The Ultimate Guide to The Best Toddler Travel Beds (2018)
This post may contain affiliate links. See my full disclaimer here(Last Updated On: May 6, 2018)
Are you wondering what the best toddler travel bed is? This was exactly our dilemma when our crib-loving toddler grew too big for his playpen! We wanted a portable toddler bed that would allow us to keep his precious sleep (and ours!) and give us peace of mind on vacation. When looking for a portable travel crib we definitely wanted something that would be easy to set up! We also wanted something lightweight, and large enough for our son to grow into. I’ve done all the research for you, and picked out the best travel beds that meet these requirements below! Check out my list below to learn about the options for toddler travel sleep on the go. Find out what I think is the best toddler travel bed around! And while you’re at it, check out my hacks for getting your kids to sleep on vacation as well.
- 1 The Best Travel Bed For The Toddler that is Still in the Crib
- 2 The Best Travel Bed For The Toddler that is Out of the Crib
- 3 Pin These Toddler Travel Beds for Later!
The Best Travel Bed For The Toddler that is Still in the Crib
If your toddler is still IN the crib, chances are you want to keep her that way on vacation! My eldest son (the escape artist) definitely needed the constraints of his crib for as long as possible, and there was no way I was giving that up on vacation. Also, having always slept in the crib, my son would not have even known what to do if I tried to put him in a bed! There was no way I was going to try to make such a transition on vacation.
The problem I’ve found is that most playpens are too small for tall toddlers so an extra-sized toddler travel bed was in order. I scoured all the reviews on Amazon, posted in Facebook groups, and asked pretty much everyone I knew (and would listen!). Here is the list of the top toddler travel beds for your next trip with a toddler.
This is my favorite toddler travel bed. We used this until our son was 3 years old and transitioned to a ‘big boy bed.’ This playpen is longer than traditional playpens so it accommodates taller toddlers. I love that is still like a crib, keeping your little one contained. Although it’s not a one-step setup once you’ve set it up once it’s really easy to set up and take down. It takes me about 2 minutes to set up now that I have the hang of it. The Phil and Teds is really lightweight and will easily fit in a suitcase or can be brought on as carry-on. It weighs only 6 lbs! We have gotten so much great use out of this playpen not only while traveling but we have also used it as a makeshift beach tent and fort in our backyard. We love this one!
As you can see above, the length of this travel bed is the big selling point! I brought it out to take pictures for this blog and was surprised to find that my 4.5-year-old son STILL fits in this thing. Now he’s not the tallest 4-year-old out there, but STILL, I was really impressed. My 18-month-old is much taller than my first and he still has PLENTY of room in the Phil and Teds traveler.
If you are wanting extra space in the playpen this extra-sized playpen is perfect for you. The Joovy Room 2 is 50% larger than a standard playpen making it great for large toddlers and also great as a play spot during the day. It still packs up compact and can be checked with your luggage depending on your airline regulations. It’s definitely heavier than some of the other options on the market, but that might be worth it for the extra room! I love that this playpen is large enough that you can throw some toys in and your little one can also play safely in here without feeling too cramped. Especially on vacation, this can be useful because the places we stay aren’t always baby proofed how we like them! I’ve also heard this playpen is great for twins!
The Guava Lotus Travel Crib and the Baby Bjorn Travel Crib are both popular options for toddler travel beds. If you check out Amazon there are lots of head-to-head reviews comparing these two options. The setup for the Guava is really simple and intuitive and the crib folds up very compact for easy portability. The dimensions are not as long as the Phil and Teds above which is why it’s not my first choice for a portable travel crib. I like the longer length travel crib for my growing toddler.
The Guava Lotus crib is Greenguard certified meaning that it is non-toxic without the use of harmful chemicals. The cover is removable and machine washable which knowing my toddler is an absolute necessity! Overall, I love the design of this portable crib. Although I haven’t tried it myself, I asked my friend Emily over at Henry and Andrew’s Guide for her review. Here’s what she had to say:
‘The Guava Lotus is the best toddler travel bed because it’s easy to carry, it’s so light, and it’s perfect for even the bigger toddlers. We took ours on our 5 countries in 14 days trip in Europe. That meant we carried it through 5 plane rides, 1 train ride, and numerous car trips. We didn’t mind it at all! You can carry it as a backpack so your hands are free, or it folds up in a perfect rectangular shape, so it can be easily stacked on top of your rolling bag. Another perk is that even though it’s not a stroller, we’ve never been charged for checking it through the airlines as a “baby item”. Our older kid slept in it until almost 3 years old, when he grew out of his own crib at home! Their customer service is excellent too.’
The PeaPod: Affordable, but is it practical?
I’m so excited to have my friend Jill from This Harry Life drop in to give her review of this popular toddler travel bed. You may be surprised to see what she has to say!
