The Complete Guide to Travel Cribs

“Just when we got her naps figured out, it’s vacation!”

“She’ll be fine. Won’t she?”

“I sure hope so. I don’t want her going back to getting up all hours.”

“If only we could bring her room with us.”

Have Baby; Will Travel

Introducing a monkey wrench like travel into your baby’s sleep cycle can threaten every bit of nap time progress you’ve made, especially for a child up to a year old. A road trip that once amounted to a spur-of-the-moment inspiration now takes weeks of planning so your diligent efforts to teach your baby to sleep aren’t wasted.

If you’ve spent serious time teaching your baby to sleep, you understand the importance of routine and consistency. While you’re on the road, your schedule won’t be consistent. That doesn’t mean your baby can’t enjoy familiar surroundings.

How? Enter travel cribs.

What Is a Travel Crib?

You’re probably familiar with portable playpens. They’ve been around since we were tiny. Like a padded cage, these moveable cribs are great for providing a safe play place when your little one becomes mobile.

The difference between these portable playpens and a travel crib is size. While most playpens are quite bulky, some travel cribs such as the Lotus travel crib by Guava Family are compact enough to pass as hand luggage on flights.

Travel cribs are the perfect solution for those of us who are on the road constantly, for grandparents, or for parents who lack the strength to wrangle an unwieldy pack-and-play through doorways – not an easy feat, especially if you’re short on sleep and iron.

Don’t Take It Too Literally

Travel cribs can even be an excellent choice when you are not traveling.

In our house, we use a Lotus travel crib as a second crib/playpen. Its lightweight and origami-like folding structure, allows us to move it from floor to floor almost daily. This has helped us recover a lot of previously lost space in our living room when our little one isn’t using it.

A travel crib can even make for an excellent permanent crib, as we explored in 5 Reasons To Use a Travel Crib At Home.

What Types of Travel Cribs Are Available?

Although there are many more, here are three top of the line travel cribs. Each of these demonstrates why so many on-the-go parents opt for their baby’s permanent bed to be a travel crib:

1. Baby Bjorn Travel Crib Light

This convenient, attractive travel crib calls to mind the image of a stork delivering a feather-light sack holding a peacefully sleeping infant. The well-made sides are easy to remove for laundering or for transporting, and it’s a snap to reassemble it. If you can handle the hefty price tag, you’ll love handling this lightweight crib.

2. Lotus Travel Crib

This traveler’s dream crib offers a zip-open side letting your little one crawl in and out of it at will. It also includes a backpack carry bag allowing you to take it on planes as carry-on, making this the perfect travel crib for the jetsetter family.

3. Phil & Ted’s Portable Travel Crib

This super-convenient travel crib breaks down into a compact seven-pound package that’s simple to stow away in an airplane overhead compartment. Its attractive mesh sides give you and your baby full view of one another. It also includes a comfortable mattress that’s suitable inside or outdoors.

What Should I Look for in a Travel Crib?

According to your budget, here are some things you should look for when shopping for your travel crib:

  • Quality products. Since a travel crib will get handled heavily, you’ll want to purchase one that doesn’t skimp on the materials used.
  • Simplicity. Look for a travel crib that doesn’t frustrate you to put it together or take it down. Also look for a crib that’s easy to transport.
  • Age. Depending on the age and mobility of your baby, you might be better served by a portable, heavier crib that includes a bassinette attachment for a newborn or a toddler travel bed for your climbing anklebiter.
  • Breathability. Not all travel cribs allow for the same amount of airflow, so look for one that was designed with baby’s comfort in mind.
  • Safety. Consider these important crib safety facts always, whether at home or abroad.

All of the travel cribs listed above pass all of these tests with flying colors.

Whether you’re looking for a travel crib to stow in the trunk for a spur of the moment road trip or a permanent sleeping arrangement for your baby’s cramped quarters, we think travel cribs answer a host of needs for modern parents. Sleep well knowing your baby’s sleeping well!

Andaz Mayakoba Resort in Riviera Maya

Andaz, the lifestyle arm of Hyatt, recently opened (Dec 2016) its luxurious jungle chic resort on the Mayan Riviera, 45 minutes south of Cancun and 10 minutes north of Playa del Carmen.

Spanning both beachfront and lagoon-side views, no matter what your room view, you can’t go wrong. Letting the surrounding nature take the spotlight, the decor is minimalist with rich splashes of color owing to the building sized murals created by a local street artist.

