Traveling Across Time Zones With Your Baby

by | Jun 29, 2023 | baby travel tips, bumps in the road, Quick Baby Sleep Tips, Template, Toddler Sleep Tips, transitions | 0 comments

Happy Summer!
If your family is anything like mine we are oh so happy summer is finally here!
We have a mix of structured camp time, days with nothing planned, and travel.  I feel like it is a well balanced summer… a little bit of everything.
Travel, everyone’s favorite and also the most work.  It’s an amazing amount of preparation and planning, and on top of that I know most parent’s top concern is around their baby’s/kid’s sleep… especially if you are traveling to a different time zone.
If you are going to be just one hour ahead or behind there is no need to make adjustments. Keep it simple and stay on your normal schedule.
If you are going to have a time difference of 2 or 3 hours you are going to get on local time as quickly as possible.  Ive got 3 tips to help ease the concern and make it through vacation as rested as possible.
  1. Let nature do it’s job! You can do this by getting sunlight exposure.  If your baby is used to going to bed at 7pm normally and your little one is showing signs of sleepiness at 3pm GET OUTSIDE!  This will suppress the release of melatonin and will help your baby stretch a little longer.  On the first night they may not be able to make it to their adjusted bedtime, but it’ll be much more helpful for them to go to bed at 6pm rather than 4!
  2. Follow normal mealtimes.  You may be so tired after travel that all you want to do is settle in at your destination and go to sleep but that is not going to help you.  If it is time for dinner, EAT.  This will help regulate your body’s internal clock to the new time zone.
  3. Stick with normal bedtimes.  Now this is not so easy the first night of your trip.  You likely woke up really early to get to the airport.  For this reason on the first night it’s fine to let your little ones go to sleep an hour earlier.   You can’t expect them to stay up until what their body thinks is 10pm!  Allow some grace on the first night, but after that it’s best to adopt normal bedtimes as to avoid 4am wake ups.  Which is exactly what happened when we recently traveled to the West coast from the East coast with our kids.  It wasn’t perfect the next day, but it substantially better.


Lastly, be prepared to create a sleep friendly environment:
  1. Black out solution.  It doesn’t have to be pretty, you can use black trash bags taped to the windows, tinfoil, towels, or a Slumberpod, which I really wish were around when my boys were little.
  2. White noise.  Don’t leave home without it!
  3. Loveys.. Obviously
  4. Sheets right off your little one’s bed.  Don’t go for freshly laundered linens, we want sheets that smell like home and are comforting.
Most important… HAVE FUN!
Travel is such a great gift to kids.  Seeing new places, trying new foods, seeing extended family or friends.  It really is such a wonderful experience for your entire family.
Sleep isn’t going to be perfect when you go away.  Be realistic and don’t expect it to be perfect.  The most important part of travel around sleep happens when you get home.  Get back to your normal habits, routines, schedules etc… right away!
It may take a few days to get back to norm, but you will get there with consistency!
If your family is doing a roadtrip vacay be sure to read my blog for helpful tips and tricks!
My family is going on a 10 hour roadtrip this summer.  Maine here we come!
Leave a comment below with any questions about travel with your little people.  Im always happy to help.
Happy Vacationing!!

Your Sleep Bestie,


AM Smiles is a highly effective baby sleep coaching service designed for busy families.

I help you harness the power of sleep training to improve the spirits and lives of you and your family through proper rest. I’d love to talk to you about your little one and help you get back to living life well rested! ❤️