A woman with air foot pump pumps an inflatable mattress. (Photo: Yevhen Prozhyrko/Shutterstock)
Photo: Yevhen Prozhyrko/Shutterstock

The 9 Best Portable Travel Beds for Families

A good night’s sleep is a vital part of a happy vacation for kids and adults alike. But too often, kids (and sometimes even the adults) are relegated to uncomfortable air mattresses, sub-standard hotel folding mattresses, or simply a sleeping bag on the guest room floor. Here’s the good news: Portable travel beds have gotten miles better in the last decade.

Comfortable options range from traditional air mattresses to luxe folding mattresses to individual tent cots, portable bunk beds, and inflatable mattresses with toddler-friendly bumpers. It turns out you can pack a good night’s sleep for the whole family no matter where you’re headed on vacation.

The Best Portable Travel Beds for Families

The best travel beds for families offer flexibility, comfort, and portability. Whether you’re looking for a portable bed that’s sized specifically for kids or one that can be used by any member of the family, there’s a perfect option for you. Here are our favorite well-reviewed and durable air mattresses, beds in a bag, camping cots, travel beds, camping mats, folding mattresses, and portable toddler beds.

Coleman Camping Cot, Air Mattress, and Pump Combo

People who want a little height and a lot of comfort love the Coleman Camping Cot, Air Mattress, and Pump Combo. With more than 7,000 reviews and an average rating of 4.3, this cot-inflatable-mattress hybrid is a little like bringing an actual bed with you wherever you go.

Kids who crave the normalcy of cuddling up in a regular bed will love this, and it’s also great for adults. It even comes with built-in side tables. Use it at home or on vacation; either way, the bed is tall enough that you can tuck things like suitcases under it to maximize floor space. When not in use, the steel frame folding bed packs up into a wheeled case that reviewers say is about 18 by 18 by 42 inches.

Maxyoyo Japanese Floor Futon Mattress

This Maxyoyo Japanese floor futon mattress comes in twin, full, or queen sizes, and rolls up for easy portability. Though it doesn’t fold down as small as a typical inflatable mattress, it does offer a comfortable layered construction of brushed cotton and microfiber cotton with a memory foam core.

In its carrying case, the twin portable bed is 37 inches long and 18 inches wide, making it a feasible option for family road trips, camping, and when you need a roll-up mattress for a guest, child or adult.

The Shrunks Toddler Travel Bed Portable Inflatable Air Mattress 

When little ones are old enough to no longer need a portable crib on vacation, but you still worry about them rolling off the bed while they’re asleep, it’s time to recruit the help of an air mattress with bumpers. The Shrunks Toddler Travel Bed was designed to be a just-right option for toddlers ready to graduate out of a travel crib.

Cozy, comfortable, and squeak-free, this inflatable toddler bed have gentle guard rails to keep kids in place, and blankets and standard crib sheets can be tucked into the sides for additional security. This cute portable bed comes with its own electric pump, and quickly inflates to 60 by 37 by 9 inches. Constructed of materials free from Phthalates, BpA, and lead, it’s a healthier choice than many inflatable beds.

Disc-o-Bed Portable Bunk Bed

Need a little more room in a little less space? I’ve been using the Disc-o-Bed portable bunk bed on vacation with my kids for years, with great results. Though the bottom bunk doesn’t offer much room to sit up and hang out, the cots (which can be separated and used individually as well as stacked in the bunk-bed formation) are comfortable enough to promote deep sleep—and good moods. Just add a comfortable kid-sized sleeping bag and you’re ready to go.

Each camping cot has a pocket that’s perfect for a water bottle and a book, and the whole thing packs up into a zippered carry bag that can fit under a bed for easy storage when you’re not using it.

Cushy Form Folding Mattress

The tri-fold floor bed from Cushy Form offers four inches of high-density-foam comfort, and is large enough for both kids and adults. The highly adaptable folding mattress is a true bed in a bag—it comes with its own handled carrying case, is thin enough to fit under most standard beds when folded. This portable bed has a washable soft cover (a key feature for travel beds for kids), and is made without harmful chemicals like PBDEs, TDCPP, or TCEP flame retardants.

Nearly 90 percent of the Cushy Form’s Amazon reviews are four- or five-star. Reviewers praise the folding mattresses’ comfort, long-lasting construction, and the ability to turn over without the squeaking that’s so common with air mattresses.

Kamp-Rite Oversize Tent Cot

It’s a folding tent cot that comes with its own personal tent—in other words, it’s a kid dream come true. Turn any sleepover into a cozy camping trip (or head to nature for actual camping) with the Kamp-Rite Oversize Tent Cot. It offers privacy, a subtle sound barrier that can help when you’re sharing a room on vacation with kids, and the novelty of a personal-sized tent. Chances are, there won’t be any fighting over bedtime.

This portable bed stands 11 inches off the ground, and has mesh windows plus a domed top for additional headroom. The camping cot comes with a rain fly and carrying case. Reviewers say it’s a a great option, that the set-up process is easy and intuitive, and that the tent cot feels roomy and sturdy.

Regalo My Cot Extra Long Portable Bed

The Regalo My Cot Extra Long portable toddler bed prolongs its functional life with extra inches and a weight capacity of 75 pounds, so you’ll be able to use it for older kids too. The cot’s canvas covering can be washed, and it comes with a fitted sheet to use (though reviewers also report just using a twin sheet and tucking it around the legs). Reviewers recommend it as a next step after kids outgrow Pack ‘n’ Plays and other travel cribs.

When fully set up, the Regalo My Cot offers a sleeping surface of 54 inches long by 28 inches wide. Folded up, the cot is just 9 inches by 8 inches by 28 inches. Whether you’re using it in a tent on camping trips or trying to fit it on the floor next to a guest bed, it’s small enough to do the job and offer a good night’s sleep to your little one.

ibigbean Portable Sleeping Pad Memory Foam Camping Mattress

The roll-up memory foam mattress from ibigbean is kind of like a camping mat, if camping mats offered a mix of high-density foam and memory foam, a machine-washable cover, and an anti-slip bottom. The portable mattress comes in three sizes, including a small size for kids, and can be rolled up and stowed in a carrying case for easy carrying and storage. Reviewers praise the sleeping pad’s comfort and insulation against cold surfaces.

WELLAX UltraThick FlexFoam Sleeping Pad 

With more than a thousand ratings and an average of 4.8 out of 5, it’s safe to say that the minimalist WELLAX UltraThick FlexFoam inflatable sleeping pad delivers serious comfort and a good night’s sleep. This slim but comfortable inflatable mattress offers three inches of padding, is self-inflating, and is long enough for an adult or a kid. Lightweight and compact when stowed in its carrying case, it’s easy for kids to carry, and doesn’t take much room to store.

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Christine Sarkis
Christine Sarkis is a traveling parent and longtime travel writer and editor. The former executive editor for TripAdvisor travel magazine SmarterTravel.com, Sarkis has spent nearly two decades finding and sharing the best places to go with an audience of enthusiastic travelers. Her stories have appeared on USA Today, Conde Nast Traveler, Huffington Post, and Business Insider. Her expert advice has been quoted in dozens of print and online publications including The New York Times, Conde Nast Traveler, and People magazine. She has also shared travel tips on television and radio shows including Good Morning America, Marketplace, and Here & Now. Her stories have been published in the anthologies Spain from a Backpack and The Best Women's Travel Writing 2008, and she is working on a travel memoir. Email Christine at familyvacationist@gmail.com