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Travel Crib vs. Pack ‘n Play: Which Should You Purchase?

A baby’s first safe place is its mother’s arms, the second one is its baby crib. There are thousands of options when it comes to choosing the perfect crib for your baby, which combined with the stress of getting a nursery ready can be exhausting.

And what if you have to travel? Do you choose a big crib, or a smaller one? So many questions go through parents’ minds so we are here to help you out. We are going to explore the world of baby cribs and see the comparison between a travel crib vs pack-n-play.

Main Points

  • Travel cribs are compact and easy to set up.
  • Pack n plays come with handy accessories
  • Both are safe for your kid.
  • Both can be used as cribs.
  • Travel cribs are more expensive.  

Travel Crib vs Pack n Play: What’s The Difference

Both a travel crib and a pack-n-play are safe options for your kid. However, there are a few differences that you want to be mindful of.

Depending on your personal needs and preferences as well as the environment you’re in, you’ll probably prefer one over the other. So let’s see the differences.

Travel crib

Size and look

Travel cribs are smaller and lighter than pack n plays, they are specially made for traveling and they fold up nicely so they don’t take up a lot of space. They have a mesh material on the side so you can always see what your baby is doing and they have a thicker mattress which makes them more comfortable.

Most of them also have a zipper on the side so that you can open one of the mesh walls to play with your baby on the floor. They are convenient, and portable, and provide a place for your baby to sleep and play even when you are on the road or over at a friend’s house.

How and when to use

As we mentioned, they are perfect playing areas where your baby can also take a nap. Also, they are great for places that are not baby-proof. The thick mattress allows your baby to be very comfortable like they are sleeping in a bed.

So, if you are going to stay at a hotel that doesn’t provide a crib, you can just take your travel crib and put it in your car, it won’t take up too much space and it is very easy to set up. This will give your baby it’s safe-place during your travels and it can play and sleep in it.

The downside

A downside to a travel crib is that they are not meant to be used all the time. The walls are pretty thin so when your baby gets older it might start to pull on the fabric and try to get out.

Also, they are very close to the ground so bending all the way to the floor to grab your baby can be a strain on your back. They don’t come with a lot of accessories like some pack-n-plays do because they are meant to be used on the road or temporarily.

Keep in mind that you always need to look for a high-quality travel crib because you don’t want it to break while you’re taking it down and putting it back up all the time.

These can cost more than pack and plays, they usually cost around $150 to $250 or more.

Pack ‘n play

Size and look

Pack and plays are great for babies or even toddlers. They are bigger than travel cribs and take up more space. They can be taken down and folded up but it is not as easy and smooth as with the travel cribs. The sides are made from a mesh fabric so you can always keep an eye on your kid.

Pack and plays are further from the ground that travel cribs but closer to the ground than regular cribs. However, they do come with a few accessories including a bassinet option that can provide your baby with a sleeping solution in the beginning.

Other accessories also include attachments for changing areas, attachments for shade, and other toys. They also usually come with wheels so you can move them around your home.

How and when to use

You can, for example, set it in your living room during the day so that your baby can play and take a nap. When it’s time for a change you can use the changing station on the spot. At the end of the day, you can just move it to the side and put your baby in its crib.

The downside

The Pack and play is probably not your first choice for a place for your baby to sleep or something you can easily take when traveling.

Yes, it is portable, but it’s better for at-home use than traveling around the country. As we mentioned it does fold up, but it’s harder to assemble after and it takes up space that you probably need in your trunk when you’re traveling.

А side by side Comparison

So let’s do a side-by-side so you’ll be able to figure out which one is better for your child. If you are someone who travels a lot, stays in a hotel room, and has limited storage space, then the perfect choice for you is the travel crib.

This will be a perfect fit, not only because it’s portable and doesn’t take up much space, but it has a thick mattress making it very comfortable for your baby to sleep in temporarily.

On the other side if you stay at home most of the time and want a place where your baby can play and take a nap, then you should choose the pack-and-play.

This can also be used as a crib when the baby is very young and later you can use it as a play area and changing station, either way, you can use it for a long time.


Your kid’s safety and comfort are very important and you as a parent want to make the best choice when it comes to cribs. We discussed the topic of travel crib vs pack n play and we hope that now you know what suits your and your kid’s needs better. Both options are totally safe, and practical and your kid will love them.

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