Are you heading out of town with baby in tow and are wondering where your little one will sleep?
Getting baby to sleep well on her home turf can be challenging enough, so it’s no wonder if planning an upcoming trip has you feeling a bit nervous when it comes to making sure your baby gets a good night’s rest.
I’ve found travel cribs can be a lifesaver for quick overnights to Grandma’s house, flying to a new destination, or if you are brave enough, even a summer traveling across Europe!
In this guide I’ll show you some of the key features to look for when buying the best travel crib currently on the market.
What is a Travel Crib?
A travel crib is a lightweight, compact, foldable crib that provides a safe and comfortable place for your baby or toddler to snooze while you are away from home.
They also double as play yards where baby can play in a safe, contained area. Most can be used from birth until about age two to three.
They typically offer see-through mesh sides that provide ventilation and allow for visibility so parents can keep an eye on their little one. They are easily foldable and ready to stash in their accompanying carrying bag for convenient transportation.
Why You May Want a Travel Crib
Traveling with a baby can feel like a big production with all the gear you need to bring along. I remember thinking, “Do I seriously need to haul all this stuff for such a small person?” It only took me once instance of having my toddler open our hotel room door and running down the hall as I was getting out of the shower (yes, I chased her down with nothing on but a towel!) to understand the value of safely containing my child while we were away.
While portable cribs, like Graco’s Pack N’ Play, average around 20-30 pounds, most travel cribs are specially designed with easy portability in mind, and tend to average about 11 to 15 pounds. That makes a big difference when you are getting from place to place with kids!
Many parents find they continue to use their travel crib even when they are not out of town. Infants can have a cozy place to nap in the main living area of the house which can make things easier on Mom and Dad.
Having one on hand can also solve the naptime dilemma of finding a place for baby to nap during a family gathering, a visit to a friend’s house, a day at the beach, or other outings that coincide with naptime. They also offer a safe, contained space for baby to play at events and outings like these.
Some offer additional accessories, either included or for purchase separately, to make the crib more useful. Bassinet, changing table, and other features like a zippered panel on one side that opens completely, may make certain models a better fit for your family.
As a mom, I’ve muttered a colorful word or two under my breath when trying to assemble new baby gear, so I know parents like me can appreciate well-designed and easy-to-use baby products.
These travel cribs have all been thoughtfully designed to make set up as quick and easy as possible, because the last thing you will want to do after a long day of traveling is race to assemble baby’s crib while baby inches ever closer to a meltdown.
Choosing the Best Travel Crib
Of course, everyone has needs and preferences specific to themselves and their own family, but when researching which travel crib is right for you, here are some questions to ask yourself.
- Is weight important to us? Do we need an ultra lightweight model?
- Is this model easy to set up and take down?
- Would it work well for my child’s age and size?
- Do I want one with extra accessories like a bassinet feature or changing table?
- Would I like it to come with a mattress and sheet included?
- Is it easy to care for and keep clean?
- Does it come with a warranty?
The Best Travel Crib Reviews of 2020
Now that we’ve gone over travel crib basics, like reasons you may want one and what to look for when choosing one, as well as safety issues and travel tips, here are our travel crib reviews of our top picks for each category.
1. Lotus Everywhere Travel Crib
One component to consider when choosing a travel crib is how safe and non-toxic the materials are. Keep in mind, as your baby grows, they may chew on the railing sides or spend a significant amount of time inside playing or napping. You’ll want to make sure the one you choose offers a safe, healthy environment for your little one. A few companies go out of their way to produce high-quality travel cribs that are child-safe and eco-friendly, without the use of chemicals such as phthalates, polyvinyl chloride, or flame retardants. Depending on how important it is to your family, knowing what is used in manufacturing can sway your decision one way or the other.
The Lotus Travel Crib uses only non-toxic materials and is the only model on the market to receive the GreenGuard Gold Safety Certification (1).
Parents love the light weight, at only 13 pounds, which makes traveling through airports or to destinations a breeze. My favorite feature on the Lotus is the backpack style carrier! It is sleek, compact, and hands-free to carry.
The zippered mesh panel on one side is a nice option for baby to crawl in and out of during playtime, as well as offering parents access to snuggling or nursing baby to sleep.
Recommended from birth to age three or older, the Lotus is a solid choice that will be useful to your family for a long time.
- Backpack style carrying case.
- Machine washable mesh.
- Made with non-toxic materials.
- Zippered mesh opens one side completely.
- Bassinet feature requires additional purchase.
- Some parents found the mattress too thin.
