One thing I’ve learned traveling with my babies is that a new sleep environment can disrupt a baby’ sleep schedule. I completely understand why you may be fearful of this, especially after putting in so much time getting your baby or toddler finally sleeping through the night. At home your baby has naps and night sleeps in a crib in a dark room. How can you replicate that when traveling with a baby? I’ve learned that portable blackout curtains for travel are an excellent solution.
In my experience, there are so many scenarios where travel blackout curtains will be a lifesaver for you:
- Imagine arriving at your Airbnb apartment only to find your baby’s room has bright light shining in through the windows and curtains that just won’t cut it.
- Or you’re visiting friends and their spare room doesn’t get nearly as dark as your baby is used to at home.
- Your parents welcome your family to visit for a week, but is there a dark place for your toddler to nap?
It’s true, some babies and toddlers can literally fall asleep anywhere. They manage to fall asleep easily in a stroller on-the-go while their parents enjoy a relaxing lunch. But this is not true for all babies and toddlers. My babies were very difficult to get to sleep on the go, so I could use all the help I could get!
Some babies and toddlers thrive on their routine. They have become accustomed to their dark room that signals to them that it’s now time to sleep. I’ve learned that creating a similar sleep environment is one of the best ways to get a baby to sleep on vacation and it’s entirely possible to do with portable blackout curtains or a travel crib shade.
With these portable blackout curtains for babies and toddlers and ingenious stroller covers, you’ll be able to make the most of your family holiday with a baby.
What You’ll Find in This Article on the Best Blackout Curtains:
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Best Portable Blackout Curtains for Travel
My Top Picks for the Best Portable Blackout Curtains
I know you don’t always have time to read, especially when you are chasing a busy toddler! So here are my top picks for the best portable toddler beds for travel:
SlumberPod Blackout Cover – creates an effective dark sleeping environment for your baby or toddler, no matter where you go.
Best Portable Blackout Curtains
The Sleepout Curtain – I love the industrial-strength suction cups, and the 100% blackout, thermal-insulating 100% curtain.
Best Stroller Sun Shade:
CoziGo Stroller Sun Shade – a highly versatile blackout stroller cover with UPF 50+ sun protection and blocks 99% of the sun’s rays.
Types of Travel Blackout Curtains for Babies
While there are some great travel blackout curtains with suction cups that can attach to windows, this is just one type of portable blackout shades.
Portable Blackout Curtains with Suction Cups
These travel blackout curtains for travel are exactly as they sound. Simply remove the portable blackout curtains from their travel bag, unfold them and put them up on the windows using suction cups. These work best if you know what size of window (or number of windows) you need to cover. These would also work well in a trailer when camping with a baby or toddler.
Travel Crib Blackout Covers
An alternative to making the entire room dark is to simply focus on creating a dark space for your baby to sleep. These travel crib blackout covers will create a dark space for your baby to sleep anywhere. The benefit of a baby blackout tent is you don’t need to worry about having a large enough travel blackout curtain to cover the windows.
Babies and toddlers don’t just sleep in their baby travel cribs in the hotel room. You’ll still want to be out sightseeing during the day instead of in the hotel room for naps. While it’s totally acceptable to return to your hotel room for naps, you’ll likely want to do some naps on-the-go or have a meal out while your baby sleeps.
Stroller covers can create a dark space for your baby while blocking almost all the sunlight and still be breathable.
If you plan to use either a travel crib blackout cover (like the SlumberPod or this one) or a stroller cover (like the CoziGo or this one), I HIGHLY RECOMMEND using it several times at home before you leave on your trip. You want your baby to be used to it, rather than dealing with both a new environment and new schedule at the same time.
By using them frequently, your baby will also begin to see it as a cue for sleep.
6 Benefits of Using Portable Blackout Curtains & Stroller Covers
1. More Sleep for your Little One
By blocking the sunlight either outside using a stroller cover or in the mornings with a baby blackout tent, your baby or toddler will likely sleep longer. Trust me, it’s so much easier to travel with a well rested baby or toddler.
