If you’re a family that travels a lot, you may be concerned about how to make sure that your baby gets enough sleep. It’s no secret that babies are creatures of habit. They thrive on routine, and sometimes even the slightest shakeup can send them into a meltdown. Don’t worry, as this is normal, especially for newborns. Making sure they are comfortable should be your top priority, which is why you may need to invest in a travel crib.
They are great gadgets to have on hand, if you enjoy going on family vacations or road trips. A travel crib allows for your child to sleep somewhere familiar and to have a space of their own. This was crucial for my husband and me when we took our son to visit his grandma. It helped a lot for him to have his own designated sleep space that he recognized.
Carry on reading or jump straight to our number #1 pick on Amazon.
Table of Contents
- What Should I Look For in a Travel Crib?
- Here’s How We’ve Determined the Best Travel Crib
- Our Top Picks for the Best Travel Crib of 2021
- #1: Guava Lotus Travel Crib (Best Value)
- #2: Nuna Sena Aire Travel Crib (Best Overall)
- #3: BabyBjorn Travel Crib Light (Best for Comfort)
- #4: Graco Pack n Play Portable Playard (Best Low Cost)
- #5: Skip Hop Play-to-Night Expandable Travel Crib (Best for Sleep AND Play)
- #6: 4moms Breeze Plus Portable Playard (Best Crib with a Bassinet)
- Travel Cribs vs Mini Cribs vs Play Yards
- Verdict: Your Best Travel Crib
What Should I Look For in a Travel Crib?
There are important features that you should take into consideration before purchasing a travel crib. We compared all of our top picks with what parents value most and came up with the most beneficial things to look for.
Travel cribs vary in size, so you should think about this before you buy one. Will you be predominantly traveling by plane or will you be riding in a car? Too much bulk could make your preferred mode of transportation more difficult, especially if you’re after something that can be used as a carry-on in your flight.
Easy of Use
You are going to want to enjoy your getaway as much as possible. This can already be a difficult task with a newborn in tow. Choose a travel bed for your baby that is easy to setup. It will give you one less thing to worry about.
All of our top picks are completely safe for your child and meet the necessary safety standards. However, you should still follow safe sleep guidelines as you would in their normal crib or normal bassinet. Make sure the side rails are sturdy, and choose the design that best fits your baby’s age range and size.
You will notice that some of the travel cribs on our list can double as a play yard or have a removable changing station. Although these are perks rather than necessities, sometimes these can be a big selling point for parents. Don’t be afraid to choose the one with the extra bells and whistles if you believe it is best for your little one.
Here’s How We’ve Determined the Best Travel Crib
Using all of the important features mentioned above, we combined them with reviews from other parents. After all, the experience is the best way to figure out which travel cribs are the best of the best. We used what we found and did some extra research to be sure we found the right portable cribs for all different kinds of wants and needs. There is truly something for all parents on this list.
Our Top Picks for the Best Travel Crib of 2021
#1: Guava Lotus Travel Crib (Best Value)
This travel crib is our top pick for many reasons. At a great price, you also get high quality. It’s easy to set up and designed specifically to take on a trip. It’s safe and comfortable for your baby to get a good night’s sleep even when they are away from home. Here are the top reasons that this is the best travel crib.
It Can Be Turned into a Backpack
Out of all of the other travel cribs on our list, the Lotus Travel Crib is the easiest to take on an airplane. It folds compact enough to be a carry-on. Not having something extra to check is awesome. Plus, the weight of this portable crib is 13 lbs., making it very easy to move around the airport. It will also allow you to have your hands free, which is always a plus when you have a baby.
No Assembly Required
You can easily set up this travel crib in seconds. There are no tools needed to put it together, which makes any parent let out a sigh of relief. For example, if you arrive at your hotel late (and it can happen sometimes), your little one won’t want to wait to go to sleep. This crib can be pulled out of its carry bag and unfolded in seconds. Add the mattress and it’s ready to use. Super easy!
It Doubles as a Play Area
Of course, this is just a perk, since the main reason to purchase a travel crib is so your baby can have a safe sleeping environment. However, it will give you the option to set it up wherever you are and give your little one a small space to hang out and play. This alone adds a lot more value as well.
