Do you have a holiday booked and now need to find the best portable baby bed to take with you? Or perhaps you are looking for a pack n’ play or a playard for occasional use to leave at the Grandparent’s house.
Whatever your requirements, we understand how important your little ones sleep is and therefore how important it is to buy the right portable bed or travel crib for your baby or toddler. Here we cover everything you need to know about travel cribs and portable beds and give you our top recommendations.
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What is a portable baby bed?
A portable baby bed, also called a baby travel bed or travel crib is designed with portability in mind. Giving you one less thing to worry about, they can be thrown into the back of the car or taken as carry-on luggage for air travel, to ensure your baby still gets that all-important good night’s sleep whilst you are away.
There are also baby travel bassinets and portable toddler beds, with the same purpose, that also fall under the umbrella term of “portable baby bed”.
A bit more on each of these different variants below.
Do I need a portable travel bed?
Hotels and holiday rentals are often able to supply a crib for your child, so you may ask whether, along with everything else you need, it’s worth the cost. I hear you! It never seems to stop when it comes to baby gear – it’s all the space these things take up which bothers me as much as the money they cost.
Traveling with a newborn can be daunting enough without the added worry of whether their sleeping will be disrupted while away.
Personally, I can’t handle not knowing what the crib will be like, or whether it will be comfortable, so for peace of mind, I always take our travel crib.
A portable bed is also really useful to have to take to friend’s houses for nap time or overnight stays and to have at home when people are visiting with their own child. Our travel crib is one of our most used items, so in my opinion, yes this is a baby product worth spending the money on.
Are portable cribs safe for newborns?
Always check the specific manufacturer’s age recommendations, but most travel cribs are suitable from newborn, and as long as they meet the required safety standards, are absolutely safe.
You can buy a travel bassinet for newborns, see my recommendations below, which although makes no difference in terms of safety, you may feel that your baby is more comfortable and cozier in. Of course, newborns don’t stay newborn for very long and they will grow out of the bassinet fairly quickly.
What different types of portable beds are available?
When it comes to choosing which type of portable baby bed or travel crib to buy for your baby or toddler there are a few different options. This will largely depend on your baby’s age and whether you are looking for longevity or something suitable for a particular stage.
Baby Travel Bassinet
Travel bassinets are small cozy spaces designed for young and newborn babies. They usually have soft sides making them really easy to fold and carry with you. They are brilliant if you are traveling anywhere in those early days but note that they will only last a few months.
If you are using a co-sleeper at home, you may consider getting one that is portable too to ensure a familiar environment for your baby when you are away. A portable co-sleeper will fold down making it easy to transport.
Baby Travel Cribs
Travel cribs are portable cribs usually suitable for newborns right the way through to 3 years plus.
Just make sure that you check the age and weight restrictions of any particular cot before purchase. There are many different options and factors to consider with a travel crib, and they can vary hugely.
See more details below on things to look out for.
Portable Toddler bed
A portable toddler bed is suitable for toddlers who have outgrown a crib, and would usually sleep in a toddler bed at home. Options tend to be either inflatable with safety bumpers to keep those wriggly sleepers in their bed, or foldable camping style beds.
The alternative for a toddler, if you are going somewhere where there’s a regular bed you can use for them, is to buy bed rails to keep them secure. The Shrunks inflatable ones are great and super compact to take away with you.
What to look for in a portable baby bed
Buying a portable baby bed or travel crib can be a bit of a minefield, with so much choice where do you start? Here are some factors to consider, and once you’ve figured out what is most important to you, it’s an easy way to whittle down the options.
Ease of Use
Consider the importance of being able to pop the travel crib up and down quickly and easily without any complicated assembly.
Perhaps you are buying your portable bed to put up and leave up at home or at the Grandparent’s house, and therefore this won’t matter so much, but if you’re going to be taking it up and down regularly, possibly with an overtired baby in tow, choose one that you can quickly set up.
Safety and Security
Like regular cribs, all portable and travel cribs must provide a safe environment and meet safety standards. The material used must be thoroughly tested for use by infants.
Look for breathable mesh sides, which reduce the risk of SIDS if baby rolls or gets too close to the sides.
Also make sure you pay attention to the weight and height recommendations of the supplier.
