The 8 BEST Car Seat Travel Bags (PLUS Tips on Carrying a Car Seat Through the Airport)

Author: Celine Brewer

Last Updated:

Trust me… lugging around a car seat with one hand while juggling all your baby travel essentials in the other is no easy task. By investing in one of the best car seat travel bags, I found that I could not only easily carry my car seat through the airport without the struggle but also offer my travel car seat some valuable protection against damage during the flight.

While I recognize that traveling with a car seat in the airplane is the most reliable way to keep your car seat from getting damaged, I also recognize that this isn’t always possible. Sometimes we need to gate check our car seat and other times it needs to be checked with luggage. Regardless of how you plan to travel with your car seat, a car seat bag for the airplane will help to protect it along the way.

In this post, I’ll share the best car seat covers for travel, but that isn’t the only way to travel with a car seat. I’ll also share some other ingenious ways on how to carry a car seat through the airport.

father and toddler walking into airport carrying JL Childress car seat bag for travel
My husband wearing our JL Childress car seat bag as a backpack.

This post contains compensated links.

8 Best Car Seat Travel Bags

Britax Boulevard seat fits in JL Childress Car Seat Travel Bag - one of the best car seat bags for travel
My toddlers Britax Boulevard in the J.L. Childress Car Seat Cover for Travel
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1. J.L. Childress Ultimate Backpack Padded Car Seat Travel Bag

J.L. Childress Ultimate car seat travel bag is designed with “ultimate” protection in mind. Its high quality, dense wing padding protects the car seat’s headrest and this is in addition to the padding all around. The sturdy dual zipper allows you to get to your car seat quickly without any snags. The top handle makes it easy to pick up. The padded backpack straps make it easy to carry, keeping your hands free for pushing the stroller or holding your toddlers’ hand.

Finally, the J.L. Childress Ultimate car seat airplane bag provides with a label to identify your bag. A small touch, but I like it given how much car seats cost.

Features

  • Durability: Made of heavy duty fabrics and is water-resistant.
  • Padding: All around padding plus additional padding to protect headrest.
  • Size and Fit: 18 by 19 by 33″ and will fit most large car seats.
  • Wheels: No wheels
  • Backpack Straps: Padded backpack straps

PROS

  • Spacious enough to fit large Britax Boulevard Car Seat and most large car seats.
  • All around padding for protection.

CONS

  • Don’t overload it as it can rip.

2. Yorepek Car Seat Travel Bag

The Yorepek travel car seat bag features padded wing protection, a top handle and an ergonomic design for your back. It also has thick feet at the bottom that protects both the bag itself and the car seat inside. While discussing protection, it should be mentioned that the Yorepek car seat bag bag has internal straps that fasten and hold the car seat. This keeps it safe from external shocks. With water-resistant exterior and external pockets stitched onto it, this car seat bag for flying is a great choice.

You are also provided with easy folding instructions to stow away your Yorepek bag when not in use. The car seat bag comes with a tag for identification, so don’t forget to fill that in before flying!

Features

  • Durability: Heavy-duty and water-resistant fabrics.
  • Padding: All around padding plus additional padding to protect headrest.
  • Size and Fit: 18 by 18 by 28″.
  • Wheels: No wheels
  • Backpack Straps: Padded backpack straps

PROS

  • Has external pockets, though they should be empty before checking car seat.
  • Comes in other colors besides just black.
  • Cheaper than J.L. Childress car seat bag.

CONS

  • Smaller than J.L. Childress so may not fit as many large car seats.
  • Padding could be thicker.

3. J.L. Childress Gate Check Bag

This J.L. Childress Gate Check Bag is for gate checking your car seat and not suitable for checking it with your luggage. It’s large enough to fit most large convertible car seats and will pack up compactly when not in use.

The durable, water-resistant material will offer a minimum amount of protection for your car seat but is great to help keep your car seat clean when traveling.

Features

  • Durability: Durable yet lightweight, water-resistant fabric.
  • Padding: No padding.
  • Size and Fit: Will fit most large car seats.
  • Wheels: No wheels
  • Backpack Straps: No straps just a carry handle.

