The Best Way to Pack a Portable Crib for Travel
She doesn't take up much room -- but your baby's stuff sure does. When you're traveling with an infant or toddler, you're likely to bring along a stroller and car seat, as well as a portable crib in which she can sleep. While that crib may have a bag for travel, it may not be enough to keep the crib safe. When that's the case, take some extra precautions to keep it from getting damaged.
That portable crib's travel bag will work fine if you're only planning to take the crib on a road trip where it will be stashed in your car. If you're taking some type of public transportation, put additional padding around the crib, as it probably has breakable plastic parts and bendable metal ones. Measure your crib and then find a duffel bag -- or hard-sided suitcase, if you can -- that will easily fit the crib with some room around it. Then wrap the crib in a thick blanket and put it into the bag or suitcase. The advantage there is that you'll have an extra comfy blanket to use when you arrive. As an added precaution, also add a few "Fragile" stickers to the outside of the bag. The airline, bus or train service may provide those stickers.
Chances are you're bringing along your crib because you have a child who is under 2 years old -- meaning that the child probably doesn't have his own seat on the plane. When that's the case, your child will not have his own baggage allowance -- meaning you'll have to include your crib as part of your checked baggage allowance. Some airlines allow each ticketed passenger to have one free bag; others charge for every bag. Most packable cribs will fall within the size limits for checked baggage, but measure and weigh your crib before you take it to the airport so you don't have any surprise charges. If your crib is really small and doesn't have any metal or breakable plastic, such as a blow-up crib, you may be able to stuff it into a carry-on bag if it fits within the airline's size limits.
If you do have to pay for your crib as checked baggage, another option may be to ship it to your destination. With baggage fees costing $50 or more, it may be cheaper than taking it with you to the airport -- and be less hassle. Another option is to buy a portable crib when you reach your destination. If you're traveling internationally or your trip is an extended one, buying a portable crib for about $100 may be easier than packing it and then carrying it to the airport or shipping it. In some places you can off-load the crib at a children's resale store as you leave, recouping some of the cost.
Lugging around that extra bag -- or having it shipped -- may not be necessary at all. If you're traveling to a resort or hotel, chances are they'll have a crib available for rent or free of charge. Check on your travel accommodations before you leave; you may be able to get by having the baby sleep in the stroller -- another travel consideration -- during the trips to and from the hotel.