Want to learn more?
You’ve decided to travel with your baby or young child for the first time – congratulations! Or perhaps this is the tenth time and you are looking for a portable crib for travel. Or maybe you just want a travel cot for baby that’s easy to pack in your car and take with you to grandma’s house when you visit.
Or maybe you don’t know what you want at all, somehow landed on this page and now you are wondering what a travel crib is and whether you should be buying one.
Whatever your reason, I feel like a baby travel cribs expert after researching and trying different alternatives. We find them an invaluable part of our luggage when we travel (more about that below). I hope this guide to choosing the best travel crib for baby and toddlers will help you choose the best baby travel bed for your family.
There are a few differences between what you might know as a portable crib, and the subject we’re looking at – a travel crib. Travel cots, or cribs, are basically portable cribs with a few small differences, i.e. they fold up to allow them to be transported, fitting into hand luggage, car trunks, or basically just being lightweight enough to carry around, without major problems or a sore arm. Put simply, portable cribs for travel are ideal for exploring the world, heading off on vacation, or simply heading to grandma’s for a few nights.
The difference between a portable crib and a travel crib is that travel cribs are smaller, and as we mentioned before, they can often be taken on planes as part of your hand luggage. Travel cribs also offer many of the same benefits as a regular portable crib, e.g. they are safe, comfortable, and they have the added bonus of being small and lightweight, so you can use them in the house, as well as for travel.
When looking for the best travel cot for your needs, you of course need to take into account many different factors. The sheer number of baby travel beds on the market can be overwhelming, but provided you identify your needs, and you compare before you buy, finding the ideal travel crib for your bundle of joy to be comfortable and safe in during your travels needn’t be a major problem.
As with everything in life, there are pros and cons to travelling with a travel crib.
For us, the pros are:
Here is a quick comparison of the best travel baby beds with information like the weight of the travel crib, the age range, an approximate price and our rating. Below you will find our travel crib buying guide and travel cot reviews of each of the traveling cribs below.
|Name||Image||Weight (lb)||Age||Price||Our Rating (/5)|
|BabyBjorn Travel Crib Light||11||0-3||$$$||4.5|
|Lotus Travel Crib and Portable Baby Playard||13||0-3||$$$||5.0|
|Nuna Sena Mini Travel Cot||22.3||0-3||$$$||4.5|
|Valco Baby Zephyr Travel Crib||14||0-3||$$||4.0|
|Parentlab JourneyBee Portable Crib||12||1-3||$||4.5|
|BRICA Fold N' Go Travel Bassinet||2.4||0-1||$||4.5|
|Delta Children Viaggi Playard||7.7||0-1||$||4.5|
|KidCo TravelPod Portable Play Yard||10.5||0-3||$$||4.0|
|Phil&Teds Portable Traveller Crib||7||0-4||$$$||4.5|
You may be considering taking an ordinary pack n play on your trip. However, even the best pack n play for travel is still a lot bulkier than an especially made travel crib.
This may be fine if you are driving someone for the weekend and have plenty of space in the car. However, if you are flying you are going to save a lot of space by taking a best baby travel bed that has been especially made for this purpose.
Another thing to consider is just to buy an infant travel crib from the start and not worry about a pack n play. Even if you are just going to use it at home, it is far easier to move a travel crib around the house than a bulky pack n play.
Another alternative for a traveling baby bed is a toddler travel bed. However, these are designed for slightly older children than a travel crib, usually 2 year old+.
They are generally some type of roll out mattress making them suitable for older kids. If you are looking for travel beds for babies or a travel bed for 1 year old, a travel crib is the best choice. If you are looking for a travel bed for a toddler still in crib, you probably want to consider a travel crib as well as this will be more similar to what they are used to.
If you have a two year old, it is worth considering a toddler travel bed instead or a toddler travel crib that is suitable for a wider age range.
When you make any large purchase, no matter what it is, you need to look at different factors to make a good decision. In terms of figuring out which travel crib is best for your family, you need to look at different criteria, and of course, safety and comfort are always going to be number one at the top of that list.
If you are going to be traveling a lot, then you need to invest in a light travel crib, so you don’t have so much to carry, and if you are only going to be heading away a few times, then a portable travel crib may suffice.
Below I will look at the different criteria, and why you need to take each into account when making your final decision on the best travel bed for baby.
From reading this guide up to this point, you will probably be aware that there are several different types of travel crib on the market, from portable cribs, a toddler travel cot, regular travel cribs – it’s up to you which one you go for, depending on your circumstances, such as the age of your child. A little deep thinking is required here!
The two main types of travel cribs are the ones which fold out very much like a portable crib, and the other type which forms almost a shell or cocoon around your child. Of course, both have their pros and cons, but the type which are more akin to a portable crib in shape are generally better, because they offer more protection, and your little darling isn’t going to escape and start causing chaos around the hotel room! The downside to this is that they are generally a little larger when folded down, and they can weigh more.
