Though ghouls, goblins and gobs of candy may be the next holiday on your mind, the holiday travel season is just around the corner. You know the one where you brave packed plane flights or hours in the car to visit great-aunt so-and-so or cousins so numerous you can’t even count. Some of you may have the luxury of having ample space for your family to spread out at your travel destination, but if you’re like me, our family of 5 often gets packed into a single room with a queen bed and some floor space.
Travel beds – especially space-saving one – become imperative when the holidays roll around. Get a jump on your holiday travel planning now with our top picks for the best travel beds for babies.
The PeaPod is a pop-out, pop-up tent. Available in two sizes, the PeaPod comes with an inflated sleeping pad (self-inflating in some models) and a ventilated, enclosed space for your child to sleep. The PeaPod is one of my favorite travel beds and here’s why: 1) It’s portable. The PeaPod folds up similar to your car sunshade into a compact size that easily fits into suitcases, trunks and overhead compartments. It also opens in mere seconds. 2) It’s enclosed. When the entire family is sleeping in the same room, it’s a little hard when my 1-year-old can pop his head out of the travel crib and check out his surroundings at any hour of the day or night. The zippered panels of the PeaPod keep him from being distracted by his new surroundings which make it easier for him (and us!) to sleep. 3) It’s versatile. I recently took the PeaPod with me on a trip to Yosemite and was amazed at its versatility. My son slept in it every night in our VW van, used it as a play tent on the grass at the Ahwahnee while we picniced and took an afternoon nap on the sandy bank of the Merced while we lounged by the river. Visit www.kidco.com to see the different sizes, colors and mattress options.
Travel crib, pack-n-play, portacrib – whatever you call it, many parents are used to lugging one around when traveling with baby. BabyBjorn made this easier. Their Travel Crib Light took the basic pack-n-play and made it lighter (only 11 lbs compared to the 25-35 lbs of traditional pack-n-plays), more compact (19″ x 24″ x 6″), and much easier to set-up and take down (no locking sides to battle with). The frame sets up in just ONE step (well, two if you count pushing the mattress down) and in about 30 seconds. The mattress is not bulky, but is plush enough to provide a comfortable cushion which is good since the mattress does rest directly on the floor. The wider base keeps the Bjorn Travel Crib Light steady and sturdy despite being lightweight, and the mesh sides allow for easy airflow. The Travel Crib Light can be used from newborns up to about a 3-year-old depending on the size of your child (the mattress size is 24″ x 41″ x 4″). Visit Bjorn at www.babybjorn.com to learn more and purchase.
I’ve written about the Nest here before. For the right age baby and travel circumstances, the Nest is in incredible 2-in-1 bassinet and suitcase. The pop-up bassinet is easy to assemble in seconds and provides a safe and soft sleeping area for babies up to 9 months or 20 lbs. When you’re ready to travel, fold down the bassinet and slip it into the included travel bag that has a second compartment on the other side to hold clothes, diapers, blankets and more. Especially for overnight trips, the Nest allows you to save space, forgo the diaper bag and make do with just one bag for all your baby’s needs. Unpacked, the Nest is also lightweight weighing in at 5.5 lbs. The bag will undoubtedly get heavier if you’re loading the other side with clothes, toys and other necessities, but the total weigh will still likely beat the heft required to lug most traditional pack-n-plays. Visit philandteds.com to learn more and purchase.
Mommies With Style was not paid for this review. Samples were provided by the companies to facilitate the review.
Kate Bayless is a writer, editor and one day dreams of traveling without baby gear. Her work has appeared in Parents, American Baby, Fit Pregnancy, iVillage and other publications. Visit her at www.katebayless.com or @katebayless.