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Baby & Toddler, Motherhood

Three travel cot hacks that will save you money

The image shows a baby crawling around. There’s a baby walker to the right of the baby. The image has a green border around it.

Kids come with all types of paraphernalia. Some stuff you need, some stuff you can live without. But if, like us, you enjoy the odd night away from your little cherub, then a travel cot is a crucial piece of kit.

We were given a Graco compact travel cot by our neighbour, but you can pick them up quite cheaply online. If you decide to get a second-hand one though, I’d recommend that you get a new mattress. Again, these are widely available. 

But realistically, how often are you going to use your travel cot? Is it just going to sit, taking up space in the corner of the spare room? We get a lot of use out of ours. There’s the obvious use: it’s a bed for when Arthur stays at his granny’s house.

But we use it in a few other ways too…

The image is green and the text over it is advertising a gardening bundle.


Now you’re probably not going to use your travel cot as a playpen to contain your three year old, but until your child is between 12 and 18 months, I’d say that this solution is more than adequate. 

I’ve found it really handy for those times when I need my little boy to be safe and secure, whilst I run to the loo, or grab a brew from the other room.

We currently have our travel cot set up as a playpen in our bedroom. I put my little boy in there if I need to contain him whilst I get ready, or grab a shower.

Ball pit

The majority of parents I know have invested in a ball pit. It’s your opportunity to bring a little bit of soft play into your living room or garden. However, why purchase a ball pit if you don’t need to? It’s another thing to store and another thing to buy. 

I actually think that putting balls into the travel cot makes a lot of sense. Ball pits tend to be quite shallow and I find that the balls are more secure in the travel cot. That said, if your little one is confidently on the move and you want something they can get in and out of themselves, then this might not be the solution for you. 

A picture of some multi-coloured plastic balls (the type you’d usually find in a ball pit). The text over the image reads: ‘Hacks: three items for the price of one -- utilising your travel cot.’

Is it worth it?

Most people I know with children under the age of two own a travel cot. They might also own a playpen and a ball pit. But with this hack, you buy one item and use it in a number of ways for a solid 18 months. Three items for the price of one? It works for me.

Even if you end up buying a separate playpen or ball pit eventually, at least you can save some money and space initially by using this hack. Just remember to buy a new mattress if you pick your travel cot up second hand and want to use it the traditional way. 

The image shows a little girl in a pink dress. The text around the image is advertising a bundle of resources that will help to keep the family happy when stuck at home.

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