Far from a mega-resort, Andaz Mayakoba is located in an exclusive gated development called Mayakoba where guests are in good company amongst the neighboring five-star resorts: Rosewood, Fairmont, and Banyan Tree.

Rooms

The room was spacious and set up for us with a crib and a full set of Wee Ollie baby amenities for bath time. We used a space on the bathroom sink for changing our little one and when the attentive cleaning lady saw that we were changing our baby this way, she added extra padding and towels. Bonus points to the great room cleaner – thank you for that.

Each room has a balcony overlooking either the lagoon or the beach. The beds and linens were comfortable and the decor of the room included hyperlocal touches as well as beach basics (flip flops and beach bags).

Tip: if you have a stroller, make sure to request an accessible room. Some rooms require going up/down steps.

Activities

The eco boat tour is a must! It is a 45 minute spin around the lagoon where your boat captain will point out where the neighborhood crocodiles hang out, explain about the local bird species and where you can peek into the neighboring resorts.

Each day the resort offers a full day of activities like flavored ice tasting, and a trip to the El Pueblito and a small cenote.

Complimentary bikes are available to ride along the nature trail.

Andaz Mayakoba Pool Sunset

Kimbo Kids Club

This free kids club is chock-full of great activities. Piñata making, basketball games, and drawing contests are just a few of the days’ line up.

Kids will love to hang out here all day. And with the pool being in such close proximity, adults can easily come and check in to see how the kids are doing, and vice versa, the kids can come for a splash in the pool.

Food

The resort offers four fresh and delicious restaurants to choose from – Cocina Milagro for the excellent breakfast buffet, OllaTaco and OllaCeviche for casual bites that go perfectly alongside the pool days, and Casa Amate for sophisticated Latin fusion cuisine.

What We Loved:

  • Spacious Rooms
  • Kimbo Kids Club
  • Activities for Everyone
  • Beautiful setting
  • Great Restaurants and Artisanal Mini-Bar Snacks

What May Be Tough For Families:

  • Travelling between the two areas of the resort (lagoon and beach) requires a medium walk, a bike ride, or a complimentary golf cart ride

Bonus Points:

  • Full gym with a lush view of the surrounding jungle
  • 2 Pools with oversized fun floaties

The Vitals

Hyatt Ziva Cancun

If you are in search of a relaxing vacation where the food and drinks are unlimited, detailed planning is not required, your days are filled with spectacular beach views, and five-star service is available for your every need, then the Hyatt Ziva Cancun may be your next getaway.

Located just 25 minutes from the Cancun airport, you can leave home in the morning and be on the beach with your Miami Vice cocktail by late afternoon.

All-Inclusive

With picky kids or varied types of eaters in your family, the wide variety and unlimited options mean you are bound to eat abundantly.

The breakfast buffets boast huge selections of fresh fruit, continental options, and local Mexican flavor. Most of the luxury resorts in the area are adults-only, so perhaps what is lacking at the Hyatt Ziva in gourmet quality is made up for in quantity and options.

Throughout the day, and into the night, enjoy Asian (Hibachi makes a great show for the kids), Mexican, Italian and French options, or our favorite – the American diner. The pools offer poolside snacks, as does the Club Lounge. If you want to test out your own artisan beer, have a go at the in-house brewery.

All that said, the most wholesome fun stop was at the Starbucks-style coffee shop where adults can get their energy lift on frappes, almond milk lattes, or coffee free smoothies, and the next door candy shop where kids can get their lollipop fix.

Poolside drinks include basic liqueurs, soft drinks and frozen cocktails perfect for when the kids are the KidZ Club.

KidZ Club

Set off in a supervised area with its own tree house and slide pool, the Kidz Club offers kids ages 4-12 a full day of water play (in a separate pool), arts and crafts, video and arcade games, and daily treats.

Well-designed and staffed, it is worth giving your kids and yourself a break for a few hours in the mid-day heat.

Views

In any direction, you will find a pool with a million dollar view.

We stayed close to the club pool which was quite windy but the breeze was nice for the hot days. We took our little one for some quick swims, but it was definitely not the best pool choice for small kids. For that, try any of the other pools which seemed like a great choice for kids playing pool games while their parents enjoyed Miami Vices on repeat. The main pool has loud music playing throughout the day, which is either a benefit or a minus, depending on your preference.

