Our Toddler’s Schedule While on Vacation

Vacationing with a toddler. What our days looked like!

I have to start this post but giving a shout out to Kathy, Kate, Kristen and Ashley for suggesting the topic! I absolutely love this topic for a blog post so thank you ladies for encouraging me to write it!

Basically, Kathy asked me what a day in the life of the Manno’s is like on vacation. Specifically what it’s like with Molly. And I loved that idea because I thought many other parents out there might be wondering what their future trip will look like with their toddler, and maybe I can offer little pieces of advice that worked for us that could work for you!


I’m not gonna talk about flying with a toddler in this post since that’s a whole post of its own that I’m going to do soon! But I will talk about what our days were like.

This trip was the first trip that we traveled to a time zone that was west of Los Angeles with Molly. We’ve traveled with her to the East Coast multiple times and honestly, the three hour difference has never been an issue for us. She normally goes to bed around 6:30 PM. Maybe a little later now since daylight savings time changed pushed it back. But basically, when we travel to the East Coast we just put her to bed at 9:30 instead and try not to get her off her schedule at all! We just move everything three hours later. Which is actually kind of nice for us because we like staying up a bit later ourselves when we travel and sleeping in a bit as well. So since she goes to bed on the East Coast at 9:30 she would sleep till closer till 9 AM. It totally works for us. However, things are completely different when you travel west.



Since her bedtime is closer to 7 PM these days, she was ready for bed at 4 PM in Hawaii. Obviously we didn’t want to end our days at 4 PM and go hang out in the hotel room. Her grammies were with us so they would’ve happily taken her back to the hotel room for us, but we wanted to all be together. So while we were there we slowly tried to push her bedtime back. An hour the first night and another hour the second night. So she was going to bed our last few nights there between 6 PM and 6:30 PM which we were totally fine with.

However, she was waking up at about 4:30 every morning. Which honestly wasn’t that bad. 4:30 AM in Hawaii was 7:30 AM in Los Angeles and we usually get up way earlier than that anyway. But it was pretty weird getting up when it was still super dark out. The sun didn’t rise until about 650/7 AM every day.

Kevin is pretty much the sweetest husband ever and tried to quietly take Molly out of the room so I could sleep longer but once she was up, I was up. By the way, I should mention that Kevin lets me sleep in every weekend when we’re home since he goes to work early during the week. Which basically means Kevin never gets to sleep in because he let’s me sleep in. Talk about husband of the year!


So we would drink coffee in our hotel room and then head to breakfast when it opened at 6:30 AM. We were always the first people to the pool in the morning since we got there right as the sun was coming up. But hey, we got the first pick of lounge chairs at the pool! I kind of loved that!

But backtracking for a second, we always get a suite when we travel now with Molly. I just think it’s almost impossible not to. And I know everyone can’t afford a suite since they can be a couple hundred dollars extra a night but it was just something we had to do. If Molly was sleeping in the same room that we were hanging out in, that would mean that we had to go to bed at 5 PM when Molly went to bed at 5 PM. It’s not like we could put her in a hotel room and then leave while she goes to sleep. Any parent out there reading this totally gets what I’m saying. We’re very fortunate that we were able to do a suite while in Hawaii.



Naps were definitely difficult on our trip. The first day we tried to put Molly down for a nap she completely freaked out. Naps are hard for us in general with her. She’s been refusing naps pretty much every other day while at home, so while in a strange new place she definitely wasn’t going to go down easy. So we tried to put her in her crib with all the blinds drawn and a white noise machine on that we brought with us. But she screamed for about 15 minutes so we had to take her out of there. I think she only napped in the crib once while we were there. For all her other naps we had to resort to using her stroller and walking around the resort. It rained quite a bit while we were there so we actually didn’t mind walking around the resort with her in the stroller. It was soothing for her.