PROS

  • Lightweight for easy protection to keep car seat clean.
  • Inexpensive.

CONS

  • No backpack straps for each carry.

4. J.L. Childress Wheelie Car Seat Travel Bag

Another entry on my list of the best car seat covers for travel by J.L. Childress. Airline certified with durability to show it, this car seat bag for travel has dual wheels that balance with an elevated platform base. The edges and corners, which are more susceptible to rips and tears, are doubly protected to secure your child’s car seat. Designed to be waterproof, the material on the J.L. Childress airplane car seat bag is easy to clean and keeps germs and dirt at bay.

The dual lockable zippers and ID card pocket on this car seat travel cover are bonuses for better accessibility and security. J.L. Childress padded car seat travel bag will offer protection to your baby’s car seat while making it easy for you to get it around.

Features

  • Durability: Made of heavy duty fabrics and is water-resistant.
  • Padding: None.
  • Size and Fit: 20 by 20 by 32″ and will fit most large car seats.
  • Wheels: Two non-swivel wheels.
  • Backpack Straps: No – has detachable shoulder strap.

PROS

  • Thick, durable, water-resistant fabric to keep car seat clean.
  • Large size makes and dual zipper makes it easy to pack any large car seat in it.
  • Wheels make it easy to pull.

CONS

  • No padding, though the thick material offers some protection.
  • Wheel base allows it to be folded flat but won’t pack as small as other options.

5. Zohzo Car Seat Travel Bag

This versatile car seat airplane bag fits most brands inside it and can be worn on your back with the padded backpack straps. Its padded feet will protect it against wear and tear on the outside and its padded interior wings will cushion the car seat from the inside.

When it comes to its exterior, the waterproof fabric protects it from spills and rough travel conditions. There’s also a lockable dual zipper makes it easy to pack the car seat in. This durable airplane car seat bag comes with a 1-year warranty. It even has an option to return the product within 14 days and receive a complete refund if you are not satisfied!

Features

  • Durability: Made of heavy duty fabrics and is water-resistant.
  • Padding: 10 mm foam padding around car seat plus additional padding to protect headrest.
  • Size and Fit: 18 by 18 by 28″.
  • Wheels: No wheels
  • Backpack Straps: Padded backpack straps

PROS

  • All around padding for protection.
  • Padded backpack straps make it easy to carry.

CONS

  • Zippers sometimes fall off and other hardware on the straps isn’t the highest quality.

6. J.L. Childress Spinner Wheelie Deluxe Car Seat Travel Bag

The J.L Childress Spinner Wheelie Deluxe has four wheels that rotate in every direction and a specially designed stable bottom base, transporting your car seat will be smooth sailing from here on out. The padded car seat bag with wheels has wings to protect the essential parts of your child’s car seat, and its dual zippers make it quick to access.

It’s also made of easy-to-clean water-resistant fabric and features a top carry handle for added convenience. The best part? This luxurious car seat gate check bag is compatible with almost all US-based car seats.

Features

  • Durability: Made of heavy duty fabrics and is water-resistant.
  • Padding: All around padding plus additional padding to protect headrest.
  • Size and Fit: 20 by 20 by 30″ and will fit large car seats.
  • Wheels: Four wheels that spin.
  • Backpack Straps: No straps.

PROS

  • Wheels make it extra easy to get around and with 4 wheels it stays upright on it’s own.
  • The padding plus wheels keep it well protected.

CONS

  • Some issues with the durability of the wheels.
  • Most expensive car seat travel bag.

7. Britax Car Seat Travel Bag

The Britax Car Seat Travel Bag comes with built-in wheels on one side along with a robust rubber base. It also has shoulder straps and multiple handles, allowing you to carry it however you please. If you don’t want a car seat backpack, you can put the shoulder straps away in the included storage pouch when not in use.

A water-resistant exterior, a double zipper for quick opening and closing and an ID holder are some of its other noteworthy features. The Britax holds most car seats in addition to its own brand of car seats.

