New parents who had led an active lifestyle before having children often try every way there is to retain it after their babies are born. While traveling, camping or hiking can never again be done exactly like you did it as a childless youngster, it’s far from impossible!
The key is in the thorough planning and preparing, as you want to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible. While there are many aspects of the travel adventure to be taken into account, one of the most important ones is your toddlers’ sleep.
Some toddlers are hard to put to sleep anyway—the last thing you want them to do while away is causing you more headaches than needed.
How can you make sure they sleep tight in a place other than their room? Choose the best bed. If you do it right, they might even end up asking you to sleep in the new bed when they get back home…all questions we’ll address today.
There are three main types of travel beds for toddlers: inflatable beds, foam folding travel beds and cots. All these types have positives and downsides and it’s generalize and say “this one is the best”.
What we’ll try to do is point you in the right direction to choose one that’s the right fit for YOU.
Toddler inflatable bed
Getting a toddler airbed might turn into a show for the kid, as they usually love seeing it inflate and deflate! Apart from being fun, this type of portable bed also has some great characteristics.
Inflatable beds are practical and when deflated can be packed into their own small bag that is easy to carry. If you envision traveling by plane a lot, this is a perfect option, as it easily fits into a suitcase.
An airbed is also a safe option. It comes with side rails that prevent your child from falling off the bed, plus the material used in making such beds does not contain any harmful chemicals the child might breathe in. Shrunks Travel Toddler Bed, for example, is an extremely safe version of an airbed: it is chemical-free and eco-friendly, plus you get an optional sleeping bag with it.
Another advantage of an inflatable toddler bed is it being easy to clean. Its flat plastic surface allows all the liquids to be just wiped out. That way, nightly misadventures that might occur cause the least damage, unlike with a folding bed or a toddler cot.
The negatives of a toddler inflatable bed are few. Some people mind the smell of plastics—this is easily manageable if you just air out the airbed for a couple of hours or even a full day.
Sometimes air leaks happen—while this is certainly not the way you want your child to end up sleeping on the floor, by investing in a proper airbed the chances for air leaks are minimal.
Folding foam travel beds
If you don’t mind spending some more money on the travel bed, this might be your ideal choice. These folding portable beds are made out of foam and thus the most comfortable option. Your kid would sleep on it like on a cloud!
However, apart from being expensive, this solution is not for everyone. If your child still wets the bed, refrain from buying this one, as the smell will stay no matter how well you clean the bed afterwards. The solution to this though can be pairing the bed with a waterproof cover.
Those parents who travel a lot by plane should skip this bed, as it’s quite bulky and would require checking in as a separate piece of luggage. But if you’re mostly traveling by car that has a lot of space, this would be a great choice! An example of an excellent foam bed is the Leachco BumpZZZ folding travel bed, a premium quality piece.
Portable toddler cots
This being the cheapest option does not mean it is also the worst one. If you only plan to use it once, this is the bed for your kid! Toddler cot folds up like a folding chair, which means it folds up small and easy to carry around. Unlike an inflatable bed though, it doesn’t fit in a suitcase.
However, it is cheap for a reason. It’s not so comfortable since the top of it is just padded canvas. Since it has no rails on the side, you should only use it if your child has got used to sleeping in a proper bed.
If you opt for a toddler cot, you could consider adding a foam mat over the canvas for extra comfort.
Even though this type is the cheap one, not being stingy and getting a product from a reputable brand will definitely make all the difference. Turn, for example, to Regalo toddler cot available in pink and blue.
Seeing all the info on portable toddler beds, how do you know which one to choose? Ask yourself these questions.
How does my child usually sleep?
Safety comes first, so you need to make sure a kid that tosses and turns does not end up on a bed without rails. Kids airbeds usually come with sturdy sides that prevent the child from falling in their sleep. Some of the cots for toddlers also have the rails on the sides.
If the child moves a lot during the night, you might want to skip the foam bed, even though it is the most comfortable option there is.
Does my child still have nightly mishaps?
If this is the case, your best bet is an air mattress, because you can easily wipe its surface and just wash the sheets. Make sure you read reviews of other users of the airbed (or any other kind you have your eye on) on websites that carry the beds and look for people in a situation similar to yours.
If a misfortune happens on a folding bed, you can never really get the smell out. The goes for the canvas of the cot.
But make sure you choose the toddler inflatable bed that is completely made out of PVC and not covered in velvet. While the velvety flock is soft and comfortable, cleaning it after an “accident” is more complicated than just wiping the liquid off the plastics.
How often will I be using the portable bed?
If you only need a portable bed for your toddler once and believe you will not use it again, a cot is the most suitable option, as it’s the cheapest, but it will do its job quite well. On the other hand, if you plan to use it often, opt for either an inflatable toddler bed or a foam folding bed, depending on your travel choices.
How will I pack the bed?
Airbeds are easiest to pack—once they deflate, you can easily pack them into a small bag, which makes these beds the easiest to carry around, especially if flying is involved. Toddler cots are foldable and can be carried around if you travel by car. The one you cannot pack easily is the foam folding bed, so take that into account if you plan to move a lot.
Will I use the portable bed around the house or taking it to trips?
If you just want an extra bed in your house that can be moved from room to room when necessary, you are welcome to use the foam folding bed. However, if you travel a lot with a child, that is not the most convenient option, so go for an air mattress instead.
The bottom line is, you need to take your situation and plans into account when choosing what’s best for your tot.
Hopefully, this guide will help you through the process.