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You’re hitting the road with your little one but figuring out where they are going to sleep is a problem. We hear this a lot in the Bébé Voyage community. We took all the advice from the group and put together this list of our favorite travel beds.
I travel with three little ones so we have tried quite a few of these cots first hand. We manage to squeeze all five of us into hotel rooms and carry cots with us on planes and trains. The rest of the recommendations come directly from the group and we try to keep this article updated as new beds come onto the market.
There is, of course, no one perfect travel bed. Each child has different sleep requirements and thus needs something different in a travel bed. Here are our favorites from the group in the hopes that you find one that works for you.
The Doc-A-Tot (U.S.) / Sleepyhead of Sweden (E.U.) is a great travel option for your little one. We personally love the versatility of the Doc-A-Tot. It is lightweight and easy to travel with. We have both sizes: the Deluxe and Grand. The Deluxe is smaller and thus the easiest to bring with you. I like to bring it right onto the plane with me. I’ve used it in airports and lounges as a place to put baby down. It’s perfect for hotels as well. I’ve used it as a co-sleeper in the middle of the bed between two adults, as well as just on the floor.
Although the larger version is better for the older kids it doesn’t travel as well. On a recent train trip I actually used the smaller Doc-a-Tot for my three year old. He loves the comfort of the larger Doc-a-Tot at home, so we put him in the smaller Doc-a-Tot and it prevented him from rolling out of bed on the train, something he has been known to do.
The largest disadvantage we hear about the Doc-A-Tot is that kids grow out of it so quickly. Again we found we could use the smaller one on trips with our older child. It can be used at home as a place to put baby. Even if you’re visiting a friend’s house or you’re just out for the day it can be a very versatile piece of baby equipment.
Kid-Co Pea Pod
The Kid-Co Pea Pod folds up so small that it is easy to store in your suitcase to bring along with you. It fits children from 1 to 3 years old, but is not intended for infants. Bébé Voyage members love the Pea Pod for its small size and enclosed space. You can zip your little one up and know they are safe inside their tent. It is perfect for naps at the beach or in the park as the cover provides UV and mosquito protection.
Some members found that their kids were “too active” to stay in this bed and preferred one of the more crib-like options. Others mentioned that their little ones grew out of it before the 3 year mark.
Phil & Ted’s Traveler Crib
We personally adore the Phil & Ted’s Traveler Crib so it came as no surprise when it was highly recommended by the group. We’ve been using ours for five years! The bed packs up so small. We can put it into our luggage with some clothing. We’ve also carried it on as its own bag, although the durability of its carrying bag is under question. It weighs only 6lbs!
It has a self inflating mattress. I’ve actually laid in the crib with a crying baby a few times and it was rather comfy. It comes with a sheet but we prefer the Luv Bug Waterproof Sheet for added protection against blowouts.
Its long enough (25.6 inches) to accommodate my three year old. The sides zip down which is perfect if an adult needs to get in or if you want an older child to sleep there but want them to have the ability to get out. We were even able to set it up on an overnight train in Eastern Europe!
The only disadvantage is that its longer frame plus outward angled feet sometimes prevents the crib from fitting in small spaces.
Guava Lotus Travel Crib
The Guava Lotus travel crib is a great option for traveling parents. It sets up in 15 seconds and folds into a backpack that meets carry on size requirements. Parents love the zip down sides that allow it to be used as a play yard or provide access to sleeping kids from the side. The Lotus crib weighs 13 lbs.
Some members disliked the thin mattress and said the non-standard size made it hard to find sheets that fit well. The mattress is also thin and some parents felt kids did not sleep comfortably.
Baby Bjorn Travel Crib Light
The Baby Bjorn travel crib gets a lot of love from Club Bébé Voyage. Club members love that there is no assembly. It is all in one piece and just pops opens and packs away quickly. The mattress is thicker than the competitors and our parents say babies sleep better on the go than in other beds they have tried. When folded it looks like a suitcase with a carrying handle.
The Baby Bjorn is a bit on the small side so kids may feel cramped before the 3 year mark. Some parents found it cumbersome to lug around and disliked that it had to be checked for flights. The Baby Bjorn Light weighs 13lbs.
Inflatable Travel Bed
There were two brands of inflatable travel beds that Club Bébé Voyage members love. The Shrunks Sleepover Travel Bed is the most well known. The Shrunks bed includes a carrying pack and electric pump. It features side rails to help keep sleepers on the bed and off the floor. You can also tuck a sheet in around just the mattress thanks to raised corners. The Shrunks is perfect for kids 2 to 6.
The Hiccapop Inflatable Toddler Bed also features bed rails and comes with a pump and travel bag. Club members who use the Hiccapop love that the bed is actually two pieces meaning it can fold a bit smaller. (Instead of the corners that hold the sheet the mattress is actually a second piece.)
The cons of both these inflatable beds come with the nature of it being inflatable. Some members didn’t like that they had to bring the pump along or found their kids jumped on the beds and wouldn’t stay put.
Regalo Travel Cot
The Regalo Travel Cot folds up like a camping chair. The carry bag is flimsy so we typically throw it and the Phil & Teds in to a Lands End medium bag to bring them onto the plane. The bed unfolds in seconds and is ready to go. It comes with a sheet, although any standard twin sheet will fit. It is the most like a “real bed” as far as travel beds go. Our five year old loves the cot. He has found all sorts of inventive places in a hotel room to put it to create his own space.
Some members found that their kids didn’t like sleeping on it for more than a night or two. In many cases this was resolved by adding an inflatable camping pad as cushioning.
Our Regalo has suffered some damage from a year of travel. An aluminum pin connecting the bed and legs came loose on a trip. I contacted customer service and was told it was out of warranty (90 days) and I should buy a new one. My husband was able to fix it with a screw and nut combo.
Hotel Room Hacks
If you don’t want to purchase something separate the group had a bunch of “hacks” that have worked for them while traveling.
Infant travelers seemed to be the easiest. Some people have simply lined a drawer and allowed baby to sleep in there (put the drawer on the floor). While we can’t recommend that, we do love the ingenuity. Other travelers simply use the bassinet from their stroller. Even if they were not bringing the full travel system along the bassinet can be placed on the floor for baby to sleep in. Many of these members brought the stroller bassinet on board the plane with them and put it in the overhead bin.
Toddlers are a bit trickier since they take up more space. Many of our members request a roll-a-way from the hotel and then simply take the mattress off and place it on the floor. This creates a comfortable and safe spot for a younger child without needing additional gear.
Rent Baby Gear
If you don’t travel frequently or you’re traveling situation is constantly changing, renting baby gear may be for you. You can rent what you need for the particular circumstances of your upcoming trip. You can find out more about renting baby gear here.
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