July 15, 2024


Food & Travel Enthusiast

18 best travel cribs for portable naps & playtime

18 best travel cribs for portable naps & playtime

If there’s one thing you hope for while traveling with little kids, it’s probably sleep. That’s why having a comfortable place for your little one to rest is important. Of course, you can always ask your hotel for a crib, but you might find that they’re old, worn down and maybe even too small for your child. And there’s always the chance that you get to your family vacation spot and the crib you arranged in advance is no longer available — it, unfortunately, can happen.

This is where a portable travel crib comes into play — one that is comfortable, is easy to carry, is easy to check as luggage and can be set up and collapsed in no time. Bringing your own travel crib with you means you know exactly what your child is going to sleep in. But even with a travel crib, you’ll still want to make sure you’re following the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) safe sleeping guidelines.

Fortunately, there are many portable travel cribs for you to bring on your vacation. We found 18 cribs, bassinets and travel beds that are lightweight, compact and comfortable for your child. These cribs can be used while staying at a hotel, visiting Grandma and Grandpa or even on your next camping trip.

Listed at just 11 pounds, the BabyBjorn was rated the best overall pick when it comes to travel cribs by the popular baby website whattoexpect.com. The crib sets up and breaks down in seconds and folds into an easy-to-maneuver carrying suitcase, making air travel much easier with a child.

The mattress is thick and cozy and will allow your baby to sleep well. The mesh sides allow you to watch your baby while they’re sleeping while also providing a safe sleeping environment.

Although the crib is close to $300, this is one of those purchases where you’ll be happy you spent the money if you’re traveling often. The crib is also large enough to fit most children until they’re ready for a real bed.

The Baby Joy Travel Crib also weighs only 11 pounds while featuring a mesh cloth design and a zipper door to allow your child to get in and out of the crib easier. Another unique characteristic is that the entire crib fabric can be removed and washed. This comes in handy if the crib gets dirty during your travels, although there’s an easy-to-use bag to store the crib.

The Nuna Sena Aire Travel Crib will give you everything you’re looking for. The crib will grow with your child, as it offers a higher bassinet position — for the infant stage — and then a lower position for once your child is more mobile. Babylist.com lists this crib as its overall favorite and states, “There are so many things to love about this sleek, modern travel crib — it’s tough to choose just one.”

The crib offers mesh sides, a mesh floor and even a quilted mesh mattress. The mattress promotes maximum air circulation to ensure your child gets the best night’s sleep. The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified organic mattress cover zips off easily and is machine-washable. The crib folds easily with just one hand and comes with a travel bag, making it incredibly convenient to take on your next trip.

The crib also goes above and beyond the required safety standards, as it is GreenGuard Gold certified. Your child will have less risk for chemical exposure, as it’s free of flame retardants, formaldehyde and lead phthalates. Although pricey, this is truly one of those cribs where you get what you pay for.

The relatively new-to-the-market Bugaboo Stardust Playard advertises itself as an incredibly easy-to-use travel crib, stating that it “unfolds in one second and folds back in three.” The crib offers two heights — one for newborns and then one for the toddler stage — making it easier for the parent. It also folds down extremely thin, making it easy to take on the go in the included storage bag.

At about 17 pounds, the fabrics are machine-washable and chemical-free. The mattress is also multilayered, which is thick and comfortable for a child. However, the crib is slightly smaller than some other travel cribs and is advertised to fit children only up until 2 years old.

With the flick of your wrist, the AeroMoov Instant Travel Playard pops open within seconds — it truly can’t get any easier. At less than 11 pounds, the crib lays flat, which is great for travel and storage. One reviewer states, “This is probably one of the best baby products I’ve come across. Not bulky and easy to set up and take down.”

The crib also offers many add-on accessories, such as a UV screen and mosquito net, which is perfect for a day outside or if you’re going camping. With a two-height mattress position, this crib will grow with your child.

The 12.5-pound lightweight design of the Chicco Alfa Lite is incredibly easy to set up and break down. The crib offers a zipper door for easy access and the entire material comes apart, allowing you to throw the fabric in the washing machine. Additionally, it comes with an easy-to-transport carry bag. One Amazon reviewer states, “I have tried many different travel bed options and this by far wins. Super light, easy to set up and take down.”

The Baby Trend Portable Playard With Bassinet grows with your child due to the removable bassinet option. The crib features a set of wheels, making it easy to wheel the crib from one room to another. Although this travel crib has a slightly more bulky design when closed, it comes with a storage bag and handle for easy portability.

Guava Family Lotus Travel Crib & Play Yard ($239; amazon.com)

Transporting the Guava Family Lotus Travel Crib & Play Yard is incredibly easy — and lightweight — due to the backpack storage case and the fact that it’s only 11 pounds. The crib comes with a GreenGuard Gold nontoxic certification and offers mesh sides for breathable air circulation. The company also states that its mattresses contain no harsh materials, such as PVC, lead, phthalates, formaldehyde, arsenic, mercury, cadmium and flame retardants. It also meets the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards.

Getting your child in and out of the crib is also incredibly easy with the side-zippered doors. This allows your child to crawl in themselves — or you can easily slide them in — without it being hard on your back.

With its one-push open and close feature, opening and closing the playard is as simple as it gets. The mattress is water-resistant, but similar to many cribs, you’ll have to purchase a sheet separately. The crib comes with a travel bag — with a shoulder strap — although the weight is on the higher side at just over 23 pounds. The 4moms Breeze Go Playard is also free of flame retardants, BPA, PVC, BPS, lead phthalates and heavy metals.