We also didn’t do one dinner while we were there! Instead, our hotel had an appetizer hour from 5 PM until 7 PM that we always just stopped at 5 PM to eat. I know that sounds crazy but by the time we sat down for dinner at 5:30 (when places opened) and ordered, we wouldn’t get our food until after 6 PM which is when we were starting Molly‘s bedtime routine. She would’ve been so fussy sitting down to dinner so we decided it wasn’t worth it. But we’re pretty easy and we didn’t mind eating the appetizers for a meal. Plus we saved a lot of money that way! Ha! You guys know I love a deal and I’m a budget shopper so I’m the same way when I vacation. Although, I have no problem buying as many virgin piña colada’s as my little heart desired while laying by the pool!


Like I said, Molly was in bed by 6/6:30 PM every night and honestly we were probably in bed by 8 PM every night. It felt good going to bed that early and waking up that early! I honestly want to try to go to bed even earlier at home now! Kevin and I already get into bed at about 8:30 PM so it would be hard for us to go to bed much earlier, but I think we want to try! I’m totally proving myself to be super old right now aren’t I?! Ha! Oh well, I’m proud of my grandma status bedtime.

This blog is getting long but I hope I offered some useful information that could maybe be helpful for anyone planning travel with a toddler in the future! Thank you guys for reading my blog and if you want info on what I’m wearing in these pics, of course I put it below the pictures using thumbnails in case you want to snag it for yourself! I may remember I wore it a couple month ago for this sweet little shoot I did with Molly and “baby”

Share you tips for vacationing and switching time zones with a baby or toddler in the comments below!!! I know this won’t be our last trip with Molly (obvi) so I wanna know what works for you guys too!


48 Thoughts

48 thoughts on “Our Toddler’s Schedule While on Vacation

  1. Loved this post! Def sounded interesting with the time change! Granny status 😂luv it! No worries to eat earlier, especially when it’s happy hour! 💕 Some great tips! Good that Molly is trained in time change travel too 😉Will be good for the future bigger distance trips:)

  2. Ali. When my son was 12 months old we went to Poland for 2 weeks. He is now almost 2 years old and we planning to go again this year. He actually did amazing. I just did everything to keep him up for the first 2 days to adjust him to the time change. It’s a huge hrs difference. But it wasn’t very hard he was just amazed by all he new people and new surroundings. Lol.
    Plus we did a lot of tourist things since my husband never been there so he was sleeping in the car seat a lot while we were getting to places. The only thing is in the middle of the night he wouldn’t want to sleep in the crib that my family had for him so he slept with us. Which I didn’t feel good about. So I barely slept. But as long as he was sleeping I was happy.

    On another note. Can you tell me where is your big brown clock from. Thank you

  3. Molly is seriously so dang cute. I love watching Kevin and your Instastories with her in them. What a little ham!! She definitely brightens my day with her lil smile and laugh. You are truly BLESSED!!

    1. I think that’s the amber teething necklace. My son wears his around his ankle too. Is it the amber/brown colored anklet?

  4. I just went thru the same thing! I traveled from Boston, Ma to San Diego,Ca and the time change really affected my 18 month old. She also was waking up at 4am (we were not ready for this) so we would have her watch Little Baby Bum (Netflix show that she’s obsessed with) and then she would nap 5-7 or 6-8am! We didn’t get a suite but we did get a balcony which was a life savor for us to have some alone time!

  5. What size are you wearing in the pink dress? I am also pregnant and want to be able to wear maxi dresses all summer. Thanks! 😊

  6. We travel a lot with our kids and we always do stroller naps when we’re away. I don’t blame them for not wanting to go back to the room in the middle of the day and missing out on the fun. I never minded walking with them till they fell asleep. Then I’d bring the stroller to the beach and relax while they Slept.
    Now my youngest is 4 and when we went to Jamaica in February he would just wrap himself in a towel and lay on a lounge chair and fall asleep. It was adorable and awesome!!