On the other hand, the shell/cocoon type fold up to be a very compact travel crib, and are very easy to carry, but they don’t offer the same containment as the first option, and your child may be able to get out, and won’t be able to stand up inside it.
Of course, the whole point of choosing a folding travel crib is the knowledge that it, a) folds up small enough to carry, and b) doesn’t weigh too much at the same time. You need to look at the size when it is both assembled, and when it isn’t, and it is important to find the best travel bed for infant use which can fit easily into your suitcase, your hand luggage if you’re flying, or the trunk of your car if you’re heading off on a road trip.
Of course, you also want to know that when the crib is assembled, your child can fit inside comfortably, without restriction.
You need to look at your child’s age, and think about how long you’re planning on using the crib for. If you’re thinking about going on an extended travel adventure, your child is obviously going to grow during the time you’re away, and you need to factor that into your decision. Some travel cribs are suitable for newborn babies, and some aren’t, so again this is something you need to think about. Some cribs accommodate larger toddlers and pre-school children, whilst some others aren’t quite large enough.
If your child is toddler, and not a newborn, then you need to find the best travel crib for toddler use which is going to allow your child to move around, but also which isn’t going to allow them to escape!
BabyBjorn Travel Crib Light assembly
You don’t want to be purchasing a travel crib which is a drama to set up and fold down, especially if you’re traveling around! In order to find the best lightweight travel crib for you, you need to look at what you’re planning on using it for, how you are going to travel, and how long you’re going to use it for.
Most cribs are straightforward to use, but they can sometimes be a little on the tricky side when it comes to assembling them the first time – it’s a good idea to practice at home before setting out with the crib for the first time.
You might think that all travel beds for infants which feature on the market these days will be comfortable, but that’s not always the case. Some cribs have thinner mattresses than others, which don’t always offer optimum comfort for your child.
Some cribs don’t have the best air flow compared to other makes, so when you’re looking at the best travel cribs for babies or toddlers, then it’s important to pick a make which has both comfort and air flow ticked.
You could also look at any added features the crib offers, and weigh up whether this is something you need, or just an extra which is bumping up the price for no actual functional reason.
Without a doubt, the biggest consideration is safety. You do not want to be purchasing a travel crib which isn’t safe; below you will find reviews of the best travel cribs on the market, and you can be assured that these all meet American Standards in terms of safety. Despite this, some cribs are safer than others, and it depends entirely on the age of your child, and the purpose you’re going to be using it for.
When looking at travel cribs for toddlers, you need to particularly look at how easy it is for the child to escape, which is something you don’t need to be happening! You also need to look at whether there is any space between the crib and the mattress, you need to look at how the crib allows the sheets to be held in place, and if there is any possibility of your child falling out. We know that toddlers can be very active, and if you’re looking for the best travel crib for 1 year old use, this is especially important.
Below are our travel crib reviews of the top rated travel cribs on the market today.
Big named brands do give you some reassurance, and when looking for a mid-price ranged kids travel cot, this is a great choice. As this is a travel crib, you know it’s going to be lightweight, and at just 11lb, this is easy to carry around, whether you’re going by car or plane. The sides of the crib are made of a soft mesh material, so you can see your little bundle of joy at all times.
Of course, it is also easy to set up, and the base doesn’t wobble around, which gives you more reassurance of a safe sleeping environment for your little one. A insulated mattress also offers total comfort for a good night’s sleep.
If you’re comparing the Lotus Travel Crib vs BabyBjorn, which are two of the best on the market, you are splitting hairs. However if you’re looking for somewhere to sleep mainly, rather than somewhere to play, the BabyBjorn might just win out.
Sleep and play is ideal when looking at this choice, and when looking for the best travel play yard, this certainly has to be up there on that list. The crib only takes 15 seconds to set up, which is ideal for those times when you are tired and want to get everyone settled for sleep!
The breathable, clear view mesh sides mean you can see what is happening at all times, and full airflow is easily achieved, even when the sides are zipped up. The Guava Family Lotus Travel Crib range offer a great all in one travel system for your little one.
This is one of our choices of top travel crib – and we know because it is the one we currently use.
There is plenty of room to move. The full mesh sides means you can see your child at all times, whether playing or sleeping. You can zip off one of the sides to make it a great play area during the day.
What we love, however, is the size and weight. When the crib is folded down it is compact, and it comes with a carry bag, to give you total ease when traveling. The carry bag has a shoulder strap so it’s easy to carry it around as an additional piece of luggage.
At just 7lb, this is probably one of the most portable travel cribs for toddlers.
It’s quite spacious when assembled. Our nearly 5 year old can just lie in it so it should suit your kids for as long as you need it. There is also a 100% cotton sheet included with the soft, self inflatable mattress.
