Mother and Baby

The best travel cots for babies and toddlers

Section: Baby
The best travel cots for babies and toddlers

You can’t beat having a break with your baby, and whether you’re heading off on holiday with your family or just visiting the grandparents overnight, finding the best travel cot for you will help make sure that your baby sleeps soundly even though you're away from home. 

A travel cot is a portable, lightweight cot, designed to fold away compactly with its collapsible sides in its own storage bag making it the perfect solution for trips away. 

We've enlisted expert mum testers to put the best travel cots through their paces, taking into account the weight, size, price, assembly, age suitability and stability to help you find the best travel cot for your tot. 

The best travel cots included this article: 

  • Joie Excursion Change & Bounce, best travel cot newborn  
  • Spacecot, best travel cot for speed
  • Nuna Sena Aire, best travel cot mattress
  • Baby Bjorn Travel Cot Light, best travel cot lightweight 
  • Graco Contour Electra, best value travel cot 
  • Chicco Zip & Go, best travel cot for helping your baby sleep
  • Bizzi Growin POD Travel Crib, most compact travel cot
  • Cuggl Deluxe Superlight Travel Cot, best budget travel cot
  • BabyDan Travel Cot, best long-lasting travel cot

Do you need a travel cot?

You most likely won't need a travel cot for the first few months if you already have a Moses basket, portable crib or a carrycot or car seat suitable for overnight sleeping. If you don’t go away very often, then you might be better off borrowing a travel cot from a friend as it can be an expensive purchase if you’re only going to be using it once a year.

Read more: The best holiday destinations to visit with a baby

A lot of hotels and holiday cottages now provide travel cots and other baby equipment, but if you’re away from home often, then purchasing a travel cot is a safe and wise idea. It will last well past the newborn months and will prove extremely useful at other times too, for example, for your baby’s daytime naps when you’re visiting friends for the day.

Many mums use sturdier, floor level travel cots as playpens, too, or as a safe place to pop their toddler for a minute, especially when baby number two comes along and you suddenly find yourself running out of hands. Travel cots come in a variety of sizes and styles, with different upper age and weight limits.

The cots we tested can be used from birth until your baby weighs around 15kg (between 2-3 years) - except one, which is for younger babies only. However, an adventurous toddler may be able to climb out of a travel cot before she reaches three years old, at which stage it would be safest for her to sleep in a bed.

Read more: 7 toddler travel accessories that will make any journey easier

What to look out for when buying a travel cot

Here are some travel cot features to look out for when deciding on which travel cot is best for you and your baby: 

  • Bassinet: A bassinet attaches to the top of the travel cot, creating a raised crib for younger babies, so you don’t have to bend down low to lift your baby in and out of the main cot.
  • Mattress: Travel cots come with a mattress supplied, and some are plusher than others. Choose a thick, supportive mattress to ensure a comfortable night’s sleep.
  • Folding mechanism: As well as checking how simple it is to assemble the travel cot, make sure you can fold it away into its storage bag again quickly and easily. If you have older children, check that inquisitive little fingers can’t easily access the mechanism to fold the travel cot when it’s in use.
  • Fabric: Mesh sides are best as they encourage airflow, prevent overheating and enable you to see your baby when she’s sleeping. Some travel cots have removable, machine-washable covers, which are useful if you’ll be using the travel cot often.
  • Wheels: Some models have wheels to allow you to move it around easily once assembled. This is useful if you want to move it from room-to-room once your baby is asleep or position it elsewhere in the house for daytime naps or playpen use, especially if it’s a heavier design.
  • Bedding: The sheet you use must fit the mattress properly, with no loose fabric. Standard cot bedding won’t necessarily fit, so check what size bedding is required, and factor in any extra expense.
  • Musical Features: Some have light and sound features, which can be useful for helping to soothe your baby when she’s sleeping away from home.
  • Insect Net: Some travel cots come with fitted insect nets to protect your baby from mosquitos and other harmful bugs.‚Äč


Most read: Find the best baby-friendly holiday 
Most read: The best bedside cribs and cots for co-sleeping with your baby

 Best travel cots for babies 

The best travel cots for babies and toddlers

This versatile travel cot comes with lots of extra accessories, so it’s great value for money. There’s a full-size bassinet, which snaps easily on and off as required, as well as a change unit and portable bouncing seat. It folds compactly and comes with its own travel storage bag.