  7. Oh man, I know all about those 4:30am wake ups! Same thing happened to us when we traveled from CA to Hawaii when our son was about 20 months. It was ROUGH. We were still nursing at the time so I’d bring him into bed and try to nurse him back to sleep which never worked, so around 5am my husband would take him on a run to the beach to watch the sunrise so I could try to get some more sleep. Our son’s nap schedule also switched from 1 to 2 naps because he would be tired by 7:30 or 8am! So he would take an early morning nap and then an afternoon nap which allowed us to go out to dinners. Also recommended staying in a condo because then we had extra space (like a suite!) but could also cook breakfast at home while he was napping the first time.

  8. We are going to Maui this summer and my youngest will be 20 months. This post was perfect. I definitely will be doing the naps in the stroller! She is my 3rd but I never traveled west with one so little ( like you east is easy. Just stay up late).

  9. Thank you for this blog post! It’s very helpful. We are going to Kauai with our 18 month old in 2 weeks (plus grandma!). Our guy loves his naps, but he has serious FOMO. We didn’t get a suite for our trip in 2 weeks, so I think putting him down for a nap and bedtime will be harder. He typically goes to bed by 8pm here (Northwest), but I don’t think it’ll be too difficult to keep him up. If there is activity around him and we stay out and about he’ll be happy to stay up. 🙂

    Oh, and this will be his first time on an airplane, so I’m looking forward to another post about flying with a toddler.

  10. This post made me feel so normal! We just did a cruise vacation with our 18 month old and our routine was quite similar to yours! Long meals just didn’t work for us and we ended up doing the buffet most nights. Nap time was hard at first but she ended up getting so tired that she didn’t even mind the pack and play after a couple days. I’m very interested to read your upcoming flight post as my daughter is NOT good with flying. We’ve tried it a couple times and she just doesn’t want any part of it. The travel days we totally end up dreading 😟! I’m so happy you are so real with your posts and tell what it’s REALLY like travelling with a toddler! 😄

  11. Since I’m a grandma, I think you “cheated” the grammas out of Molly time! LOL. When our daughter and son-in-law went on a cruise when their 1st born was about Molly’s age, the grandparents also went and we had baby duty from dinner to breakfast. We all went together on some excursions (and dinners), and one set of grandparents stayed back with the baby while the parents and other set of grandparents went on others. Since we don’t live near them, we equally enjoyed our time with our kids and also with our grand. Fortunately, our Addy did great sleeping and napping in our room and equally enjoyed her time with her parents and other set of grands. It was a “win-win-win!”

    1. I agree with the Granny above. Our Hawaiian vacations are essential with the use of the grandparents. First off, I would recommend finding an air bnb or vrbo in a resort area (with pools/amenities from the hotels) that you could rent with the Grandparents. All VRBOs that we have rented have had ensuite bathrooms and a kitchen. Mostly we did breakfast and dinner at the condo. So how to use your grandparents: they loved to come back to the condo with little one for naps (I think everyone went down for a nap) throughout the day. This was great because it gave us parents a few hours of non-kid time to rent stand up paddle boards or go on a challenging hike together while the grandparents were resting with the little one. As for bedtime, it was great having a kitchen in our place because we had our son’s favorite foods and we would fix him an early dinner at 5 then we would put him to bed. After he was down and out (usually around 6pm) all the adults would enjoy barbecuing on the Lani (patio) and listen to music, talk and play games. Also, look into renting all your baby gear from a equipment rental place. We rent portable crib, jog stroller, beach toys, high chair. And they would deliver and set up for you. This was so great because we didn’t have to travel with all the gear.

  12. Curious how did Molly do when you returned back home? Was she able to go down for naps and her bedtime at her normal times without crying? We travel a lot to visit family and every time we return home there is a couple days of an adjustment period. It’s brutual!! Lots of tears and we feel awful. If you have a chance can you write a blog on how you transition back after vacation specifically in regards to her sleep schedule/routine.