‘The most appreciated aspect of this bed is it’s compact size. Folded up, it’s 18 inches in diameter by about 6 inches deep (this compresses to about half that depth when packed). It was extremely reasonably priced compared to other travel sleep accessories we considered, and with the zipper closed you can keep your child safely contained inside.
There are drawbacks to the PeaPod, though it works OK for us. My primary issue is the interior “floor”. Safe sleep guidelines dictate the included mat be snapped underneath, and there is no option to secure it inside. This is fine, but the interior is a a harsh polyester surface to place my child directly on. Anything I put underneath to soften it shifts and bunches as my child moves. It is also incredibly bright, and I have occasionally had to drape towels over it in attempt to provide darkness to nap in bright spaces.
Further, this item only has a single use: for your child to sleep in. It is not a space that I can safely place my child to play or be occupied, which is necessary sometimes when in non-baby-proof settings. For that reason if I were in the market again, I would not likely buy another PeaPod, despite it being the most affordable option.’
The Best Travel Bed For The Toddler that is Out of the Crib
Once our toddler was out of his crib the options for sleep were so much easier! Depending on where we were though, I did worry about him escaping his sleeping quarters at night. To solve this I have rented baby gates at my destination on multiple occasions. This gave me peace of mind that if my toddler woke up in the middle of the night he would be safe until we got to him. (You’ll find more toddler travel hacks here!)
A Mattress on The Floor
Nothing wrong with simplicity! There are lots of great travel toddler beds out there but when push comes to shove, a mattress on the floor is really all you need for toddler sleep. We often rent Airbnbs and in these places, it is usually quite easy to do this. In hotels, space is tighter so we have had to use inflatable bed rails (see below). Once my eldest had transitioned out of the crib it was great not to have to pack an extra piece of equipment. A mattress on the floor or ever two couch cushions works great and means you can keep your packing minimal!
We bought this for my son when we were going camping or to the cottage and we wouldn’t have access to a mattress to put on the floor. We used a toddler sleeping bag like this one and it made it a bit comfier for him to sleep on. He enjoyed having a special ‘big boy bed’ on the trip and we loved the portability and easy setup. The cot folds up compact and is extremely simple to set up. I’m not sure that I would take it on an airplane because it would definitely need to be checked! We got lots of use with it on road trips. It’s certainly not the comfiest thing in the world, but my son didn’t seem to mind it.
Now that my son can sleep in a real bed we aren’t using it as much but I have found a great hack for it – we bring it to the beach and on picnics and we use it as a raised platform for the kids to sit on when we eat. It keeps us somewhat out of the sand and is comfier than sitting directly on the ground. I love a product that can be used for longer than a few months. I’m glad I’ve found ways to make this purchase worthwhile!
This portable toddler bed is perfect for toddlers transitioning from the crib to an adult bed. I like the bumpers on the side which keep little ones comfortable inside this bed. This bed would be perfect for grandma’s house or a cottage that is tight on space. I think it would also be great for camping! It’s not carry-on size so it would need to be checked for flying. I think this makes it less desirable for this type of trip.
I find that hotels always have beds that are sooo high off the ground! I was constantly worried that my son was going to fall out of the bed until I found this product. These inflatable bed rails are the perfect travel option. They keep my restless sleeper from taking a tumble in the night. Since they are inflatable, they are super easy to set up and pack. You just slip them under the sheets and kids won’t roll off the mattress in their sleep. Having recently slept with my toddler on our last trip, he is a little MOVING MANIAC. I felt like I was getting kicked all night. I’m glad to have these bumpers to keep him from Karate kicking right off the bed. If I don’t have these available I will unusually throw some extra pillows on the floor JUST IN CASE 🙂
Sleeping on a real mattress in a nice hotel is so much better than a thin pad in a travel toddler bed so I like that these rails give me peace of mind to let my toddler sleep on the ‘big bed’ and have a really comfortable sleep! The Shrunks also makes a Shrunks inflatable toddler bed that has gotten rave reviews from my friends who own one! A great option especially for things like camping or hotel rooms where there aren’t extra mattresses lying around.
Another inflatable mattress for toddlers is the Intex kids travel bed. It has built-in bumpers making it perfect for little ones. I’m more of a ‘glamper’ than a true camper, so we bring an inflatable air mattress when we are camping. The Intex kids travel bed is perfect for camping with kids! It’s also great in a hotel room where space is tight. Make sure to get an electric pump, so you don’t have to pump it up yourself!
Pin These Toddler Travel Beds for Later!
What do you think is the best toddler travel bed?? I’d love to hear your favorites! Drop me a line in the comments below and let me know! I always love to hear what you think. Before you head on vacation, be sure to check out my other posts on the best car seat for travel, the best kids suitcases, and my (completely free!) downloadable packing list to keep your packing organized on vacation. Safe travels and wishing everyone a good nights rest! xo Kate