Having somewhere safe and comfortable for your baby or toddler to sleep is priority number one when you are traveling away from home.
Even if you plan on staying in a hotel where you can request a bed, you’re often still better off bringing your own travel crib.
But with so many brands to choose from, knowing what one to buy can be tough.
Whether you’re looking for a crib to travel around the world with, or just need one to put in the car and take with you when visiting family, you’ll find all the information in this guide that you need choose the best travel crib for you.
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6 Best Travel Cribs Reviewed
Best all around travel crib – Lotus Travel Crib and Portable Baby Playard
The best travel cribs are durable, portable, affordable, and versatile. The Lotus Travel Crib strikes a great balance between all of these features.
The crib is from a small family oriented company called Guava Family who are based in the USA.
The Lotus feels sturdy while still being super lightweight. It has a convenient side zipper, which is great for playtime, and allows you to gently transfer your baby in and out without having to bend over the side of the crib.
Keep in mind though that, if your baby is a light sleeper, they may wake up to the sound of the zipper. What worked well for me was to use the zipper, but not zip it back up for about 20 minutes to make sure the baby was fast asleep.
This video is from Guava Family but it lets you see how the crib looks if you can’t go see it in person.
The crib’s mattress sits directly on the floor, providing added stability and an even sleep surface for your little one.
However, because the mattress isn’t as thick as a traditional crib mattress, carpets are better than hardwood floors. You can also bring extra blankets for padding, but babies aren’t that heavy and don’t need soft mattresses to sleep on.
What we like:
- When folded up, the crib is compact enough to take on a plane as a carry on
- The backpack-style carrying case included is super convenient and lets you travel hands-free.
- The entire cover is machine washable (great for outdoor use and inevitable messes and spills).
- The side zipper makes transferring your baby easy and is great for playtime.
- The crib weighs only 13 pounds which makes it easy to carry through airports or place in the overhead locker.
What we don’t like:
- Sheets are not included. Since the mattress is longer and narrower than a standard crib mattress, you will likely need to buy new sheets for it. Guava Family does sell fitted sheets specifically made for the Lotus, but they are sold separately.
- Figuring out how to take it down and get it back in the travel bag can be a bit tricky at first. Once you get the hang of it though, it’s pretty straightforward.
Features like the side zipper and backpack-style carrying case, make the Lotus a great option for families looking for an affordable and convenient multi-purpose travel crib/playpen that they can take with them wherever they go.
The crib comes with a two year warranty.
At only 13 pounds (including backpack), it’s lightweight enough to take just about anywhere, yet it’s big and sturdy enough to safely contain a toddler.
Best ultra lightweight travel crib – phil&teds Portable Traveller Crib
If you plan on doing a lot of air travel and want something super lightweight and portable that can fit inside your checked luggage, the phil&teds Portable Traveller Crib is a great option.
This is one of the only cribs on the market that is small enough to fit inside a suitcase or duffel bag.
When you’re traveling with a baby, it can sometimes feel like you simply don’t have enough arms to carry everything, so being able to fit your travel crib in your checked luggage is a great way to free up an arm or back for other bags.
Like the Lotus, the phil&ted has a side zipper, which makes it super versatile and great for playtime as well as transferring your sleeping baby.
My husband is tall enough at five foot ten inches to lean over and place our sleeping baby in the crib, but I have to use the zip.
The crib can accommodate a wide range of ages, from newborns to 3-year olds.
However, because it’s so lightweight, a toddler could potentially tip it over if they tried to climb the side of it. This is not a concern for smaller babies, but definitely something to keep in mind for older ones.
What we like:
- The crib is extremely light at only 7lbs.
- It breaks down into a compact, convenient carrying case which can be easily stowed in an overhead bin or even inside your luggage.
- It can accommodate little ones up to 75lbs.
- It has a self-inflating, thermally insulated air mattress, and one fitted sheet is included with your purchase.
What we don’t like:
- Some people have reported problems with the crib tipping. We thoroughly tested this ourselves and even sat inside and tried to push it over and found it very stable. Having said that you should still be careful the first few times you use it, especially if your little one is standing.
Because the mattress is inflatable it may take a little bit longer to set up and pack down. In our opinion this is worth it for the weight you save.
In this video you can see how the mattress is inflated and deflated for pack up.
We also found some people complain about the mattress being too thin and feeling hard, but our baby had no problem sleeping on it. Remember that babies shouldn’t even be sleeping on very soft mattresses.
If you want something ultra lightweight the phil&ted Traveller might just be your ideal travel crib.