When looking for travel portable crib choices this should certainly form one of the entries on your short-list, and the UV mesh top which offers sun protection, is a great added extra, meaning outdoor use is entirely possible.
The only downsides are that there is assembly and dissembly time and the carry bag is not very durable. After doing it a few times, it still takes at least a few minutes to assemble or dissemble. The carry bag unfortunately wore through after us only travelling with this for a two week period which was disappointing.
However, even with these downsides, we are very happy with our Phil&Teds. It’s sturdy, comfortable and compact.Click here for more reviews and the latest prices.
This is a very modern choice, and if you’re looking for a choice which is quite aesthetically pleasing, this is a good go-to. The Nuna Travel Crib folds easily with one hand, so no fiddling around and getting stressed out trying to assemble and disassemble when your little one is eager to get comfortable.
It is a bit heavier than some of the other choices on our list, but it is a sturdy option, with zigzag leg design, which pops open with ease. The soft quilted mattress provides comfort, and the breathable mesh fabric means you have peace of mind. On top of this, the upper fabric section is also machine washable.
This is a pop up travel crib, and the clue is in the name – very easy to open up, which means you can put your little one down for rest quickly and easily. This is a very lightweight choice, at just 2.5lb, so is a great choice for families who travel a lot. We have this travel crib and we love how portable it is.
This is one of those cocoon designs we talked about earlier in this guide, so whilst your child can’t stand up and roam, they will have a comfortable and safe sleeping environment. Our kids also like playing in it at other times and call it their tent.
The anchor straps mean you can attach it easily to the ground, to provide a sturdy base, and it comes fully assembled, so you don’t need to fight with instructions on how to put it together.
The one downside is that it can get sweaty in there in hot climates although this did not bother our kids and we used it in Asia and the Caribbean without an issue. I do find that it is not ideal if you have a baby that still wakes a lot as you have to get down on the ground to get to them. This is why we bought our Phil&Teds travel crib as well for our younger baby.
Again, this is a very lightweight choice, but it is also one of the most comfortable travel crib choices on our list. The Valco is very easy to put up and take back down again, and the travel bag means you can easily store it for use on the go.
I mentioned comfort, and probably what makes this small travel crib so comfortable is the padded mattress which comes included, as well as the insect net to offer protection from any beasties. The mesh pockets at the side of the crib also mean you can easily store toys and bottles etc, which gives you a central place to keep everything.
Pop open designed cribs are very attractive options for families who travel, because they are so easy to use. This Parentlab choice weighs under 12lb, which means it is very easy to carry around, without any major fuss.
The case, mattress pad, and inner fleece sheet are also included in the price, and the large panels are made of the usual mesh material, so you can see what is happening at all times. The fabric is all washable too, which makes it a very usable choice.
The downside is obviously that pop up options are sometimes not as sturdy as regular portable cribs, but this is a decision you need to make when looking for a traveling baby crib, based on your own child’s size, and how active they are.
The BRICA Fold N’ Go is the ideal choice for newborn babies, and is one of the smallest travel crib choices on our list. The mesh panels offer peace of mind for you, and the breathable fabric and locking frame give comfort to your little one.
Safety is obviously always at the forefront of your mind, and the T lock system should give you plenty of reassurance about how sturdy and safe this newborn travel bed is, as well as the big named brand in question. Again, this is lightweight and easy to carry, meaning you can pack it in your hand luggage when flying.
From a totally selfless point of view, this is one of the nicest looking cribs on our list, but from a functional point of view, it packs quite a punch too. This is recommended for children who aren’t so active that they could attempt to climb out of it, so the younger end of the spectrum. If you’re looking for travel cribs for infants who are more able to move around, and you need something with more restriction, this possibly isn’t the option for you, however for younger children it is ideal.
The overstuffed mattress give optimum comfort, and the slim, folding nature of the crib means it is very easy to transport, with a lightweight frame.
The KidCo TravelPod is a great mid-budget range choice of travel cot for toddler use on the go, and the lightweight frame means you can easily fold it up and go, safe in the knowledge that it is easy to assemble again once you arrive at your destination.
Infants can easily see out of the crib, stand up and look around, but they can’t climb out if within the 0-3 years’ age bracket. This means you are looking at a safe choice, with plenty of room for both sleep and play time.
You might think our reviews go over a lot of common ground, but the fact is that most travel cribs these days have very similar features; what you need to think about is your requirements, and then tailor-make your choice according to that.
Personally, I would go for a crib which offers room for growth, because this means you’re not going to be making multiple purchases over time, especially if you are a family who travel a lot. I’d also make sure that you end up buying a travel crib that you will be able to transport easily.
You can find more information on the best travel cribs here.
Do you travel with a travel crib? What is your pick of the best travel cribs?
Disclaimer: Where’s Sharon is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com and its partners. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. Thank you for supporting my site and helping me make it the best family travel resource on the internet!