There are lots of sound and light features, including a soothing sound vibration, plus five classical lullabies and nature sounds. The two integrated wheels make it easy to move from room to room and there's also a nightlight with 3 brightness settings.

Tested by mum Kathryn: "This was quite difficult to assemble – I had to enlist my husband’s help. It’s sturdy and almost as big as a normal cot. The wheels make it easy to move. Olly is too old for the extra accessories, but they’d be fantastic for a newborn. Olly likes the sounds, and the light is great for night changes without fully waking him. A real investment that will grow with your baby."

Tested by mum Nicola: "The mesh sides enabled me to check on Amelia without getting out of bed, and she liked being able to see us when she woke up. The mattress seems very comfortable, and the colours and pattern of this travel cot are really appealing. The extra accessories aren’t suitable past 12 months, and this travel cot is quite heavy – I would struggle to move it from room to room without help."

  • Suitable from birth to 15kg
  • Weighs: 16kg
  • Measures: 106 x 75.4 x 87.5 cm
  • Open Dimensions: l 106cm x w 75.4 cm x h 87.5cm
  • Folded Dimensions: l 84.2cm x w 26.3cm x h 21cm

If you’re looking for a travel cot that’s a doddle to set up and folds away in seconds, this is it – no more grappling with unwieldy parts when you arrive at your destination with a tired baby. We love the clever design, inspired by the way satellites unfurl in space.

Convenient for carrying around your home, it comes with its own travel bag and a lovely, plush mattress, plus a really handy crib attachment for newborns. The suspended base will protect your little ones from draughts.

Tested by mum Kirsty: "So easy to set up and put away – you really can do it in one second! It’s the perfect height for lifting my baby in and out of comfortably. It’s sturdy, but wobbles gently when Rikku moves, so she actually rocked herself to sleep. It takes up quite a bit of space in my car boot but once assembled it’s compact and easy to move around. I feel like it’s great value, too."

Tested by mum Kathryn: "Inspired by rocket science, and it shows – it’s really well-designed. The sides are deep, the mattress is comfortable and the cot is sturdy yet lightweight. It’s also really easy to assemble – it literally pops up. The removable covers are great, especially if your baby has reflux, as Olly does. It doesn’t have as many ‘novelty’ features as other cots, but it’s well-priced and has everything we need."

Read our full review about the Spacecot

  • Suitable from birth to 15kg
  • Weighs: 6.7kg
  • Opens and closes in 3 seconds
  • Playpen measures H81 x L97 x W58cm, Full gate measures 3.8m (151in) wide and 74cm (29in) tall

This stylish, contemporary travel cot takes seconds to put together and is reasonably quick and easy to fold, even with a baby in your arms. We love the bassinet accessory, which makes this brilliant for use from birth. It has a sturdy aluminium frame and a triple-layered mattress.

Doubling up as a play space, this travel cot has padded edges to prevent pinched fingers and it also comes with an organic cotton sheet included, and its own bag to store and transport it in.

Tested by mum Kirsty: "This is reasonably straightforward to set up but it doesn’t fold very neatly, and packing it away is fiddly. It’s sturdy but feels heavy and it takes up lots of space in our small car boot. The bassinet makes it easy to lift Rikku in and out, but I found it fiddly to detach. I like that this comes with a machine-washable sheet, which stays in place with velcro."

Tested by mum Nicola: "I really like this travel cot because it’s so sturdy. It also looks very stylish. Amelia slept really well in this. It’s simple to assemble and comes with a lovely, thick mattress plus a machine-washable sheet. The only disadvantage is that it’s quite heavy. I think I would struggle to get this from one place to another by myself."

Read our full review about the Nuna Sena Aire here

  • Suitable from birth to 15kg
  • Weighs: 10kg
  • Measures: H74.5 x W107 x L73.5cm
  • Unfolded dimensions: L73.5cm x W107cm x H74.5cm| 
  • Folded dimensions: L24cm x W28cm x H86cm

This travel cot is a real doddle to assemble – just slip it out of its travel bag and it practically unfolds automatically, so there’s no grappling with poles or fiddling with extra accessories. It’s also easy to fold away, and really light and portable. 

