You can't always count on a crib being available when you're traveling with kids — at least not a safe, sanitary one. While some hotels and Airbnbs provide quality cribs, and renting is also an option, many parents choose to bring along a travel crib. It takes the guesswork out of naptime/bedtime on the road, and that's always a good thing.
After scouring reviews and checking out several travel cribs in person, we considered popular travel cribs like the BabyBjorn, the Graco Jetsetter Lite, and the Nuna SENA mini travel crib. Ultimately, we settled on the Guava Family Lotus Everywhere Travel Crib, taking it with us on our first trip to Europe with our son. Here's our review.
Why We Love It
It's compact. Broken down, this crib fits into a convenient, carry-on-size bag. At 13 pounds, it's by no means lightweight, but it's significantly lighter than some other models. Its straps allow you to carry it on your back like a backpack, which keeps your hands free for other things. (Like, um, your baby.) It also doesn't take up much space in a hotel room/apartment rental, either, and you can easily move it around and through doorways.
It's super easy to set up and break down. If you've ever wrestled with a travel crib or playard with tricky instructions, you know how frustrating it can be. The Lotus can literally be set up and broken down in seconds.
It's non-toxic. This baby is made without PVC, lead, phthalates, formaldehyde, heavy metals, and flame retardants.
There's a cool side access door. Simply unzip, and you can use the opening to lay down with your baby, get them in and out without leaning over, or let them crawl in and out while using it as a playard.
What We'd Change
We usually rock our son to sleep, then place him into his crib or bed. (Sorry, baby sleep experts.) Something about this travel crib made it extremely difficult to bend over the side and place him onto the mattress without nearly dropping him. I thought it may have been a height issue (I'm 5' 5"), but my husband struggled with the same problem (he's nearly 6'). Other reviews have mentioned the same challenges. If you put your little one to bed while they're still awake, this probably won't be a problem for you.
Also, though it's not the most expensive model on the market, it's not cheap.
Would We Recommend the Lotus Everywhere Travel Crib?
Overall, this crib is a solid piece of travel gear for families — but we didn't use it for most of our trip, because it was just too difficult to get our baby in and out. It ended up feeling like a dead weight that got heavier as our journey progressed. By the time we got to our final destination, we hated the damn thing. We have since made amends, but it's gathering dust in the bottom of our closet.