BEACH – one of the main pluses of Hyatt Ziva is the white sand and calm beach water that you can easily walk out in and kids can play in without major waves or currents. Seaweed is present but cleaned all the time, and from what we hear about other area resorts the amount is really minimal in comparison.

Fitness Bonus

Finding the time to fit some fitness in between baby changings and organizing the kids’ pool bags is not easy.

The spacious and well-equipped gym is smack in the middle of the resort, so quick access is not an excuse. Even better, double down while getting some sun and join an aqua cycle (twice a day) or one of the pool fitness classes going on at the main pool throughout the day.

What We Would Change

The concierge at the club building was unprepared for providing baby-basics. During checked-in, the crib we requested in advance was nowhere to be found (though this was quickly remedied), and rather than receiving a tea kettle in the room (key for hot water for bottle cleaning and warming), we had to call room service each time we wanted hot water and they would send up tea pots. Definitely not ideal.

Also, the showers did not have tubs. We were given a baby tub, so it wasn’t a problem, but may be something to consider.

Why We Loved It:

  • All-Inclusive (including the Coffee Shop and Candy Shop!)
  • KidZ Club
  • The Views

What Was Lacking

  • Baby Amenities
  • In-Room Tea Kettle

The Vitals

Silver Baron Lodge – Elevation Lodges

When a ski bum friend returned from her family vacation in Park City, she raved about the family-friendly nature of her winter wonderland vacation. It didn’t take too much convincing. My husband and I excitedly packed up our 4-month old daughter in the warmest puffy jacket we could find and set off for our first snowy vacation with our baby.  Deer Valley turned out to be an ideal infant-friendly winter getaway and Elevation Lodges was the perfect choice for a smooth, drama-free stay.

ACCOMMODATIONS

Our base for the week was the Silver Baron Lodge, which we booked through Elevation Lodges.

Our suite had a royally comfortable King Bed in the master bedroom, and a King size pull out couch in the living room. The staff from Elevation Lodges set us up with a baby cot and baby bathtub, so we didn’t have to lug anything with us.

Larger families can also rent the adjoining unit, which has two extra Queen beds and a separate kitchen facility in case two families want to be together, and also have privacy (next year we will rent this unit and bring the grandparents too!).

Having the fully stocked kitchen was perfect for cleaning and warming bottles as was having a full washer/dryer for keeping our ski gear and our LO’s slobber-gear clean. For entertainment, the suite comes with a large screen TV, board games, Sony Playstation and cozy fireplace. A few times we even managed to sneak out to soak our tired muscles in the outdoor jacuzzi on our balcony.

The suite also had an indoor jacuzzi bath and a separate bathroom with an additional standing rain shower so that both my husband and I could shower and get ready conveniently in the morning.

CHILD CARE

Deer Valley Youth Ski Instruction

In the evenings the ultra-helpful staff at Elevation Lodges arranged a trustworthy babysitter for our baby, and during the day we would take our little one to the Children’s Center at the Deer Valley Resort. The ratio for the infant room is 3 to 1, and while we were there, we had the luck of no more than two kids at a time with the caretaker. For those wanting to snowboard (as Deer Valley is a ski-only mountain), parents can also check out the child care at Park City Resort.  Advanced reservations are required for either Children’s Center, and we recommend doing it early as it tends to fill up. If there is space, you can also opt for the half day, which we did a few times on lighter skiing days.

KID-FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES

Park City offers excellent year-round outdoor activities. In winter months, the Children’s Center has a full day of non-ski activities for ages two months through 12 years. Kids ages 3+ can join the ski schools of any of the area resorts.

FOOD

We specifically chose a suite with a fully stocked kitchen knowing that after long days of being on the slopes, we would be exhausted and happy to curl up by the fireplace with some soup and hot cocoa. For delicious kid-friendly outings check out Squatters (something for everyone!), El Chubasco for simple Mexican fare, and High West Distillery in town for some adult-friendly beverages.

Why We Loved It:

  • baby gear available on request
  • comfy massive beds
  • romantic cozy fireplace and jacuzzi for when the kiddies fall asleep
  • location minutes away from the Deer Valley Resort Children’s Center

What We Would Have Changed:

  • extra fee for daily cleaning when renting through Elevation Lodges (worth it)

Vitals: