Raise your hand if you’ve ever spent an evening sitting on your hotel bed in the dark afraid to move for fear of waking your baby sleeping nearby. Or maybe you heard your baby moving early in the morning and if she sees you, it’s all over. Everyone is up for the day.
Have you ever spent time rearranging furniture, taping garbage bags over a window or pinning up a sheet to create a dark and private sleeping area for your baby? Has your baby or toddler ever slept in a bathroom or closet?
This post contains compensated links.
Thanks to SlumberPod for gifting us a SlumberPod for the purpose of this review. All opinions are our own.
These are all common baby and toddler travel hacks to get your baby to sleep while traveling and while they can work in a pinch, they aren’t always the best solution. Traveling with a baby or toddler, though absolutely worthwhile, does have its challenges for parents, doesn’t it?
Enter the SlumberPod. The SlumberPod privacy pod claims to make traveling with babies and toddlers more restful and we got to test it out!
What is the SlumberPod Privacy Pod?
The SlumberPod is a large, bottomless canopy that fits over your baby’s travel crib or your toddlers travel cot. It’s made of a stretchy, black fabric that is breathable while still creating a dark baby sleep pod.
This portable privacy pod completely covers the travel crib or portable bed to create a private sleeping area for your baby or toddler.
Prefer to watch our review? See our full video of the SlumberPod here on YouTube.
Why would you want to travel with a SlumberPod?
This is the big question and I mentioned a few of the reasons for using a SlumberPod above, but let’s review them. Getting your baby or toddler to sleep on vacation is crucial to everyone having a better trip.
While you don’t have to keep to a strict schedule, you may want to have your baby back at the hotel for a good nap occasionally or an early bedtime. You don’t want to have to worry about light coming in or sitting in the dark.
If your baby’s sleep schedule is important to you or your baby doesn’t function well without it, then the SlumberPod will help. If you use our tips below on getting your baby used to it at home, then your baby or toddler will have a comfortable and familiar sleep environment which will help your little one sleep better on your trip.
Sharing a hotel room with a baby or toddler
There are plenty of reasons why you’d share a hotel room with your baby or toddler. Hotels are easy and convenient. They are almost always very centrally located. But the downside is that it can be quite pricey to get a suite, meaning everyone is sleeping in the same room.
If your baby is accustomed to having her own room at home, she might be excited to see you in the same room at bedtime. Too excited to put her head down and go to sleep.
It’s not uncommon for parents to hide out on the bed in the dark waiting for their baby to fall asleep. Some may use the bathroom as a dark place for baby to sleep. With the SlumberPod, your baby will have a nice dark spot to fall asleep, right in the middle of the room! No more needing those bathrooms or closets for your baby’s sleep.
Even if you rent apartment through Airbnb to give everyone more space, naps and nighttime sleep might be difficult for your baby if he’s used to a room that’s dark. With the SlumberPod, you won’t need to worry if the apartment has blackout blinds. Nor will you have to worry about the sun peaking in early and waking your baby up.
We especially like it for sharing rooms, like when your toddler is sharing a room with your baby. Or even an older sibling. Our toddler loved to wake up his big sister when they shared a room when we traveled.
I can also see the value in a SlumberPod to help with jet lag. The darkness at night would help your baby’s internal clock adjust especially if you are using our baby and toddler jet lag tips and getting out in the sunshine during the day.
Is the SlumberPod just for babies?
For a baby travel item at this price point, we would want to get a lot of use out of it. We like that the SlumberPod isn’t just for babies. It will work equally as well with getting toddlers to sleep while traveling. In fact, I’d argue that this might be the point that it would become most useful.
Trying to convince an 18 month old to lay down and go to sleep in a new environment isn’t always easy to accomplish. Having a dark privacy pod that is like their own sleeping space will definitely help.
Not only that, but the SlumberPod fits over some of the most popular toddler travel beds.
How to set up the SlumberPod
Setting up the SlumberPod is as simple as putting together two poles (similar to tent poles), putting them through the loops then inserting them into the the pole pockets. It comes with a set of instructions with images attached to the bag, so you’ll never lose them. They also have a YouTube video with a SlumberPod Setup Demo to help.
I can speak from experience, that it’s pretty easy to set up. I had no issues doing it on my own, but it would be even easier with two people.
Is the SlumberPod safe?
The SlumberPod is made of breathable fabric and has ventilation flaps to help with airflow.
Keep in mind, the SlumberPod is not intended to be used outside, but instead is approved for indoor use only in a climate-controlled and well-ventilated area. To help with the airflow, open the SlumberPod vents once baby is asleep or as the room gets darker.
