This post serves as an update to my previous post about baby travel gear (specifically sleep gear) from 2020. Since then, we’ve added a third child and our travel routine has evolved. We still use some of our favorite products and have added others to the mix. We also still try to stick to our normal routine as much as possible, although our oldest (almost 5) is able to stay up later now without an issue. What hasn’t changed is the need for well-rested kids and parents! This can be especially tough if the whole family is staying in one room, but we’ve found a way to make it work seamlessly.
Our Travel Sleep System Essential Gear (updated for 2022):
- Guava Lotus Travel Crib
- Hatch Baby Rest Plus
- One lovey/stuffie for each kid over 1 years old
First, if your kids aren’t ready for a bed, you’ll need a travel crib. We use the crib provided when one is available to save on space when packing, but still bring our own sheets for familiarity. Most hotels provide a decent travel crib; however, if we are staying in an airbnb or visiting family and friends that don’t have a crib or travel crib on hand, we use the Guava Lotus Travel Crib. It is hands down the best travel crib and is worth the price. It is lightweight, easier to set up than any other travel crib we have seen, and packs up small. The mattress is comfortable unlike many other travel cribs. It’s also longer than most travel cribs so has a longer useful life (though note that only Guava sheets will fit). Another bonus is that it can easily convert into a bassinet using a conversion kit, so we used it daily for our third baby until she was ready to move into her crib.
Next, enter the SlumberPod. This item is one of the number one products we recommend to friends. It is a GAMECHANGER for travel. The SlumberPod is basically a small, ventilated blackout tent that provides a dark place for baby to sleep even if he/she is in your room. This way, you can actually leave the lights on while baby is sleeping. I’ll never forget some of the vacation nights before the SlumberPod came into our life – going to bed at 7:30 with our baby, trying to watch a movie under the covers, stumbling around to get ready for bed in the pitch dark.
We are now the proud owners of not one, but TWO SlumberPods. Our oldest (4.5) sleeps in a bed now without the tent, but our younger two (2.5 and 8 months) use travel cribs. Even when our middle one moves to a bed, we found with our oldest that it’s still useful to put the tent over a mattress or mat for a toddler. It becomes a very exciting personal sleep fort! Fortunately, the SlumberPod packs up very compactly and can fit into a suitcase or be carried separately while traveling (it comes in a small tote). A small fan is also useful to keep the tent cool during warmer summer months.
We also used the Guava Lotus Crib Fun Shade for the baby before I was comfortable using the SlumberPod (they recommend not using it until baby is 4 months old). It was helpful to provide a little darkness/separation, but still allowed me to see and hear her.
If you normally use white noise for your children, the Hatch Baby Rest or Hatch Baby Rest Plus is a worthwhile purchase. It is a sound machine and night light that can all be controlled from an app on your phone (or from the device). It is small, packs easily, and is simple to set up wherever you are traveling. Now that we have one, we bring it everywhere we go. There are several different sounds, but we use the TV sound, which is most like traditional white noise.
We actually have both the Rest and Rest Plus, but I’d recommend the Rest Plus as it has everything the original Rest has, plus an audio monitor, backup battery, clock, and connection to wi-fi. I most appreciate the backup battery and clock. The night light feature is useful to get in and out of a dark room without tripping over things and is also essential for middle of the night nursing sessions. You can turn it on 1% on the Rest and 15% on the Rest Plus to give just enough light to get the baby up and fed but keep everyone sleepy. We also now use the Time-to-Wake light to signal to our older boys that it’s time to get up – green means go!
Finally, a great, easyto travel with baby monitor is the VTech Digital Audio Baby Monitor. The VTech monitor is small and super easy to set up anywhere you go. The sound quality is great and it works up to 1000 feet. If you’re staying somewhere where the little ones will be in a separate room, having an audio monitor allows for some freedom in your evenings and during nap times. Bonus, it is under $20!
We’ve been traveling with kids for almost five years now and while we may not have all the answers, we can vouch for these items and rate them all as ESSENTIAL to good sleep while traveling. Disclaimer: I’m not being paid to promote these products. We just love them!
I would love to hear your tips and favorite products for ensuring great sleep while traveling? Please share in the comments!