiling to create a physical separation between you and the children.

A small crib or portable camping bed can be either brought from home or provided by the hotel. Tuck this into a bathroom, hallway or open closet, and your child can have a great sleep without winding up in your bed.

If the child does wind up in your bed, remind them that it is only a temporary arrangement and normal sleeping patterns will resume when you’re back home. Make sure to remind them often of the sleep rules.

4) Pack a Portable Bed

Sometimes, you need to bring a bed with you. In these situations, it is best to pack a camping air mattress.

These mattresses deflate and fold flat, making them ideal for tucking into your luggage. They can then be inflated either in the car as you travel or once you reach your destination.

5) Practice Makes Perfect

If you intend on bringing a portable bed or air mattress, let your child sleep on it for a few nights before the trip. That way, they will become familiar with the feel of it.

They will also likely think this is very exciting. After all, it isn’t every day you get to sleep on a portable mattress.

It’s also a great idea to talk to them about the plans that concern them. This way, they know what to expect, and melt-downs are less likely.

6) Sleep Accessories

There are a few essentials you need to pack beyond just the mattress. For example, packing your own sheets can go a long way in transitioning your child to a nice night’s sleep.

Children need familiarity, and the patterns, feels and smell can help them transition more smoothly.

Another thing that is necessary to bring is a few portable stuffed animals or security blankets. Whatever it is that your child won’t sleep without.

Bring anything that is neccesary
Bring anything that is neccesary

Though the temptation may be to pack all the toys ever, that’s not a good idea. Stick with just two or three.

A stroller can also be useful, even for children that can walk fine on their own. Pushing a stroller carrying a sleepy toddler is much easier than giving shoulder rides through the airport.

7) Keep the Routine

When traveling with children, it’s important to keep the same routines you would at home. Babies and toddlers thrive on the consistency of a solid routine.

For that reason, it’s important to make sure that your child’s meals are served at the same time each day and that they don’t sleep in. Sleeping in can throw off the rest of the day and lead to a sleepless toddler that night.

 8) Youngest First

If you have two or more kids, and they have to share a room on vacation, try putting the youngest child to bed first. That way, you avoid any late-night rough-housing between your children.

Once the youngest child has been asleep for twenty or thirty minutes, you can send the oldest up to bed. Make sure to explain to them, however, that staying up late is a privilege, not a right.

 9) Avoid the Sugar

It’s natural to want to indulge a bit when traveling. However, you should try to avoid sugar before naps or bedtime. Sugar can make your children excited, and ensure they have trouble sleeping.

10) Patience is a Virtue

When you are a parent, you likely know that patience is necessary. This rule does not change while you are on vacation.

It is likely that your children will act out or have temper tantrums while traveling. Remind yourself that they are only acting out because their routine has been shaken up.

However, being angry with the children will not help in this situation. Be patient and gentle with them, and it will make the whole situation a lot more smooth.


Despite popular beliefs, traveling with your kids doesn’t have to be a disaster of kicking, screaming and nightly melt-downs.

Instead, you can have children who go to sleep on time and wake up refreshed and excited for each new adventure.

Remember, patience and routine are key. Planning ahead will also ensure that things go as smoothly as they possibly can.

It is also important to make sure you have the proper sleep accessories, such as sheets from home, favorite stuffed animals and dolls, and perhaps even a white noise app to block out sounds that are unavoidable.

Finally, remember to pack your best inflatable bed. That way, your child can sleep anywhere you happen to be.

Vacations don’t have to be a stressful mess. If you follow the tips in this article, your child will have a wonderful time, and transition properly back to home life.

How to Avoid Fatigue and Jet Lag

It is not a secret that frequent travelers are at some point affected by the rigors of travel and will have to deal with the after-effects like jet lag and fatigue. If not checked, these issues can affect your health and performance levels. Every traveler needs to know how to avoid fatigue and jet lag.

For those who travel frequently and especially through different times zones the symptoms of jet lag are all too familiar. Fortunately, for those who take long flights frequently, there are ways to subdue or even prevent the effects of jet lag by employing some simple but effective strategies.

