What is a travel crib? Why do you need one?
As the name implies, a travel crib is a baby crib that you take with you when you travel. It’s a lot like a portable crib but with the added benefits of being able to fold up compactly and being lightweight. Some travel cribs are even small enough that they can be taken on flights on an airplane as hand luggage.
The compact nature of a travel crib makes it an attractive alternative to lugging around a regular portable crib. For some parents, they find this benefits them at home as well. Some parents have a travel crib to move between rooms at home as it is so easy to store and transport.
Already know you need one? Skip to the bottom for my recommendations
Do you really need a travel crib?
Pros and cons of bringing a travel crib on vacation.
If you’re like me and most other moms, when you are planning a family vacation you try to not pack unnecessary items. So is a travel crib necessary to bring along with you on your next family vacation? I have found that it can be very beneficial to bring your own crib along while traveling. First of all, most travel cribs now are incredibly lightweight and very compact. In fact, some are so small that they can be carried as a backpack!
lightweight and compact
Then there is the added convenience of knowing that your baby has a safe place to sleep, that is also familiar to them, no matter where you end up traveling to on your next holiday. While many hotels offer cribs for rent, this isn’t always the best choice, or even always an option. With a hotel crib, you don’t know how well they’ve cleaned it, or stored it. Also, you can not be certain of how safe and clean the mattress or sheets are either. And sometimes, the hotel or place you want to stay at doesn’t even offer a baby crib.
safe familiar sleeping space for baby
By having your own travel crib, you are bringing along a crib that you know is clean and safe. Plus, there is the added bonus of it becoming a familiar environment for your baby. Babies do best with routines and with familiar surrounding and items. By having your own travel crib, you are giving your baby a familiar bed to sleep in when away from home. This is a great way to help baby sleep peacefully when away from home.
For the inconvenience of taking another piece of luggage along on your travels, you have the benefit of knowing for certain that your baby has a safe, comfortable, familiar sleeping environment. So, how do you choose the travel crib that is right for you and your family? Below are some tips on how to choose the best travel crib for your baby.
How to choose the best travel crib for your needs
There are many different types of travel cribs. However, most travel cribs consist of: fabric over a sturdy frame and a mattress, which all folds up into a case or bag.
Types of travel cribs
Standard travel crib: This is the typical type of travel crib, which has a collapsible frame and also removable mattress. Normally it’s rectangular in shape. This type of travel crib can be used as a sleeping area as well as a play area. Typically they are suitable for babies from birth until toddlerhood. Standard travel cribs are not typically designed to be lightweight. However, lightweight travel cots have now been designed which are more ideal for camping, hiking or taking on airplanes.
Pop-up travel crib: A pop-up travel crib is a smaller version of the travel crib, which is suitable from birth until the baby can support themselves on their hands and knees. This type of travel crib is assembled in the same manner as a pop up tent. This means that the crib 'pops up' when it is removed from its carrying case and is folded down to a compact size when stored away. A pop-up travel cot is easier to put together and is more portable as it is lighter and more flexible than other models. However, since it is only suitable for very young babies it is one that you may not get very much use out of.
Bassinet travel crib: A bassinet travel crib is a standard travel crib with the addition of a bassinet included as an area for a smaller baby. Much like the pop-up travel crib, the bassinet is smaller and softer, and is meant for younger babies. When the baby begins to be able to support his or herself on his hands and feet, then you remove the bassinet and use the travel crib instead. This means that you don’t have to buy a second travel crib a few months after the first one, giving you much more time with just one convenient travel crib. Many times, bassinet travel cribs also come with extras, designed to help soothe baby to sleep.
Size of travel cribs
What size travel crib you need will depend on how old your baby is, how long you would like to use it for, and what type of traveling you plan to do with your travel crib. Do you need to move the crib between locations? Will you be traveling primarily by car or will you have to carry the crib long distances yourself? It furthermore can be good to think about where you will store the travel crib when not in use. This is another consideration to work out what size portable crib is suitable for you and your needs.
When deciding on a travel crib, an important consideration is for what age do you need the crib? Keep in mind when looking for a crib, what the recommendations are for height and weight that the crib can support. If your have a smaller baby, for example an infant, then a baby portable crib or a crib with a bassinet insert is better. For larger and older babies, a more sturdy and stable travel crib is needed. If you need a bigger crib that can handle older children, then a portable wooden crib may be the best choice for you.
Ease of use
When choosing a travel crib, consider how hard is the bed to set up and pack away. If you need to move the crib around frequently, in terms of location, then you want a travel crib that can be set up and taken down as quickly and easily as possible. For a young infant, a great choice for this is a pop-up travel crib.
How comfortable the travel crib is for your baby is also an important factor to consider. If a baby isn’t comfortable, they are not going to sleep well. And not all travel cribs are created equal when it comes to comfort. Mattress depth and airflow are two important qualities to look at when gauging how comfortable a travel crib will be for a baby.
Check to make sure that the crib you’re looking to buy conforms to all American safety standards for cribs. All of the travel cribs that I recommend here are considered safe cribs by the American governing authority. Safety is for me, as I’m sure it is for you, a top priority.
My Top Travel Crib Recommendations
Baby Bjorn Travel Crib Light
This travel crib is a top seller for a good reason. It sets up very easily. This crib is only 11 pounds making it lightweight and easy to transport. It’s insulated mattress keeps baby warm and comfortable. And the net fabric side panels make it easy to keep an eye on baby. It’s on the pricier side, but if you can afford it, then this is an excellent travel crib.
Lotus Travel Crib and Portable Baby Playard
Another fantastic choice for a lightweight (11 pounds) easy to set up and transport travel crib. As an added bonus, this is also a playard. Parents rate this one of the best travel cribs on the market. Like the Baby Bjorn, this one is on the more expensive size. However, it is one that can last from infancy to the toddler years with proper care.
Phil and Teds Portable Traveller Crib
Weighing in at only 8.6 lbs, this travel crib is lighter than the Lots or Baby Bjorn. Easy to assemble, and compact enough to carry anywhere, this is another excellent travel crib option. With a self-inflating mattress & non-toxic sheet, this crib offers terrific value for money for all your portable sleep needs.
For pop-up travel cribs, it doesn’t get much better than the KidCo Peapod. Surrounded by lightweight mesh that promotes air flow and acts as an insect screen, this 3.5 lb travel bed folds and fits into a carry on suitcase making it easy to take with you anywhere you go.
BRICA Fold N' Go Travel Bassinet
For budget conscious parents looking for an infant travel bassinet, this is my top pick. Its the only travel bassinet that meets ASTM standards for home bassinet use making it a certified safe choice for baby. A sturdy frame and sealed padded mattress give this bassinet extra safety and comfort.