Packing for Sleep Success when Traveling with Your Child
By Alanna McGinn
With relatives out of province, an insatiable sense of adventure, an RV, two kids not yet in school and a large dog, we travel A LOT. We make it a priority and typically spend weeks each month on the road, which means that both of our little one’s sleep environments change with more frequency than I might like. I do make a habit of protecting our children’s sleep while on the road though, and packing a travel sleep bag definitely makes it easier.
Whether sharing a bedroom, a trailer or hotel room, our travel sleep bag always comes with us. This bag is a carry-on with every flight, easily accessible on road trips and the very first thing unloaded whenever we reach our destination.
What’s a travel sleep bag? It’s a single duffel bag that contains every single item that will help your little ones to sleep better when sleeping away from home. Its single objective is sleep.
The idea is that whenever we get to our destination, settling my little ones down for sleep is an easy and streamlined task that mimics their regular bedtime routine as much as possible. I have everything that I need in one bag…no fumbling through different suitcases, no wondering where in the heck I packed essential blankies, which I have learned (the hard way) is a deal breaker when it comes to settling into sleep contentedly.Travel Sleep Bag Essentials
Ready to pack a travel sleep bag that will help your kids sleep well when away from home? Here are some suggestions on what to include:
- Unwashed sleep sack (retains the scent of home this way)
- Unwashed crib sheet (x2)
- Overnight diapers
- Small package of wipes
- Unwashed blankie/lovey (for babies 12+ months)
- Favourite pillow or blanket (for babies 12+ months)
- Travel size white noise machine, plus battery back-up
- Toddler clock (we have two of these, one for home and one for our travels)
- Baby monitor
- 2 handheld lights/flashlights
- 2 black-out curtain panels/2 dark sheets (for creating a room divider if we are sharing a room)
- Small ziplock of thumbtacks (to tack the panels/sheets to the ceiling/wall – out of reach of child, of course)
- 4 black garbage bags (to tape to any windows to block out daylight for naps)
- One roll of tape
- Small zip lock bag of over-the-counter pain medication, teething tablets etc.
- Diaper cream
- Favourite books
- Water bottles or bottles (depending on the age of your child)
The items contained in your travel sleep bag will obviously change in relation to the age of the baby/child you are travelling with. Ours has certainly evolved over the years, but the basics have remained the same.
Our sleep bag literally saves me hours of worry, stress, and panic when we reach our destination. Everything that I need as it relates to my little one’s sleep is in one place and it makes setting up their on-the-road sleep environments super-duper easy. I repack it each and every time the exact same way and keep all of the items on a list on my phone.
Travelling with kids doesn’t have to mean that sleep goes entirely sideways and with a little planning and preparation, it can honestly go a lot smoother than you might think.
About the Author
Alanna McGinn is a Certified Sleep Consultant and Founder of Good Night Sleep Site – a Global Pediatric and Family Sleep Team. She provides free child and family sleep support through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. She invites you to join her sleep community as she works towards Good Night Sleep Site’s mission of a healthier rested family unit. For more sleep tips, subscribe to our newsletter and visit Good Night Sleep Site.