You can experience jet lag any time you travel suddenly across time zones; the more time zones you cross, the higher the likelihood of getting sleepy and sluggish. Jet lag disrupts sleep patterns and other circadian rhythms due to sudden time zones changes. It can leave one with problems like insomnia, diminished physical and mental performance and indigestion, etc.

How to Avoid Fatigue and Jet Lag
How to Avoid Fatigue and Jet Lag

A study by Mark Rosekind, Ph.D. of Alertness Solutions, on travelers crossing more than two, time zones confirmed that they were affected by fatigue which lowered their productivity and performance levels. People who are affected by jetlag were shown to be less productive because of a general malaise resulting from the journey, and there was diminished mental alertness in virtually all those tracked for the study.

It is important to know that the longer your flight, the worse the fatigue you will feel and the worse the effects of jet lag you will experience. Crossing time zones interfere with and throw off your internal rhythms especially the internal clock.

There are so many things on a flight which contributes to travel fatigue to intensify jetlag problems. You will have to deal with a cramped space which limits movement, restricted food choices which must be eaten with caution to avoid intestinal issues, dehydration from recycled dry cabin air, limited oxygen (hypoxia) and sleep disruption.

So, Do You Avoid Fatigue And Jet Lag?

The good news is that there are simple steps and changes you can make to deal with and prevent the effects of frequent or long-distance flights.

Pre-flight preparations

Preparing for your journey before you get on the plane is just as important as the steps during and after to keep you comfortable.

  • Planning helps greatly by eliminating stress which would otherwise arise from last minute preparations. Confirm flight and hotel reservations early enough, printing out your boarding pass a day to, and driving to the airport in time. Booking flights which touch down in the morning will help re-set your internal clock much more efficiently.
  • Prepare for sleep in the plane by packing a sleep kit in your carry-on bag. Have earplugs, eye masks, soothing music, and essential oils like lavender oil which you can even use in your hotel.
  • Sleep well and sufficiently before you travel; ensure that you are well rested before your trip and will negate the effects of fatigue. Sleep deficiency and disruption are a significant problem for frequent travelers.
  • Dress comfortably do not put on tight fitting clothes- wear comfortable and loose-fitting yet warm clothing for your flight.
  • Prepare mentally for unforeseen eventualities like travel delays. Set realistic expectations and allow room for the unexpected so that you will be less frustrated and upset if they occur.

In-flight practices

There are certain things which you can do to improve your in-flight experience for more comfort and to avoid fatigue while traveling.

  • Make your flight comfortable by packing an in-flight pillow and a light blanket to help you get well rested and sleep. A C-shaped pillow to fit around your neck will keep your head moving around or suffering a stiff neck and take off your shoes or loosen shoe for improved circulation.
  • Keep yourself hydrated. Drinking water will help counter to deal with the effects of the dry recycled cabin air. Stay away from carbonated beverages which may leave you with excess stomach gas.
  • Alcohol and caffeine are diuretics which will make you take frequent toilet trips. The less you leave your seat, the higher the likely hood of falling asleep and getting the much need rest. Do not drink a lot of fluids, a unit on the ground acts like two in the air.
  • Relieve ear pressure by chewing gum through the flight and do not fly if you are suffering from a serious ear or sinus congestion because you may experience severe pain or even damage your eardrums.

Accommodation best practices

The effects of long travel do not end with the arrival at your destination. There are things you will need to do in your hotel or any other accommodation to keep you in tiptop shape mentally and physically.

  • Do not book a room close to the ballroom bar, nightclub or restaurant so that the noise is not a distraction. If your room has an alarm clock, ensure that it is set to go off when you want it to, not the previous guest’s time.
  • Some hotels have designated quiet areas with rooms or floors explicitly reserved for customers who want quiet and uninterrupted rest and sleep.
  • Make use of the gym facilities to exercise or spa facilities for massages to relax and help keep away physical and mental stress.


With these tips, you should be able to counter the effects of long and frequent travel and know how to avoid fatigue and jet lag. Adopt some or all of these tips to make your next trip much more comfortable and less tiring so that your performance levels remain at peak levels and you stay healthy in the long run especially those who travel frequently.