The Best Travel Crib and the Case of the Missing Pack’n Play

If you’re looking for the best travel crib, look no further than Graco’s line of Pack’n Plays.

I’ve helped setup these magical devices countless times, and they’ve made the travel experience a pleasure both for the parents as well as the traveling party. Friends have used them on domestic and international trips, and they are worth being part of your check-in luggage, believe me. Having a familiar, secure location for babies/toddlers to play and sleep in is quintessential for traveling with young ones.

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I went skiing with a group of friends in Denver a couple of months ago. One of them brought her baby and the Graco Pack’n Play. Somewhere between the luggage claim and the cabin, the Pack’n play went missing, but we decided to make do with extra pillows and a sectioned off area of their bedroom. The experience wasn’t ideal, but we were not going to let that ruin a good weekend. Since we discovered our loss at the cabin, many hours from the airport, it wasn’t worth our time to call the airport, given that if found, we would just pick it up on the way home.

After a pleasant, but less restful trip (wish we had the Pack’n Play), we stopped by the rental car counter to see if it was left on the rental car shuttle. No luck. We still had time, so we went to the missing luggage counter at the airport. 30 minutes later, we emerged with the Pack’n play! Apparently, we picked it up off the conveyor belt once we arrived at Denver, but left it on the arrivals floor when the group was using the restroom before mobilizing to the shuttle stop.

By then, we were cutting it short with 40 minutes to scheduled departure time. I used the restroom, and then Pre-check’d my way to the gate. Read more about my Pre-check experience in this post. I thought my friends would pull the baby card, but they ended up in the general line. Despite my attempts to hold their space, the plane took off without them. Thankfully, the gate agent was kind enough to accommodate them on a later flight, albeit 8 hours later.

Lessons learned:

  1. Don’t forget the Pack’n Play when leaving the airport!
  2. Get TSA Pre-check (or Global Entry).
  3. Leverage the baby card for as long as you can.
  4. Re-evaluate your available time after every unexpected turn.

Since then my friends are now scheduled for their Global Entry interview so that they can bypass the long lines on future travel.

What is your experience traveling with young ones?

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