2. Mimic at Home Sleep Environment
If your baby or toddler is used to sleeping in a dark room, using removable blackout curtains, a blackout shade for a travel crib or a stroller cover will help to recreate that at home sleep environment. You can also do other things like use a travel white noise machine, give your baby a bath and reading to help recreate your at home routine, which will all help to get your baby or toddler to sleep in a new place.
3. Keep Your Sleep Schedule Intact
With a stroller shade, you can help keep your baby or toddler on the same sleep schedule by helping your baby nap on-the-go in the stroller.
4. Sun Protection
Stroller shades offer sun protection as well. While your baby might be done with the nap, some of the stroller shades can be adjusted to provide sun protection where you need it.
5. Social Distancing
Stroller shades are breathable and can be opened to let your baby see out. You can also close them up to give your baby space from people touching or trying to see your baby.
6. More Time Sightseeing
If you can get your toddler to nap on-the-go, you’ll have more time to be out exploring rather than returning to the hotel for naps.
How to Choose the Best Travel Blackout Curtains for Babies
How Often and Where Will You Use It
If you plan on traveling frequently to different places, then getting a portable blackout shade for a travel crib will get more use. While travel blackout curtains are an easy to pack option, you may encounter places where they don’t work.
If you plan to use the removable blackout curtains in the same place (grandparents or a trailer for camping) or have very limited space, then the suction cup blackout curtains are a good choice.
Price may be a big factor for you. If you don’t think you’ll get a lot of use out of a portable blackout shade like the SlumberPod, then a travel blackout curtain with suction cups is a cheaper option.
Weight and size are key when packing extra baby travel accessories. Make sure you have the space to pack a stroller sun shade or blackout curtains for babies.
Your Baby’s Tolerance
As mentioned previously, if you try a stroller cover or a travel crib canopy and your baby is more upset, then it’s probably not worth packing for your trip. It’s best to know that before you go.
5 Tips for Getting Baby Used to a Blackout Travel Crib Canopy
Here are my tips for introducing a stroller cover or blackout shade for a travel crib to your baby:
1. Set it up and let your baby explore it.
Don’t use it for the first time when you want your baby to nap. Put it on and let your baby look at it and touch it.
2. Don’t close up the flaps, at first…
When you use it for the first time, leave the flaps open. Let your baby see out. You can close the zippers gradually. If your baby gets upset, try opening them. You can always try another day if your baby really isn’t having it.
3. Try it BEFORE your trip.
I never recommend introducing new baby or toddler travel gear while on your trip (unless it’s fun travel toys). Try it at home before you go, and give yourself a few weeks. If you aren’t having success, you might want to put it away for a few weeks then try again. Babies and toddlers are constantly changing.
4. Try it in a familiar environment.
Along the same lines of trying it before your trip, try it in your baby’s room. Set up your travel crib and let your baby nap in it for a few days. Then try a night sleep. Next, try a nap with the travel crib canopy (flaps open). Then go from there.
The same for a stroller cover, when trying it for the first time. Go for a walk with it on and flaps open. Then try half closing the flaps on another day. From there you can try going for a walk at nap time and partially closing them.
5. Make it fun.
Toddlers especially will respond to this. Talk excitedly about the stroller cover or blackout travel crib shade. Give praise when your toddler sleeps in it, “Wow, you had such a good nap in your big boy tent!”.
This post was written & edited by:
Celine Brewer is the owner of Baby Can Travel. Not only does she have years of experience traveling with babies & toddlers, but she's helped millions of new parents travel with their babies and toddlers for over a decade. In addition to writing on her baby travel blog, she has shared her expertise on traveling with a baby or toddler by contributing to articles about traveling with a baby with the Washington Post, USA Today, the Lonely Planet magazine and Pregnancy & Newborn magazine.
Celine also writes about family travel on the site FamilyCanTravel.com, which she co-owns with her husband. Being from the Canadian Rockies, she shares her passion about her home and travel to Banff National Park and area on their site TravelBanffCanada.com.