My Convertible Life

Monday, November 22, 2010

Travel Tips: To Sleep, Perchance to Dream

Today's post is part of the inaugural Blogging Friends Road-Weary Traveling Tips Compendium, founded by Evelyn at Momsicle. If you're traveling for the holidays this week (or even if you're not), you'll want to check out the other bloggers linked below who are offering great tips today.

We're fortunate to live in the same state with our parents -- close enough for a day trip now and then. But we still find ourselves needing to spend the night away from home, either visiting friends and family or taking a vacation. And the hardest part for us has consistently been sleep.

We moved Junius to a big boy bed when he was two, so he's been the easy one. And when Pippi was a baby, she survived in the pack-and-play okay for a while.

Then we took her to stay with friends in Charlotte.

She had just turned two years old -- still sleeping happily in her crib at home, but probably too big for the pack-n-play we parked at the foot of our bed. She tossed, turned and sobbed all night. "I go home. Seep my crib," she wailed. It was so pitiful. She was miserable, we were miserable, no one slept. We left after lunch the next day to avoid another disastrous night.

For months after, we simply didn't travel overnight. But then there were vacations and other trips we couldn't pass on. And thus began our trial-and-error approach to solving the Pippi problem.

Here's what I've learned about sleeping away with a toddler who's too big for a pack-n-play and not yet ready for a bed:

  1. The very cute toddler-sized air mattress with built-in princess pink sleeping bag was not the answer. She loved it when I pulled it out of the box, wouldn't get off of it when we inflated it in, snuggled right into the sleeping bag when we zipped her up. And then she was done with it. Took forever to get her to sleep, then we found her like this (photo above) an hour later. She's sound asleep in that picture -- on the floor, with her head on the mattress. We slid her back into the sleeping bag, but she was awake and in our bed an hour after that.
  2. Putting her in the trundle bed at her grandparents' house next to her brother was not the answer. They talked and giggled and wouldn't go to sleep. They switched beds back and forth. And in the middle of the night, when we thought they were finally sleeping, she hopped up, ran into the living room and retrieved a pile of toys to take back to her bed. She ended up in bed with me and her daddy slept on the trundle with Junius that night.
  3. Same scene, different day at the other grandparents' house when we tried putting her in the twin bed (with rails on both sides) beside her brother.
  4. Tucking her into the queen- or king-sized bed with us meant she eventually slept -- but we didn't. She rolls around, throws elbows and kicks in her sleep. Oh, and she wakes up at the crack of dawn, ready to play.
  5. And finally, the solution. If she sleeps fine at home in her crib, then get a crib. Duh. On a weekend trip to Virginia Beach, we asked the hotel to set up a crib in our room. Worked like magic. She slept so well, we didn't even mind when she woke up smiling with the sun at the foot of our bed and sang out, "Hi Daddy!" Later in the summer, we stayed with a friend who still had a crib in storage -- magic again. And on our end-of-summer beach week, we rented a crib from one of those places that rents beach chairs and umbrellas. Ta-da! Even at naptime, it worked like a charm. 
I realize we'll have to move her to a bed at some point -- but I've decided not to sweat it until she turns three. And Thursday night, she'll be in another hotel crib, hopefully sleeping soundly after a wild day of playing with the cousins and eating too much dessert.

Now, CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE for where to go next:
  • Evelyn at Momsicle, who embraced the red-eye and mood-altering substances
  • Sue at Motherhood and Me, who won't let a little in-flight poop get in the way of traveling all over the country to see her family
  • Kim at Let Me Start By Saying, who believes that with the right packing list, a little compromise and some red wine, you can successfully travel with two kids
  • Sandhya at Literary Safari, who tackled international travel with a baby and lived to tell about it
  • And more later this week from Lauren at Fizgiggery
If you want to join in the fun, leave your tips in the comments here or write your own travel tips post and leave the link in the comments.


  1. Oh, I'm so with you on this one. Glad you've found a solution for at least the next couple of months. We're at the don't-go-anywhere stage because we haven't found a sweet spot yet. Just hoping for the day when a switch finally flips and our big kid will sleep peacefully in a different bed.

  2. Amen, I'm sticking with a crib until she's 3, I just see no need to force it. She's happy and isn't climbing out so why mess with it. It does make overnights a bit more difficult, she will curl up in the Pack and play but only for one or two nights after that, time to head home :o)

  3. Yay Blogging Friends Road-Weary Traveling Tips Compendium! We are totally with you on having a crib wherever we go. Luckily, K-Pants likes the pack-n-play, and when we visited my grandparents they even bought one just for His Majesty.

  4. I despise sharing a bed with my kids! It's like sleeping with a damp hot water bottle that kicks you and breathes REALLY REALLY LOUD in your face.

    I'm all for renting a crib or bringing my own PnP.

    Last time we went away we got adjoining rooms and the kids slept in their own beds all night. Heaven. Adjoining rooms ROCK.

  5. I know this was not the point of your post, but I got a big grin remembering the Choose Your Own Adventure books. Good stuff.

    Thankfully we don't have to travel this year for the holidays, but I will certainly keep your tips in mind for when our luck runs out and we have to travel again.


  6. Great advice! We often try to switch things up when we travel and I guess it's best to just stick with what she knows!

    I'd SO love to participate in this but I'm swamped with a work deadline and leave to go out of town on Wednesday. I'll have fun reading though!

  7. Excellent. Roo will be 2 and change for this summer's vacation. Way too big for the pack n play and too little to bunk with his sisters unsupervised. I will definitely ask ahead for a crib.

  8. L is about 45 lbs and has been in a big boy bed since he was 2.5 (he's now 3.5) but when we travel he still happily sleeps in a pack n play. He is certainly over the weight limit, and he looks absurd in the thing. Not to mention he climbs in and out at will. But he's happy and sleeps soundly!

  9. Excellent advice for when I have kids some day!

  10. I have a couple of friends who swear by their toddler Aerobeds. We sleep overnight pretty often (my parents are an hour away and we usually get lazy there), and kept running into the same problems.

  11. We have the same problem - took our 18mos old on vacation & didn't realize he'd outgrown the pack n play (he's super tall).... for the next trip we got a peapod (think aero bed, tent, bigger than a pack n play but packs TINY!

    He loves to sleep in it - we started with nap times at home to make sure he was ok with it.... and he's a champion sleeper but we still struggle with sharing a room - I don't want to go to sleep at 7:30pm.... and our big hotel trip is when we visit my in-laws.... they have a small apartment so we have to get a hotel room. We'd like to stay up & visit after kiddo is in bed... have tried suites but they aren't all separate rooms. :( Are adjoining rooms the answer?

  12. This is the peapod btw.... wish we'd have used it from the beginning for travel.,5

  13. feel good rubbing your dick between her legs.

  14. after seeing how nice her feet and legs are.
    really got my pecker hard and throbbing.
    maybe push an inch or two up her and cum.
    would feel great.

  15. Thanks a ton for sharing an incredible post.I need some tips about sleeping so I found a page based on SLEEP TIPS.

  16. Nice post!, I know travel is awesome but sleep during travel is not easy so restjudge will help you more with tips and trick about sleep

  17. Nice tips! I'll definitely try it with my kids someday (I need to find a boyfriend first.LOL)

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