It's also easy to move around your home, making it convenient to take with you on trips or overnight visits away. We love that the fabric can be removed and popped in the washing machine – a real bonus if you have a baby with reflux. The materials of this travel cot meet the requirements of OEKO-TEX Standard 100, Class 1 for baby products which essentially means kind to your baby's sensitive skin. 

Tested by mum Kirsty: "Quick and simple to set up, and light and easy to move around. I struggled to put it away, but that gets easier with practice. The storage bag is good quality. The mattress isn’t very plush, and the base touches the ground, so it’s a long stretch to reach my baby. I think it’s expensive, particularly as there are no extras included. This one seems better suited to a toddler."

Tested by mum Nicola: "This is the easiest travel cot to carry as it’s amazingly light, but it’s less robust than others – Amelia can push it around by herself. It’s really practical, taking seconds to pop up. It’s less attractive than others in terms of design appeal, but Amelia slept well in it and seemed very comfortable. It also comes with a nice carry bag, which makes it easy to transport."

Read our full review of the Baby Bjorn Travel Cot Light here

  • Suitable from birth to three years
  • Weighs: 6kg
  • Measures: 49 x 60 x 14 cm

5. Graco Contour Electra

The Graco Contour is a good-value travel cot with lots of extra features. It comes with a toy bar and a handy removable changing table. It has a nightlight and musical feature, as well as the option to set the mattress to vibrate to help soothe your baby. 

There are four mesh side so you can keep an eye on your little one and also great for ventilation. It’s heavy, but the wheels make it easy to manoeuvre, and it comes with its own carry bag.

Tested by mum Kathryn: "One of the heaviest travel cots we tested, but it’s a good size for an older baby – almost the same size as our normal cot. It’s easy to assemble and put away and I like the neutral colour. The wheels make it very easy to move around, but you have to bend low to reach your baby. This would have been great for daytime naps when Olly was younger. Great value, too."

Tested by mum Nicola: "This is quick and easy to assemble. It seems compact, and fits really well in a smaller room without taking up lots of space. The mattress is very thin, and Amelia didn’t sleep very well. The cream colour looks lovely, but I imagine it could get dirty very quickly. The changing unit is a great idea, but it’s only suitable for use up to 12 months."

Read our full review about this Graco Contour Electra.

  • Suitable from birth to 15kg
  • Weighs: 14kg
  • Measures: 104 x 73 x 91 cm
  • Folded size L22.4, W22.4, D79.8cm

We love the innovative way the Chicco Zip & Go travel cot converts between two different modes, from travel crib (from birth to six months) to cot, and the fact that you can use it in either fixed or rocking mode. This travel cot is worth considering if you’re really short on luggage space, as it’s particularly compact once folded, and one of the lightest travel cots we tested.

Tested by mum Kirsty: "Simple and quick to assemble in crib mode. The rocking function is a nice idea, but it caused us problems – it meant Rikku kept rolling on to her front, and I couldn’t switch it back to fixed mode while she was in the cot. The mattress is a lovely thickness and the depth of the cot is good – getting Rikku in and out is easy. It’s reasonably priced, too."

Tested by mum Kathryn: "Quick and easy to assemble, despite a few fiddly velcro straps. The rocking base is great for helping little ones drift off. The mesh sides are good for preventing overheating. It’s light, and folds in half so it takes up very little room. The zip feature is handy, but overall this is a little on the small side. It also seems expensive, since Olly will outgrow it sooner than the others."

  • Suitable from birth to 24 months
  • Weighs: 7.3kg
  • Measures: 101 x 60 x 69.5 cm

This is a really clever invention; it looks like a really spacious changing bag, but then off you pop for your overnight stay, take everything out of the bag, and it changes into a travel crib. It doesn't take long to assemble and comes with a padded mattress. 

It isn't as long-lasting as the other travel cots on our list, as it's really only suitable until baby is four to six months old, or when they start rolling; it's the smallest travel cot but the most compact and easy to carry. 

