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Best Travel Cribs
January 24, 2024

Best Travel Cribs

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Best Travel Cribs.
Best Travel Cribs

Traveling with babies and kids can be so rewarding, but there’s one thing you need when you get going: gear. To make things easier, you may want to have a travel stroller (or maybe your usual travel system will work just fine) and a travel car seat, but no matter how lightly you want to pack, your little one will need a safe place to rest. The best travel cribs are super portable to make your job as the baby gear schlepper a tad easier.

Babylist’s Top Picks for the Best Travel Cribs

Babylist’s Picks for the Best Travel Cribs

Best Lightweight Travel Crib

Why We Love It

Weighing in at just 13 pounds, the Babybjörn Travel Crib is one of the lightest travel cribs on the market, making it especially ideal if you’re a family who’s routinely on the go. Top features include an incredibly easy setup (it unfolds and breaks down in one motion, and there are no loose parts to worry about), breathable mesh sides and a firm but ultra-comfy mattress that parents rave about. The mattress and the fabric frame are both machine washable, so it’s easy to clean. And when the crib is folded in its carrying case, it will fit within any airline baggage compartment. Wheels up, with baby in tow!

Keep in Mind

You’ll want to stop using this travel crib around three years old or until your little one is able to climb out of it. But unlike many other travel cribs, there’s no weight limit for the Babybjörn, since the crib’s mattress rests on ground. This means you’ll get more time out of this travel crib than most.

What Babylist Parents Say

“Very happy with this travel crib – lightweight, packable, set up is incredibly easy, and it’s simple to disassemble for cleaning. The thing that set this crib apart for other similar travel-appropriate pack-and-plays for us was the thicker mattress – our 9 month old slept just as well in this travel crib as she does at home. Great product, we would highly recommend!” -BH

Additional Specs
Weight: 13 lbs
Measurements: 32” x 44” x 24”
Recommended use: 0 to 3 yrs

Best Affordable Lightweight Travel Crib

Why We Love It

A lightweight travel crib is a sound investment if you’re a family who’s frequently on the go or if you plan on using it for multiple children, but many cost upwards of $300, especially after you add on accessories like sheets. Chicco’s Alfa Lite is a stellar lightweight travel crib but is about half the price of other similar options. And don’t worry—you won’t be sacrificing on features or quality. It weighs 13 pounds, is easy to open and close, folds down into a zippered carrying bag (with a large shoulder strap) and even has a zip-down side for easy access to your little one.

Keep in Mind

The Alfa Lite is Greenguard Gold Certified. Some parents mention that the mattress is on the thinner side.

What Babylist Parents Say

“This travel playard is perfect. The design is sleek and the safely measures are advanced. The side opening zipper is buckled to the leg so no little hands can magically unzip themselves. The mattress pad also gets buckled in place. It took seconds to set up and take down. The travel playard makes your life so much easier while traveling and doesn’t take up much of any space in the car. 100/10 recommend buying!!!” -Sophia K.

Additional Specs
Weight: 13 lbs
Measurements: 43” x 29” x 29”
Recommended use: 0 to 3 yrs, up to 30 lbs

Best Travel Crib for Flying

Why We Love It

If you’ve ever traveled with kids, especially via plane, you know the value of having one less thing to tote around. Meet the Lotus: the travel-crib-turned-backpack that no traveling family should leave home without. This ultra-lightweight crib folds seamlessly into a compact, backpack-style carrying case, leaving your hands free to deal with the other 142 things they’ll be tasked with for attempting to leave the house with your littles in tow. (This feature comes in especially handy in airports.) We also love the unique zip-down “door” feature of the crib’s mesh side—it makes getting down on baby’s level for cuddles, feeding or play super easy, then quietly zips back up and locks into place.

Keep in Mind

Like the Babybjörn Travel Crib, the Guava’s mattress is flush to the ground, meaning there’s no weight limit usage recommendations here, either. Some parents report that the mattress is fairly thin, however.

