This article about the Best Baby Monitors for Travel was written by baby travel expert Celine Brewer and may contain affiliate links.
If you’re a traveling parent, once you successfully get your baby to sleep on vacation, you still want to keep an eye on your little one while they sleep. Staying in a vacation rental with separate rooms is one of my favorite ways to help everyone get a good night’s sleep. If you are not sharing a hotel room with your baby, one item I recommend you add to your list of baby travel essentials is a travel baby monitor.
That said, I don’t think every traveling parent needs to buy a portable baby monitor, so keep reading to see which option is the right fit for your family (depending on where and how frequently you travel with a baby or toddler). Baby monitors for travel come with a whole host of different features and can even be connected seamlessly to your phone or tablet.
If you have a secondary device (an old iPhone or iPad for example) lying around, using a baby monitor app is a viable alternative to bringing along a travel baby monitor. Two popular ones are Cloud Baby Monitor and Baby Monitor 3G. If interested, I have created a list of the best baby monitor apps for your review.
Read on to find out everything there is to know about the best baby monitors for travel.
What You’ll Find in This Article on the Best Baby Monitors for Travel
10 Best Travel Baby Monitors
What to look for in a Travel Baby Monitor
Wondering what the key things to consider when purchasing a baby monitor for travel? In my experience, here are the top considerations:
It is essential to consider the price of your baby monitor before you make the plunge, as these devices can cost you anywhere from $20 to $300 (and sometimes even more)! Expensive portable baby monitors offer additional features, of course, but that might not always be what you are looking for.
We all have enough baby gear, so if you can buy a baby monitor for use at both home and when you travel, this is the best option. For example, baby monitors like the Nanit Pro have stands for portability, allowing parents to pack their existing monitor instead of buying a separate travel baby monitor.
When shopping for a travel baby monitor, consider the features that will most benefit your family, such as how many devices you need, whether there’s a wireless option, how easy it is to install, and whether it has voice-activated options.
Look out for extra super-cool features too like temperature monitoring, pre-loaded music and lullabies, movement sensors, and remote-control options. Some monitors even do little light displays for your baby to keep them entertained even when you are not around.
Features like these can either add value or just seem like unnecessary bells and whistles, depending on what kind of parent you are. I recommend you factor all of them in before deciding on which product to buy.
Your baby monitor should be reliable and do what it is supposed to do, no matter where you are in the world. Make sure your choice has a good reputation for durability and lasting a long time. After all, you’ll probably be using yours at least for a few years!
The infrared night vision feature is an invaluable gift to parents as it lets you monitor your child’s sleep at night while they’re off in dreamland. These systems instantaneously alert you to any changes in their sleep patterns and waking behavior through the camera. However, they do emit an LED light that can disturb your baby in certain cases.
If you’re looking for a travel baby monitor for hotel stays, a long battery life is a must. According to one study, parents expect their device to last about 13 hours, but you usually only get 10 to 11 hours from a standard charge. The worst you can get is less than three hours. If your baby monitor lasts you for more than a day on a single charge, you’ve got your money’s worth.
Range and Out of Range Indicator
The best portable monitor for travel will come with at least moderate range coverage, which is useful if you are on vacation in an apartment or house rental. I recommend looking for options that will give you a warning (like a light pulse or a beep) when you are out of range so that you always know how your baby is doing.
Rechargeable vs. Plug-in
Battery operated travel baby monitors have multiple advantages. They are easier to set up, handy during travel and they ensure that you don’t have to carry around spare batteries. However, a plugged-in monitor is preferable when you are at home with your baby. They last longer and they are much cheaper than their rechargeable counterparts.
Two Way Communication
Not only does this feature help you relax, but your baby will likely sleep better when they can listen to your voice as they drift off. Plus, two-way communication with your baby may help reduce the number of times you have to actually get up and go comfort them in the middle of the night, assisting you and your little one in their sleep-training journey.
Video vs. Audio Baby Monitors
With video baby monitors you will be able to watch your child sleep and wake up, all in real-time, both day and night. Some even have pan and zoom features that can be easily operated. These monitors sync easily with your phone or tablet, giving you maximum ease of use.
Audio monitors, on the other hand, are cheaper, more user-friendly, easier to set up, and more suitable for people who aren’t looking for tech-savvy options. They also tend to have more battery life than the regular video monitor.
If your house has thick walls, it’s best to go for an audio monitor, as the walls can cause problems with the connection of your video monitor. However, do note that audio monitors have their own issues, as they rely on simple radio frequency technology. This can cause interference problems in many scenarios.
Wi-Fi vs non-Wi-Fi
Baby monitors that use Wi-Fi are super convenient because you don’t have to worry about going off-range if you have an internet connection and a smartphone. They are perfect when you’re at home and you have control over your internet connection. However, if you travel with your baby a lot, you may not always have reliable Wi-Fi, which would also make the baby monitor less reliable.
Size for Packing
A good travel baby monitor is lightweight and compact, and won’t take up too much room in your suitcase. So, look for a small, light monitor to give you a hassle-free travel experience.
Number of Children
If you have more than one child, you might find the need to connect many cameras to your monitor so that you can see what each of your babies are doing in split-screen. However, parents with older toddlers or children will likely feel more comfortable relying on the simple technology of an audio monitor.
Set-up / Ability to See Crib
It might come as a surprise to you, but not all baby monitors for travel are easy to set up. When you are on the go, you will not want to spend a lot of time setting things up. Some monitors and cameras come pre-synced, while others have to be done manually. Also, you should check if your camera has a motorized function because you will want to see your child’s room from top to bottom, and left to right.
It can also be difficult to set up your baby travel monitor depending on the room and furniture set up. Don’t hesitate to move furniture around so you can see perfectly into your baby travel crib. Also, consider having a small tripod or a mount specific for baby monitors so you can attach your travel baby monitor anywhere.
When You’ll Want a Portable Baby Monitor for Travel
If you are sharing a hotel room with your baby, you probably don’t need a baby monitor. You’ll be right there to hear any movement. However, there may be instances where you have a balcony where you can enjoy a glass of wine in the evening. In this instance, you might want to consider packing your monitor.
Also, if you rent apartments or a house then you’ll have your baby in a separate room. This is when I recommend having either a portable baby monitor for travel or using a baby monitor app.
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This post was written & edited by:
Celine Brewer is the owner of Baby Can Travel. Not only does she have years of experience traveling with babies & toddlers, but she's helped millions of new parents travel with their babies and toddlers for over a decade. In addition to writing on her baby travel blog, she has shared her expertise on traveling with a baby or toddler by contributing to articles about traveling with a baby with the Washington Post, USA Today, the Lonely Planet magazine and Pregnancy & Newborn magazine.
Celine also writes about family travel on the site FamilyCanTravel.com, which she co-owns with her husband. Being from the Canadian Rockies, she shares her passion about her home and travel to Banff National Park and area on their site TravelBanffCanada.com.