Smart Money Mom

Best Travel Cribs

Travel is Back

It’s 2021, and travel is back on the cards. So there is no need to crib about staying at home anymore – just kidding. But it’s a fact that holidays, picnics, family vacations are back in demand, and many families have started traveling. Some close by in domestic locations, some out with their extended families for a get-together after ages, and others hopping on a plane to travel internationally. In this article, we reviewed the best travel cribs on the market.

Travel is Back
Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

What is a Travel Crib?

The travel crib, an alternative to the crib at home, just that it is portable, easy to carry, lightweight, and can go with you anywhere you go. Even though it’s super compact, it’s strong enough to hold on its own and can be used daily, even at home. However, we do not recommend using it at home because there are much better home cribs available. That is a discussion for another day.

It is the same in function but lighter in form and compromises a lot on the features front. Like using a lot of light mesh fabric, plastic and such to cut costs, space and reduce the form factor consumed. We will see this in detail when we review the travel cribs later in this article.

But, Do You Need a Travel Crib?

Any traveling family knows you can easily ask for a baby crib in the hotel. You will regularly find it even in family home rentals like Airbnb, for example. This isn’t always the case, and when it comes to your baby, you want a nice, clean, hygienic bed.

Also, cribs are a good place to let your baby play safely in a place that is not baby-proofed. A travel crib is versatile can be taken to beaches, parks, hotels, and such not just for sleeping but also because it provides a safe barricaded area so that you can let your hair down and enjoy a bit more.

But there is a hitch to using a travel crib; just like adults, babies will have trouble falling asleep in a new place. Especially if it’s a new crib, coz that feeling of being in a new place, room and then add to it the new crib may make matters worse. The best way out of this situation is to have baby sleep in the crib occasionally so that it is habituated to it. To become easily accustomed, you can keep some things the same like toys, soft pillows, the bedding, the sleeping pad, and the pullover or blanket. This will help the baby get accustomed to the new environment easily.

How to Choose the Perfect Crib for You and Your Baby?

There are a couple of parameters and features to evaluate when it comes to travel cribs for your baby.

  • Comfort factor: The crib has to be extremely comfortable for the baby as the prime purpose is to give the baby a good sleep. IT should not be very light. Otherwise, it will shift and move every time the baby does, and so can be a bit unnerving for the baby.
  • Ease of use: It should be easy to assemble, disassemble and carry along anywhere.
  • Strong bag pack: The crib must be shipped with a strong and sturdy carry pack that can easily withstand the rigors of travel over a long time. There will be times when you have to pack and unpack the crib daily, load it on an aircraft, train or bus, and it can get thrown around a bit during travel. The bag would have to be strong enough to endure all this and hold the contents safely.
  • Safety and Security Standards: The crib must be certified by ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) and/or the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) on safety standards.
  • Portability: Size, weight, and compactness play high when you are planning to use it for travel.
  • Cost: Last but not least, it should not break the bank and must provide a good value for money.

Best Travel Cribs – Product Reviews

Since we have understood their need and the basics of their functionality, let us go check out some cribs available in the market.

Graco Pack’ n Play Portable Playard – Cheapest and Best Travel Crib

This crib turned out to be a complete surprise from the house of Graco. Graco is well known for baby products and has been a household name for decades. This is an ultra-portable version of their famous Playard model and has a superb folding mechanism.

The unit even fits inside the folding bed pad that acts as a sturdy bag in itself. It is an extremely well-thought-through design at this price point. Using the compact folding mechanism, the entire unit rolls into one small and easy to carry package. The crib sports two wheels on two of its sides and strong legs on the other two sides, which enables easy movement inside the room or wherever you are.

It can safely contain a kid until they hit 35 pounds weight or a height of 35 inches. Unless your child is a ninja, it’s safe in this unit. It can be checked in with your luggage on flights. It weighs 18.5 pounds, has the dimensions 40 x 28.5 x 29 inches, and is available starting at $55.

The features and functionality at such a low price are just awesome and are our top favorite for the budget series. We also love the fact that it does not sit on the floor but at a height above it. So it keeps a safe distance from anything that can crawl up the crib easily, like ants, just in case. This makes it an ideal thing to carry in beaches and parks as well.

Photo from Graco Baby

BabyBjörn Travel Crib – Best Overall Travel Crib

If style and good looks score high on your choice of cribs, you should be considering the BabyBjörn Travel Crib. This crib combines portability, simplicity of design, sturdiness, and good styling to create a unique product. You can also add a lot of padding to make the baby comfortable. The mesh wall allows for airflow and also transparent enough for you to keep an eye on the baby.