  13. We took our 6 year old and 17 month old to Kauai (same resort!) about a month ago. We kept both boys up as late as possible every night to help them get adjusted. The toddler was up at 5:00 most mornings and I would just put him in the stroller and go for a walk. I slept in yoga clothes so I could just grab him and go without waking everyone else up. I would get coffee for me and fruit for him as soon as the coffee shop opened and we would go enjoy the sunrise on the beach together, just the two of us. Those are some of my best memories from the trip. Since he was sleeping less at night, he napped like a champ in the stroller twice a day, which allowed the rest of us to continue to enjoy the pool and beach. For dinner, we would feed the boys, put them to bed, and then sit on the balcony with take out and wine from one of the hotel restaurants. It worked great for us! As for adjusting back to our regular schedule, we took a red eye home (both boys slept from take off to touch down), went to bed early the night we got home, and were all fine the next day.

  14. Thanks for the tips! I can’t WAIT for your tips on flying with a toddler! We are taking our 2 year old (May 5 – Cinco de Mayo baby!) to Florida mid-late May and I have serious anxiety about it! Do we fly when it should be his nap time, do we fly when he would be the most awake, what kind of toys/treats do we bring…? So many questions and I hope you have answers to someone them! Love your little family! I have been following your journey since the Bachelorette! ❤️

  15. Hi Ali–I don’t know if you addressed this yet, but are you going to talk about the new “Bachelor Nation” book and it’s accuracy/inaccuracy? Just curious if it’s worth a read.

  16. My kids are all grown and have their own families and I have 14 grandkids and one great! I traveled a lot with my kids and my children do the same with theirs. A few of my grandkids have already been to Europe, Hawaii, Iceland and are traveling to Japan soon. And they are only 3 and 9! Agree with all your tips but the best is definitely to GET A SUITE! It’s a must, even if you have to save extra money to do it. Another thing we did is that we had a super big breakfast, then did healthy snacks and fruit for lunch, then a big dinner. We always tried to be in a hotel with free breakfast because there’s usually alot of fruit you can use for lunch, too. Some of the hotels offer a free bag lunch at the desk with granola bar, fruit, etc. which is great! Love your blog and the photos of Molly are adorable as usual!

  17. Oh my goodness. You did much better than we did. We took our 20 month old to Maui three weeks ago and it was a struggle bus ride for all of us! Naps were impossible, and we were also up super early. I love your idea about skipping dinner. Most of our roughest times were dinner.. between waiting for a table then food then catching a shuttle back to the hotel, my poor guy was passed out and so grumpy. He finally adjusted the day before we left, and now the time adjustment coming back has been a whole new adventure!! Haha!

  18. Ali, yes! Flying with babies and toddlers IS a post of its own! I used to be in the travel biz and I lived overseas when my first-born was a baby/toddler AND he was a boy – meaning super physically active – and have since travelled tons with 2 boys – and I feel I could write a book on the subject. But to get to your post – I agree with everything you said. Getting a suite or 1 bdr unit which these days can be done MUCH cheaper with the advent of air bnb or using apps like Expedia bc they list alternative accoms on it is one of the most crucial things. In retrospect, I found water vacays – either on the beach or at a pool is the only way to go as sightseeing type trips – or ski trips – just too exhausting. All kids love the water it seems and happy kids, happy parents! White noise as well, crucial. Eating in or on a balcony or at a park – also the best. With boys – I was always just leaving the restaurant bc they could NOT sit – and I Just found it stressful and a waste of money. I’ll never forget this when I was in Thailand and got a suite and ate in and my son ate in his diaper in high chair on the outside balcony so he could just go for it and spill away! And when he was done he could run around and play in our unit while we took our tile and has wine, etc. As for time differences – I found it takes about 3 weeks for a child to adjust to time differences so since American vacations are unfortunately way too short – it’s better to do like you did Ali and just keep them on their routine adjusting accordingly. I raised my sons in Hawaii and have recently moved back and I’ll never forget the tons of tourists walking by my house at 3.30 – 4.00 am so it’s not just kids who have a hard time adjusting to time changes! I also did my vacation the same way as I raised them at home – mornings out and active and afternoons nap-time and more quiet. Of course I had boys and “running” them like walking dogs to get the energy out was crucial! Girls are entirely different in my opnion.