Here are some other great features that this product has.
- Mattress included
- Mattress sits on the floor, so no weight limit
- Made with no harsh chemicals or flame retardants
- Convenient side zipper door
- 2-year warranty
- Measures 42 inches long and 32 inches wide (24 inches long and 7 inches wide when in the backpack)
- Mesh walls for maximum airflow
Something worth mentioning about our #1 pick is that it’s the only crib that is Green Guard Gold non-toxic certified. This means that this product is low in chemical emissions which decreases indoor pollution levels. So the reason this travel crib gives the best value is that it offers you so much. It’s ideal for air travel and car travel, slightly edging out our #2 pick the Nuna Sena Aire Travel Crib.
#2: Nuna Sena Aire Travel Crib (Best Overall)
Nuna makes a large selection of high-end baby products that are designed for a more luxurious lifestyle. Their travel crib is very beautiful and stylish while also very functional for on-the-go use. It is the most expensive pick on our list, but parents do rave about it. Let’s go over why you should choose it if you have the money in your budget.
Adjustable Mattress Positions
Something you don’t often see with travel or portable cribs is the ability to raise the mattress for easier access to your baby. This is very convenient and makes life super easy because you don’t have to bend over so far to pick your child up. This product doesn’t have a weight limit so you can even use this for young toddlers. Plus, none of the other cribs you will read about in this guide can adjust the mattress height.
This travel crib has an advanced design allowing for maximum airflow. The walls are made of soft mesh and so is the mattress. You won’t see this with any of the other travel cribs on our list. Your little one will stay cool and comfortable while they get some much-needed rest.
What else makes this our #2 pick for the best travel crib?
- Durable water and stain-resistant fabric also prevents rips and tears
- One-handed fold up
- Travel bag included
- Measures 41.3 inches long and 29.5 inches wide (13 inches long and 11 inches wide when folded)
- Skidproof feet
- Changer available to purchase separately
- Mattress included
Even though this travel crib is expensive, it is well worth it if you can afford to splurge. This one isn’t as easy to carry around as the Lotus Travel Crib, but it does fold up easily and has a carry bag. However, you can’t wear it like a backpack. This makes it a little bit more difficult to take on an airplane. Besides that, this is a fantastic and durable product that makes going out of town a breeze.
#3: BabyBjorn Travel Crib Light (Best for Comfort)
This one is definitely a favorite among parents. It has some of the best reviews and is very highly rated. It is more expensive than the Lotus Crib but less expensive than the Nuna Sena Crib. The BabyBjorn Travel Crib is simple but is perfect for its purpose. Other parents like me really love the backpack feature of the Lotus, which gives it an edge along with the lower price point. Let’s jump in and talk about the major reasons why you should choose this one.
If you are comparing this to the Lotus when deciding which is best for your child, the BabyBjorn takes the cake on comfort. While both come with a mattress, the BabyBjorn mattress is thicker – at 2 inches – and plusher. Some babies prefer the softest over the Lotus mattress, which is only 1 inch thick. Even compared to the other travel cribs on our list, the BabyBjorn has the best and most comfortable mattress.
Just like the Lotus Travel Crib, the weight of the BabyBjorn is 13 lbs. You are probably used to carrying your child around by now, and this doesn’t weigh much more than they do. Like all the others we mentioned, your purchase also includes a travel bag, making it even easier to carry. Plus, it can be checked on an airplane and placed in the overhead compartment.
You Can Machine Wash the Fabric
Babies can be messy or have accidents. This is a normal part of having a child. BabyBjorn designed their travel crib with this in mind. The fabric is easy to remove and can be washed with warm water just like your typical baby sheets can. Make sure you air dry, though, to prevent damaging it.
What Else Puts This at #3?
- Measures 44 inches long and 24 inches wide (23.5 inches long by 5.5 inches wide when folded)
- Meets OEKO-TEX Standard 100, Class 1 for baby products
- Airy mesh walls
- No weight limit
- One movement setup
You’re probably wondering what it means for this travel crib to meet OEKO-TEX Standard 100, Class 1 for baby products. This ensures that any material your baby’s skin comes into contact with is safe and free of chemicals. Babies are very oral, but you won’t have to worry if they decide to put their mouth on any part of it. It is designed to be a very simple but safe travel crib that is easy to set up and also can be used as a play yard. Parents think highly of this one, so it could be a great choice for your baby.
#4: Graco Pack n Play Portable Playard (Best Low Cost)
This travel crib is the cheapest out of all of the other travel cribs on our list, but it is still one of the best. If you have a tight budget, this one could still be a great option for you. It comes in under $60 which is a huge difference between all of our other top picks. It is simple and easy to use and great in a pinch if your baby needs to get some sleep or have a little bit of independent playtime. Let’s talk about what makes this the best and most affordable travel crib.
It’s Also a Travel Pack ‘n Play
The term Pack ‘n Play is trademarked by Graco, so you won’t see it used with any other brand. It is just another way to say play yard. If you know that this will be a primary function, then this could be the one for you. There is plenty of room for your baby to roll around and play, which keeps them occupied while you get the use of your hands back for a short while. It isn’t mentioned whether or not there is a weight limit, but generally, once your child is over 35 inches tall, you may consider moving on from any travel crib or play yard.
It Has Wheels
You won’t see wheels with any of the other travel cribs on our list, which makes this one unique. This is probably the most helpful feature because you won’t have to lift it to relocate it. The product weight is about 20 lbs., so it isn’t heavy, but rolling it to where you need it to be is just faster and more convenient.
Here are some more notable features.
- Measures about 39.5 inches long and 28 inches wide
- Includes machine washable carry bag
- Has a mattress
- Mesh walls for airflow and visibility
- Compact fold for easy transport
- Durable metal frame
Even though this one isn’t technically referred to as a travel crib, we had to include it on our list. It’s such a great deal for its features and is perfect for even the lowest budget. However, it is heavier than our other picks and not as ideal for airplane travel. Plus, it lists the possible use of flame retardants which isn’t the best, if that’s on your list of dealbreakers. Other than that it’s the best affordable option!
#5: Skip Hop Play-to-Night Expandable Travel Crib (Best for Sleep AND Play)
What makes this the best for sleep and play? If you are comparing this to the Graco Pack ‘n Play, the most notable difference is that this one expands. It is slightly more expensive but honestly worth it, if it’s within your budget. The Skip Hop provides a cozy place for your baby to sleep at night and play during the day. Read on to see the main reasons why this portable crib got to be included on our list.
It Has Two Different Modes
This is why it is the one that is best for sleep and play on our list. In sleep mode, the mattress fits standard travel crib sheets and is the perfect size for your child to nap in or use overnight. It expands 60% into play mode simply by unzipping the zipper. Add the playmat and your baby is ready to go.
It’s Easy to Clean
The Skip Hop travel crib is the easiest to clean next to the BabyBjorn portable crib. The carry bag and the fabric cover are both machine washable. This convenience alone is a huge selling point for a lot of parents because it’s a time saver. You can also machine wash the sheet for the mattress as well. As far as the frame, it’s nearly effortless to spot clean.
What else do you need to know about this travel crib?
- Sleep mode measures 38 inches long and 24 inches wide
- Play mode measures 38 inches long and 38 inches wide
- Product total weight is 20 lbs.
- No weight limit, since the mattress lays directly on the floor
- Folds up easily for travel or storage
- Playmat, mattress, and sheet are all included
This travel crib is compact and cozy making it a perfect choice for going on a getaway with a baby. Being able to provide your child with an even larger play area is an awesome perk, especially if you are visiting family. Giving your baby the extra freedom to move around and play will improve their all-around mood and is great for their development.
#6: 4moms Breeze Plus Portable Playard (Best Crib with a Bassinet)
You are probably familiar with this brand if you have ever heard of or used the mamaRoo. It made our list because it’s not just a travel crib. The design includes a removable bassinet and changing station. None of the other picks on our list include these as a feature, and if you feel like this is a must-have for you, then it would be a great choice. Let’s go into detail about the top reasons we added this to our list.
