Top Travel Cribs for Globe-Trotting Tots
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There are many moving parts for families to consider when it comes to the logistics of travel, from the right stroller (or double stroller), whether or not to take your own car seat, which luggage to use, etc. With that in mind, the idea of adding another large item to your checked luggage — like a travel crib — can be off-putting. (But, don’t forget that you can at least lighten the load and skip baggage claim and have your checked bags delivered to your destination.)
While nearly any sizable hotel (and many small ones, too) and most rental houses and apartments often have some Pack ‘n Plays or cribs for guest use, you can’t always count on a crib at a hotel. So, bringing along your own travel crib often makes sense, especially when it comes to having a safe, comfortable and portable place to keep your baby contained. This is especially true if you are traveling somewhere that doesn’t have a healthy baby gear rental market.
During a recent trip to Cuba — where island-wide shortages on virtually everything naturally extend to baby accessories, even at hotels — I was so relieved to have paid the extra baggage fee to bring along our BabyBjorn Travel Crib Light. Although there were always family members around offering to hold my baby during the day, I was glad I didn’t have to build a pillow fortress around her when it was time to sleep at night.
Read on for our top picks on the best travel cribs that tick all the boxes by being lightweight, easy to bring along in a car or plane and — best of all — simple to set up.
BabyBjorn Travel Crib Light
Designed as a handy portable sleeping solution for newborns through kids up to 3-years-old, the BabyBjorn Travel Crib Light couldn’t be more convenient to set up. I’ve even managed to set this crib up in total darkness when arriving late to a shared hotel room when I didn’t want to disturb everyone else. You simply pull out the four legs from their folded position in the frame, position the crib to standing, pop the mattress down and voilà — it’s bedtime for baby.
The mattress is several inches thick and nice and firm. Since it’s supported on the floor, there’s no weight limit to what it can hold. The whole thing packs down to flat into the handy carrying bag, tipping the scales at just 13 total pounds. Because the legs come out at a tent-like supportive angle, the crib is also surprisingly stable. Even kids that like to pull up on the sides probably can’t topple this one over.
Guava Lotus Everywhere Travel Crib
Also weighing in at 13 pounds, this travel crib by Guava is another traveling-parent favorite. It’s quite similar to the BabyBjorn Travel Crib Light in that the mattress is supported by the floor and the legs come out at an angle for excellent stability. The side-zipper door can be left open to allow your child to come in and out during supervised play time.
The side door is also a handy way to access baby if you happen to be, say, breastfeeding in a tent (raises hand!) or otherwise sleeping on the floor beside your baby. You can crawl right inside and lay your head next to your little one to comfort them. The Lotus Everywhere folds up into a convenient backpack, which you can take on an airplane as a carry-on, or otherwise haul around on your back on the go.
Graco Pack ‘n Play Jetsetter Playard
This is another travel crib that packs down into a convenient backpack so you can easily tote it along with you on a flight or road trip. The Graco Pack ’n Play Jetsetter Playard is a bit heftier than the other two options, weighing in at just over 17 pounds. But there are extra features to this crib, too, including a removable bassinet with a canopy (the latter is stored on the outside of the backpack when the crib is packed away) and a diaper changing pad that you can choose to take with you or leave at home.
The bassinet has a soothing, built-in vibration feature that might help newborns sleep more soundly on the road (key word: might). And while setup isn’t quite as quick as with the BabyBjorn, this crib feels more like a proper Pack ‘n Play and has wheels and feet that fold down to help keep it compact. To break it down, you simply push the buttons on the side of the top rails and fold it back into the backpack.
Any of these cribs could be a sanity saver on your next family vacation. Do you take along a travel crib on vacations or simply rely on hotel equipment or a makeshift pillow fort? We’d love to hear about your experiences.
Featured image by Setzenou, SCP / Getty Images
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