2. Baby Bjorn Travel Crib Light
As babies grow into rambunctious toddlers, they still need a safe and comfortable place to sleep, nap, or play, especially while away from home. Of course, a travel crib for a child this age has to be large and sturdy enough to accommodate a growing toddler. Features like bassinets and diaper changing stations are no longer as useful, so parents tend to look for one without the extra bells and whistles.
A fan favorite among parents, the Baby Bjorn Travel Crib Light is an excellent choice for toddlers on the go because it is spacious and sturdy. I like that the sides are high enough to contain a climbing toddler.
With no extra pieces, this model is simple to set up and take down, and folds neatly into a briefcase-sized carrying case with handles for easy travel. These are all great features to have, as I know you want to get your family to your destination and start having fun as quickly as possible.
Smartly designed so the mattress protects the frame during travel, it is sturdy enough to be checked luggage or is compact enough to fit into an overhead compartment when flying.
All materials are toxic-free and allergen-free, and the Baby Bjorn Travel Crib Light adheres to the highest safety standards. At 13 pounds, it is light enough not to weigh you down when you are on the go and makes the perfect getaway companion.
- Parents love how easy it is to set up/take down.
- Safety feature attaches mattress to frame.
- Removable cover is machine washable for easy cleaning.
- More expensive than similar models.
- Sheets require additional purchase and are more costly than most.
3. Phil & Ted’s Traveller Crib
Flying with a baby brings your travel needs to a whole new level. It isn’t as simple as just tossing items into the trunk of your car and driving off into the sunset. No, flying with a baby requires some strategic thinking on your part! Baby will need a sturdy travel crib that is lightweight and easy to store either in your checked luggage or compact enough to count as a carry-on item that can be stored under your airplane seat, in the overhead compartment, or checked at the gate. For most models, it is typically best to avoid checking your travel crib in as luggage (unless it is safely inside your suitcase) to protect it from damage. If it isn’t compact enough for the overhead compartment, many airlines will check it at the gate, free of charge.
My top pick for travel by air is the lightest in its class. I love how compact it is! It folds up to the size of a yoga mat. The ultra lightweight Phil & Ted’s Traveller Crib is ideal for bringing with you on a flight. Weighing in at only 6 pounds, there is a good chance it weighs less than your baby!
This full-sized crib offers completely mesh sides, and comes with a self-inflating air mattress and soft cotton sheet to keep your baby snug-as-a-bug.
The unique zippered mesh side is a really nice feature to have, as it opens completely for fun playtime, or for parenting or nursing baby to sleep.
The only downside I can see is that it takes some time to set up and take down as assembly is required at each destination, but if portability is important to you it could be a good trade-off.
- Lightest full-sized travel crib at 6 pounds.
- Easily fits in an airplane overhead compartment.
- Single zippered side opens completely.
- Made with toxic-free materials.
- Multiple pieces must be assembled/disassembled each time.
- Some parents thought the mattress was too thin.
4. 4Moms Breeze Go Travel Crib
It doesn’t matter how lightweight or comfortable your travel crib is, if it is a beast to set up and take down each time you use it, it can really ruin your experience using a product like this and can add unnecessary stress to your time away from home. Finding one that is easy and stress-free to set up and take down is a major plus!
The one-step easy open and close system offered by the 4Moms Breeze Go Travel Crib makes it a winner in the easy to set up and take down category.
I like that there are no additional pieces to attach (or lose), making set up a simple process of pushing on the center until it clicks. Unlike some other models, it has a free-standing easy open frame that does not require any wrestling to set up.
It does take a few additional minutes to attach the mattress to the base with Velcro straps safely, but it is an important safety feature you won’t want to skip.
Take down is just as simple; remove the mattress and pull up on the center pull-strap to unlock and fold it in one fluid motion.
4Moms’ other models, Breeze Classic and Breeze Plus are larger and offer more features, which may be a good option for your family, especially if you have a toddler. Of course, they are heavier and more expensive so there is a bit of a trade-off.
- No-fuss set up/takedown.
- Parents love how sturdy and durable it is.
- Safety feature attaches mattress to base.
- Some parents found the mattress too hard.
- At 23 pounds, it isn’t ultra-lightweight.
5. KidCo Peapod Travel Bed
If you’re hesitant to bring your family camping because you aren’t sure how to handle camping with a baby, fear not. Camping can be a great family adventure, especially if you have the right gear. My family loves to camp, and we’ve never let having a baby stop us - we’ve even gone camping with a 7 week old! For tent camping, it is important to look for a travel crib that is small as most tents are compact. You will also want to make sure the one you choose doesn’t have legs that will rip or damage your tent floor.
The KidCo Peapod Travel Bed is very light and easy to pack. Weighing less than three pounds, it folds up to the size of a dinner plate. Its compact size makes it another great option for airplane travel as well!
It requires no assembly at all, which can be a major plus if you are tasked with setting up camp after dark. I like that it springs open and lays flat on the ground. The zippered mesh completely encloses baby, protecting from mosquito bites and other insects.
A cushy, removable pad attaches to the bottom outside of the crib, which keeps baby comfortable and is an important safety feature that alleviates the danger of a gap between the mattress and crib wall.
While smaller than a full-sized travel crib, the KidCo Peapod still offers enough room to comfortably house an average three year old which means it will last your family for a good many camping trips.
KidCo also offers the Peapod Plus, a larger version, that is built to comfortably sleep an average five-year-old. This can be a great option for camping or traveling with an older toddler.
- Super light and compact.
- Minimal setup.
- Perfect for outdoor use.
- Offers UV protection.
- Will not damage tent floor.
- Smaller than most.
- No metal frame like others.
- Doesn’t double as a play yard as easily.
6. Joovy New Room2
If you are the parent of twins, you may wonder if you need to purchase two travel cribs. While that is certainly an option, it is not necessary. My top pick for twins was designed with multiples in mind, and is built to accommodate two babies. Using one instead of two will save you on the upfront cost, plus it is less for you to carry and will save space both in your luggage and at your destination. With two babies, I know you already have your hands full!
The Joovy New Room 2 is one of the largest portable cribs on the market, with 50 percent more space than traditional play yards. The heavy-duty, padded mattress and cotton crib sheet are included, and are spacious enough for two little nappers.
When used in conjunction with the Joovy Room2 Twin Nursery Center, which is sold separately, it creates a nice safe nursery set-up for twins when you are out of town, or would make an ideal nap and diaper station to keep in your main living area. The divider which comes with the purchased Nursery Center, separates the babies and provides the safest option for your two babies to sleep in the same crib
The Twin Nursery Center’s divided bassinet provides space for two young babies, and the changing table offers a convenient place to change diapers. The changing table flips out of the way when not in use, but stays attached so it can easily transition back into place when needed.
- Large enough for twins with ten square feet of sleeping space.
- Two wheels for easy moving.
- Safety feature attaches mattress to base with Velcro.
- Joovy offers a two-year warranty, twice as long as other leading brands.
- Joovy Room2 Twin Nursery Center available for purchase for added sleeping safety.
- Heavier than most at 29 pounds.
- Larger folding size than other leading brands.
- Some parents had difficulty setting up and taking down.
7. Graco Pack N’ Play Nimble Nook
If you aren’t looking to invest a lot into your new travel crib, don’t worry, there are several great options that won’t break your budget. Of course, you will still want a model that is sturdy, durable, and comfortable for your little one. Thankfully, there are a few on the market today that meet high quality standards but are more affordably priced than some of the higher end models.
To get the biggest bang for your buck, look into the Graco Pack N’ Play Nimble Nook. It offers a ton of great features that are especially useful to have for young babies.
The bassinet is easy to install, and makes a cozy place for small babies to nap and play. The cute mobile bar is included and comes with stuffed, dangling toys for baby to bat and coo at. The Nimble Nook is the only travel crib offering a two-speed vibration feature to help calm fussy little ones, which is an awesome feature to have on hand.
Because the bassinet is on the small side, I feel like babies will outgrow that feature rather quickly. Although older babies and small toddlers will have a safe place to play or sleep in the larger base area, making the crib useful for some time. I like that the sturdy mattress pad is included with purchase.
The Nimble Nook is 20 percent smaller than typical Pack N’ Plays, and is made with lighter materials, making it easier to transport than standard Pack N’ Plays.
- Cost efficient.
- Wheels on feet allow for room-to-room mobility.
- Extra features like bassinet vibration and mobile bar.
- Parents had difficulty finding sheets that fit.
- Set up and take down can take some practice.
- Not full-sized so babies can outgrow it quickly.
8. Nuna Sena Mini Travel Crib
When making a big purchase, I always feel my heart sink when I realize I need to shell out for extra items to go along with it. Thankfully, several travel cribs come with mattresses included and do not require any additional purchases.
My top pick to come with a mattress included is the Nuna Sena Mini Travel Crib. Made with a durable, lightweight aluminum steel frame, and high quality, ultra-breathable mesh sides, this model creates a safe and cozy sleep environment for babies and toddlers.
The ventilated, quilted mattress lets air circulate throughout the crib, an important safety feature that also helps to keep baby from overheating. I love that the zippered mattress cover is completely machine washable, a feature not found on most models.
The Nuna Sena Mini is recommended for ages 0-18 months, and weighs 17 pounds, making it a good choice for babies and small toddlers.