It Includes a Bassinet and Changing Station
This was mentioned above, but it truly is one of its most beneficial features. It really sets the 4moms breeze apart from the rest. This product grows with your child. The bassinet can be used through the newborn stage to give you easier access to your baby, then you can remove it easily once they outgrow it. The same goes for the changing station. Once your baby meets the weight limit, go ahead and remove that too, and you’re left with a travel crib that can be used for the rest of the toddler years.
It’s Also a Play Yard
Not only is this one of the best travel options for a crib, but it can also be used as a play yard to keep your baby entertained while on the go. You can continue to use this until your child has reached 30 lbs. which brings you well into the age where they get into things a little bit less. Of course, that is only something I’ve learned from my own experience as a mother.
Here are some other great features.
- Measures 43 inches long and 30 inches wide
- Additional accessories like crib sheets available from 4moms
- Easy one-handed setup
- Includes a travel bag
- Water-resistant mattress
- Mesh for air circulation and easy viewing
The bassinet has an 18-lbs. weight limit, and the changing station has a 25-lbs. weight limit, allowing you to easily change a soiled diaper on the go, so you can throw it into the diaper pail when you get home. These extra features are loved by parents who feel like they are necessities. However, this may not be what you’re looking for in a travel crib.
Choose the Lotus for the best bang for your buck or the Skip Hop if you want to be able to expand the crib and give your child some more space to play. Both of these are less expensive than the 4moms Breeze Plus.
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Travel Cribs vs Mini Cribs vs Play Yards
At this point, you are probably wondering what the differences between all of these products are. Read on to see what makes each of these unique and what their purpose is. We will help you decide which is the best choice for you and why.
It’s in the name, really. These are designed to use while outside of your home. This includes vacations, road trips, and overnight visits at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. So if you find yourself traveling frequently, you will want to invest in a travel crib. The primary function of travel cribs is to be a portable sleeping environment. They will be the best beds for babies while on the go.
Mini cribs are made for small spaces. If you have a small apartment or a small bedroom, this would be a great choice for you. It is recommended that your baby sleeps near you for at least their first 6 months of life. Standard size cribs often don’t fit in a shared room as well, and mini cribs are very compact. However, they aren’t made for travel. They aren’t as easy to set up and take apart, so you may want to skip this if you are in the market for something more portable.
While mini cribs aren’t meant to be packed into your car, playpens are a different story. The main difference between these and travel cribs is that the main function of most playpen isn’t sleeping. Many parents purchase these as a compact way to keep their baby safe and entertained while at home or on the go. Yes, you can feel free to put your child down for a nap in one of these, and they are even safe for overnight. However, they are mostly used by parents as a secure play space.
Verdict: Your Best Travel Crib
Here is the takeaway on the best travel cribs of 2021.
If you want the best value for your money, pick the Guava Lotus Travel Crib. It’s very easy to carry and set up and is made of great quality. It’s also affordable.
For the best overall, pick the Nuna Sena Aire Travel Crib. It has 360-degree ventilation to provide the perfect temperature and maximum airflow. Even though it is pricey, it’s trusted by many parents as a safe and high-quality sleep environment for your baby.
If you’re after the best for comfort, pick the BabyBjorn Travel Crib Light. It’s compact and lightweight. Plus, it is the ultimate cozy and comfy space for your baby to get some sleep.
If you need the best on a budget, pick the Graco Pack n Play Portable Playard. It’s great as a play area as well as a bed for baby while on the go. It also allows you to keep the spend under $60.
For the best sleep and play combo, pick the Skip Hop Play-to-Night Expandable Travel Crib. It’s compact but also, when expanded, gives your child extra space to play.
If you are looking for the best with a bassinet and changer, pick the 4moms Breeze Plus Portable Playard. These extra features make life easier for you when traveling with a newborn.
The bottom line is that if you are looking to purchase a crib for your baby that is easy to transport or to take on vacation with you, then a travel crib is your best bet. Our top picks each have their own unique features that helped them make their way onto our list. So all you have to decide is what is most important to you before you make your final choice. Whether you travel by plane a lot or take a lot of out of town road trips, there is something here for every lifestyle.