Best premium travel crib – BabyBjörn Travel Crib Light
If you’re willing to spend a little extra, the BabyBjörn Travel Crib offers a premium, yet lightweight build, quick and easy assembly, and a super soft and comfy mattress.
Like the Lotus, the mesh cover is removable and machine washable (great for messes and spills).
The crib is easy to set up and take down, and folds into a sleek and convenient carrying case.
Unfortunately, the BabyBjörn is too big to fit in most overhead bins, so if you’re flying, you’ll likely have to check it.
Unlike the Lotus and the phil&ted, the BabyBjörn doesn’t have a side zipper. Some parents won’t miss this feature, especially if you’ll be using it primarily as a crib and not a playpen or if your little one is a light sleeper, but it’s definitely something to keep in mind.
This video does a good job at showing you how the BabyBjörn looks when it’s packed up.
The crib is more sturdy and durable than other options and can accommodate little ones from newborns to 3-year-olds.
What we like:
- The crib is simple and quick to assemble and disassemble (there are no loose parts to put together). It’s also easy to move around once it’s set up.
- It only weighs 13 pounds.
- It has a sturdy, built-in base to keep the crib upright and secure, but its mesh walls allow you to easily keep an eye on your little one.
What we don’t like:
- The walls of the crib are higher than most, and the mattress sits quite deep. Settling your baby may be a little tricky if you’re shorter than 5’4” without falling in yourself.
- Sheets are not included, and the sheets made specifically for this crib are on the pricier side.
While it’s not as compact and lightweight as the phil&ted travel crib, and costs more, the BabyBjörn makes up for that with it’s design. It’s sturdy, durable, safe, and comfortable.
And it’s still relatively easy to travel with.
Best travel crib for newborns – BRICA Fold N’ Go Travel Bassinet
It’s lightweight and easy to take with you anywhere you go. This crib is not only useful while traveling, but is also great for day trips to the park, beach, or friends’ houses.
One of our favorite things about the Fold N’ Go is that it folds flat for easy storage and only weighs 3 pounds.
This makes adding it to your suitcase super easy and convenient. The frame is durable and sturdy, despite the crib being so lightweight.
If you’re planning on traveling with a newborn who is still being swaddled or who doesn’t kick or move around much in their sleep, this crib can be a lifesaver for naps on the go.
Although your baby will grow out of it relatively quickly, this crib is more affordable than most other travel cribs and you may end up using it a lot while your baby is little.
What we like:
- The bassinet comes with a removable, water-resistant mattress and fitted sheet. The bassinet can also be used with standard bassinet sheets.
- It folds into a flat, easy-to-store shape and has a convenient, built-in carry handle. It can even fit in your suitcase!
- It’s super quick and easy to set up, and has a built-in “safe-T-lock” system which firmly secures the bassinet in an open position for added safety and stability. The bassinet clicks into its locked position when properly set up and has release buttons for when you’re ready to fold it up.
What we don’t like:
- It has low walls, making it easy for you to transport, but it’s also easier for your baby to crawl or wriggle out. It’s only recommended for newborns, so you’ll have to look into other options as your little one becomes more mobile.
We love that the Fold N’ Go allows you to use standard-sized bassinet sheets and is so easy to transport.
If you are planning multiple trips with your newborn, it may be worth the short-term investment to have something as lightweight and portable as the Fold N’ Go.
However, since many larger travel cribs can safely accommodate toddlers as well as newborns, it is worth considering whether or not you will get enough use out of the Fold N’ Go to make the purchase worth it.
Best budget travel crib – Graco Pack N’ Play Playard Jetsetter Rockweave
If you’re on a budget, this crib is a bit more affordable than some of the other options.
The Pack N’ Play comes with a removable, domed canopy to shield your baby from sunlight and bright indoor lights. This is a great feature if you plan to stay in a hotel room and want to be able to put your baby down while you read or watch TV.
It’s also ideal for camping and other outdoor activities since the canopy shields your little one from the sun, falling leaves, and/or bugs and insects.
What we like:
- It has a built-in 2-speed vibrating system that can help soothe your baby and lull to sleep.
- It breaks down into a convenient backpack-style carrying case with an extra side pocket for added storage.
It includes a portable changing pad.
What we don’t like:
- This crib’s mattress is a little on the smaller side compared to other options.
- At 20 pounds, it’s a bit heavier and more bulky than most travel cribs.
If you’re planning overseas travel with your baby, we would definitely recommend going for a lighter crib like the Lotus or phil&ted.
However if you need a cheap travel crib for vacations or take with you in the car when you go to other people’s houses the Graco Pack N’ Play is a decent option.
