Baby Travel Crib & Safe Sleep Advice for Travel
Sleeping and maintaining good sleep routines is a major concern for traveling parents. Rightfully so! Good sleep begets good sleep. We spend so much time and energy helping our babies to nap and sleep through the night… Who on earth wants to mess with that? I’ve written before about travel messing with baby’s sleep, and the worry that “travel hangovers” can cause. But, with some preparation, (teething, major time changes, and illness aside) we can keep sleep issues while traveling with little ones to a minimum.
But regardless of where you’re staying–be it a fancy hotel or Grandma’s house–your baby or toddler needs a safe place to sleep.
Co-Sleeping while Traveling:
If you co-sleep at home, consider that hotels and family’s guest bedrooms may not have the safe set-up or infant-friendly bedding and linens that you have at home.
I have heard of some families pulling the mattress onto the floor or else actually making up a bed on the floor. This option would not be ok with me. Hotel carpets gross me out! But, for safety while co-sleeping in a hotel room, it might have to do. Another option is to bring along a portable baby bed or some travel bed rails.
Travel Crib & Baby Travel Bed Options:
The next step is bringing a travel crib or toddler travel bed with you. If you plan to do a lot of traveling,, of if a second sleeping area would be handy to have at Grandma’s place, this is a worthwhile investment.
You are totally spoiled for choice when it’s time to shop for a travel crib. The phil&teds Traveler is still a popular choice after many years on the market. It is truly a lightweight and portable travel bed that is good for infancy through to toddlerhood. I’ve demoed this item a few times and it gets easier to assemble and dissemble the more frequently you do it.
I’ve seen first-hand how great the Baby Bjorn Travel Crib Light is. It does not fold down as compactly as the phil&teds, but it is SO EASY to assemble and take down. When it’s folded, it’s the size of a small suitcase, but flat. But if you’re checking it as baggage anyway, that’s not such a big deal. The Baby Bjorn Travel Crib Light is more expensive.
The Chicco FastAsleep is pretty heavy at 24lbs. However, it folds and unfolds in a snap and is great for taller babies and toddlers who can easily escape from most travel cribs.
A tip for using a travel crib: Bring a crib sheet from home. If possible, take the one they were just sleeping on right out of their crib. The familiar feel and scent might help them feel more comfortable and safe in their travel crib. Click here for more baby travel sleep tips.
Toddler Travel Beds:
Now once your babies become toddlers, and they can’t or won’t sleep in any of these things, you still have options!
I’ve tried out a few duds that I won’t bother writing about, but I will say that I wish I had known about The Shrunks products. The Inflatable Toddler Bed is under 8lbs, uses standard crib sheets, and fits into a travel bag that can be purchased separately that holds the bed, as well as the pump and sheets and blankets. The Shrunks also makes an inflatable bed rail for travel. This is a great idea if you have a busy sleeper and aren’t sure if the place you’re staying offers bed rails or if you could push the bed against the wall. In a pinch you can always channel your inner McGyver and jam extra pillows and rolled up towels or blankets under the sheet at the side of the bed. This has worked for us.
Of course, you don’t have to bring your travel beds or cribs with you. Cribs or playpens may be offered at the hotel or rental you’re staying at. They may be totally clean and safe… Or they may not be. Our first experience with a hotel crib was not a good one. After that we always brought our playpen with us. Then, all the subsequent hotel cribs were fine, of course 😉
Renting or Borrowing a Crib for Travel:
Another option, and an especially good one if staying at a kidless family member or friend’s house is to rent a crib or playpen for sleeping. We have a fairly extensive baby equipment rentals page, but are always looking to add more listings!
And don’t forget to utilize social media! Renting gear can be expensive, so you can try Facebook to see if you have friends or acquaintances in the area you’ll be visiting who can lend some gear.
In a previous gear guide (and the television appearance I made to support it) I recommended the Peapod Travel Bed. After reading a heartbreaking account of a baby’s suffocation on Amazon, I pulled it from my gear guide.
I’m sure they have improved the design over the years, but I still would not feel comfortable recommending this travel bed or any other tent-style travel crib.
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- The Ultimate Baby Travel Tip List: Sleeping
- Baby Travel Gear Guide: Sleeping
- Tips for Coping with Time Changes & Baby Jet Lag
- The Complete Guide to Baby Travel Gear
- Information & Tips for Traveling with a Baby or Toddler
- A Complete Guide to Booking & Using an Airplane Bassinet
- 5 Reasons to Love Travel with a Stroller
- Resources & Tips for Flying with a Baby or Toddler
I agree about it being a good idea to take a travel cot with you. I have stayed in too many places where the cots are tiny and don’t look at all safe and we haven’t always been given a mattress as well either! I have such better peace of mind since traveling with a travel cot and they can be quite easy to fit into a regular suitcase along with your luggage. I also find my kids were happier sleeping in a constant bed.
Hi! Thank you for this information. I was just wondering if you have any opinions on the intex kidz inflatable bed or the aerobed? I have two year old twins who still sleep in their cribs, but I’m looking for a lightweight travel solution. We will be going to multiple cities/towns so renting is not the best option for us.
Hi Charly! I have friends who love the aerobed, but I’m not familiar with the Intex Kidz product. Looks like I have some reading to do!
I like so much this posts but can u give us some useful tips to choose the right travel cribs.!!
Great idea–thanks, Chaya!
Good info thanks, we travel a lot and use the chico pack and play. we needed to buy a easy to fold and carry mattress though as the bottom was a little hard for our boy to sleep comfortably on
Nice round-up! We used phil&teds for many years and it got the job done (and is indeed SUPER light and small) but if I were to start baby travel again (haha — no more babies for me, but this is a hypothetical), the Baby Bjorn seems like it might be best.
This post is so helpful – our kids are too big for cribs and cots now – but I am sharing this with my brother and sister in law they travel all the time with their baby!!
I’m typing this from a hotel where I wouldn’t want an air mattress on the ground either! God call on a cot.
Right?! Could you imagine?
Very useful information just when i got into parenting. I am as well confused on what to invest for outside co-sleeping. I was for a travel crib but my husband brought up the idea of sleeping bassinet. I am totally confused since I am looking for the most lightweight product.