Tested by mum Jennifer: "The design is stylish and the item is extremely easy to use. The travel cot section folds out in a few seconds and the rods are easily inserted to make it very sturdy. This means a new mum (who has little time on her hands) can easily erect this in minutes. It is easily transported and takes up no more than a bag's room in the car or walking, so it can be taken anywhere. I have only used this at friends/ families homes but definitely would take it on weekends away or on holiday. It means I don't have to buy a big travel cot. It is also lightweight so don't have to worry about carrying something heavy."

Tested by mum Esther: "Designed as a travel sleeping pod, for night time and daytime naps, and a changing bag. It's intended to be quick to assemble and easy to use. I assembled it in a couple of minutes, it weighs as much as a bag or two of sugar and the bag would easily fit in amongst other items in a packed car. When assembled, the sleeping pod is a reasonable size, probably usable up to 4-6 months (unless your baby is rolling lots). We used the pod whilst away for the weekend and found it very useful, as we already had a travel cot packed for our older child and couldn’t have fitted a second in the car."

Read our full review of the Bizzi Growin POD Travel Crib here

  • Suitable from birth to about 4-6 months (or when baby is rolling).
  • Features 2 carry handles and an over-the-shoulder strap.
  • Folded size: W48cm x H35cm x D14cm.
  • Unfolded size: W48cm x H35cm x D77cm.

 

This deluxe travel cot has a bassinet attachment that clicks easily onto the top, perfect for changing nappies; it has wheels so it's easy to move around, and setting up and folding away takes just seconds.

Tested by mum Tori: "I would definitely recommend this product to other mums. It’s so easy to put up and down and transport with its handy bag. It folds up thin and small fitting in our boot along with the double pram and a few bags! My little one slept perfectly."

Tested by mum Sarah: "If you’re looking for an inexpensive no-nonsense travel cot then I would recommend this. It was lightweight so I could easily carry it around. It was also compact making it small enough to pack into the car alongside everything else you need when going away with a little one! Once I’d done the initial set up of the cot, it was easy to put together and to take apart too."

This was Shortlisted in the 2019 M&B Awards Best Travel Product Over £25 category. Read our full review of the Cuggl Deluxe here

  • Suitable from birth to to 24 months.
  • Weighs: 11.8kg
  • Size H68, L85, W56cm.
  • Folded size L50, W61, D16cm.

This travel cot represents good value for money, especially because it can be used from birth up to approximately three years of age. 

It's also very sturdy which means it doubles up as a playpen for smaller babies. And although fairly large, it features wheels and a brake to make it easier to transport. The cot also comes with a small toy bag attached, which could be useful for storing nappies or other baby essentials when you’re on the move and away from home.

Corinne Hills said: ‘Basic but sturdy, and easy to assemble and fold away. Standard cot bedding fits, but the mattress is thin, so we had to pad it out with blankets.’ 

Roz Walker said: ‘The mattress is fine for occasional use. I like that you can wheel this travel cot rather than carry it, but it’s rather large and heavy.’ 

Read more mum reviews of this travel cot here. 

Four stars rating in the Mother&Baby Awards.

  • Size H77, L127, W66cm.
  • Suitable from birth to for babies up to 13.6kg
  • Very easy to Fold/Erect
  • Folded size L77.5, W20, D21cm.

The verdict

Taking into account all the mum reviews, the best travel cot for families who don't go away too often would be the Cuggl Deluxe Superlight Travel Cot. Not only is this a very affordable option and great value for money, it's easy to assemble and does exactly what it promises to do. 

If you are regular travellers however and have the cash to invest in a pricier option, the Spacecot is a brilliant option as it folds away in seconds and comes with a handy travel bag. 

Why trust us?

Our product recommendations are based on a combination of real-world testing from our burgeoning army of mum testers, and the extensive knowledge of our experienced editorial team and product specialists. Where we can, we also consult experts who specialise in that field to ensure you get the right advice along with the right product, and we listen to what you say as well. Our thriving mum community on our Facebook group #mumtribe also often hold great insights as to which products mums really like best and why, helping us highlight the products that meet what you really want. 

We also include essential products from our annual Mother&Baby Awards shortlist. The winners and runners up for each category then will appear in our top picks article for that product such as this one, along with other products that were rated highly by our team. 

We take great importance in our responsibility to provide you with the best parenting and product advice, and hope our team and testers' hard work makes your life easier, and you and baby happier!