An additional travel crib mattress may increase comfort. If you go this route, ensure that the top of the mattress is still the recommended height beneath the top rail, to avoid chances of toppling.
Size and Weight for Packing
The weight and size of your portable crib is important if you are going to be traveling with it, particularly on a plane where there are restrictions.
But even on a train, bus, or your own car, you don’t want to be lugging anything too heavy or bulky around, you want a lightweight option that will leave space for the rest of your luggage!
For occasional use at home or trip to Grandma’s house, this will not be such an issue.
There are some really good lightweight travel crib options out there that may be a bit more expensive than others but are worth the cost if you are going to be on the move regularly.
Ensure that the portable baby bed you buy is appropriate for the age of your child. Most are suitable for babies right through to three years, and for younger babies, there is also the option of a travel bassinet. This may feel more cozy and comfortable for your newborn but remember that it won’t be long before they grow out of it.
Probably one of your most important concerns is that your baby or toddler gets a good night’s sleep. There is always the worry when you travel that it will mess with baby’s routine and in turn affect their sleep, so having a comfortable bed is at least one less thing to worry about.
Some travel cribs come with an inbuilt soft mattress, whilst with others, you may want to buy an additional travel crib mattress.
This ones goes without saying – you want to be able to easily strip off and wash any covers easily. Wherever possible, anything you buy for your child needs to be machine washable!
A big factor when buying a portable or travel crib is how much it is going to cost. Prices can vary hugely but you do not need to spend a fortune to get a decent one that ticks all the boxes.
Some portable cribs come with changing table insert, storage pockets, mobiles, toys, and other extras, which can be useful but bear in mind that they will probably make the crib bulkier and add extra weight.
If traveling with your travel bed, particularly on a plane, a travel bag will ensure it’s secure before going in the hold, while a shoulder strap will be useful for a smaller foldable baby bed that can go in the overhead compartment.
What to look for in a portable baby bed to keep at the Grandparent’s house
If your baby or toddler spends time regularly at their Grandparent’s house it may be worth buying a portable bed or travel crib to keep there. As you will be leaving it there the considerations are a bit different.
You don’t need to worry about it being small and lightweight, it is probably more important to get something that will last. Consider getting a larger crib for a three-year-old that is also suitable for your newborn.
It may also be useful to get one that comes with a changing table, to make life easier when you are away from home.
Best portable baby beds and travel bassinets for babies
So what is the best portable baby bed or travel cot for your baby for those early days?
Packed dimensions: 22″ x 17″ x 3″
Suitable for babies aged: 0-3 months approx (or until your baby begins to push up on their hands and knees)
Price on Amazon: $44 (correct as of May 2022)
This lightweight travel bassinet is really easy to set up and fold down and comes with a convenient carry handle. Its locking frame makes it feel nice and stable, it has mesh panels with a breathable fabric that doubles as protection against pesky insects, and a comfortable mattress with a fitted sheet included.
What’s to love about this newborn portable bassinet: this is the best portable baby bed when it comes to size and weight, making it super portable and convenient for travel and days out early on.
Any downsides: your baby will quickly grow out of this newborn travel bassinet and you’ll soon be looking for something bigger.
Packed dimensions: 28” x 14” x 7”
Suitable for babies aged: 0-12 months approx (up to 30lb)
Price on Amazon: $109 (correct as of May 2022)
This portable baby bassinet has large supportive handles meaning you can carry it around whilst your baby is sleeping. Along with the cute dinosaur design, it’s easily folded, features a recline design ideal for babies with reflux, and has a super soft comfy mattress.
What’s to love about this newborn portable bassinet: I love that you can use this on the go whilst your baby stays sound asleep and cozy, or move it from room to room so that you can keep an eye on them at all times, and still get stuff done!
Any downsides: it is on the more expensive side and although the manufacturer says it is suitable for up to 12 months, I think it is quite likely your baby will grow out of it before then. These ones also don’t have mesh sides so always be sure your baby is lying centrally so there’s no chance it can roll into the side.
Packed dimensions: 28” x 18.5” x 5.5”
Suitable for babies aged: 0-3 months approx (up to 20lbs or until baby begins to push up on hands and knees, whichever comes first)
Price on Amazon: $100 (correct as of May 2022)
Lightweight and comes with a convenient carry bag, a waterproof mattress, fitted sheet and zip-off machine washable fabrics. We like the sturdiness of this one, with its snap-on metal legs, and that it sits up high.