There’s also a place for a baby monitor, if you want to keep an eye on your little one.
In addition, the SlumberPod was designed for use with baby travel cribs, pack n plays and toddler travel cots. It was not designed for use with full sized cribs.
Please see the SlumberPod site for all safety information and precautions.
How old should my baby be to use the SlumberPod?
Do not use the SlumberPod with babies 4 months or younger.
What portable travel cribs will work with the SlumberPod?
The SlumberPod FAQ is a great place to keep up-to-date on which portable travel cribs for babies the SlumberPod is compatible with. We were pleased to see that it will work for the portable baby beds we recommend like the Guava Lotus travel crib, the Baby Bjorn and the Phil&Teds.
What toddler travel beds will work with the SlumberPod?
If your toddler is done with a travel pack n’ play but not quite ready for a big bed, or there aren’t enough beds available in your hotel room, that’s a great time to introduce a portable bed for toddlers. As you can see in our SlumberPod review video, we used the Shrunks Junior inflatable toddler bed and the SlumberPod fit perfectly over top.
Other travel cots for toddlers, depending on their dimensions, will fit equally as well with the SlumberPod. The Regalo My Cot portable toddler bed is another one that works well with the SlumberPod.
How to get my baby or toddler to sleep in the SlumberPod?
We always recommend testing new baby travel gear out at home before actually traveling with it. It will be worth the effort to set it up, test it out and see how your baby or toddler reacts.
When you get your SlumberPod, set it up in a spot where your toddler or baby can explore. Let them check it out and play in it. Once they are comfortable with going in it, try it out for a nap.
You don’t want to struggle with a night’s sleep, so a nap is a good place to start. Once your baby or toddler has napped with the SlumberPod successfully a few times, then give it a try for a night sleep. If you need to, leave the flap open the first few times you use it.
If your baby or toddler just isn’t having it, put it away for a while. Take it out again in a week or so and see if you can have better luck with it.
How to travel with the SlumberPod
The SlumberPod will easily fit in your luggage and even in your carry-on. It’s folded down dimensions are 17 x 6 x 5 inches compared to typical carry-on dimensions of 22 x 14 x 9.
Whether you are planning on bringing your own portable travel crib or travel cot for toddlers, you can bring this along to make the perfect sleeping environment while traveling.
Do hotels have cribs that can be used with the SlumberPod?
Yes, most hotels that have cribs available (make sure to confirm with them prior to arrival) will often provide a portable pack and play, but this is not always the case. We’ve seen hotels roll up a wooden crib before. If you are concerned, ask the hotel to confirm what type of portable crib they offer or better yet, ask for a picture.
What we liked about the SlumberPod
We really liked that the SlumberPod isn’t just for babies. With the ability to use it over a travel crib for toddlers or even a travel cot, means you’ll get a lot more use out of it.
Further to that, it doesn’t just need to be used for travel. It can be used while visiting friends or relatives. Even if you just want to pop over to a friend’s place for a coffee, with the SlumberPod you don’t have to worry about rushing home for nap time.
While the SlumberPod has been through all the testing to ensure it’s safe to use, we like that there’s still a place for a monitor to check in on baby. It’s in a vinyl pocket so your toddler won’t be able to play with it.
We were really impressed by how dark it was given the breathable fabric that the SlumberPod is made of.
We also like that there are no zippers on the inside for toddlers to play with. We could just see a toddler opening the large front flap if that zipper was there.
Anything else you should know about the SlumberPod
In testing out the SlumberPod, there were two things that came up. First is that it does weigh 5 lbs., while not significant on its own it is one more thing to carry around. And it will take up a good portion of your carry-on, so be prepared for that.
Secondly, when putting it together keep the ends of the poles not fully put together until you are ready to put them in the pole pockets, otherwise it does take up a fair bit of room or you’ll be scratching up your walls.
If you want it out of the way during the day in your hotel room, you can always flatten it and tuck it under a bed or in a closet. Use the clips to secure it flat (by clipping them to the opposite pole) and move it out of the way.
Where to buy the SlumberPod & Discount
You can purchase the SlumberPod on Amazon or directly on the SlumberPod website.
Use code BABYCANTRAVEL10 to get $10USD off the SlumberPod when you buy direct from SlumberPod!
Can I get the SlumberPod in Canada?
Yes, you can order the SlumberPod directly on their website using our discount BABYCANTRAVEL10.
If you have any questions about this post or travel tips to offer other parents, join us over in our private Facebook group for traveling parents! Join here.