When traveling you need – just like you do at home – a few moments for yourself every once in a while, even if it’s just to go to the bathroom. But as we all know, a crawling baby or a curious toddler can turn a room into a war zone in about 3 seconds. To prevent that from happening you’ll want a care-free space. No pulling at cables in your Airbnb, no writing on the walls of your hotel room. And thus we present to you: the travel playpen!

In general, it’s a rectangular box made out of a mesh fabric in which you can put your baby without them being able to crawl out. You might want to use this on your travels or maybe you need one at home too or for outside!

We will also help you determine whether you prefer a portable playpen or baby playpen gates.

THIS POST CONTAINS COMPENSATED LINKS. FIND MORE INFO IN OUR DISCLAIMER.

INFORMATION GUIDE

Do I need a baby playard or baby playpen gates (when I travel)?

A child playpen offers several benefits, especially once your little one starts crawling around. But even before that, a baby (gate) play yard offers a safe place where you can rest assured that they won’t hurt themselves.

Whether or not you need a foldable playpen when you are traveling is, of course, entirely up to you. However, in most cases taking an extra item if you are flying might not be the smartest choice. Your travel crib, for example, can easily double as a kids play yard.

TIP: Take a look at our article on the best pack n play & travel cribs here!

On the other hand, should you travel by car or RV, you don’t have to worry that much about space. It could be nice to bring something extra to keep your child secure on top of their sleeping arrangements, especially if you can put it outside.

There are a couple of other situations in which a baby or toddler play yard can come in handy. If you are co-sleeping with your child you don’t bring a travel crib, but you might still be in need of a childproof area during the day. Or maybe you’ll receive a baby bed from the hotel, but it’s not suitable for playing?

TIP: Bring some toys so your baby or toddler can play by themself for a little while. Although it is difficult to bring a pile of books on a trip, they are such an important item for playing and as a nighttime ritual. We always bring at least 3. Take a look at this article to learn more about the best board books for toddlers.

What are the benefits of an infant playpen?

Security: The first and main reason to invest in a baby playpen (gate) is for their security. They provide a place to leave your child – not completely unsupervised obviously – but without the need to watch their every move like a hawk. This is especially the case if you are living or staying at a place with open stairs or other high drop-offs.

Travel-friendly: They are great to travel with, as they are portable and usually lightweight. Not all of them are suitable for air travel, but even the heavier and bigger ones are great to use at home, to take with you to a friend’s house, to go to the beach, etc.

Independence: You can let your baby adjust to some ‘alone play time’ by putting them in the infant play yard with a couple of toys. Because they are in an isolated and harm-free environment, you do not need to worry about them falling over and getting hurt.

Outdoor trips: An outdoor playpen is a great option for beach, camping or picnic trips. You can pop them open and your child has a safe spot to play or nap, without getting bothered by the sun (either put it in the shade or buy one with a cover). You don’t have to worry that they will crawl off to a dangerous place like a lake or the ocean.

Versatility: Depending on what kind of playpen you choose, they can be used for both play-time and napping. Sometimes, you can even add diaper changes into the mix as well. Although if you are looking for a 3 in 1 playpen, take a look at our post about the best pack n plays.

What to look for in a portable baby playpen?

flexibility: Do you want to use your travel playard only as a play station? Or does it have to double as a travel crib or diaper bassinet?

lightweight & folded dimensions: when travelling these 2 categories might be the most decisive. However, if you are travelling by car you have a bigger margin than when you’re travelling by air or public transport.

THE BEST PLAYPEN 2019: REVIEWS

Summer Infant Pop N Play Portable Playard

The Summer Infant Portable Playard is a 14 square feet (1.3 m2) travel playard that can be used both inside and outdoors.

The lightweight frame comes fully assembled and you can unfold it in seconds. This makes it the perfect companion for your hotel room or a trip to the park or beach.

The floor consists of a weather resistant canvas which is great to keep your baby dry at all times. The sides are in a mesh fabric for easy visibility.

The baby boy or baby girl playpen is 48″ (122 cm) wide and 26″ (66 cm) tall and folds up to 38″x7″x7″ (96.5 x 17.8 x 17.8 cm).

The summer play yard comes with a travel bag as well as a strap to transport it easily. Best of all is that it only weighs 12 pounds (5.4 kg), making it one of the lightest portable playards around.

It is available in 2 bright colors (blue and green) and you can opt for the regular, a half-canopy or a full canopy version.

The Summer Infant playpen is unfortunately not available on Amazon Australia.

Babyseater Infant Pop n Play

The Babyseater large baby playpen is another example of a great portable playard.

Like the Summer Infant Pop n Play you can use it inside and outside.

The padded canvas floor is weather and water resistant and you can even put it in the washing machine. Evidently, the mesh screen offers a clear view of your child.

As the name describes you just pop it open and your little one can start to play. When finished, it only takes a couple of seconds to fold it back up. You can do all this with one hand only!

Furthermore, the Babyseater baby girl and baby boy playpen comes with a travel bag with strap for easy transport. At 15 lbs (6.8 kg) it is still fairly lightweight. Folded down the dimensions are 30.9″ x 9.4″ x 8.9″ (78.5 x 23.9 x 22.6 cm), but it opens up to 5 x 5 feet (1.5 x 1.5m) and 21.6″ high (55 cm). Which makes it a very large playpen.

When you want your baby to crawl in and out freely, you can just zip down the side door.

Unfortunately, the Babyseater playpen is not available on Amazon Australia.

THE BEST BABY GATE PLAYPEN 2019: REVIEWS

Evenflo Versatile play space