What Babylist Parents Say

“The Lotus crib is one of the best products we have. It is lightweight, folds and assembles in just a few snaps, and has mesh sides. The fabric comes completely off and is machine washable.” -Kristin

Additional Specs
Weight: 13 lbs
Measurements: 46” x 31” x 25.5”
Recommended use: 0 to 3 yrs or until child tries to climb out

Best Affordable Travel Crib

Why We Love It

If you’re looking for simple, sturdy travel crib that will stand the test of time but won’t break the bank, this Pack ‘n Play from Graco fits the bill. Although it’s basic, the features are anything but—there are a ton of things that you (and your little one) will love. We especially appreciate the sturdy frame, the roomy area for play and sleep and the push-button fold for quick and easy breakdown. And at around $70, this travel crib is perfect for using as an extra playard around the house and for keeping at the grandparents’ house or anywhere else you know you’ll be visiting on a regular basis.

Keep in Mind

You can’t attach any extras to this travel crib, like a bassinet or changing table. And some parents complain that the mattress is on the thin side, so that may be something to consider if you’re planning on using it for more than just the occasional weekend away. It’s also fairly heavy, so you won’t want to use it if you’re traveling by plane or anywhere else where you’ll need to carry it around frequently.

Additional Specs
Weight: 18.5 lbs
Measurements: 39.5” x 28.25” x 29”
Recommended use: Designed for children under 35” tall, unable to climb out

Best Travel Crib for Toddlers

Why We Love It

As your baby grows into a toddler, many parents still need the safety that the confines of a crib provide—especially while traveling. But what happens when your toddler is too big for their travel crib but too little for a bed? Enter the Newton. The mattress is about two times larger than most travel cribs, making it ideal for an older toddler who may be sized out of a smaller playard. It’s also 100 percent breathable and washable, made with the same Wovenaire technology used in the brand’s much-loved crib mattress. It’s flush to the ground, so there’s no weight limit, and it’s super comfy and GREENGAURD Gold Certified.

The playard weighs in at about 17 pounds, so while it’s not the lightest on the market, it’s still fairly easy to travel with and the weight is for a good cause. Assembly and breakdown are easy and the crib comes with a travel bag for easy storage. And it’s not just for the toddler years; there’s a bassinet insert for use from day one. Oh, and when you are ready to graduate your toddler from the travel crib, check out these great toddler travel beds.

Keep in Mind

Because of the Newton’s larger sleep space, it’s a bit bulkier than some of the other travel cribs on our list. The travel bag only has a handle, not a shoulder strap or backpack straps. And the crib is too large to store in the overhead compartment of an airplane

What Babylist Parents Say

“I despise traditional pack n play style things. Newton’s playard is innovative and will definitely grow with a child from infancy through the preschool years! My 4.5 year old can still sleep in it comfortably with plenty of space. I really appreciate the thought that went into this product.” -Mona

Additional Specs
Weight: 17 lbs
Measurements: 51” x 34.5” x 28.5”
Recommended use: Bassinet up to approx. 5 mos, or when your little one begins to push up on their hands and knees; playard until child tries to climb out

Most Versatile Travel Crib

Why We Love It

And speaking of multifunctional products, the Remi from UPPAbaby is the best choice if you’re looking for an all-in-one travel crib and playard to use both at home and when you’re on the go. There’s a ton of functionality built in to this smartly designed (and beautiful) playard. It’s Greenguard Gold Certified and includes a removable bassinet, a zip-down side panel, a triple layer air mesh mattress and a smooth, simple fold that takes one hand and only a few seconds. There are also lots of accessories to add on. A few of our favorites include the changing station, organizer and canopy.

Keep in Mind

The Remi is expensive, and even moreso when you start adding on accessories. It’s also fairly heavy, weighing in at about 20 pounds. This isn’t a big deal if you’re planning to use it mostly at home and for the occasional overnight trip, but if your family travels frequently and you need to bring along a place for your baby to sleep, it may not be your best option.

What Babylist Parents Say

“Incredibly easy to set up. Our baby just started crawling and we don’t have a good play yard set up yet, so this was great to put him in a for the meantime. We purchased it instead of a Graco pack and play because of the zipper access and mattress quality. Love it!!!” -Rachel

Additional Specs
Weight: 20 lbs
Measurements: 42” L x 27” W
Recommended use: Bassinet: birth to 20 lbs, stop using when baby can push up on hands and knees or roll over; playard: birth to 35” tall

Most Portable Travel Crib

Why We Love It

Pop-up tent meets travel crib in the Aeromoov. This 11-pound playard works just as well for a day at the beach or the park as it does for an overnight at grandma’s and is our top pick if you’re looking for one piece of gear you can use both indoors and out. The origami-style fold takes about two seconds (literally), and once it’s folded down, the whole thing slips into a bag and is less than five inches wide. It’s easy to stash for travel or throw over your shoulder and carry if you need to bring it along for an outdoor adventure. (There are also lots of useful accessories available like a sunshade and a mosquito net.) Another feature we love: there are two levels, one upper level bassinet-style for newborns up to about two months and a the main lower level for older babies and toddlers.

Keep in Mind

If you’re using the crib indoors and your little one moves around a lot, the fabric makes a “swishing” sound that’s a bit loud.

Additional Specs
Weight: 11 lbs
Measurements: 52” x 36” x 25”
Recommended use: Mid-level: 0 to 13 lbs or until baby can sit up; lower level: no weight limit, can use until your child can climb out unattended

Best Travel Cribs for Small Spaces

Why We Love It

Simple, streamlined and seamless. The Bugaboo Stardust is one of the smaller travel crib + playards on our list, but it packs a big punch. Unlike most travel cribs that open from the center of the base and feature fold-out legs, the standout feature here is the accordion-style fold. It makes it quick and easy to open and close by either pushing or pulling each side. You can even fold the Stardust with the mattress still inside—a pretty big deal and a huge time-saving (and sanity-saving) feature.

The Stardust weighs about 14 pounds and has a compact design that’s ideal for spaces that can’t handle a giant playard, either at home or when you’re on the go. There’s also a bassinet attachment for younger babies, a really comfortable mattress and all-around mesh panels.

Keep in Mind

The maximum weight limit for the Stardust is similar to the other travel cribs on our list, but because of smaller size, your little one may outgrow it in height sooner than they would with other playards. It’s also on the pricier side.

What Babylist Parents Say

“I’m a first time mom and it feels like I have tried all the baby products out there. We were in the market for a new pack n’ play so I recently purchased this for my 5.5 month old and it is a game changer when it comes to portability and ease. I’ve found other products like this are bulky and difficult to store, but the Stardust is slender, lightweight and unfolds in one second. (No exaggeration.) I would highly recommend this product for travel, sleeping or playtime - in fact, we’re looking forward to traveling with it over the holidays!” -AlexT

Additional Specs
Weight: 14.8 lbs
Measurements: 25” x 38.8” x 33.5”
Recommended use: Bassinet up to 20 lbs; playard up to 33 lbs

Best Travel Crib for Car Travel

Why We Love It

Weighing in at just over 18 pounds, the Maxi-Cosi Swift is too heavy and bulky for regular air travel. But it’s also quite a bit lighter than many of the standard playards on the market, so we still wanted to consider it for our best-of list. That’s why think it’s an ideal choice if you’re a family who travels frequently by car. While you won’t want to lug it around on the regular, it’s easy enough to load and unload from any vehicle. And the setup and breakdown? It’s an actual dream, especially during travel when you have 14 other things to do after you set up your little one’s sleep space. Parents rave about how easy it is—it actually folds in one step using only one hand. Other pros to love include a super sturdy design, a comfortable mattress and a bassinet attachment that comes included at no extra cost.

Keep in Mind

As noted above, the Swift weighs about 18 pounds, so it’s not the lightest travel crib of the bunch, but isn’t the heaviest, either.

What Babylist Parents Say

“We have tried a handful of play yards and the difficulty of putting them down and back up is what always frustrates us. The swift is truly like no other. It takes less than 5 seconds to set it up and less than five seconds to break it down. Not only is it so easy but it’s also so aesthetically pleasing!!” -Momof3

Additional Specs
Weight: 18.5 lbs
Measurements: 41.5” x 33.5” x 31”
Recommended use: Bassinet up to 15 lbs or until baby begins to push up on hands and knees; playard birth up to 35”

How We Chose the Best Travel Cribs

  • We analyzed results from Babylist’s Best Baby Products survey, which polled 6,000 Babylist users and asked them to share the baby products they love the most and why.
  • We utilized insight from the Babylist editorial team, including Gear Editor Jen LaBracio, an expert in the baby space for over six years and a mom of two who has written hundreds of baby gear guides and personally researched and tested hundreds of baby products, including many travel cribs.
  • We reviewed customer reviews from hundreds of real Babylist parents.

What Is a Travel Crib?

A travel crib is a portable crib you can use for sleep or play when you’re away from home with your baby or toddler. While you can use most playards for the same purpose, travel cribs are specifically designed with travel in mind; they’re lighter, more compact and easier to set up and break down than your average playard. Travel cribs generally accommodate newborns to toddlers about three years old.

Do You Need a Travel Crib?

Whether or not you need a travel crib depends on how often you travel and where you’re heading on your next adventure.

Many hotels and even some rental homes may supply a travel crib. Using a baby gear rental company is an option, too. But if you’re staying somewhere that doesn’t supply a crib, you don’t want to rent or you simply prefer to be in control of what your baby sleeps in while you’re away, investing in a travel crib is probably a good idea.

Besides being a place to rest, travel cribs are also a safe place for your little one to play, especially when you’re away from your usual surroundings and potentially dealing with a non-babyproofed space. (We’re looking at you, sharp table corners and exposed electrical sockets.) You can even use some travel cribs as a napping spot on days spent at the beach or park.

What to Look for in a Travel Crib

Travel cribs can be expensive. A travel crib is also something you’ll use for years, especially if your family travels frequently. Think through these features before you buy.

  • Weight. This is one of the most important features to look for in a travel crib. A lightweight travel crib is easier to lift and carry than a heavier option. To figure out if this is important to you or not, think through how often you’ll be traveling and which modes of transport you generally use. Do you travel infrequently and often by car? Plan to use your travel crib only for a trip to the grandparents’ once a year? Then your travel crib’s weight may not be hugely important to you. Are you planning several trips by plane where you’ll need to bring your travel crib along? Then the weight of the travel crib you choose should jump to the top of your priority list.
  • Size and portability. Similar to weight, the size and overall portability of your travel crib are important features, but also dependent on how often you travel and how you get wherever you’re going. If you’re a frequent flyer, you’ll want a travel crib that’s not only lightweight but portable, too. Look for a compact crib and something that has either backpack straps or another easy way to carry it through someplace like an airport or train station. If not, however, a slightly larger travel crib or one that doesn’t come with built-in carry straps may be just fine.
  • Longevity. How long you’ll be able to use your travel crib is a big factor to consider while shopping. One thing to consider is the crib’s design. Although not outwardly labeled this way, there are two basic types of travel cribs: cribs with raised mattresses and cribs where the mattress lies flush with the floor. Most travel cribs with raised mattresses have weight maximums. This means that if you have a larger, heavier child, they may exceed the travel crib’s weight long before you feel comfortable letting them sleep in a regular bed or even a toddler travel bed while you’re away from home. Travel cribs where the mattress sits directly on the floor, however, often do not have weight maximums. While your little one still may outgrow the crib by height, these types of travel cribs often can be used for a longer period of time.
  • Ease of breakdown and setup. Travel with babies and toddlers is no easy feat. Look for a travel crib that sets up and breaks down quickly and easily so you can spend less time grappling with gear and more time enjoying your vacation.
  • Materials and breathability. Look for a travel crib with a breathable mattress, breathable mesh sides and one that’s made from soft, comfortable materials. If it’s important to you, you may prefer a travel crib that’s GREENGUARD Gold Certified or uses organic materials. Removable and machine washable sides and covers are also nice-to-have features in case of a mess.
  • Budget. Travel cribs can get pricey, especially if you want one that’s extremely lightweight and portable. Thinking through how often you’ll be traveling and what types of features will make the most sense to you can help you determine your budget.
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