I Travel With My Kids Constantly — and This Toddler Bed That Fits in My Carry-on Saves Every Trip

Better sleep for all under $70 is pretty priceless.

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Real Simple / Reese Herrington

Traveling with kids is wildly different than traveling solo or as a couple — but that’s not to say one is better than the other. I love adventuring with just my partner (because it is easier to care for the needs and wants of just two humans), but I also feel a quiet sense of accomplishment when I manage to carry out a relatively smooth family vacation. And as parents, we know that the latter usually requires careful planning and organization of all the things.

If you’ve got a younger child between the ages of 18 months and 4 years old, a crucial piece of travel gear is a portable bed, and my favorite for this age range is The Shrunks Toddler Travel Bed. It may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you’re packing up, like a stroller or even packing cubes, but consider this: The quality of your own sleep legitimately depends on how well your child sleeps. So your kiddo’s bed should rank high up on your parental survival list, somewhere near lattes and weekend getaways with girlfriends.

The Shrunks Twin and Toddler Travel Bed Portable Inflatable Air Mattress


To buy: amazon.com, $70

I’ve taken The Shrunks Toddler Travel Bed on road trips, further-flung domestic vacations, and lots of overnights at grandparents’ homes — I can attest that this product wins with its ease. It comes with a portable Jetaire Electric Pump that makes it simple to inflate (in about 30 seconds). Once deflated and folded, place it in the included travel bag, that makes it compact enough to fit in most carry-on suitcases. And it’s made with durable PVC that you can inflate to varying degrees of firmness, depending on your toddler’s preference. 

The bed’s clever design is also notable. Side bumpers (or rail guards) help keep wiggly sleepers on the bed, and a standard crib sheet fits on it, so you can toss your child’s favorite cozy sheet into your luggage to help create a little sense of home while you’re on the road. The bed’s also a huge space saver, taking up far less of your trunk space than a pack-n-play or your typical travel crib. And, if you’re in search of a portable bed for a child that’s a little older, you’re in luck — The Shrunks Twin Travel Bed suits sleepers of most heights. 

No matter what size you choose, reviewers say you’ll be pleased with the bed’s durability and comfort. One parent reviewer on Amazon revealed that the bed “withstands” her daughter’s rambunctious “bouncing,” while numerous other reviewers deemed it “comfy.”

The Shrunks Twin and Toddler Travel Bed Portable Inflatable Air Mattress


To buy: amazon.com, $70

The Shrunks Toddler Travel Bed has more than 2,000 five-star ratings at Amazon. One reviewer called it the “perfect solution, incredibly easy to blow up, to remove air, and refold.” And that’s the exact ease on-the-go families need. 

Another reviewer noted that this product solves many toddler sleep challenges. “If you travel a lot, or your kid does overnights at someone else’s house without a designated bed… or [you] need a solution for a kid to sleep in your room in the middle of the night (while also trying to break them of sleeping in your bed), this is a great solution,” they raved. 

So if you’ve got a road trip, family vacation, or even a camping trip on the horizon, and you’re wondering where your toddler will rest their head, The Shrunks Toddler Travel Bed is it. They’ll get a good night’s sleep, so you will, too. And rested children and parents are more ready to tackle a day of travel sans meltdowns.

At the time of publishing, the price started at $70. 

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