When traveling you need – just like you do at home – a few moments for yourself every once in a while. 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 of your Airbnb, no writing on the walls of your hotel room. And thus we present to you: the travel playard! In general, it’s a rectangular box made out of a mesh fabric in which you can put your baby without him/her getting out.


Do you need a travel playard?

Whether or not you need a travel playard is – like all the other products here at Travel Gear for Kids – entirely up to you. However, in most cases taking an extra item might not be the smartest choice. Your travel crib, for example, can easily double as a travel playard. Take a look at the best travel crib here!

There are a couple of situations in which a portable playard 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. Or if you are traveling by car, you can make yourself comfortable and choose to take both. Or maybe you’ll receive a baby bed from the hotel, but it’s not suitable for playing?

TIP: 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 board books for toddlers.

What to look for in a travel playard?

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 travel playard 2018

Best portable playard 2018

Lotus Travel Crib & Playard11 lbs (5 kg)23"x 12"x 8" (58.4 x 30.5 x 20.3 cm) - as a backpack!$$$
Summer Infant Pop n Play 12 lbs (5.4 kg)38"x7"x7" (96.5 x 17.8 x 17.8 cm)$
Babyseater Infant Pop n Play15 lbs (6.8 kg)30.9" x 9.4" x 8.9" (78.5 x 23.9 x 22.6 cm)$$$

Lotus Travel Crib and Portable Baby Playard

The Lotus portable playard is actually a travel crib turned into a play paradise! It has a side door that can be zipped down so your baby can crawl in and out and you can join your little one as well. The mesh fabric allows for very good visibility and goes all the way down to the mattress, making it a safe sleep environment. It’s divine for parents as well. The travel playard sets up in 15 seconds and it only weighs 11 pounds (5 kg), which makes it the most lightweight portable playard we found. The Lotus Everywhere Crib is made out of safe materials and has been made in an enviromental friendly way. But the most noteworthy is that it folds into a backpack! This way you still have your hands free for your baby and a diaper bag. The Lotus travel playard comes with a mattress which measures 42″x 24″ (106.7 x 61 cm) and is 25″ (63.5 cm) deep. Folded down that makes only 23″x 12″x 8″ (58.4 x 30.5 x 20.3 cm). You can easily take this travel item around the world! Just keep in mind that you need special sheets because of the mattress size and the cut-outs you need. You can buy them here!

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 Playard 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 travel playard 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 lightests 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. Click here to read more reviews and pick your favorite one!

Babyseater Infant Pop n Play

The Babyseater travel playard 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 portable playard 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 a large 5 x 5 feet (1.5 x 1.5m) and 21.6″ high (55 cm). When you want your baby to crawl in and out freely, just zip down the side door. Click here for the latest price!