Tips for planning naps when you travel

Baby B asleep in the car

It took a long time for Baby B to become a good sleeper. Whoever came up with the term ‘sleep like a baby’ didn’t have a baby like him! Because of these past sleep struggles, we’ve become very strict when planning our travel days around his naps and bedtime.

Here are 4 quick baby travel tips we’ve learned when it comes to planning naps

1) When on long road trips, be in the car BEFORE nap time

Baby B is not like most toddlers – he hates being in his car seat. He doesn’t like being locked into the carseat and makes this well known throughout the trip. Whenever we have a long drive ahead we schedule the drive just before his nap, roughly 1 hour before his normal nap time.

Although he doesn’t sleep as long as at home, he still sleeps for a good portion of the drive (roughly 1 to 1.5 hours).

2)  Do your main activities in the morning

Baby B is normally awake by 6:30 AM so there’s no reason we can’t get out and start sightseeing early in the morning. Because he goes to bed early, we follow his pattern and also go to bed early, which means everyone is fresh at that hour.

The added bonus is that by having him outside early, he tires himself out and gets sleepy, allowing us to stick with his mid-day nap routine.

sleeping B

3) Stick to the routine

Baby B goes to sleep at 7:00 PM every night and we are vigilant at sticking with that schedule. If we push him much later, he just gets extra tired and cranky (not fun for anyone). So we plan our downtime in the evening after he goes to sleep. This is our time.

We do our best to resist the urge to allow him to stay up late “because we’re on vacation”. It’s a bad habit and the short term gains are not worth the long term negative impact on his sleeping patterns.

4)  Plan your checkout times

Baby B typically goes down for his nap at 11:30AM, which is always at checkout time. If we don’t have a long drive ahead, we ask for a late checkout. Sometimes there’s an additional cost, but other times hotels have been accommodating – just explain your situation.

If we can push checkout back to 1:00 PM then his nap stays on schedule. If we can’t delay checkout, then we make sure he’s very active that morning and put him down for an early nap at 10:30.


Your turn! Do you have any nap tips to share?
Share your feedback in the comments section below!


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