Family Travel Roadshow 001: Portable Playpen

The Family Travel Roadshow Podcast Episode 001 Portable Playpens

Today is a big day for us. Today we are announcing the first ever episode of The Family Travel Roadshow, our shiny new podcast.

The Family Travel Roadshow is a podcast about travel with kids and travelling the world long term. The show focuses on practical information for long term travelers (current and future), especially those traveling with children. It contains practical tips and information as well as providing a window into our lives.

This podcasting business is new to us so forgive us if it is a little clunky. It will get better and the information we are providing is solid even if our podcasting skills need some work.

This episode is coming to you from the beautiful island of Penang in Malaysia.

Episode 1 is all about portable playpens, also known as travel playpens. Every baby store stocks a few. Which are any good? Are they worth bothering with at all?

Some of what we discuss veers into what some would call travel cots, especially travel cots for toddlers. We have tended to blur the lines between travel playpen and travel cot in an attempt to keep our daughter happy and safe while minimizing the amount of gear we need to lug around.

We will discuss travel cots for infants specifically in a future episode. Thanks to us getting back on the road when Zoe was five months old travelling with a baby is a topic close to our hearts.

Links for FTR001: Portable Playpen

If you have not done so already we strongly encourage you to listen to the episode but if you want to cut to the chase and get a recommendation, here are our picks for best travel playpen.

Hexagonal TikkTokk Pokano Playpen & Mat - If you want a playpen that you will leave permanently set up somewhere this one is pretty great. Awesomely large so two adults and a child can be in there are once. Well padded for when someone takes a tumble. It has the downside that it is huge when packed up and a real pain to set up.

Phil & Ted's Portable Traveller Crib - If you need a single unit that will double as travel playpen and travel cot this is a great option. Stable, light, quick to set up and take down. You can of course just use it as a cot/crib.

Summer Infant Pop 'n Play Portable Playard - If your luggage allowance will stretch to let you carry two separate units then consider using the Summer Infant Pop 'n Play as a portable playpen while using the Phil and Ted as a travel cot.

We travel with both the Phil & Ted, and the Summer Infant if we will be staying for more than a month or so. Having separate spaces for playing Vs sleeping makes things less confusing for Zoe. If we are staying for less time we typically make do with just the Phil & Ted's Portable Traveller Crib and see if we can borrow a playpen from somewhere.

We are big proponents of international travel with children. And if you are going to travel with your children they are going to need somewhere safe to play, especially in places like hotel rooms and rented apartments where you will not have the ability to baby proof the place.


Initially we didn't really have any sort of playpen to speak of. As soon as Zoe was mobile that became a problem.


London with no playpen

London. Not having a playpen demanded desperate measures.


Fortunately, someone lent us this one in Barcelona.


Zoe looking out the window in Barcelona

Barcelona. A playpen provided with the apartment let Zoe keep an eye on the neighbors.


Now we are much more organized.

On a recent weekend trip to Medan in Indonesia we had our Phil and Ted for Zoe to sleep in and we used a hotel provided playpen as a play yard. Most of her waking time when we happened to be in the room was spent roaming freely but when both of us needed to get something done or just to have a short break, being able to pop her in the hotel's playpen for a few minutes was great.


Zoe in a playpen in Medan

Medan. Zoe in a hotel provided playpen.

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