Traveling with a baby can be daunting, no doubt, but a few core accessories can make it a whole lot easier. Mary Poppins’ magic carpet bag comes to mind, but we’ll stick to things that actually exist — and tops on that list is a good portable crib. This must-have travel accessory provides a safe space for your baby to sleep, regardless of whether you’re at Grandma’s house or a hotel. (Speaking of, while many hotels do offer cribs, a lightweight travel crib can make staying family members’ houses or in Airbnbs a lot easier.) Travel cribs can also be an inexpensive alternative to buying a second, full-size crib to keep in the houses of regular babysitters or grandparents.
Whatever your needs, there’s a wide range of options and prices available. Here are our favorites.
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1. Guava Family Lotus Travel Crib
We love a baby product that does double duty, and this Guava Family Lotus Travel Crib does just that: It can be used as both a play yard and a sleep space. It comes with a mattress for naps, and a zipper-down side lets you soothe or play with your baby on the ground without bending over, but can be zipped back up and locked for naptime. Designed to fold up and go with you anywhere, the Lotus Travel Crib weighs 13 pounds with the backpack carrier and is designed to be set up in minutes. For use with little ones up to 3 years, the crib also has GreenGuard Gold non-toxic certification.
2. BABYBJORN Travel Crib Light
Weighing just slightly over 13 pounds with the carrier, the BABYBJORN travel crib is similar to the Lotus travel crib. However, it has a slightly plusher mattress and a quicker set-up. While both are designed to be put up and taken down with ease, the BABYBJORN crib can be swung open in about 15 seconds. The biggest drawback is that it doesn’t have a side zipper, meaning parents and caretakers will have to bend over to soothe and pick up baby. It’s also more expensive.
3. Graco Pack ‘n Play Playard Snuggle Suite
With a changing station and bouncer included, this Graco Pack ‘n Play is basically a nursery in a box. While it’s heavier and less travel-friendly than the Lotus or BABYBJORN, it’s a great option for local travel, or even as a second crib if you want to keep an eye on baby in the living room or kitchen. Families who may be making long-term travel plans may also like that it feels a bit more permanent and heavy-duty than some other picks. There’s even a two-speed vibration option in both the bouncer and the crib itself.
4. Munchkin Brica Fold N’ Go Travel Bassinet
The Fold N’ Go bassinet is under three pounds and can easily be set up wherever you are, whether it’s a park, hotel or home. Because it’s designed for newborns and babies under 3 months old, it has a way smaller footprint than travel cribs designed to take you through the toddler years. And while, yes, your baby will grow out of it quickly, anyone who has to do a lot of travel with a new baby (around the holidays, for example) may find it indispensable.
5. Delta Children Folding Portable Mini Baby Crib with Mattress
While this collapsible, wooden portable crib isn’t easily packed into a suitcase or the back of a car, it’s an excellent addition to a guest bedroom — say, at grandma and grandpa’s house. It can be set up easily and wheeled from room to room, then broken down to be stored under a bed or in a closet. Because it’s built like a regular crib, it’s also the only model on our list with two-level mattress support for optimal depth as babies grow. Grandparents or anyone who regularly hosts young families will love having this on hand.