Best travel bed for toddlers – KidCo Peapod
It offers canopy protection and is a great option for camping, day trips, and hotel rooms.
At only 2 and a half pounds, it’s much easier to carry and transport than most other travel cribs.
The Peapod folds down into a small, circular storage bag, which can easily be carried on its own or placed in your checked luggage or carry on.
The canopy provides UV protection and the crib comes with anchor straps, making it a great option for camping, picnics, days at the beach, and other outdoor activities.
What we like:
- The Peapod is about as lightweight and travel-friendly as you can get.
- It’s available in a range of colors.
- The canopy keeps artificial lights (or the sun, leaves, bugs, and insects) out of your little one’s sleeping area.
What we don’t like:
- The only way to access your baby is through the zippered door. If your little one is a light sleeper, you may find it difficult to transfer them without the sound of the zipper waking them up.
- Although the tent is marketed as suitable for kids up to age 3, many toddlers are too big to fit comfortably.
Types of travel cribs
There are three general categories of travel cribs: Full feature, basic/minimalist, and cocoon/tent.
Which one is right for you will likely depend on your specific travel plans, what resources will be available to you at your destination, your child’s age, size, and sleeping habits, and your budget and personal preference.
Full feature travel crib
Full feature travel cribs often come with extra storage, removable bassinets or changing stations, and added space for your little one to move around while they sleep or play. They may also include additional accessories like mobile plays or canopies.
The 4Moms Breeze you can see here is a good example of this type of crib.
These features can be a lifesaver on family camping trips or multi-stop vacations, and the bassinet option may be particularly appealing if you have a newborn that is used to sleeping in a bassinet at home.
Because they’re larger and tend to be heavier, full feature travel cribs are more difficult to transport than basic/minimalist or cocoon/tent options.
While many of the added features that come with full feature cribs are nice, consider how often (and for how long) you are likely to use them during your travels when deciding whether or not a full feature crib is worth the extra money and space in your luggage.
These types of crib are definitely not suitable for flying or if you plan on doing much travel without a car.
Basic/minimalist travel crib
Basic/minimalist-style travel cribs forgo the extra accessories and added space that many full feature options provide in favor of a more lightweight and portable design.
For example, the phil&teds Traveller crib is only 7 lb and fits easily in the overhead bin or even inside your checked luggage.
If you want something that’s quick and easy to set up and will fit in your luggage or the overhead bin on a plane, you may want to consider a minimalist crib.
If you’re planning a trip with multiple stops, you’ll likely have to assemble and disassemble your travel crib multiple times. A basic/minimalist design can save you extra time and hassle.
Another advantage of basic/minimalist travel cribs is their smaller footprint. This makes them a great option for smaller hotel rooms, tents, and other spaces with limited room.
Cocoon/tent-style travel cribs (like the KidCo Peapod) are generally much smaller, lighter, and easier to transport (and pack) than larger travel cribs.
They’re great for camping, days at the park, and other outdoor activities as they often have a canopy or tent-like covering that provides shade from the sun, leaves, and critters.
Another advantage to cribs like the Peapod is that they are super quick and easy to assemble compared to larger travel cribs and take up very little space once assembled.
One downside of cocoon/tent travel cribs is that, because they are so small, they’re not a great option for most toddlers. They also can’t be used as a playpen, since there generally isn’t enough space, and your little one won’t be able to stand up or move around much while they’re inside.
The best travel crib for you will depend on the type of travel you do. For us a minimalist travel crib like the phil&ted is perfect because it’s super lightweight and fits into our suitcase.
What’s the difference between travel cribs and toddler travel beds?
While both are intended to help your little one sleep on-the-go, toddler travel beds like the hiccapop Inflatable Toddler Travel Bed don’t have high walls to contain your little one and don’t double as
Instead, they function as a comfy, fold-up bed for your toddler to sleep on during your travels.
If you have a newborn or a baby under two, or if your toddler tends to move around a lot in their sleep, a travel crib offers added security and will prevent them from rolling or falling out.
However, if you don’t need to contain your child while they sleep or play, a toddler travel bed may be worth considering.
If your little one is used to sleeping in a regular bed at home, they will likely do fine with a toddler travel bed.
What to look for in a travel crib
Depending on your specific travel plans and budget, as well as your baby’s age, size, and usual sleeping habits, we recommend looking for the following features in a travel crib:
1. Portable and lightweight
When you’re traveling, you don’t want anything too bulky, heavy, or awkward to carry. Whatever your little one’s age and size, you’ll want something relatively compact, lightweight, and easy to transport.
Consider whether you want to be able to fit the crib inside your checked luggage, check it by itself, or if you would prefer to bring it on the plane as a carry on item.
2. Easy to set up and put away
Depending on your destination and whether or not you have multiple stops on your trip, you’ll likely need to assemble and disassemble the crib multiple times.
Even if you only need to set the crib up once, a design that is quick and easy to put together and take down can save you time and frustration.
You should also think about if you’re going to use the crib when you’re not traveling (like for day trips to the park or a friend’s house), a straightforward and hassle-free crib is definitely a must.
3. Comfortable and cozy
A travel crib can have all the luxury and convenient features you could possibly want, but if it’s not comfortable for your little one and they have a hard time sleeping in it, you probably won’t be happy with your purchase.
Here are some features to look for in a travel crib to make sure your baby will be comfortable and cozy while they sleep or play:
- An adequately thick mattress (but remember that babies don’t actually need as thick a mattress as you might think)
- Mesh sides for easy airflow
- A canopy (if you plan to use the crib outdoors or under bright lights)
4. Appropriate for your child’s age
The best travel crib for a newborn may not be the best option for a 2 and a half or 3 year old. Consider your child’s age, size, and how long you’re hoping to be able to use the same crib when deciding which travel crib to purchase.
Bassinets like the BRICA Fold N’ Go and baby tents like the KidCo Peapod are great space-saving options for newborns, but your child is likely to outgrow them faster than they would the Guava Family Lotus or other larger travel cribs.
It’s important to look for a crib that accommodates your child’s age and size, and it’s a good idea to not only check the manufacturer’s specifications but also to look at reviews from other parents, since listed age ranges aren’t always perfectly accurate.
5. Safe and secure
Cribs are intended to contain your baby and keep them cozy and secure while they sleep or play.
Obviously, safety is paramount when it comes to travel cribs too. Since they tend to be smaller and more lightweight, there is sometimes a concern that older babies or toddlers may be able to tip them over.
A sturdy frame, higher walls, and a mattress that sits directly on the floor are all safety features to look for in a travel crib. Again, reading reviews from other parents is a great way to minimize safety concerns.
Do you need a travel crib?
You may be tempted to simply have your baby sleep in your bed with you while you’re away, but the truth is that hotel rooms and other accommodations are not likely to be baby proofed.
Although some hotels offer cribs upon request, you can’t always rely on one being available. Even if you’re able to reserve one ahead of time, hotel-provided cribs aren’t guaranteed to be the most safe, comfortable, or sanitary option.
Having a lightweight and portable travel crib that you can take with you on your adventures will give you the peace of mind that your little one will always have a safe, comfortable, and cozy place to sleep and play no matter where you are.
Virtually all travel cribs can be checked with your luggage on an airplane and some can be used as carry ons and stowed in the overhead bins. More compact options may even fit in your suitcase to limit the number of items you have to check.
You don’t just have to use your travel crib while you’re away from home.
Since travel cribs are generally lightweight, portable, and easy to set up and take down, they can also be great options for picnics, trips to friends’ houses, or simply as a crib or playpen in your home that can easily be moved from room to room.
Tips for using your new travel crib
Once you’ve decided on a travel crib, you’ll want to plan ahead and make sure you get the most out of it while you’re away.
Here are a few helpful tips and tricks for using your new travel crib (as always, preparation is key):
- Set it up in your home a week or two before you leave on your trip. This will allow you to practice setting it up and your little one to get used to playing and sleeping in their new crib.
- Bring a fitted sheet and a blanket or two from home so the crib will smell and feel familiar to your baby. You may also want to bring along their favorite stuffed animal if you have space in your luggage for an extra touch of home.
- On a similar note, it’s always a good idea to bring along extra sheets, especially if you won’t have access to laundry facilities while you’re away. After all, accidents happen.
The bottom line
The right travel crib for you will likely depend on your baby’s age, size, and sleep patterns. Your destination, sleeping arrangements, and mode of travel will also play a role in determining which crib is right for you and your family.
For us personally being able to fit the ultra light weight phil&teds Portable Traveller Crib into our suitcase when we travel makes it our favourite.
For most traveling families the Lotus Travel Crib is probably the best choice. It’s combination of versatility, ease-of-use, portability, and comfort are hard to beat.
It’s big enough to accommodate a wide range of ages, but compact and portable enough to take with you almost anywhere you go.
Although some of the other options listed above may be great for certain ages, destinations, or specific needs, the Lotus is an excellent option if you’re looking for an all-purpose, versatile travel crib that you’ll be able to use for years to come.