Do you need a baby bed for travel?
When you have children, you soon realise that you start asking questions you never thought you would.
In this case, it soon turns out that the right answer is yes. If you like to travel, you must equip yourself with a baby travel bed.
A portable bed for baby or a travel cot will be essential both for parents who only occasionally visit relatives or friends for the weekend, and for parents who embark around the world with their brand new twins!
Of course if you travel only occasionally, you should carefully review the cost aspect, while if you travel often by plane you will probably be looking for a light, compact, and easy to transport travel cot.
Deciding what to pack when travelling with a baby cd be overwhelming, you can read here more advice on baby travel essentials and also how to save hundreds in luggage fees when flying Ryanair or other European low cost airlines.
This post may contain affiliate links. I may receive a commission for purchases made through the links on this page, at no cost to you
WHICH IS THE BEST BABY TRAVEL BED?
On the market there are many alternatives: travel bed for infant, portable crib for toddlers, and also baby pop up bed and everybody has different needs, so it is not an easy question to answer.
It may be overwhelming trying to choose the right model, therefore I distilled the choice down to the 8 models I think are the best to choose from!
In this guide we will analyse the best travel cots for different travel styles, to make sure you buy the model that suits your way of travel the best!
Then I will go into the details of each portable travel bed for baby to understand each model and analyse which features make them the best option for families that love to travel.
Here is the criteria for the evaluation:
- Portability: With a compact travel cot it is important that it is easy to carry on the shoulder, perhaps with a shoulder strap, while pushing a stroller or holding a baby.
- Weight / dimensions: If you travel a lot by plane, it is important to consider a compact lightweight travel cot, in order to not make travel even more challenging
- Ease of assembly: If you often make road trips, or you like to change hotels every two / three days, it is important to choose a model that is easy and quick to assemble.
- Longevity: this is an important aspect to consider based on how long you want to use the baby portable bed you choose. A bit like pushchairs, not all of them are suitable for use from birth, but others are not usable beyond 12/18 months
- Fabric: it is important to check how easy it is to clean. While travelling you don’t want to waste time and an accident could always happen.
- Mattress: some mattresses are thicker than others, I wouldn’t discard a model only if the mattress is a bit thinner because little kids need quite a firm mattress, but it is good to be aware of it, perhaps if one night you use the travel crib over a hard floor you can put a towel under the cot to compensate.
Let’s start with an overview!
BABY TRAVEL BED COMPARISON CHART
A lightweight travel cot is a great present for a family of travellers, check this gifts for travelers guide if you need more ideas.
WHY DO YOU NEED A PORTABLE TRAVEL BED FOR BABIES?
There are various reasons why I think it is essential to organise yourself with your own baby travel sleep options:
If you visit relatives or friends, you may be tempted to find a temporary solution or to try co-sleeping, but unless you are already used to this solution it can only prove to be a producer of a sleepless night.
If you stay in a hotel you must be absolutely sure that the baby bed supplied complies with the most current safety standards.
Young children, much more than adults, are likely to become infected with germs and bacteria, especially in the period when they are bringing everything to their mouth because that’s their way to discover the world. In a hotel it is almost impossible to be sure that the baby cot supplied has been carefully sterilised.
If, like me, before Liam and Santiago, you have not been interested in the subject before, you will be amazed at what a hotel can ask for, per night, just to add a simple baby crib or an extra bed (usually in the case of children over two years).
At the hotels during our tragicomic first beach holiday, for example, we were asked for Euro30 per night per child, so for two weeks it would have cost us over Euro800!!!!
8 BEST BABY BED FOR TRAVEL: DETAILED REVIEW
Best Overall Travel cot
The Micralite sleep&go travel cot is probably the best portable travel crib on the market in 2020.
It seems that the designer took all the best elements of other top travel cots, like the Baby Bjorn or Phil & Teds, made it even more functional and added some other cool features.
Like the BabyBjorn, it is a super easy to assemble and to transport travel cot, watch here the official video to appreciate these features.
This cot folds small into a padded travel bag, with a comfy handle and a practical shoulder strap.
It also features the newest generation of infant bassinet (depending on the shop it may be included or sold separately), that can super easily zip to the top and be used until the baby is around 6 months. Really practical if you want to use the travel cot as a newborn travel bed and you want to save yourself from back-pain.
- great design
- super easy to assemble
- really practical bag to store and transport
- practical bassinet
- side panel zip down
- plastic bottom makes it possible to use outdoor
- it could be lighter
- needs to be checked-in on a flight
Second best if money isn’t an issue
This portable travel cot isn’t cheap, but it is so practical that you will maybe not regret the money spent.
Especially if you like road trips and you change location often then this is just amazing. It requires no time to assemble it or put it away.
It folds neatly into a sort of small suitcase with a big handle to carry it easily.
The fabric and the base are built in, so there are no loose parts to assemble, but the mesh is also really easy to remove to wash.
Watch the assembly video to be amazed about how clever it is.