What’s to love about this newborn portable bassinet: it is solid enough to use as a permanent newborn crib at home and the legs are easily removable to make it portable.
Any downsides: because this bassinet doesn’t fold like the others, it is bulkier to carry around.
Best portable baby beds with ROCKING MOTION
Motion can help a newborn settle to sleep, but this extra feature is normally only available in more permanent cribs and bassinets. However, this portable travel bed, a little bigger than a bassinet, ticks that box.
#4 Joovy Coo Portable Convertable Bassinet to Crib with Rocking Function
Packed dimensions: 25” x 38.6” x 6”
Weight: 18 lbs
Suitable for babies aged: 0-3 months approx or 15 lbs in bassinet mode. Remove the bassinet and you can use it into the toddler years, up to a height of 35″ tall (or until they can climb out)
Price on Amazon: $260 (correct as of May 2022)
This is a very versatile infant travel bed that’ll last from the teeny tiny newborn stage, right through to toddlerhood. In bassinet mode, the bottom doubles as a handy storage compartment. Then, once too heavy for the bassinet, simply unzip the top portion and lower the mattress.
However, the standout feature of this bassinet is the rocking motion, unusual to portable baby beds, so it’s perfect for newborns that are difficult to settle. You can lock the rocking feature as and when you needed.
It has durable lightweight mesh walls and a breathable fiber mattress. Folding is a doddle – it packs down flat and is easily transported in the included travel bag with carry handle.
What’s to love about this newborn portable bassinet: If your baby is used to being rocked to sleep, this could make all the difference on your travels. This, and its longevity make this portable baby travel bed and crib a serious consideration.
Any downsides: this is one of the more expensive options but given you’ll get around 3 years of use out of it, this may be something you can justify.
Packed dimensions: 16.5” x 18” x 6”
Suitable for babies aged: 0-5 months or up to 20lbs
Price on Amazon: $108 (correct as of May 2022)
This travel bassinet also comes with an optional rocking feature as well as 6 different height positions. It folds down really easily, has breathable mesh sides, and comes with a travel bag. The canopy, netting, cover and sheets are removable and machine washable too.
What’s to love about this newborn portable bassinet: the rocking feature is a great addition and it’s a much cheaper option than the previous rocking bassinet.
Any downsides: it feels expensive for something that will only last a few months.
Best travel bassinet for COSLEEPING
Co sleepers are a popular option for home and away as you can slide them right up to the side of your bed, great for middle of the night feeds. However, they are heavier and bulkier so better suited to local travel.
Packed dimensions: 36” x 22” x 5”
Suitable for babies aged: 0-5 months / 33lbs or until baby can pull themselves into an upright position
Price on Amazon: $180 (correct as of May 2022)
This easy folding, portable bedside crib has 7 height positions to suit different bed heights, and a side panel that can either be zipped up, so it can be used as a stand-alone crib, or open to stand close to your bed.
It has wheels making it super portable to move around the house which you can lock into place when necessary. The sides are made from breathable mesh fabric for piece of mind when baby is sleeping.
This infant travel bed folds flat and packs into a carry bag for travel. However, this does take a bit of time versus other portable options.
What’s to love about this newborn bedside bassinet: I love that this is a regular bedside crib that you can use at home, just fold it up and you can take it anywhere with you. Great to give your baby consistency and a familiar environment wherever you are.
Any downsides: It is an expensive, heavy option if you are only using it for travel and less suitable for air travel than other travel bassinets, as it will need to be checked into the hold.
Packed dimensions: 36.6” x 22” x 5”
Suitable for babies aged: 0-5 months or up to 20lbs
Price on Amazon: $230 (correct as of May 2022)
This is a portable bedside crib with a difference! Like the last, it can be used as a standalone bassinet or a bedside sleeper, has adjustable heights, breathable mesh walls and lockable wheels.
However, its standout feature is that you can lower the base for it to double up as a playpen, particularly useful when away from home.
It also folds flat and comes with a carry bag, but like the other bedside sleeper, there is a little bit of assembly required.
What’s to love about this newborn bedside bassinet: the additional playpen feature could be really handy when you need a safe space for your baby to sit and play.
Any downsides: Price and weight versus the other bedside travel bassinet.
Best lightweight portable baby beds and travel cribs
These are the best brands of portable baby beds, in our opinion, that will work all the way from newborn up to 2 or some, all the way to 3 years old.
#8 FITNATE Baby Beach Tent & Portable Infant & Toddler Travel Beds
Packed dimensions: 14” x 14” x 2”
Weight: 0.9 lbs
Suitable for babies aged: 0-3 years old approx
Price on Amazon: $36 (correct as of May 2022)
This pop-up tent specifically designed for babies and young toddlers, is the most compact option on the list and by far the lightest, at less than 1 lb! Although it’s described as a “beach tent” there’s no reason why you can’t use it indoors and outdoors at home or when away.
Of course, if you do happen to be beach bound, with its UV silver technology and a UPF rating of 50+ you’ve got the perfect option!
It’s not the most suitable for newborns, since it won’t be much fun having to get your little one out of the tent from the floor in the middle of the night. It also only comes with a “pad” so you will probably feel the need to buy an additional mattress.
Although it claims to be useable for toddlers up to 3 years old, as soon as your baby can sit, there’s a chance of them toppling it over. By this age, you’ll need to choose where to position it for safety.
What’s to love about this baby travel tent: it’s super low on weight, size and price.
Any downsides: While pop-up tents are super easy to erect, they can be rather tricky to pack away until you’ve got the nack. Not as suitable for tiny babies.
Packed dimensions: 26.7” x 9.8” x 7.8”
Suitable for babies aged: 0-2 years old approx (until your toddler reaches the height of 35 inches or can climb out)
Price on Amazon: $150 (correct as of May 2022)
At just 6lbs, this is the lightest full-size travel crib that we have seen and is really easy to assemble. It is ultra-portable and lightweight, with breathable mesh sides and rolls up to the size of a yoga mat. It comes with a self-inflating mattress, a fitted sheet, and a zip down side for when your toddler wants to crawl in and out themselves.
What’s to love about this baby travel crib: Just how light it is and how small it is when packed up. Fantastic for taking on a plane and even for days out to the park or the beach.
Any downsides: the fact that it is so lightweight means it doesn’t feel quite as sturdy as some of the others.
Packed dimensions: 23.5” x 19” x 5.6”
Suitable for babies aged: 0-3 years old approx
Price on Amazon: $90 (correct as of May 2022)
Easy to assemble, this lightweight portable baby crib feels sturdier than some of the others. It packs down nice and small and includes a soft washable foam mattress. It also has durable mesh walls.
What’s to love about this baby travel crib: the price. This is really good value for such a lightweight crib.
Any downsides: none that I can see – this is a really great travel crib!
Packed dimensions: 27.5” in length
Suitable for babies aged: 0-4 years old
Price on Amazon: $200 (correct as of May 2022)
Another super lightweight travel crib at only 8.8lbs. It also comes with a memory foam mattress with a machine washable cover, is really easy to set up and fold away, and has a sturdy aluminum frame. The crib walls are mesh and full breathable and the side zips open so it doubles as a play tent.
What’s to love about this baby travel crib and playard: it is lightweight but has a really sturdy frame, comes with a good comfortable mattress and is super compact to carry around.
Any downsides: the cost. This is one of the more expensive travel cribs on the market.
Best portable travel cribs for MULTIPLES
For more than one baby, or when you want to use the crib as a playpen too, a larger travel bed will be necessary. They’re not a lightweight option but still foldable and portable.
Packed dimensions: 39.8” in length
Suitable for babies aged: 0-3 years approx (until your toddler reaches the height of 35 inches). The maximum weight recommendation is 20lbs.
Price on Amazon: $185 (correct as of May 2022)
This travel crib is big and designed to support two babies. It folds up easily into a travel bag, although because of its size, it is heavier and bulkier than other portable baby beds.
What’s to love about this baby travel crib: it is one of the biggest we have found, making it perfect for families with twins.
Any downsides: it is heavy to carry around, but it does have wheels making it easier to move once it is up.
