Best Baby Carrier for Travel

Whether your family is more the “weekend warrior” type or you’re bonafide tourists cruising international attractions, it’s essential that you can move comfortably with your baby in tow.

With so many options for baby travel carriers — and so many rules at the airport, on the plane, at amusement parks, and tourist destinations — traveling with your baby doesn’t always feel like the vacation you’re looking for. Keep reading for some tips on traveling with your baby and our recs when it comes to the best baby carrier for travel.

Baby Travel Carrier

At the airport

Just getting to the airport can feel like a journey in itself, considering all you need to pack for yourself and your baby: there’s the luggage, the bottles, the toys, and the carrier, stroller, and car seat… it never ends. And then, you get to security. TSA requires every person to undergo screening before passing through the security checkpoint, regardless of age.

You may be wondering if you can wear your baby through this process. It’s the policy of TSA to never separate children from their parents or other accompanying adults. TSA officers are also trained to offer families with young children extra time and assistance during screening. TSA’s website says:

  • Children will not be separated from their parent/guardian.
  • Remove infants and children from their carriers, to include lapbaby and carry them in arms through the walk-through metal detector.
  • Infants may be carried in a sling through the walk-through metal detector but may be subject to additional screening.
  • Modified screening procedures are in place to reduce the likelihood of a pat-down.

Most airports are stroller friendly, even when they’re crowded. That said, many parents prefer wearing their baby while they travel for the following reasons:

  • Hands-free convenience – keeps your hands free for travel documents and carry-on luggage
  • Keeps your baby calm and close
  • Baby is less likely to become overstimulated by all that’s going on at the airport
  • May be easier to feed your baby
  • May be easier for baby to fall asleep

On the airplane

Many parents feel that once they wear their baby onto the plane in a carrier, they don’t want to take them off. Soft carriers like wraps and slings seem to be the best baby carriers for air travel for ease of use and convenience when it comes to being on an airplane with your baby.

But, the FAA requires that babies are removed from their carriers during take-off and landing. For safety reasons, mom, dad, or baby wearer has to remove the carrier, but the baby can still be in it. The FAA also encourages that while a baby can be considered a “lap baby” and be on a lap the entire flight, it’s safest for your baby to be strapped into a car seat in their own airplane seat. 

What kind of baby carriers are airplane friendly?

Before investing in the best baby carrier for airport travel, you’ll want to ensure it’s airline-approved. Be sure to check with your airline before bringing any kind of carrier on the airplane with you. Remember, depending on the type of carrier you’re using, it will likely have to go through TSA screening, so most parents prefer soft carriers like wraps and slings since they’re easier to travel with, particularly with younger babies. These are also less cumbersome on an airplane, and will probably fit in the overhead bin without issue should you also choose to travel with an FAA-approved car seat.

Sling Carriers for travel

Sling carriers are typically made from soft, breathable fabrics and are fairly easy to use. Worn over one or both shoulders, the sling carrier creates a space for baby right across your middle — perfect to resemble that womb-like feeling that baby is used to.  

(Also Read: How to Prevent Shoulder Pain from Carrying Your Baby)

The Boba Wrap Baby Carrier is loved by parents for its “simple, no-guess tying instructions.”  It provides an ergonomic seat for baby with evenly distributed weight for whoever is wearing your baby. A custom seat is created for your baby with every wrap, with knee-to-knee support every time!  Parents say it is super easy to tie, and easy to use while breastfeeding. It even acts as a privacy shield for nursing moms because you can nurse while wearing it, without taking your baby out of the wrap — something important to consider while on the plane or on the go.

The Baby K’tan Carrier is another winner for airplane baby carrier travel. It’s made from 100% cotton, allows even weight distribution, and the breathable fabric is soft for your baby and you. It’s not bulky or busy, making it a great choice for travel. It also has a safe and secure design with double loops and one way stretch, so you can hold your baby securely in place.

Hip Seat Carrier for travel

A hipseat carrier is a simple and easy-to-use device that wraps around your waist and sits above your hips. Hip seat carriers are not handsfree, but when it comes to nursing your baby, the shelf-like seat is a secure place to put baby for easy breast-feeding access. The Tushbaby hipseat carrier can be used for breastfeeding support, weighs less than 1lb, and can easily be stored in your luggage or carry-on for convenient use when traveling.

How do you travel with a baby carrier?

Traveling with a baby can seem like a daunting task. But with proper planning and the right resources, traveling with a baby can be much more enjoyable. Parents often prefer to travel with a baby carrier so they can get around faster and free up their hands. From going through security to flying in the skies, you can keep your baby in a baby carrier - but not every baby carrier. You’ll want to make sure your baby carrier is TSA and parent-approved. The Tushbaby Carrier is TSA-approved and ideal for traveling. With plenty of compartments to store your things and an ergonomic design that doesn’t suffocate your body, you can keep calm and travel on.

Can you wear a baby carrier in a car?

When traveling in the car with your baby, they should be safely strapped in using a car seat. While you can wear a baby carrier in a car, it may put your baby in danger. Alternatively, if you’re trying to save time by not taking your baby carrier on and off, you may be able to ride or drive with it as long as it doesn’t interfere with the seat belt placement. Most carriers will interfere with the seatbelt. Use your judgment wisely.

Can you use a baby carrier on an airplane?

When traveling with a lap baby on an airplane, a carrier can be safer and more comfortable than them actually sitting in your lap. However, the FAA requires that babies be removed from carriers during takeoff and landing. While most baby carriers are approved for use on an airplane, some are better than others for travel. When choosing the best baby carrier for travel, you’ll want to consider comfort, practicality, and even the weather. Your own personal needs can persuade which carrier is best for you, too.

Can I wear my baby in a carrier through TSA?

Traveling can be stressful enough. Add a baby into the mix and the stress goes to another level. When it comes to security, you’ll want to be well prepared. From taking out your liquids and laptops to kicking off your shoes, airport security will require a free hand or two, preferably. Luckily, in most cases, you can wear your baby in a carrier through airport security as long as it’s a soft body carrier with no metal buckles or pieces.  A few types of baby carriers that can be worn through airport security include Tushbaby Carrier, Ergobaby Omni 360, and Tula. Keep in mind that if your carrier has storage compartments, you may need to empty those out before going through the metal detector. 

Can I take a hiking baby carrier on a plane?

You can travel with a hiking baby carrier on a plane. However, it may not be the most practical option. Hiking baby carriers are typically large and designed for, well, hiking. They may be perfect for strolling through the airport, but when it comes time to boarding a tiny aircraft, they can be cumbersome. It’s best to check your hiking baby carrier if you plan to use it on your trip and travel with a smaller, more suitable baby carrier on the plane.

Can I baby wear during takeoff and landing?

No, the FAA prohibits babywearing during takeoff and landing. During the remainder of the flight, though, it’s approved to wear a baby in a carrier. There may be sudden jolts or force during takeoff and landing, causing your body to move. If your baby is in a carrier, the fear is that you will hurt them since you cannot necessarily move them. For example, your chin may drop suddenly, knocking them in the head if they are in a carrier. While force or turbulence can also occur during the flight, you always want to be alert when traveling with a baby. Your baby can stay in the carrier, but it can’t be attached to your body.

Do you need a car seat and baby carrier for air travel?

Generally, it’s recommended that children under 40 pounds travel in an FAA-approved car seat. However, some parents cannot afford an extra seat or just know their baby will not keep quiet without skin-to-skin contact. When traveling, you’ll want to bring along only the necessities — this may mean both a car seat and a baby carrier in some cases. If you’re traveling alone, a baby carrier and a car seat and your diaper bag and your personal travel items may be too much baggage to handle. 

What is the best baby carrier for airport/airplane travel?

The best baby carrier is the one that keeps your baby happy and you most comfortable. Typically, this will be a lightweight baby carrier with easy in and out access. Oh, and of course, one you can wear on the front, back, or side of your body. If you don’t do a lot of babywearing, you should try out the carrier of your choice before the big travel day. As you shop for travel carriers, make sure the carrier does not have metal buckles or pieces, keeps your hands free, and can be worn through security. If both parents are traveling, choose one carrier that both can wear. Climate may also come into play when it comes to choosing the best baby carrier. Ultimately though, safety and comfort will be the main determinants. After all, you’ll be wearing the carrier for several hours in most cases.

Top-rated baby carriers for traveling include:

  • Tushbaby Hip Carrier
  • Boba Baby Wrap
  • Baby Tula
  • Ergobaby 360

What types of baby carriers are allowed for air travel?

You can travel with most baby carriers. As long as they can be worn while sitting or standing, you should be able to use them for travel. Make sure they do not have any metal buckles or heavy pieces, as you may not be able to wear them through security. From hip carriers to ring slings, most types of carriers are allowed for air travel.

What is the best baby carrier for international travel?

Traveling internationally increases security standards, wait times, and travel time too. You should be able to use the baby carriers mentioned above for international or domestic travel. The best baby carrier for international travel will be the one that’s most comfortable for you and your baby.

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