- super easy to assemble
- great size from newborn to 3 years +
- easy to carry with included bag
- side panel doesn’t zip down
- no newborn bassinet available
Best lightweight / Best twins travel cot
“The only travel cot lighter than your baby” is the slogan that Phil & Teds have been using for years.
It is this feature that still keeps The Phil & Teds traveller as one of the top choices on my list.
The other element that sets apart this portable crib for travel from the contenders is the way you assembly it. Unfortunately the structure doesn’t come already fixed to the mesh, but needs to be put together. It doesn’t really require more than 2-3 minutes, but you maybe want to consider this aspect, especially if the weight is not a key element for you.
Here is the link to the Phil & Teds traveller assembly video if you want to understand better the assembly technique.
As parents of twins we can say that this is the best portable crib if you have twins. You can carry 2 and you will still end with a lighter load than one of most of the other models. We used 2 of these portable travel cribs until our boys were over 3 years old.
- the lightest traditional travel cot, only 2.8kg
- great size from newborn to 3 years +
- easy to carry on a shoulder
- side panel zip down completely
- mesh bassinet for newborn available
- sunshade top cover available
- thermally insulated mattress
- allowed as hand luggage from some airlines
- assembly is more complicated than other models like Baby Bjorn or Micralite
- newborn bassinet sold separately
- inflatable mattress on the thin side
- sunshade top cover sold separately
Best compact travel crib
The Lotus travel crib is probably the most compact of all the traditional travel cots.
The designers developed this clever 3D mechanism, that makes the crib fold in a Z way and simply fit in the backpack.
Watch here the official video on how to assemble it.
All parts are connected, so no risk to loose anything. Only the mattress needs to be fixed to the feet.
One of the few downsides is it is not easily available everywhere.
- easy to assemble
- great size from newborn to 3 years +
- side panel zip down
- super easy to carry as a back pack
- most airlines will consider it hand luggage
- newborn bassinet available
- newborn bassinet is sold separately
- fixing the mattress could be a bit laborious
- mattress sheet is sold separately
- not easy to buy in Europe
Best baby crib for under $50 £40
The Hauck Dream ‘n Play travel cot is the most traditional travel cot in this list. For a price tag under $50 (£40) I could not leave it out because there are still situations when it could be worth considering.
First of all it is quite big, but if on one hand this means it is the biggest and heaviest in the list, on the other hand it is a really good travel cot for toddler.
If you travel mainly by car (with generous boot), mainly visiting friends and family for a weekend or you stay in one place, then save same money and get one of these cots.
It doesn’t have the cool features of some others like a newborn bassinet, and doesn’t fold into a back pack, but it still comes with a useful carrying bag.
We now have been using two older models of the Hauck for more than 4 years when visiting my dad in Italy. We leave them there but they are still compact enough to be stored away.
We think they’re also perfect for a weekend away with the car.
- easy enough to assemble, but only if you follow the instructions!
- great size from newborn to 4 years +
- big enough to be used as a small playpen
- heavy, kg. 9,4
- mattress sheet is sold separately
- not mesh panel all around
Best travel bassinet
The Bizzi Growin Pod travel Crib doesn’t have a long life in use as a travel cot, but it is really clever and deserves a space on this list.
Parents that prefer to travel with their newborn in a carrier instead of in a pram, will find this changing bag that transforms into a travel crib for newborns particularly useful.
Perfect for all parents that like to be out and about all day while travelling, but want to secure a safe space for the little one to nap.
One side of the changing bag folds down and you just need to insert 2 lightweight poles to keep the mesh sides in place.
Includes a padded mattress for overnight sleep. The changing bag also includes several compartments to keep everything organised including an insulated bottle pocket.
- really light
- double function
- washable mattress
- short use as a crib
Best portable crib for outdoor travel
The Littlelife Arc 2 Lightweight Travel Cot, like the Kidco Peapod, developed the traditional travel concept a little further.
The designers took inspiration more from the camping life than the usual nursery environment, but the results I think are excellent.
This baby travel tent packs easily in a light, small backpack (including the mattress and mattress sheet), and it takes only few minutes to assemble. The assembling is not difficult but it is important to follow the instructions the first time, it is like building a mini camping tent.
This is an amazing on the go baby bed, for all families who love to pack really minimally and love life outdoors, as it doubles up as a shaded place for the little one to play during the day outside.
- really light only 2.5kg
- great size from newborn
- washable mattress
- includes bed sheet
- mesh panel on the side and on the top
- safety toggle to block the zip
- sunshade available
- sunshade sold separately
Best pop up travel cot
The Kidco Peapod Plus travel bed is another tent-style travel cot.
It is even lighter than the Littlelife Arc 2, as it is only 1.66kg. The best part is it comes out of his bag already assembled! Yes it is a sort of pop up toddler bed!
The other key difference with the Littlelife is that can be used only from 12 months on-wards, but it should last up to 5 years.
This travel toddler bed is probably the lightest and longest lasting model on the market, the only issue is that its not available Worldwide. It is really easy to buy in the USA but less in Europe.
