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Tricky Travel

Updated: May 11, 2023

My family and I recently travelled across the world for a wedding. To say I was nervous about 24 hours of travel, including 3 flights, one of them being 14.5 hours long and landing at a location that was 18 hours ahead of our usual MST, would be fair. But honestly, it went great so I'm hear to share a few tips.

Above are my 8 and 10 year old daughters living it up in Port Douglas, Australia.

Our first travel day was during our waking hours to start with and then we departed Vancouver, BC around 8pm for our big flight overseas. We got on the plane, settled in, had a snack and watched a movie. Items we brought on the plane to make sleep easier were:

- a blanket for each kid from home

- eye masks which they loved wearing to block out not only the light but the people moving around

- a neck pillow which they twisted around and used as a regular pillow at times.

- lots of snacks, in my experience hungry kids have a hard time sleeping

My youngest slept for 8 of the 14.5 hours and my oldest slept 6. Both in 2 different chunks. We tried not to fret over too much or too little and just let them doze off on us as needed.

We arrived at the hotel mid-day and both kids were pumped to be there, though a little tired from the long travel. We pushed through our day to a normal-ish bedtime and we were all so tired we were sleeping before our heads hit the pillows. Having their own blankets and a stuffed animal each from home makes it easier for my kids to settle into beds that aren't theirs. When I travel by car I have a little portable fan that we bring with us for white noise but I was not carrying that across the Pacific Ocean, so I relied on the bathroom fan in the hotel to help block out some of that outside/in the hall noise and it worked like a charm. We were up early/on time with the time change and then again we just pushed through to normal bed time and just like that we were on track. We had some busy days with late bedtimes so if the kids needed to catch a nap in the car the next day I just made sure it wasn't too late in the day.

Our time change on the way home proved to be harder on us. The travel itself went ok and we were all exhausted at bedtime. But my 8 year old got up at midnight and didn't fall back asleep until 2:30am. So what did we do? Absolutely nothing, I told her this is normal and expected but we have to get back on track to no lights on, no reading, no iPad or watching TV. I crawled in so that she didn't get worked up over not being able to sleep and eventually she fell back asleep. I let everyone sleep in our first morning back so we all had a hard time falling asleep that night. But followed the same rules, no stressing needed but we do need to stay in bed until we manage to eventually fall asleep. And then, we got up at normal times, tired or not. Bedtimes were smooth from then on but it took us 5-6 mornings each before we weren't feeling tired getting up.

Overall.... 10/10 worth it. Take the trip, prepare and adapt as best as you can to be able to enjoy and don't stress too much about getting back on track. Get back to your normal routine ASAP and with consistency it'll happen soon enough. Sleep training can be done when you get home if needed, reach out if you need some sleep solutions.

Happy sleeping, and happy travels,

Your sleep coach, Corie

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