Offering many of the same features of the Breeze Go Playard, the 4moms Breeze Plus takes the crib one step further by offering both a bassinet and changing station. And while those options are great if you’re using the travel crib for an extended time, for a short trip, these extra features — and added weight — probably aren’t necessary.

Skip Hop Play-to-Night Expandable Travel Crib ($149.99; amazon.com)

Want a crib and playard all in one? If so, the Skip Hop Play-to-Night Expandable Travel Crib offers both. Just unzip the sides and your baby’s cozy crib turns into a playard for them to hang out in during the day — a space that’s 60% bigger. The crib comes with a mattress and a wipe-clean mat to use during the playard mode.

This travel crib — similar to all Skip Hop products — is free of flame retardants. The crib also meets or exceeds all ASTM, CPSIA and EN71 standards.

The Flisko 2-in-1 Travel Crib offers a bassinet option for little ones, which can be removed once your child gets slightly bigger — or can sit up on their own. The zipper feature also allows your child to crawl into bed themselves. The crib contains no heavy metals, is lead-free and there are no nonsafe elements used during production.

Based on the Babygearlab.com review, this crib is easy to use but “has subpar quality compared to the more expensive options.” However, if you aren’t looking to splurge on an expensive baby item — especially if you’ll use it only once or twice — then this crib travels well and will still provide your baby with a safe place to sleep.

The Graco Travel Lite Crib offers three different height adjustments to support your child as they grow from the newborn to infant to toddler stages. The crib is also 20% smaller in size than most travel cribs, and while that’s great if you’re traveling to a destination with a small sleeping space — or even have the crib set up in a closet or bathroom — older toddlers might outgrow this crib sooner than you’d like.

The Graco Pack ‘n Play Portable Playard is your no-frills travel crib at an incredibly low price. Based on personal experience, the frame is extremely sturdy, but the breakdown and setup aren’t as straightforward — and easy — as some of the other cribs on this list. The crib folds up into a carrying bag but is slightly bulky and is recommended more for travel made via car.

If you’re looking for a travel crib specifically for the baby stages, then the Primo Cocoon Folding Travel Bassinet is perfect for your needs — especially at just over 8 pounds. With its detachable mesh canopy, the bassinet allows your baby to be fully protected. This can come in perfect if you’re looking to use the bassinet outdoors and there’s a concern about bugs and insects.

While this crib will not grow with your child as they hit the toddler stage, it can be used up until your baby is 20 pounds, which is a higher weight limit than some of the other cribs that also feature a bassinet insert.

Want to pack as little as possible while traveling with an infant? If so, the Munchkin Brica Fold ‘n Go weighs just 2.45 pounds and will keep your child safe while sleeping. The bassinet folds in half and can be packed right in your regular suitcase.

For those first few months of life — it’s recommended only until 3 months old — this travel crib is as easy as it gets.

MiClassic Foldable 2-in-1 Stationary & Rock Bassinet ($79.99, originally $89.98; amazon.com)

The MiClassic Foldable 2-in-1 Bassinet offers a one-handed fold system that allows you to easily pack up the bassinet in the included bag and take it with you on the go. With a quick switch on the feet of the crib, the bassinet can be switched between rocking mode and stationary mode.

As one Amazon reviewer says, “The bassinet comes with a carry bag and it is very easy to carry and fold up. It is one of the few bassinets with a larger weight limit, but it isn’t too big where a newborn feels uncomfortable.”

At just 2.45 pounds, this is by far the easiest travel bed to bring for your child. The bed folds into itself and allows you to easily pack it in your luggage. This can also easily be taken with you on the go, such as to the beach or on a picnic if your adventures fall during nap time. And with the lightweight UV mesh cover, this serves as both a sun canopy and mosquito net. One Amazon review states that the crib ”folds up small, weighs next to nothing compared to a pack-n-play and provides a comforting sleep space that looks the same to your kid no matter where you travel.”

However, this is not a crib or playard, as there are no sides to keep your child from escaping, which also means you’ll need to make sure the space is babyproofed. You’ll also find that the sleeping pad isn’t as thick or cushy as other travel crib mattresses, but this is something your child may or may not notice. This travel bed also isn’t recommended until your child turns 12 months old.

When purchasing your brand-new travel crib, make sure to use the best credit card to both protect your purchase and maximize the points you earn, which can then turn into free travel — and more opportunities to use your child’s new crib.

While most cribs offer some sort of manufacturer’s warranty, your credit card can potentially extend your warranty another year while also offering purchase protection if something were to happen to your crib within the first few months.

For example, the Chase Sapphire Reserve will extend your warranty another year if the item purchased comes with a warranty of three years or less. Additionally, if your crib becomes damaged or stolen within the first 120 days, you’ll also be covered. With both benefits, you’ll be covered up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per year.

Then, for maximizing the points and miles earned from your travel crib purchase, there are many options. If you’re purchasing your crib through Amazon or Target, the Citi® Double Cash Card will earn you 2% cash back — 1% when you make a purchase, and another 1% when you pay your statement.

For department store purchases, such as purchasing a crib at Nordstrom, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express is your best bet. With this card, you’ll earn 2% cash back at select US department stores (as well as US gas stations).

For all other stores, such as a boutique online retailer, the Chase Freedom Unlimited will earn you 1.5% cash back, but if paired with a premium Chase Ultimate Rewards-earning card, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you can instead transfer the points earned to partner loyalty programs where points are worth 2 cents apiece — effectively giving you 3% cash back on your crib purchase.