How compact should a travel cot be?

If you’re buying a travel cot to take on holiday and are travelling by plane, boat or train, choose one that folds as compactly as possible to make it easier to transport. If you’re driving, make sure it fits in your car boot and still leaves enough room for the rest of your luggage.

Think about where you’ll keep the travel cot when it’s not in use, too. If space is not an issue, you could look into the larger options available. 

How light should a travel cot be?

All travel cots are designed to be light enough to carry, but some are heavier than others, and there’s generally a pay-off between how light it is and how durable it is.

If you’ll be carrying it a lot on your journey, such as through an airport, then weight may take priority, but if you’ve got a cruising toddler, and throwing the cot in a big boot is about the extent of your lugging it around, then a sturdier, perhaps heavier, cot would be better.

Related: 5 travel tips to know if your child has allergies

How easy are travel cots to assemble?

Wrestling with an unwieldy travel cot and a tired baby after a long journey is a stress you really don’t need in your life, so choose one that doesn’t require an engineering degree to set up. Some travel cots can be assembled and folded away within seconds –even with one hand– and that’s a really helpful feature if you’re going to be assembling it with your baby or other children in tow.

Related: Best apps for travelling with toddlers

Where can I buy a travel cot?

Whether you need one pronto or want to spend your time researching the best travel cot, there are plenty of places where you can pick up 

Can I buy one second hand?

If you're looking to buy a second hand travel cot, there are a few things to check before you make your purchase: 

  • Check that it assembles and folds down correctly
  • Make sure it is sturdy 
  • Make sure the seller provides you with the original instruction booklet
  • It's also worth purchasing a new mattress for the travel cot

How to clean your travel cot

Whether your travel cot has been tucked away in the loft for a few years and it smells a bit musty or your child has turned it into a bit of a mess, a good tip for cleaning and maintaining your travel cot is to use warm soapy water and a sponge to clean your travel cot and leave it out in the fresh air and sunlight to dry. 

Travel cot safety 

According to Which, there are a number of safety aspects to check on your travel cot for your peace of mind. 

  • Stability: Be sure to use the mattress that comes with the cot as changing it could affect the stability of the cot and could make it easier to tip.  
  • Escaping: Swapping for a thicker mattress could give your tot more height and make it easier for them to escape. 
  • Corners: Be wary of how smooth corners are - make sure there is no chance of your baby's clothes getting caught on them to avoid any chance of strangulation.
  • Flexible sides: Pop-up style tents may be easy to erect and dismantle however the flexible sides mean that if you were to stumble onto the cot, there would be no ridged sides to stop your fall. 
  • Zips: Make sure you check all zips are secure as any loose zips that become unattached could potentially become choking hazards. 
  • Wheels: The wheels must be able to securely lock into place or have two wheels and two legs for sturdiness. 
  • Test it out: Make sure you try it out before you travel to check all of the above safety aspects. 

Safe sleeping in a travel cot

The general consensus is that you need to be following the same sleeping guidance for your baby in a travel cot as you would at home. Here's what The Lullaby Trust have to say:

"The same ‘safer sleep’ rules apply to a travel cot, which should have a rigid frame and base, and a firm, flat mattress, covered in a waterproof material. Travel cot mattresses are often thinner and feel harder than those in a permanent cot, but don’t be tempted to place folded blankets or a quilt under the baby to make them ‘more comfortable’. If you are very tight for space, you may have to consider re-arranging the furniture in the room to ensure that the travel cot isn’t against a radiator, in direct sunlight, and is out of reach of blind cords and hazards."

 
  • Author: Sophie Knight Sophie Knight
  • Job Title: Contributing Editor

Sophie is a journalist and mum of one, and previously edited motherandbaby.co.uk before moving on to write about family cars for Parkers.co.uk - now Sophie is Commercial Content Editor for M&B, Closer, Heat, Empire, Yours, Garden News, and WhatsTheBest.co.uk 

She is passionate about raising awareness around postnatal depression and is a Mental Health First Aider.

Sophie studied History at the University of Sheffield and has been in journalism for 16 years. 

Other contributors

Lorna White - Digital Writer
Emily Thorpe - Digital Writer

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