Nuna Sena Mini’s big sister, the Nuna Sena Aire Travel Crib, is also a great choice that comes with a mattress (and organic sheet) included. Its larger size and heavier weight of 22 pounds makes it a bit harder to travel with, but may be worth it if you would like to use it for an older toddler as it is recommended for ages 0-3 years.
- Machine washable mattress cover and sides.
- Ultra breathable fabric and mesh sides.
- More safety features offered than most.
- Simple set up can be done with one hand.
- The Mini can be outgrown quickly.
- Parents found it somewhat bulky when folded.
9. Chicco Fast Asleep Go Travel Play Yard
Let’s face it, babies and toddlers can be messy little creatures. Moms and Dads appreciate baby products that are easy to clean. While some require spot cleaning only, other models have removable pieces that are machine washable which can be a real advantage when the big baby messes happen. If an easy-to-clean option is important to you, make sure to factor that into your purchase decision.
Parents love that the mesh and fabric portion of the Chicco Fast Asleep Go Travel Play Yard comes entirely off the frame for cleaning, and can be tossed in the laundry. It is completely machine washable!
The mattress is included, and its cover also zips off for machine washing, making this model one of the easiest to keep clean and fresh for your baby.
I am so impressed with the snap-open set up. It takes only a few seconds and means you don’t have to wrestle with individual frame legs or assemble any loose pieces.
Extra large diaper changer quickly snaps on top of the crib frame for easy diaper changing — this feature is large enough even to change a toddler’s diaper and has small storage bins to hold all your diaper changing supplies as well.
Fold the diaper changer in half, and it converts into a cozy newborn bassinet feature, making a convenient spot for newborns and young babies.
The Chicco Fast Asleep Go is recommended for newborns to toddlers, up to 30 pounds and 35 inches, making this a product that will grow well with your little one.
- Pops open in seconds for simple set up.
- Entirely machine washable.
- Safety feature attaches mattress to base.
- At 24 pounds, it isn’t ultra lightweight.
- Two somewhat bulky storage bags.
- No safety straps in bassinet.
Travel Crib Safety
While all the cribs listed here meet US Safety Standards, it is still important to consider safety when choosing a travel crib. Some things to consider include checking for space between the crib and the mattress, whether it offers safety features like Velcro or snaps to keep the mattress in place, and whether it is made with toxic-free materials.
- Do not use with pillows, blankets, stuffed animals, or additional bedding, bumpers or positioning wedges.
- Only use sheets intended for the crib’s specific model.
- Always place it directly on the floor — never on a bed, table, or unstable surface.
- Place it away from window blind cords and electrical cords.
- Mesh should be ¼ inch holes or smaller (smaller than the snap on a baby’s onesie).
- Once your child is old enough to climb out of the crib, discontinue use (2).
Tips for Using a Travel Crib
Babies are creatures of habit, much like their grown-up counterparts. Traveling can throw off their delicate schedules, and getting baby to settle down to sleep in a brand new environment can be tricky business. Here are a few tips to help make your next trip more successful for both you and your baby.
1. Have Baby Get Familiar With the Travel Crib
Let your baby or toddler explore their new crib before you leave home, either by placing them inside with a few fun toys to play with, or let them practice napping or even sleeping overnight in it. Once you are at your new destination, having a familiar place to play and sleep will make things easier on your baby.
2. Practice Set Up/Take Down Before You Go
Don’t wait until you are exhausted from a long day of traveling to figure out how to set it up. Before you leave home, read the instructions, watch an instructional video, and practice, practice, practice until you have worked out all the kinks! Your tired baby will thank you once you have reached your new destination.
3. Stick to the Same Bedtime Routine
While this isn’t always possible when you are away from home (you can’t exactly pack their favorite rocking chair along with you!), just try to keep the same elements of your bedtime routine as much as it is possible. Aim for the same bedtime and nap schedule, as nearly as you can, while you are away from home. That will make for a happier, more rested baby.
4. Don’t Worry, Your Baby Will Adapt!
Don’t let worry put a damper on your vacation. Babies can adjust to new environments, and most babies do just fine sleeping in their new travel cribs (3)!
Which One Will It Be?
My all-around top pick would be the Lotus Travel Crib. It is a fan favorite of parents, and its light weight of 13 pounds makes it a versatile choice, great for traveling either by airplane or car.
With a high standard of non-toxic, child-safe building materials plus a reputation for quality and durability, it would make an excellent choice for most families. Plus, I really love the backpack style carrier!
Whichever travel crib you decide on, remember to ask yourself what features are most important to you, including crib weight, age recommendation, special additions like bassinet or diaper changing features, how it will grow along with your baby, and all the other factors covered here.
What kind have you used? Please comment with your experiences below, and share with a friend who may be on the hunt for the best travel crib!