    1. Agree with the boy/girl difference, and active vs. more passive kids. My kids all plan vacations a little differently depending on their children. My daughter has two active little boys so their vacations include lots of park time; they love the mountain trips but they do make sure the boys are expending lots of energy in every activity, so bedtime is easier. Children’s Museums are a big hit with them, too.

  19. Thanks for this post. It’s very helpful! When you travel with Molly do you borrow the hotels crib or bring your own traveling crib? Any suggestions?

    1. I’m going to chime in here, because I’ve had my fair share of this and it learnt the hard way. Whenever you book a hotel and they claim to have cribs, ask them for dimensions (and even a picture if possible). Sometimes the cribs are way too small, the sides are too low, or you can just see that the specific design won’t work for your kid. Get the details, then make a call. A travel cot is so difficult to travel with, so if you don’t really have to, don’t!

  20. I wanted to also add that when I was traveling with three little ones, we packed as much activities or sightseeing as we could into each day. We got up early, had a big breakfast, and did stuff all day long. We went to Disney World every summer for a long time, and we were literally on the go all day. We would have a big breakfast, light lunch, and nice dinner and by then the kids were exhausted so bedtime was quick and easy. My kids have been used to sitting and waiting at a restaurant since they were little, thanks to visiting my parents who always took us to nice, fancy places, so I didn’t have those problems. But honestly, for us the key was just keeping everyone busy all day. And when they were babies or toddlers, their naps were in strollers or cars.

    1. I can’t agree more with teaching them to eat in nice restaurants and get used to being active and doing new things all the time. The best parenting advice I have ever received was “to fold them in” to our pre-kid lifestyle. It has served us so well!

      1. Beth, yes, that is the best advice for sure. I knew we would always be going to grown-up fancier places when we visited the grandparents and my parents expected them to behave, no matter their age. So we got them used to it way little and I was very proud of their patience. And that way, it was not a problem to take them to any restaurant. I tell other parents the same thing….if you ‘wait till they can sit nicely and behave’, you’ll never be taking them to any nice restaurant.

  21. This came at the perfect time!! My husband is from England and that is where all of his family still lives. We live in Louisiana and I have been hesitating making a trip there for more reasons then this, but this was a huge factor. My daughter is a little over 8 months old and she has been such a good sleeper since we came home from the NICU. I’m scared to make that trip to England, 6 hour time difference, is really going to mess her/us up! Not to mention the 8+ hour flight there! I’ll be watching out for your blog about flying with a toddler!

  22. We have the same routine w our 9 month old! We absolutely need a separate room for bedtime but can’t afford a suite so we rent condos on airbnb for the same cost as a regular room! Once we put her to bed we order takeout/uber eats and have a picnic. I don’t have to cook and hubby and I enjoy each other’s company unrushed. Were on the east coat and have never left our time zone with our girl however in May I’m visiting family on the west coast without her daddy so I’m really worried about the 2 hour time change. I don’t want her up at 430am as I feel I would be bothering the rest of the family and we have to stay with them…I was going to put her to bed later througout the week before we go but I’m worried about wake up time not budging….any tips appreciated!!

  23. We travel quite a bit with 2 kids….you don’t have to pay for a suite but you do need a separate space. We use a balcony. A bottle of wine on a balcony at night with your hubby isn’t a bad way to end the day! We have found the sooner you put them on the local time the better…but typically we are going to Europe and are 6+ ahead so I’m not sure we have a choice. We do lunches out and dinners on the balcony with our wine. We schedule our day trips around toy stores and play grounds. It’s definatrly different than traveling alone but I want my kids to see the world and if you wait until they are “old enough” to take them places you miss the point of traveling.

