How to Get Some Sleep While Traveling

Items to bring when traveling to get some sleep.

I’ve been testing out some of my gear while visiting my in-laws and have been fine-tuning the items I plan to bring for a longer trip. Because my daughters have sensitive skin I realized that in the future I need to bring cotton sleeping liners that have been washed in detergent that is for sensitive skin. Since we’re in my in-laws’ home the quick fix is to buy the detergent and wash the sheets but I started to think what would happen if I was in a hotel and my kids were itching due to the detergent used on the sheets? The only thing I could think of was to bring my own sheets. No, don’t bring the sheets from your kids’ bedrooms. You have to travel light when traveling and this is when my backpacking / camping background helps me out.

ITEMS TO BRING TO HELP YOU SLEEP WHILE TRAVELING

WARNING: The items I recommend are on the pricer side. I like to buy things that are rated well. I look at the items I buy as an investment. You can always find a cheaper version on Amazon.

(DISCLOSURE: If you purchase anything from links on this post, I may receive an affiliate commission. However, I only mention products I love, use, and would recommend whether I was compensated or not. Please read my disclosure for more info. A link with an * is an affiliate link.)

    1. Cotton sleeping bag liner (I recommend the Cocoon Cotton Bag Liner). I personally own a silk version (Sea to Summit Silk Liner) for camping since it packs much smaller and is lighter weight than cotton, but for my kids they need cotton for its breathability.
    2. Travel pillow (I recommend a Quixote Goose Down Pillow [small]). I’ve owned my pillow for over 10 years now and still love it. Because it’s down, the pillow compresses easily. My travel pillow in the picture above is in the Eagle Creek bag. You can see that it’s much smaller than a standard size pillow but the size is just right for me.
    3. Eye Mask (I recommend the Bucky 40 Blinks Ultralight Sleep Mask*). I personally call it a “bra for my eyes” but it works. I can sleep on a bright, sunlight filled bus or on the plane and I pass out since it’s dark.
    4. Ear Plugs / Noise Cancelling Headphones to help with noise reduction and get you to sleep sooner. Instead of ear plugs I tend to listen to music on my iPhone using noise cancelling headphones (such as the Bose QuietComfort 20i Acoustic Noise cancelling headphones*). Sometimes I turn off the music but keep the headphones in my ears and turn on the noise cancelling feature to reduce the ambient noise around me (especially on a plane). If you want a cheaper and low tech version, ear plugs should work fine.
    5. Blanket / Travel Wrap that can be used as a scarf or blanket (I recommend White+Warren’s Cashmere Travel Wrap*). It’s pricy but it’s cashmere. It’s soft and keeps you warm on a plane or on a bus. I use it extensively when traveling and am always glad I bring it. I don’t bring a travel wrap when it’s summer time and the weather doesn’t call for it. (If it is hot where I’m going I just bring a long-sleeve, cotton cardigan for women or a fine-knit sweater for men. H&M has inexpensive, stylish clothing that serves its purpose).

  • Just in case, bring a low dose of Melatonin supplements to help you sleep if you really need it. Make sure to consult your doctor first before taking it. Here’s an overview of melatonin on WebMD.com.
  • Wear comfortable clothing (which will vary for each person) on an airplane or a long tour bus ride. When you are comfortable it’s easier to take a nap or sleep for several hours. For me, my “uniform” is a maxi dress (that can be washed by hand and dries quickly), cotton cardigan /
    travel wrap, SmartWool no show socks for women* and men*, and my bulkiest shoes (on an airplane). It’s good to be wearing socks when you have to take off your shoes while at the security line in an airport. The clothing I choose typically helps to keep me warm in an air-conditioned airplane or tour bus.

Of course I stuff the pillow and travel wrap in it’s own Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Compression Cube*. I normally put the travel pillow with my eye mask in the larger cube (which should also fit your ear plugs as well). When I’m tired and want to sleep, I easily locate these compression cubes since they contain all my sleeping gear and have become my “sleeping” bags. Yes, pack like items together so it’s easier to find your things. What are your favorite items to pack when traveling?

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