Don’t you “love” when advertisements present family trips as something easy, fun and relaxing while in reality, the word complicated doesn’t even begin to describe it? Exactly, we agree.
When you look back at the time you traveled to grandparent’s house or some distant relative, you’re filled with joy that you could spend precious time with them but in all honesty the chances of everything going perfectly during the trip, with baby on board, are the same as seeing a unicorn – impossible (or at least almost impossible).
Travelling to the destination is difficult as it is (juggling between needs of the baby and the rest of family members, you don’t even have time to think of your needs) and on top of it all, knowing that you’ll have to re-assemble the crib, which will take forever, just makes you want to cry. This doesn’t make you a crazy person or a bad parent; it means you are human. In fact, most parents feel the same way.
There is no such thing as a perfect trip, but there are some things we can do, to make it easier and less stressful. One of them is creating an environment that will help your baby sleep which will help you get some rest. Just as you can’t sleep if the bed or mattress is not comfy, the baby will feel restless and will likely wake up several times for the same reason. Of course, you shouldn’t just drop everything and buy a new crib mattress just because your baby can’t sleep well, but it might be a wise idea to consider investing in a good travel crib, especially if you often take trips. In the long term, it will save you a lot of time and energy which you could devote to your loved ones.
Maybe it’s been a while since you’ve searched for a travel crib, so you are not sure where to start but don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. Since the life of a parent is a hectic one, information that goes straight to the point is essential. That is why, we have made a list of brands to start with, but before we start comparing, we need to keep in mind these important factors:
Buying Guide for Best Travel Crib
The matter of safety – First of all, make sure that the CPSC approves the crib and that it follows their standards in terms of strength of the material, top rail requirements and that the child won’t be able to move the mattress. Second of all, use the crib according to its purpose. Follow the instruction while assembling the crib and do not add padding or use a different mattress than the one that was given, to be sure that your child is in a safe sleeping environment.
The level of assembling difficulty – This depends on your travel habits and how long can you handle assembling the travel crib without feeling irritated. Most of them have legs that need to be folded into place or have a set up like a tent. So, if you often travel, and move to different spots during one trip, a crib which requires a long time to set up will be troublesome for you. By the time you get to your desired destination, you will be tired and setting up a travel crib will be the last thing on your list of desired things to do.
The matter of portability – Traveling with babies is complicated, and you have to carry a lot of things. The best travel crib for a toddler or newborn is the one that can be carried easily due to its small size and that weighs less than 20lbs. Some travel cribs can be folded to a size that fits the overhead bin in the airplane. So, the folded size of your travel crib should depend on your most common means of transportation or the amount of stuff you carry in your trunk.
The matter of material quality – Since travel crib is intended to be assembled over and over again, the quality of the material that it’s made of will determine how long it will last. In most cases, you can already judge the quality just by touching it. The crib that is quivering when you press its sides will not provide stability in the long run. Also, make sure that the fabric pulls tight on the sides and that the frame is sturdy. Of course, what is inside of the material matters as well. Chose a travel crib brand which clearly points out that the material does not contain any harmful chemicals like lead, PVC, formaldehyde, and flame-retardants.
The matter of your budget – Everyone has their views of what is affordable and what is expensive, so it all comes down to how much are you willing to pay for a travel crib. The prices vary from 100 dollars to 300 dollars. Usually, the ones that are lighter and made from higher quality materials, are a bit pricier. If you often travel, in the long term, it would be wiser to invest in portability and high-quality material. You won’t regret it.
The matter of adaptability and versatility – Nowadays traveling cribs are becoming more than just a baby crib due to their extra features. Some brands offer a travel crib model with bassinet that are facing the top of the crib or even a convertible travel crib/bassinet model. This is great since many parents feel that a bassinet is a great option when traveling with a newborn. Most travel cribs are not for sleep-only purposes and can be used as a play yard, so they usually have a zipper on the side to access it easily. You can even get accessories for your travel crib like changeable mats, but that will add on your luggage weight and maybe on the price of your crib.
* Bonus tip – If you plan to spend a lot of time outdoors it would be wise to bring a canopy with you.
The matter of design – Although travel cribs do not vary that much when it comes to design it is essential to know that design can have an impact on the usability of it. For example, the one that has a top that is a bit narrow compared with the bottom can be practical if your toddler likes to climb, but it can be a challenge to put a sleeping baby inside while leaning. Since some travel cribs have the mattress directly on the floor and others have beam support that lifts the mattress a few inches, it is necessary to keep in mind the area where you will use it (especially when it’s cold). The crib that come with beam support come with a weight limit while the ones that do not contain beam support don’t have a weight limit.
Now let’s take a look at our review list of top travel crib choices.
Best Travel Cribs – Our Picks
The Traveller by Phil&Teds – Best Portable/Convertible
If you are a family that is active, loves to spend time outdoors and often take trips, then this is an excellent choice for you. What makes the Traveller by Phil&Teds stand out is how compact it is. When you assemble it, it looks like a regular travel crib, but when disassembled it fits in a bag similar to the one you would take to the gym (or even smaller).
One of the reasons is that it comes with a mat which is inflatable, thermally insulated, and is small when rolled up. Also, a big bonus is that you can wash it in the washing machine.
The material is super comfy and to make it even more comfortable you can get a pack of two non-toxic cotton sheets, that are oeko-tex approved, for 16 dollars only.
