To say we love traveling with our son is an understatement. We took him on his first overseas adventure when he was three months old and have been traveling with him ever since. Many parents say that one of the hardest parts about traveling with kids is getting them to sleep in places that aren’t home. We never had this issue (well, not very often anyway…) as from the very start we brought along our son’s own travel crib. Traveling is so much easier with a top-rated travel crib! We’ve done all the research on finding the best travel bed, whether it’s the best travel crib, an infant travel sleeper, the best portable crib for Grandma’s house or even a great portable baby playpen. As experienced family travelers ourselves, we know the importance of a good night’s sleep, which is why we’ve put together this list and guide on the top-rated travel cribs.
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- 1 Quick 3 top rated travel cribs
- 2 What is a Portable Travel Crib?
- 3 Portable crib comparison table
- 4 Do you need an infant travel crib?
- 5 When shouldn’t you use a travel crib?
- 6 The difference with a travel bassinet, a travel pack n play & a toddler travel bed
- 7 Choosing the best portable crib – key features
- 8 Travel Crib Reviews: top rated portable cribs
- 9 Conclusion: What is the best portable crib?
Quick 3 top rated travel cribs
Here’s our quick 3 best portable baby cribs. Click on the product name to see more info, prices and availability. Or read on to see more options and what you should consider when choosing the best travel baby crib for you.
1) Best Portable Baby Crib for Travel: Graco Pack ‘n Play Playard Travel Lite Crib
2) Best Travel Crib For Toddler: BABY BJORN Travel Crib Easy Go
3) Best Lightweight Travel Crib: KidCo PeaPod Plus
Looking for other travel sleep solutions for your little ones while on the go? Also check out our other guides on kids travel bed options to help you decide which ones are best for you and your kiddos!
What is a Portable Travel Crib?
A baby travel crib is a lifesaver for parents who want their little ones to have their own, safe space while traveling without a ton of hassle and too much extra luggage weight. A portable crib is typically a slightly smaller version of your own crib at home. It often has moveable arms and legs that let it fold down easily into a compact carrier, making it extremely easy to move around for any parent on the go. An infant travel bed is a must for all parents with babies and toddlers, whether that be frequent traveling families or for a weekend at Grandma’s.
Portable crib comparison table
Check out our travel crib comparison chart for a quick overview and comparison of the best portable cribs for travel on the market today.
Do you need an infant travel crib?
Many people think that you only need a travel crib if you travel a lot. But, the reality is that portable beds for babies are always convenient. A few times and places when having a portable crib is nice is:
At Home: Of course, you have your own baby crib at home, but what if friends or family with a baby come to visit? It’s so practical if you have a safe option for their little tyke to sleep.
Hotels: You might be quick to argue that a lot of hotels today have small travel crib options to book. While this is true, do you know the last time it was cleaned? Has that brand ever been recalled? You simply don’t know. The best baby travel bed really is the one that you own and care for. And you have a lot more choice if you don’t have to limit yourself to hotels that offer a baby travel bed, especially if you travel in non-western countries like South East Asia.
Airbnbs: We love booking an Airbnb apartment for our family, but in our experience there aren’t that many that offer a camping crib. Bringing along your own crib allows you to stay virtually anywhere. A travel portable crib can easily fit in almost all bedrooms next to a double bed, so you can have your little sleep one near you at night. And if you get a play yard crib for travel, it can double function as a safe place for your baby to play during the day.
When shouldn’t you use a travel crib?
There are actually a few reasons why having a travel crib might not really be beneficial to you.
Typically, most portable travel cribs recommend using them from birth to age 3. However, the biggest thing to be aware of is if they can climb out of the crib themselves. Obviously, you don’t want your child to be able to wander around at night unattended. Our son slept in a travel tent bed comparable to the KidCo Peapod Plus until age 2,5. He was able to open the zipper on the side by himself, but he only did so in the morning.
Length / Dimensions
Small portable cribs for babies are great but a tall baby or infant might not fit. If your child is tall, don’t mind the age restriction so much but look at the portable crib dimensions and make sure to choose a large portable crib for toddler use. Before going traveling, always check if your child still fits comfortably in the travel crib you have. I swear sometimes our son seems to grow overnight! If you’re looking for the best travel crib for a tall toddler, try the Phil & Teds Travel Crib (45″ long), the Joovy Gloo Large (51.5″ long) or the KidCo PeaPod Plus (52″ long). All three are suitable for taller and older kids as they rest on the floor and have no weight limit.