The narrow top opening and wider bottom mattress ensure the baby stays in most of the time. Unlike the earlier product, this crib sits on the floor, and so there is no weight restriction. It is recommended for ages from infancy up to 3 years. The only time to stop using it when the baby outgrows it and starts climbing out or feels too restricted for the baby’s size.

Weighing just 13 pounds, including its bag, it is a really compact and light product that can be easily carried on flights in check-in luggage or overhead compartment. It’s easy to assemble and easy to pack. It’s done in just a few seconds with enough practice. The entire mesh and the base padding are easily removable and machine washable.

The only negative part about cribs placed directly on the floor is that because they are deep, placing the baby in and picking them out can pose a problem of bending too much for the back. They are available in 4 color options Black, Blue, White, and Silver. Its dimensions are 32 x 44 x 25 inches and are available at Amazon starting at $300.

Photo from BabyBjörn

Guava Lotus Travel Crib – Best Backpack Travel Crib

Since we are talking lightweight and compact, let’s raise the stakes. How about something that weighs just 11 pounds and is cheaper at $250? Surprised? Here we present you the Guava Lotus Travel Crib, a unique design crib with a nice style. Like the earlier one, this one too sits on the floor, and so there is no weight restriction. It’s easy to assemble with its pop-out mechanism and takes only 15 seconds. This is probably the easiest to set up crib of all of them. It folds easily into an ergonomic bag that can be worn as a backpack for ease of carrying on flights.

It is certified for GreenGuard Gold non-toxic materials, which ensure there is low PVC, no Phthalates, no Formaldehyde, no heavy metals (Mercury, Cadmium, and Arsenic), no lead, etc. The awesome thing about it is that you can get right into the crib to breastfeed or cuddle or play with the baby because of the unique zip downsides. So if your baby is getting fussy about being in a new place, you can get inside with the baby, lie down and make them comfortable and zip it close after they are sleeping.

Unlike some other cribs, the top opening size matches the base, and so the baby will not feel claustrophobic. Made of completely non-toxic materials, it guarantees a nice breathable airflow and full-height see-through mesh. It ticks much of the right boxes. It’s very sturdy when it’s assembled. This can be used from birth up to the age of 3.

It weighs 11 pounds (without bag) and 13 pounds with its bag with dimensions at 46 x 31 x 25.5 inches and retails for $250.

Photo from Guava Family

Skip Hop Play-to-Night Expandable Travel Crib – Best Multipurpose

We have discussed everything from comfort, price, features, and healthy certifications, but what about the size. No, we do not mean the height. We mean the base size in which the baby stays. For smaller babies, it’s adequate, but when the baby grows, can the crib grow or adjust with it? Also, if you want to leave the baby to play inside, you need to have a play area larger than the sleeping area. Logical right?

Here we present you the Skip Hop Play-to-Night Expandable Travel Crib, which can be expanded; hold your breath, an amazing 60%. And we are not even kidding. We have seen travel cribs are best for sleeping, but they are not always as roomy or wide as the non-travel ones at home. But this crib is totally different. It is a unique 2-in-1 product that makes use of a central zipper to expand its size. The width can go from 24inches when closed to 38inches when fully expanded, creating a spacious 38 x 38 inches playbox while still being covered on all sides by the see-through by breathable mesh.

When used in crib mode, you can use the mattress and sheet that’s included. The mat is wipe-clean when in Playard mode. The package also includes a crib mattress sheet and a crib mattress. The entire crib is easy to assemble and fold and has been designed with travel in mind, and comes with its own bag.

The only drawback is the weight at 23 pounds. But all that added extra weight goes into making a strong and durable product that will last a long time. It is available in natural color tone, and the sheet inside is a polyester material that can be replaced with a cotton/poly option that can be purchased separately. The best part is the price. Even with all the features, comfort, and design, it will cost you only $150, which is amazing.

Photo from SkipHop

Choose from the Best Travel Cribs

We have seen many products, each with its own unique set of features that make it different from the other. But even if you are not a jet setter, this crib could still be the one for you as a primary sleeper as it’s a great space saver. Whether you are a parent on the go or if you are looking for something compact and easy to work with. You should definitely check out travel cribs.

In the end, a comfortable and happy child is the payoff on such an investment. A happy child will keep you stress-free and ensure everyone enjoys the travel. There are even more compact products which are called the Bassinets. But, they are too compact to be comfortable over the long run and serve only a limited purpose.

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