What Would You Do?

We’re going to the snow in a couple weekends with my parents. I invited them because I figured my mom could find a free cabin (she teaches at a small school with a close-knit community of parents who are always jumping at the chance to share their cabin with a teacher in need). Plus, I knew we’d appreciate the extra adult support once we got up there.

Well my mom did get hooked up with a free cabin, so all we need to do is pay for the gas to get up there. The best part is the family who owns the cabin has stockpiled winter gear at all age levels (their kids are grown) so we shouldn’t need to buy our kids pants or jackets. I have boots in my son’s size (they haven’t even been worn) that a friend handed down to us. I’m planning on bringing my daughter’s rain boots in case they don’t have snow boots that fit her well. I’m assuming we can find some kind of outwear that fits both of them well enough that I’m not worrying about bringing that stuff up. My husband thinks he’ll rent some boots (he’s a size 13) and I still have some snow clothes at my parents house from when I used to snowboard all winger long.

The only thing we don’t have is somewhere for my son to sleep.

We converted my son’s crib to a toddler bed a few weeks ago. He was already too long for Pack n’ Plays, but my parents were still using one at their house because in a sleep sack he couldn’t climb out. Now that he’s in a toddler bed we’ve gotten rid of all of sleep sacks, so we need something for him to sleep on safely at the cabin, and then at my parents house for the foreseeable future.

I’m not really interested in blow-up beds: inflating them is annoying and they all eventually spring a leak. I’ve been looking into roll-up floor futons but I can’t find any for under $70, and none are being sold used (I’ve had an alert on Craigslist for over a month).

This is where I would usually just suck it up and buy the floor futon, not because we need it at the cabin, but because we need it at my parents house AND we could bring it to the cabin. But, I’m trying hard to not just buy this kind of shit these days. Other people seem to manage without getting things like a floor futon, so I want to ask you all, what would you do in this situation? Would you just spend the $70 on a floor futon, knowing you could use it at the cabin and then it would live at your parents house for them to use every time your kids spend the night (which is pretty frequently, all things considered)? Would you wait for one to be sold used, even if it meant you went to the cabin without a plan for your 2 year old to sleep? I’ve already asked friends and the few I have don’t have anything we can borrow, so that is out.

I’m just curious, what you would do, because these are the kinds of things I always end up spending money on, and it seems no one else ever has to (at least not those of you who are really good with your money). I figured I’d ask you all for your input, so I can learn from those who are more money savvy than I.

So, what would you do? Please, educate me.


  1. First off, that sounds like a really great weekend getaway! What a perfect setup for you all, and free at that!

    As for the sleeping question, will a sleeping bag not do? I think back to weekends with my cousins and friends and we’d just sleep on the floor in a sleeping bag. If you’d rather he not sleep on the floor or if he wouldn’t be comfortable, I think there are other, cheaper, better options.

    This for example is versatile, inexpensive, and gets fabulous reviews. My son sleeps on something very similar at daycare:

    If you think that’s something you would use and need long-term and is worth the investment I’d recommend that. If it’s a one-time deal I’d say sleeping bag or even just blankets on the floor. If you happen to have an inflatable pool raft, those make good mattresses for little ones, too.

  2. Honestly, since the rest of the vacation is free, I’d probably buy it. Where have you looked to get one cheaply? Wal-Mart, Target? Look for online coupons?

  3. Not sure about the bed situation at the cabin, but if you have enough beds to do so, why not put a mattress on the floor? That way if he does roll off he doesn’t have far to go. That is what we plan to do with my daughter on our vacation next week.

  4. For vacation, I second the suggestion of sleeping bag or just a blanket pallet on the floor. For long term, we have (and are again now) just using a crib mattress directly on the floor since we don’t have room for a toddler bed and the baby is too big to sleep in our bed with us anymore. Around here, you can pick those up from consignment sales for $10-20.

  5. Sleeping bag, blankets wrapped up to be a sleeping bag sort of deal, mattress on the floor if there was fussing about the previous options. My girls both sleep on floor mattresses all the time and more often than not, Little Monster sleeps on our floor wrapped in her twin sized blanket. We don’t want her too comfy so she always sleeps next to us and she hasn’t minded the floor a bit. I would think of a special floor mattress as overkill and we have a tiny car so we’d never have room for it anyhow.

  6. I would go with a sleeping bag, and I would get a decent one that can be used for years and years. Or I’d make a sleeping bag if I only needed it for a short time and place folded towels underneath for cushioning. But the sleeping bags have served us well over the years.

  7. If it helps your sanity knowing that a plan is in place for the Toddler to have a place to sleep (and make the vacation enjoyable and you guys get some sleep)….get the futon. You’ll use it at your parents house over and over again and quite possibly on other vacations. I think it’s a good investment, personally. But, if push comes to shove on savings for right now, buy the sleeping bag and make it comfy for him.
    The getaway sounds fun!!

  8. We usually just go with a sleeping bag on the floor. we had to do it really young, when we traveled to a family reunion (by plane) with an 18 month old and had to stay in my 20 year old cousin’s apartment. we still do it at my parents’ and sister’s houses. We call it “floor bed” and the kids get excited. the crib mattress on the floor is a good option, too, but he may be too big for it? at my MILs, we put the whole bed mattress on the floor next to the bed at night. At hotels, we’ve just put the blankets from the bed on the floor for the kids.
    I have fond memories of sleeping in sleeping bags on the floor of relatives’ and friends’ houses as a kid!

  9. Good ideas above. Also pool noodles between mattress and fitted sheet can act as just enough of a barrier to encourage child to stay on bed and not fall off while asleep. OR put pillows next to bed in place you think is most probable landing area. Does he fall out of his toddler bed very often? You may be over worrying the issue….or not.
    Have a wonderful trip!

  10. I would say get a rest mat (my kids used it in daycare and kindergarten), like these ones
    from Amazon or these onesfrom Busy Kids. I think I found some at a local Target too.

    You can also buy an inflatable air mattress (we have a queen size, and use it at home for sleepovers) or a cot.

  11. My son’s a pretty sound sleeper (so, you know, disclaimer — YMMV) and on multiple occasions has, by his own choice, slept on the floor (really, a hardwood floor) wrapped in a comforter. This has never been his only option (we have always at a minimum taken an old thermarest along), but it has worked fine. Indeed, he’s currently grouchy at me because I told him he cannot sleep on the floor of his room (which is carpeted, but no other padding) until he cleans his room.

    If you want something, here are two very inexpensive options similar to what we’ve offered him as backup (though as I say, they’ve gone unused) —
    or if you prefer something not inflatable

    … the trip sounds great, I hope you’ll have fun!

  12. Probably I would use a pack and play or crib mattress on the floor. My kids used the pool noodles under the sheets instead of bed rails for years with no problem. When my kids are sick, sometimes I have used a comforter folded up a bunch of times and have them sleep next to me. I do think mesh camping cots that are low to the ground are useful and I don’t really have a hard time with air mattresses and you can get some of those for under $20. I’ve had one for 6 years and we’ve used it at least 6 or 7 times. Anything I purchased would be in an adult size, so it could be used for houseguests or as children got older.

  13. We just make the kids blanket pallets on the floor if there isn’t bed space for them, or if we are in a king sometimes we will let them sleep with us, depends on the situation. At home they share a bed, and though they sometimes talk more than we’d like, it works out fine for the most part. We definitely just slept in sleeping bags or on blanket pallets or in arm chairs growing up! LOL

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