  24. First Off, I applaud you for catering to Molly when you had grandparents there to help or watch her so you and hubby could at least have dinner out. I have four kids, currently 14,16,17,18 but we have traveled with them since birth. We usually get a condo or vacation house rental since we are a big family. We have never minded traveling with kids, even when they were super young – we don’t fly gernally as a family – we road trip. We did take a teen sitter with us a few times when they were young just to have extra hands to manage the kids while at amusement parks and such.

  25. Oh man reading all the comments I guess we lucked out with our 20 month old! We went to Hawaii last month, but we stayed in a house with a relative so she completely got her own room and I think that helped a lot. We kept her up until her normal bedtime (even though that was 2 hours later with the time difference) of 7:00 the first night. She briefly woke up at 4:30 am but I ignored her and she went back to sleep until 7:30 am! Every morning she expended so much energy swimming in the water and chasing birds she crashed for 2-3 hour naps. At home she refuses them half the time or only naps 40 minutes so it was amazing!

  26. What you do with Molly sounds similar to how we treat our daughter’s schedule when we travel. We went to Vegas last year when she was 8 months old and were in the hotel room every night at 6 to get her to bed and ordered take out from the different restaurants in the hotel 🤣 love reading your tips since Molly is a few months older than my daughter!

  27. We have a 6 year old and 19-month-old and travel to Hawaii every year (we live in San Diego, so same time issues!) – your experience sounds pretty much like ours! When we were there this February our toddler went to bed by 6 local time and was up at 4 each morning… we just enjoyed coffee time and cartoons until it was time to go down for breakfast! Naps were always on the go… and dinner was early and easy! Ha! Vacationing with young children isn’t the same as being without kids, but it’s still a fun experience if parents can just go with the flow! 🙂 love your posts!

  28. We took my son to Hawaii when he was 17 months last September! We had a very similar experience to yours and having a suite was a no brainer and an evening life saver for us so our little guy could sleep early.
    We had a 6 hour time change (flew from Chicago) but it was a really easy adjustment! He went to bed when the sun went down and woke up when it was light again.
    He did have the stomach flu for the first few days but we still managed just fine getting to the beach and enjoying our time.
    Travels with a toddler have always been easier than I expect!!

  29. The resort looks gorgeous! I thought you were bringing the Grannies so that you and Kevin could go out and do things a few times! I can’t believe you didn’t take advantage of a rare break!

  30. This is unrelated to toddler’s schedule while traveling, BUT can you suggest any bathing suits that you suggest while pregnant? Were you able to wear all your non-pregnancy suits? Did you buy new ones? Any suggestions on places to shop for cute pregnancy friendly suits?


  31. This is completely off topic, but on home and Family Thursday, April 5th you did a fashion segment. You had Paige in a pair of super cute cowgirl boots with a super cute dress. Where can I find the dress she was wearing?? I am 18 weeks post-partum and think that dress would be beautiful this summer as I continue to work off this baby weight!

  32. I really lucked out bc my two year old always sleeps 13 hours straight and two hour nap. Second day at beach and Im following same schedule for bedtime and nap but she is so tired and cranky an hour before each so it helped me to realize how much she needed downtime so Im going to let her chill after dinner ( 6pm) and put her down at 730pm. She easily sleeps through the night. I definitely found out about going out for dinner to feed her before going bc we waited over an hour however she watched bob the train during the wait and did not have a meltdown. I have had 5 back surgeries before her arrival and she is very independent bc im unable to carry her around so she knows she has to do what I ask of her. I know having a condo helped out with sleeping but she is sharing a sofa with 3 year old cousin ( backed up to the wall) and Im sleeping in bed beside her. They both slept 13 hours first night. No waking up. I hope everyone has better luck and it I believe its a source of sound machine and routine for me. She has never slept in my bed and maybe only skipped 5 naps in her life. Timers work for getting her to bed. She has learned to be low maintenance bc of my lifestyle ( single and disabled). Enjoy your time regardless!! Best wishes.

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