Baby & Toddler, Motherhood

Three top travel cot hacks

A baby crawling around. There’s a baby walker to the right of the baby. Article is about travel cot hacks.

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 travel cot, then I’d recommend that you get a new mattress. They are widely available online.

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 our travel cot in a few other ways…


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 Graco compact 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 can buy a Graco compact travel cot and use it in a number of ways, for a solid 18 months.

Three items for the price of one? It works for me. This isn’t the only multi-use item that I have either, I have adapted my baby box to ensure that I get full use out of it. 

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. 

If you want to do some research on travel cots, then this article should help. You should also check out the second-hand baby items that I swear by. 

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