The frames are made of aluminum that is very light. A material used for sides is a breathable mesh, and it contains global safety certification to assure you that your little one is safe from toxic substances. In addition to that, it includes a zipper, and one side can be removed entirely, so you get a travel cot and a playpen.
All of that weighs only 7lbs making “the travel crib lighter compared to your baby.” It is suitable for newborns to three-year-old toddlers.
Unfortunately, there is one downside. Disassembling it might take a bit longer than usual because there are many components to put together, but once you do it few times, you’ll get the hang of it, and it won’t be so dreadful as it might sound.
- Oeko-texapproved cotton sheets.
- Lightweight 7lbs
- Inflatable mattress
- Compact and contains a zipper on the side for easy access.
- Takes time to assemble it.
Pack and Play Jetsetter by Graco
Graco’s Pack ‘n’ Play Jetsetter is one of the best options if you want cool features at a reasonable cost. Not only are the features cool but they are practical as well, for younger and older babies. First of all, the bag that the crib comes in now has straps similar to a backpack. This feature makes it easier to carry while traveling since we always have to bring a bunch of bags when going on a trip with kids.
And you don’t have to worry about where to put baby wipes and other stuff your baby needs since you get an attachable storage bag that has pockets. As you can imagine already, everything on this travel crib is attachable and detachable. Including a bassinet that goes on top of the crib and it has a soothing vibration button of two levels, a changing pad with many pockets, and a canopy that is great for newborns as it darkens the bassinet. Also, you don’t need to worry about the air flow regarding canopy since it has parts made of mesh to keep the fresh air going.
A mattress that is inside the bassinet can be unfolded and put down on the crib when your baby outgrows the bassinet. Another cool thing about it is that if you wish to use the bassinet only, you can easily fold the crib’s legs inward without having to move the bassinet. Since we are mentioning the folding, everything can be disassembled with a click of a button, so you can take it up and down without a problem. This is the best the best portable crib for grandma’s so far. The only downside, however, is that is a little bit bulky and not all accessories can fit in, and it is more massive compared to the previous one, weighing 19lbs. Truth to be told, you don’t always need all of the accessories
- Many practical features
- Carrying a bag that has a backpack system
- A little bit bulky if you use all the accessories.
Lotus Everywhere by Guava – Best Eco-Friendly Choice
Guava’s Lotus Everywhere is one of the rare products that have achieved a certification of Greenguard gold which makes it a great option if you want a model that is eco-friendly and free of VOC emissions and toxic chemicals. But that is not all that it offers.
Lotus Everywhere, like the name, says already, can be taken everywhere because it is not too heavy, weighing 13lbbs and can be carried as a backpack. That feature means that seating it up and packing it is a piece of cake. Besides being free from toxic substances, it is also made from a breathable mesh that provides your baby with good airflow and its structure is stable and sturdy. Another cool feature is the side zipper to give you more convenient access so you can even fit through it, should you want to lay next to your baby (with your legs sticking out of course). The only downside is that the mattress material feels a bit thin (but hey, most babies are light anyway) so you might need to buy extra sheets designed explicitly for Lotus due to its unique dimensions.
Also, if you wish to turn your travel crib into a bassinet, you can buy an additional convertible kit to help you with that. Efficient choice if you are traveling with a newborn.
- Weighs 13lbs
- Greenguardgold certification
- Backpack feature
- Easy to assemble
- The mattress feels a little thin so you might need to purchase extra sheets.
The BabyBjörn Travel Crib – Our Editor’s Choice
One of the most popular products on the market is the BabyBjorn travel crib due to its easy use comfort and portability. It is very compact and the setup is super easy. The Baby Bjorn instructions are easy to follow so you can assemble, and take it down under a few minutes (just remember to pull the legs out to release them), but this should not make you worry about the stability as it is very sturdy because the frame base is extensive and the mattress is on the floor. It is made of breathable mesh, so it has a good air flow for your baby.
The mattress comes with edges that are padded to add to comfort, unlike most travel cribs. This is good if your baby has a difficulty to fall asleep and wakes up quickly but the fitted sheets for additional support are charged additionally as well, and you can buy them separately. Great thing to keep in mind is that all of the materials are machine washable and Oeko-tex-standard approved, so your mind can be at peace knowing that the crib doesn’t expose your child to a toxic environment. Baby Bjorn travel crib comes in pink, black and blue color. The storage case looks like a suitcase, so it is not only practical when you keep it indoors but also when you travel since it weighs 13lbs only, and you can carry your travel crib in one hand and the baby in the other. Unfortunately, it does not fit in a suitcase, so when at the airport you have to check it in separately, and it is carried hands only.
- Weighs only 13lbs
- Simple take-down and set up
- Padded soft mattress
- OEKO-TEX standard approved
- Color options
- Separate check-in necessary
Since we all know traveling with babies can be troublesome and a challenge, we want to make it easy for ourselves and a travel crib is an excellent solution for that. As previously discussed, we have many brands offering different features. Some are extremely practical while other seem unnecessary. It all comes down to our travel habits and personal preferences, but few things are vital to bear in mind when choosing
- Always use the travel crib according to its purpose.
- Read the instructions even if that’s not your cup of tea.
- Make sure that the materials and constructionaresafe for your baby even if that means to inquire additionally to what it is mentioned in the description.
- You should never sacrifice comfort over easy assemble and high portability, but if all factors are essential to you try to find a model that has a downside acceptable to you, cause let’s face it all models have somedisadvantages.
- Never forget to determine your budget and be realistic of what is necessary and affordable in your case.