Best portable baby beds with CHANGING TABLE
This selection of portable baby travel beds pack in a lot of extras but that comes at a cost: portability. These ones are – for at the GRANDPARENTS
Packed dimensions: 28” x 14” x 10”
Suitable for babies aged: 0-3 years approx (up to 35” tall)
Price on Amazon: $83 (correct as of May 2022)
This comprehensive baby playard comes not only with a changing table but a bassinet, two height options in the crib, and a baby mobile. It folds easily and comes with a carry bag for storage, and the wheels make it easy to move around when assembled. A good option to leave at Grandma’s house.
What’s to love about this newborn portable playard: the changing mat on top is a nice feature to have when away from home, and is particularly useful for Grandparents who might not have a suitable spot for diaper changes.
Any downsides: it is heavy to carry around so we wouldn’t recommend this one to be used for regular travel.
Packed dimensions: 29” x 10” x 10”
Suitable for babies aged: 0-3 years approx
Price on Amazon: $115 (correct as of May 2022)
This is crib is surprisingly lightweight for what you get with it. It comes with a separate bassinet, a changing table, two height options in the crib, and storage pockets giving you everything you need. It folds easily and comes with a travel bag to pack it away neatly.
What’s to love about this portable playard: even given the additional features, this is relatively lightweight which makes it a little more portable than the previous option.
Any downsides: it’s lighter weight comes at a cost, so if this isn’t going to be moved around a lot, the Pamo Babe option will be just as good.
Best portable baby beds with MATTRESS
Many portable beds and travel cribs for toddlers do not come with a decent mattress, meaning you may need to buy a separate one. So here are a couple of options with good quality inbuilt mattresses.
Packed dimensions: 30” x 25” x 5”
Suitable for babies aged: 0-3 years approx (weight recommendation 8-33lbs)
Price on Amazon: $270 (correct as of May 2022)
BabyBjörn has a really good reputation for great quality and this travel crib is no exception. The mattress is soft and comfy, it is super easy to set up and fold down and it is lightweight to travel around with.
What’s to love about this travel crib: a lot! We love that it comes with a decent mattress, which many other options do not, and it is a great option for travel.
Any downsides: it is one of the most expensive portable beds on the market.
Packed dimensions: 24” x 11” x 7”
Suitable for babies aged: 0-3 years
Price on Amazon: $240 (correct as of May 2022)
This travel crib is designed for ease when flying. The included soft foam mattress is comfortable, the travel bag is a backpack specifically designed to easily fit into the overhead lockers on the plane. It’s also very quick to set up and fairly lightweight. A fantastic option if you travel regularly.
What’s to love about this travel crib: in our opinion, this is one of the best portable baby beds out there. We love that the travel bag is a backpack, making it super easy to transport and it is light enough to conveniently travel with.
Any downsides: all that comes at a price, and although it is not as much as the Baby Bjorn, it is up there as one of the more expensive.
Most VERSATILE portable baby beds
A great option that will see you from teeny tiny newborn, through to toddlerhood.
Packed dimensions: 22.5” x 20” x 5”
Suitable for babies aged: 0-3 approx (maximum height recommendation 28”)
Price on Amazon: $125 (correct as of May 2022)
A lightweight and easily portable travel crib that is really simple to set up and pack away. It comes with a newborn insert, a mattress, and a sheet, and the side can be zipped open making a crawl-through door for when toddlers want to get themselves in and out or to be used for play.
What’s to love about this travel crib: the newborn insert is great. A cozy option for your newborn, they are closer to you and it makes it much easier to lift your little one in and out. Once your baby has outgrown the bassinet, simply lift it out and you have your crib which will last until they are ready for a bed.
Any downsides: we can’t see much wrong with this one. It is light, portable, and comfortable with the added security for newborns, and is reasonably priced.
Best portable beds for older toddlers and preschoolers
Here are some options for toddlers and older kids.
Packed dimensions: 13” x 13” x 4”
Suitable for toddlers aged: from 2 years upwards
Price on Amazon: $66 (correct as of May 2022)
An inflatable toddler travel bed is a great option for when your toddler is out of their crib but is still not ready for a regular bed. This one has a raised ‘safety wall’ around the outside, and it comes with a removable and washable inner mattress and an electric pump, making it super quick and easy to set up.
What’s to love about this toddler travel bed: it is lightweight and takes up very little space in your luggage.
Any downsides: the raised safety wall is not as high as some of the other options and perhaps not high enough for any particularly wriggly toddlers.
Packed dimensions: 16” x 7” x 7”
Suitable for babies aged: from 2 years upwards
Price on Amazon: $77 (correct as of May 2022)
If you are worried about your toddler falling out of bed, this portable toddler travel bed comes with extra high sides that they would struggle to roll over. It also has a removable inner mattress, comes with a highspeed electric pump, and packs away nicely into a neat little bag.
What’s to love about this toddler travel bed: the manufacturers offer a lifetime guarantee for any leaks or blown seams, so you will never have to buy anything else
Any downsides: because of the extra-large bumpers, it can feel a bit bulkier and takes up more space than its competitors.
Packed dimensions: 16” x 7” x 7”
Suitable for babies aged: from 2 years upwards
Price on Amazon: currently out of stock as of May 2022)
The original and award-winning portable bed for toddlers from The Shrunks. It is lightweight, has guard rails along the sides, a signature sheet-tuck feature, and due to the soft flocking on the top, is squeak free. It comes with an electric pump, a carrying bag, and a repair kit should you need it.
What’s to love about this toddler travel bed: the sides are high enough to keep your toddler in bed but don’t add too much bulk to the design.
Any downsides: Unlike the two above, the inner mattress is not removable.
Packed dimensions: 24” x 9” x 8”
Suitable for babies aged: from 2 years upwards
Price on Amazon: $53 (correct as of May 2022)
An alternative to an inflatable toddler mattress, this canvas bed can be set up in seconds. It is lightweight with a sturdy steel frame, is easy to clean with a damp cloth, and comes with a fitted sheet for added comfort.
What’s to love about this toddler travel bed: we love this portable bed’s versatility. It is compact and travels easily so is perfect for overnight stays and day trips for older toddlers.
Any downsides: it is not as long as some of the inflatable options, so your toddler is likely to grow out of it faster.
Tips for using your portable baby bed
If you are using your portable bed for holidays my number one tip would be to use it at home first. Your baby will be in a strange environment and possibly out of routine, so it will help them settle and get a good night’s sleep if they are in a familiar bed. It will also be useful in getting you confident in how to put the cot up if in a hurry or arriving somewhere late.
Another tip is to make sure you use your own sheets and bedding so the smell is familiar. This is particularly important for newborns who are easily overly stimulated – even new smells can disturb them.
What can put so many parents off traveling, myself included, is the disrupted sleep. If your baby is sleeping through the night, the last thing you want is for them to struggle to settle and start waking, sticking to your normal routine as much as possible and making any stays away feel as close as possible to home will help.
So what is the best portable baby bed?
The best portable baby bed or travel crib will depend on your requirements. If looking for a good all-rounder, that is lightweight for travel and comfortable for your baby, then you won’t go wrong with the BabyBjörn, UNiPLAY, or Lotus travel cribs.
For value for money without compromising on portability, I would recommend looking at the Flisko 2 in 1.
If portability is not so important and it is for occasional use at home, at Grandma’s house or to take with you in the back of the car, you can find some good value cribs that will do just the job, like the Graco Pack ‘n’ Play. The most important thing is that your baby is safe, secure, and comfortable.
FAQs about portable baby beds
What should my baby sleep in whilst traveling?
Your baby needs a safe space to sleep in whilst traveling, so they should sleep in a travel bassinet or travel crib, whichever is more suitable for their age.
Can my baby sleep in a travel bassinet?
Yes absolutely, there are some brilliant travel bassinets available, although many are only suitable up until around 3 months old, when babies start rolling and pushing themselves up.
Can you use a travel crib as a regular crib?
Travel cribs have to pass the same safety standards as regular cribs, so yes they can be used permanently at home. To ensure that it is safe it must have a sturdy, strong frame and base, and a firm mattress.
Using a portable crib at home can be a good idea to allow for consistency whilst on the move. They can also be great for toddlers who have a tendency to climb out of their regular crib.
Are portable baby beds safe?
As long as the portable bed you are using meets the required safety standards, then yes they are perfectly safe for your baby.
Do hotels provide cribs for babies and toddlers?
Many hotels do provide cribs, however you will need to confirm this when you book, and I would recommend reconfirming just before you travel.
The downside of using a hotel’s crib is that you do not know what you are going to get. Personally I tend to take my own anyway to avoid any additional stress, and provide a familiar space that I know they are comfortable in.