If you want your child to have a safe sleeping space while traveling but think that s/he has outgrown the travel crib, it’s time to start looking at the best toddler travel bed options, such as a toddler travel cot. You can read all about the different kinds of toddler travel beds we recommend here.
This will vary from crib to crib. For example, cribs like the Lotus portable crib that have the mattress directly on the ground do not have a weight limit. However, travel baby cribs like the Graco Travel Crib have a limit of 35 pounds, since the mattress is lifted. Always double check the particular crib you are considering if that is a concern for you.
Co-sleeping is such an easy thing to do when traveling and it means one less piece of gear to lug around. However, not every family is comfortable doing this (always know the best and safest co-sleeping practices!) or some kids simply just sleep better in their own space.
The difference with a travel bassinet, a travel pack n play & a toddler travel bed
Traveling has never been easier due to all the fantastic children’s travel bed options available to parents! However, it might seem overwhelming to someone looking at them all at a first glance. Do you need a portable bassinet, a travel crib, a travel pack and play or would a toddler travel bed be more suitable? What are all your different choices and who (and what) are they best for?
A portable baby bassinet is a fantastic travel sleeping option if you have a newborn or baby. The age range on this can vary, but typically they are ideal for newborns to about 3 months old. Once babies start to roll or try to sit up it’s time to move from a travel bassinet to a travel crib. Instead of finding small, portable cribs for babies, at this age we preferred to take a travel bassinet since it is smaller and lighter than a travel crib. Some pack n plays come with a bassinet insert so they can be used from newborn age. Check all our top recommendations for the Best Travel Bassinet >>
Pack and Play Crib
Pack and Play is the actual Graco name brand, but many parents call any portable crib / playpen combo a ‘Pack and Play’. There are some great pack n play cribs by other brands available nowadays, but the Graco Pack n Play is still seen as the best pack and play by many parents. A traditional pack n play is designed to be portable, but is often quite heavy and large, and not necessarily very suitable as a pack and play travel crib. These are great for newborns to about 3 years old (or 35 pounds) to have as a spare or backup crib at home or at Grandma’s. A travel pack n play is a lightweight and small pack n play specifically designed to take while traveling.
Travel Pack and Play and Portable Toddler Crib
Again, ‘Pack and Play’ is the actual name brand, but many parents consider any portable toddler crib for travel that easily folds down and is easy to travel with as a ‘Travel Pack and Play’. Compared to a traditional portable baby playard with crib, a travel pack n play is designed to be much lighter and smaller. Newborns to roughly 3 years old can use these and they are much more ideal for travel. Which one you choose really depends on how you plan to use it, as a playpen, a crib or both and from what age. If you’re past the newborn stage, a travel pack n play with bassinet insert has no added value.
My top recommendation for the best pack n play travel crib (with bassinet insert) is the Graco Pack ‘n Play Playard Travel Lite Crib.
Best Travel Playpen
If you are looking for the best baby playpen while traveling, a lot of our recommended cribs on this list can double as a portable travel playpen while you are traveling. Our recommendation for the best baby play yard is the BABY JOY Playpen. It doesn’t have a bassinet insert, but if you plan to use it as a playard for slightly older babies and infants you don’t need it. It’s slightly roomier than the Graco Pack n Play on the Go so you can also use it as travel playpen for toddlers. The Baby Joy pack and play is 3 pounds lighter than the Lotus baby crib and the BabyBjorn pack and play travel crib.
Children’s Travel Bed
Once your toddler has outgrown the portable travel crib, he or she may still need a specific bed when traveling, due to their size, location of where you are traveling, how many beds are available, etc. There are many children’s travel bed options ranging from portable bed rails to children specific air mattresses. You can read all about all of my favorite toddler travel bed options here.
Choosing the best portable crib – key features
When considering the best baby travel crib, you’ll want to be on the lookout for a few specific features depending on your specific needs and type of travel.
Weight limit and size of your child
As mentioned previously, depending on the size and weight of your child, a portable crib may or may not be the best choice for you. If you have a newborn, maybe you need to consider a portable bassinet (or a travel crib with a bassinet accessory). On the other hand, maybe you just have a very tall or large 2-year-old and a portable toddler crib for travel is just too small, despite him being ‘within the age range’. Be sure to check the dimensions of the sleeping area as there is quite some variation.
