TravelSort reader Michelle asks: “Do you have any recommendations for travel beds for toddlers and young kids? My 3 year old has transitioned from a crib to a big girl bed with bed rails at home, but I'm leary of putting her in a rollaway when traveling, as I'm afraid she may roll out.”
This topic is one I've been grappling with, since we'll be flying to Asia soon with our 4-year old, and he also has bed rails. And while a few months ago I would have been happy to just go with a rollaway bed, I'm not willing to take the chance now: my son actually broke his collarbone falling out of his bed between the time he starting sleeping in it and when the bed rails we had ordered for him arrived. He couldn't use his right arm for weeks while it healed, and that's not what you want to risk on vacation. Who knew you could break a collarbone falling out of bed? Well, you can.
Anyway, back to Michelle's question on portable travel beds. When our son was a baby and toddler, we used the Baby Bjorn travel crib, which worked well and is fairly light, though it is an additional piece of luggage. He's outgrown it though, so recently I looked at the various portable travel bed options for kids. Although there are several, the problem I found is that none of them are that portable and light–they would end up taking up a fair amount of space in our suitcase.
So instead, I started looking at camping gear, and found the Nemo Astro Air Sleeping Pad, which comes in both regular and short lengths. I got the short length since it's even more portable and light than the regular length and I want to travel as lightly as possible (plus it was cheaper and I wasn't sure how well it would work) although in hindsight I probably should have gotten the regular length. It's not that wide, but we aim to get extra hotel pillows to put on either side so he doesn't roll off it.
The great thing is that it's very portable, just a bit bigger than a water bottle when packed, and very light. And there's no need to carry a pump and batteries around with you, since it manually inflates. Here it is packed, along with the Genji Sport Tent we also bought:
While we haven't used the Nemo sleeping pad overnight yet, my son loved trying it out inside the Genji Tent–it will be like camping for him!
If anyone is wondering why we also got the Genji Tent, it's because we'll be in Bali, and wanted to be able to protect our son from mosquitoes at night. Even if we were comfortable using a rollaway bed for him, it wouldn't come with a mosquito net, so we opted for this very light tent, which pops open in literally a second.
If you have kids and have used a portable travel bed, what do you recommend? Share your experiences in the comments!
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