- really light only 1.6kg
- great size from 1 to 5 years
- mesh panel on the side
- 2 big openings on the side, 1 to enter and 1 as a meshed screen
- 2 smaller meshed screens
- mattress attached at the bottom, for safety
- easy to remove and wash mattress
- tricky to put back in its bag
- mattress is quite thin
- not worldwide available
You could also be interested in the best double stroller for travel, to make all your travel easier.
TWINS TRAVEL COT
Where are the travel baby beds for twins? As we have twins you might expect me to be ready with a list of cots for twins, but the reality is there are not many on the market. The available options are limited to use in the first few months of life and are not ideal for travelling.
The best baby crib for twins to keep at home are the Halo Bassinest and the Simmons bassinet for twins. Two ingenious products, which I hope will be adapted to easily disassemble to make it travel friendly. They were developed on the concept of other cradles that attach to the adults bed, but they are larger and the Halo rotates allowing the parent to reach the baby who needs cuddling without leaving the bed. A mesh panel divides the cot for twins in two so that the babies cannot bother each other, but they can see each other.
Another very popular baby cot for twins is the Joovi room 2, practically a large playard that, by purchasing the nursery center kit separately, can be divided to accommodate two babies. The playard itself does not take up much more space than a traditional travel cot, but the nursery center is another element to consider to carry around.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST KIDS PORTABLE BED
If, despite my selection you are still confused, it is normal. Many factors influence your choice and then there are always personal preferences that only you can judge, and that will make you lean towards one model or another.
I personally have used 3 different types of travel cot: two of them are on the list, the Phil and Ted traveler and the Hauck (even if I own an old model).
The Phil and Ted travel cot has been for us the best baby bed for travel.
Having twins, for me the most important thing that determined the choice was the lightness and ease of transport (because obviously we have two).
My husband can put one on each shoulder and without problems push the stroller and pull a trolley (while I follow empty-handed of course).
On the other hand, it is perhaps the most time consuming model to assemble, but lightness and portability were more important to me.
The two Phil & Teds have come with us on almost all the trips made with Liam and Santiago up to about three years: Japan, Egypt, Spain ,Turkey. During only the first 6 months we used our beloved Joolz Geo pram carrycot.
Now they are just over 4 and we usually find accommodation that offers at least a sofa bed as option for them.
The Hauck dream ‘n play we still use when we are visiting their grandfather. We don’t take them on the plane because they would be too bulky, but they are perfect for taking around for a short weekend in the car when we are in Italy.
So to conclude, what should you ask yourself before choosing your best travel crib for travel? You should reflect on your style of travel first.
Different travel style, different sleeping solution
Discovering the backyard
If you love to explore your country, travel by car, and your budget is limited, then the best travel baby bed is definitely the Hauck dream ‘n play. Without frills, it performs the necessary functions without draining your wallet.
Enjoying the outdoors
If you love the outdoor life, travel with the bare minimum, love cycling and camping, then you will surely appreciate the group of non-traditional travel cots. Starting from Bizzi Growin Pod Travel Cot as an infant portable bed and then moving on the super-practical Kidco PeaPod Plus Travel Bed or Littlelife Arc 2 lightweight travel cot.
Planning a round the world trip?
You are covered: Micralite sleep and go travel cot will accompany you everywhere. A model which is certainly not super cheap, but that you can use from birth, very quick to open and close, and practical to carry. If you prefer to focus on the lightness then go with the Phil & Teds and you will forget to have it on your shoulder! …and if you fear to fly with a baby, don’t miss our recommendation for the most carefree experience!
If you like to jump on a plane even for a weekend away then the best options are the Guava Lotus travel crib or the practical Kidco PeaPod Plus Travel Bed or Littlelife Arc 2 lightweight travel cot. Not all airlines offer the possibility of boarding babygear for free, but with these models you should be safe to carry them as hand luggage (always check!)
Different type of travel cot for different ages
The last considerations to make are concerning the age of the child when you decide to purchase a travel cot.
Travel bed for baby
Many parents may skip this stage as many pushchair bassinets are approved for overnight sleeping.
To decide what is the best infant travel bed for you, you will have to consider two options: take one that can be used from birth up to 3/4 years, or buy a small one for the first 6 months and then change it.
If you decide for the second option, consider also these: many of the new travel cot models offer a practical bassinet that can be attached with a simple zip to the structure. It is very practical in the first months when you take out the babies from the cot very often. Many travel cots are deeper than you may have in the nursery at home since in many cases the mattress rests on the ground, so it is more difficult to reach your baby and your back could complain,
If there is no bassinet, it is a good option to have at least one of the side panels that can be opened, so as to make access easier.
Toddler travel crib
If the first 6 months have gone, the choices expand. In this case one of the most interesting features to look for is the possibility of opening one of the side panels.
The toddler age is the most difficult stage, and if you have a child who has difficulty sleeping, it can be useful to have the possibility to open the panel and lie down next to him.
During the day the portable toddler crib can also simply become a playpen.
RELATED: Best tablets for 2 year olds
I hope this guide will help you to travel better and more organised! Let me know in the comment if I forgot any great product!
NO TIME NOW? SAVE IT FOR LATER