Weight of travel crib
If you’ve decided to have a portable crib for the sake of travel, then most likely, one of the most important features is the weight of the crib itself. Especially if you are looking for the best travel crib for flying or just don’t like to carry around heavy and bulky luggage! While a 28-pound pack n play doesn’t SOUND that bad, once you’ve been carrying it (with your infant AND all your other luggage) you will quickly realize just how nice a lightweight portable crib would be!
The lightest travel crib I’ve seen is the KidCo Peapod Plus and is only 1,6 kilos (3.5 pounds)! It is often seen as the best lightweight travel crib by frequent traveling families. Our son had a similar travel bed tent and he loved it. It provided a familiar, closed off and safe area for him to sleep. He slept in it every night for 10 months while we were traveling in South East Asia. If you’re looking for a more traditional travel crib setup the Phil and Ted’s Travel Crib is a great lightweight option at only 7 pounds.
Size and dimensions
Likewise, with the weight, frequent travelers like to find the best compact crib, because that is just easiest to travel with! Some baby travel cribs are small enough to fit inside a suitcase or backpack. A small, portable travel crib is a life-saver not only on your back but also in places like small, European hotels, where there just may not be a ton of space. We’ve heard from other traveling families that they had to put the mini travel crib in the bathroom when in small hotels!
Of course, you want to consider size not only when it is folded down and packed up, but also to make sure that your baby or toddler has enough room when sleeping inside.
If you are not restricted to weight and are looking for a large travel crib the Joovy Room2 is a great choice. It’s a square travel playard and fold up portable crib in one, and has enough space for two kids to sleep together. This is a great option too when traveling with twins or for a portable pack and play to use at Grandma’s house.
Assembly time and ease
If you travel often, most likely you’ve been in a situation where you arrive at your lodging late at night and everyone is tired and grumpy. The last thing you need is a crib that’s impossible to set up while your baby is screaming from sheer exhaustion, jet lag or even time zone changes!
Luckily, most portable baby beds are a quick, foldable travel crib. However, some are more intuitive, faster and easier than others. The KidCo PeaPod Plus is by far the easiest as it works with the pop-up principle and you only have to remove it from the bag.
Practice setting up your crib at home, to avoid unpleasant surprises and so you’ll know it’s complete. Before buying make sure to read our portable crib reviews and also scour the reviews on Amazon for more experiences from other parents. A fold-up crib can have its quirks. For example, particular parts that need to be locked in a certain order. A crib like that is fine at home when you have the time to figure out the assembly, but it’s not very fun when trying to do a quick set up and bedtime in a hotel! Our Recommendation For the Best Folding Crib: Lotus Travel Crib
As always, you want to ensure that you are getting a quality made product. Most travel cribs are made with mesh siding, but a few other things to look for are:
Flame Retardant Materials: As more and more parents become conscious about what chemicals are used around our children, this is something to consider. Of course, the manufacturers are trying to make a safe product, but if you are concerned make sure your chosen portable baby cot adheres to safety regulations. For instance the Guava Family Lotus Travel Crib is the only travel crib with GreenGuard Gold non-toxic certification.
Easy To Clean Materials and Fabric: Consider a crib that is easy to wipe down, clean, or even remove parts to wash. Kids can be messy, diapers leak… you want to make sure that essential parts of your travel crib are easy to clean.
Quality Pieces: Many portable infant cribs have plastic components. Especially with a cheap travel crib this can be an issue. In its lifetime you’re going to assemble and disassemble a travel crib many many times, so be wary about cheap materials that are going to break off within your first uses. Make sure you are getting the best portable travel crib you can afford, a quality travel crib that isn’t made from cheap materials.
Travel crib cost
Naturally, the cost is going to be a key factor in deciding which travel crib is best for you. I can tell you from personal experience that if you travel often, then don’t get sticker shock at the price of some of the best travel cribs. They are WELL worth it! More expensive travel cribs from well-known brands are often easier and quicker to set up and sturdier. Of course, there’s a travel crib for every budget.
If you don’t travel frequently, you can always consider a more budget-friendly travel crib, like the Baby Joy Playpen. However, just know that often the most lightweight, easy to assemble and travel-friendly products are worth the cost.
When considering which travel crib to buy, think about what other portable crib accessories or things you might need to go with it. Are they included or will they be a separate purchase? Things to look for are:
- Is a travel crib mattress included?
- Travel crib bedding (does it need a special sized fitted sheet? If so, does it come with one included?).
- Travel Bassinet. A travel crib with bassinet is a great option for parents that want a piece of gear that can take them from newborn through toddlerhood.
- Carry Case. Some of the best travel cribs come with a carrying case or bag for easy transportation.
Travel Crib For Twins
While this doesn’t apply to everyone, if you have double the kids, you are going to need double the sleeping space! Instead of having to bring two travel cribs, I love that there are now travel cribs for twins available for on the go parents. The Joovy Room2 is a great choice. Or, if your twins need a bit more separation between them, the Romp and Roost with removable divider is a good option.
Travel Crib Reviews: top rated portable cribs
Having tried out several top travel cribs ourselves as well as going to the experts, real traveling parents, we’ve narrowed down and reviewed some of the best travel cribs on the market.
Guava Family Lotus Travel Crib
The Lotus travel crib has so many great features, making it one of our best portable baby bed recommendations. You can set this up within a matter of seconds (and take down just as easily). One of our favorite features is the zip down side, great for a modified co-sleeping situation or even when using the crib as a playpen. It’s also great because as one of the lightest travel cribs on the market, you can wear it backpack style as well, making it extremely easy to travel with.
Other favorite features of the Lotus Crib:
- Non toxic travel crib: has GreenGuard Gold Non Toxic Certification
- Comes with a backpack style carrying case
- Set up and take down in less than 30 seconds
- Thick mattress comfortable for sleeping
- Carry on size ideal for flying
BabyBjorn Travel Crib Easy Go
This is a similar style travel crib as the above Guava Lotus Crib, and of similar weight, 13 pounds. The BabyBjorn crib is slightly bigger, size-wise, than a typical ‘Pack and Play’ which also makes it suitable as a toddler travel crib, but yet you can still set it up within just about a minute! It’s extremely sturdy and we love that there is no child weight limit since the insulated mattress sits right on the floor meaning it can easily be used from infancy through toddlerhood. This Baby Bjorn pack and play is an eco-friendly option as well as there are no flame retardants used.
The biggest turn off with this crib is the price. However, we have found that this is a case of ‘you get what you pay for’. Therefore, if you are frequent travelers, it could be well worth your investment to have a quality product that lasts a long time.
Other favorite features of the Baby Bjorn playpen:
- Comes with an insulated mattress
- Quick and easy assembly
- Ultra Lightweight
- Extremely easy to wipe down and clean
Baby Joy Baby Playpen
This travel crib and playpen combo is the new kid on the block and is giving the other popular competitors a run for their money. Literally. The BabyJoy Travel Crib is a fantastic budget option for parents who want an ultralight and easy to use travel crib but don’t want to pay the price. The removable legs make it a great compact travel crib option that is easy to carry. However, this does mean that the assembly time isn’t as fast as the BabyBjorn or Lotus. With folded up dimensions similar to the BabyBjorn travel crib, the Baby Joy portable crib fits inside a 29” luggage. One downside is that parents report that the mattress of this Baby Joy travel cot is a bit less well made than its competitors.
Other favorite features of the Baby Joy Travel Crib:
- Fantastic price point
- Comes in three color options
- Lightweight at around 10 pounds
Graco Pack ‘n Play Travel Light Crib
Pack ‘n Play and ‘portable travel crib’ go hand in hand among parents and their travel version is a great lightweight option in comparison to their heavier home portable crib. Many parents love this travel crib because it can work from newborn all the way through toddlerhood, due to its removable travel bassinet feature and the playard section is big enough for toddlers.
The Graco portable crib is heavier than some of its competitors, coming in at about 20 pounds. Therefore, this is a great option for road trips more than flying or if you just need a crib that can bounce from house to house, like when going to Grandma’s or a friends. Another restriction is there is a 30-pound weight limit due to the mattress being lifted off the floor.
Other favorite features of the Graco Pack ‘n Play On the Go Playard Travel Crib:
- Great, thick, quilted mattress for ultra comfort, making it one of the best Pack n Play for sleeping choices
- Good budget option
- Comes with great accessories like a canopy and removable bassinet
Phil and Teds Travel Crib
Ask any experienced traveler which travel crib they considered and this one makes every single list. It’s easy to see why, considering it weighs in at a mere 7 pounds!! That is fantastic news for any parent flying with their baby gear! Combined with it’s easy to carry case, this is a fantastic travel crib for all you jet-setters.
One of the best parts is the extra large portable crib when it is fully assembled, making it a great choice for older and bigger toddlers who still need a safe sleeping space. However, it can be a bit trickier and longer to set up than some of the above featured travel cribs, which is quite the deal breaker if you’ve ever tried setting up a crib with a crying baby! Some parents also reported they would have loved to see thicker padding. And the low weight combined with the fact that you can’t anchor the Phil & Teds travel crib does pose a risk of it tipping over when kids lean on the sides too much.
Other favorite features of the Phil and Ted Travel Crib:
- Comes with great accessories like a sunshade, making it great for an outdoor playpen as well
- Has a zip down side great for co-sleeping or playtime
- The mattress is self-inflating and insulated
KidCo Peapod Plus Infant Travel Bed
This unique ‘cocoon style’ travel crib is a great option for younger infants who may not be standing and moving around much. Having said that, it’s the roomiest travel crib on our list at 52″ length and therefore one of our choices for best portable crib for toddler use. It is suitable for taller or older kids, as long as they aren’t too active in the night. At only 3.65 pounds, it easily comes in as one of the lightest travel cribs and it can also be packed into a large suitcase, making to so easy to travel with. It also just simply ‘pops’ up, so the assembly is incredibly easy and fast. This really is the best pop-up travel cot available. One of the downsides is that the Peadpod is really only suitable for sleeping, not so much for playing as some of the other cribs in this guide.
Make sure to get the KidCo Peapod PLUS, not the regular Peapod, which is quite small. Especially if you travel in areas where insects pose a problem, it’s great that your child’s sleeping area is completely enclosed. But, while the tent style is fantastic for outdoor use (beach, camping, etc) it’s the same design that can trap warm air inside making the sleeping space quite warm. Another caution is that if you do not anchor it down, there is a risk for tipping, especially with those wiggly and limit-testing toddlers.
Other favorite features of the KidCo Peapod portable infant bed:
- Comes with a mosquito net, making it great for any outdoor or tropical locations or to be used as a camping crib
- Extremely lightweight
- Super easy assembly
Joovy Gloo Infant Travel Bed
Another tent style travel bed, the Joovy Gloo travel crib is extremely easy to set up. Just unpack it, and like the KidCo Peapod it pops up and is ready to go in seconds. A self inflating mattress is included. The Joovy Gloo is available in two sizes: a regular size that’s suitable for kids up to 3 years old, and a large size for up to 5 years old (same as the Peapod Plus). This ultra light travel crib comes in six colors: darkblue, light blue, metallic silver, dark grey, purple and bright orange.
At 5.5lbs the Joovy Gloo is a bit heavier than the KidCo Peapod Plus, which weights only 3.65lbs. But, a big advantage is that the Joovy Gloo is suitable to use from birth. Meaning that you would only need to invest in a kids travel bed once and be set from birth to kindergarten. This pop-up travel bed can be used both indoors and outdoors, so it’s great to use as a baby beach tent or naps outside. Your child is completely enclosed in a breathable mesh tent-like construction, and protected from any insects. The cotton/polyester cover is completely removable and can be machine washed.
Downsides are that the Joovy Gloo only has a side opening, meaning this type of kids travel bed can’t really be used as a baby travel playpen. Also, like the Peapod Plus it’s best to use it on the floor or a really low surface as it could potentially tip over. Having said that, it’s too low for kids to really stand up, but they can sit really comfortably.
Other favorite features of the Joovy Gloo portable crib:
- Comes with a self inflating sleeping pad
- Great protection against mosquito’s and other insects
- Can be used as travel crib for baby
Conclusion: What is the best portable crib?
We love that traveling with babies and toddlers doesn’t need to be overly complicated. One of the hardest parts about traveling with little ones is getting them to sleep anywhere, which is why having a portable crib to easily take with you is a life-saver, whether you are frequent travelers or just do a once a year trip as a family. Therefore, we hope this guide helps you figure out which portable crib is best for you, your family, and your travel needs.
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