Features

  • Durability: Made of water-resistant, heavy duty fabrics.
  • Padding: No inner padding.
  • Size and Fit: 17 by 15.5 by 31.5″ and will fit most large car seats.
  • Wheels: Built in wheels.
  • Backpack Straps: Padded backpack straps

PROS

  • The most versatile with both wheels and padded backpack straps.

CONS

  • No padding for extra protection.

8. Chicco Car Seat Travel Bag

Designed to accommodate all Chicco car seats, this 360-degree wheeled car seat bag for flying makes travel super easy. It features two padded handles for holding it in whatever position is most comfortable, an adjustable back strap that can be tucked away when not in use, and backstrap pockets for extra storage!

The Chicco car seat travel bag with wheels covers all bases durability-wise, with water-resistant PVB fabric, double zippers and a rubberized base to protect your car seat from the outside. This padded car seat bag with wheels is definitely a little heavy on the wallet, but I think its quality is worth the price.

Features

  • Durability: Made of heavy duty fabrics and is water-resistant.
  • Padding: All around padding plus additional padding to protect headrest.
  • Size and Fit: 18 by 19 by 33″ and will fit most large car seats.
  • Wheels: Four 360 degree spinner wheels.
  • Backpack Straps: Padded backpack straps that can be tucked away.

PROS

  • 4 spinner wheels for ease of getting around plus backpack straps that can be tucked away.
  • High quality construction.

CONS

  • Doesn’t have any padding.

My Top Picks for the Best Car Seat Travel Bags

I know you don’t always have time to read, so here are my top picks for the best car seat bags for flying:

Best Car Seat Bag for Flying:

J.L. Childress Ultimate Backpack Padded Car Seat Travel BagThis is the car seat travel bag I own. I like the extra padding around the car seat for extra protection. The backpack straps are ideal when you have other luggage and a stroller to push around.

Best Car Seat Cover for Travel WITH WHEELS:

J.L. Childress Wheelie Car Seat Travel Bag – If carrying a car seat on your back isn’t ideal, then this one offers the same great protection but has two wheels to make it easier to lug through the airport.

Best Car Seat Bag for Budgets:

J.L. Childress Gate Check Bag – If you just need a light cover to protect your seat from getting dirty (when you gate check your car seat) and don’t want to spend a lot of money, then this one is the best choice.

Most Important Features for Car Seat Bags for Air Travel

1. Wheels

Wheels are a great addition to your car seat travel bag if you are a frequent traveler. There are a few things to consider depending on the number of wheels you go for (two or four); check for the type – is it an inline skate wheel or a spinner wheel? 

An inline wheel is built into the car seat bag and is better protected against external damage. They are made of polyurethane material and can glide easily over uneven surfaces. Note that with these wheels, you will need to push your bag around and when used for prolonged periods, your wrist and shoulder may have to bear the brunt of the task. 

As the name goes, a spinner wheel spins on all sides making it ideal for crafty maneuvering. These car seat bag wheels are attached externally instead of being inbuilt. This could welcome a slight chance of damage as opposed to its counterpart. 

2. Padded Backpack Straps

A well-designed backpack strap is a must when selecting a travel bag for a car seat. What you want are shoulder straps that are adjustable and comfortable enough that you forget you’re even wearing them. 

When shopping for a car seat backpack, keep an eye out for contoured straps that take the shape of shallow S-shaped curves. These are more in tune with your body and will relax the muscles they are placed over instead of pinching them. 

Also look for dual-density foam, in which the closed-cell foam of the padding prevents it from collapsing under heavyweight, and the open-celled foam on the other side provides extra cushioning. Lastly, having buckles to fasten the bag in one position is always a good idea. 

3. Extra Protection / Padding in the Bag to Protect Seat 

Internal winged pads protect the essential safety features of your child’s travel car seat from external shock and damage. This is crucial in order to retain the quality of your car seat for the safety of your child. 

All the padded car seat travel bags covered in my list above have this one feature in common. So, it’s probably evident by now how integral this feature is. 

Lightweight travel car seat covers like this one offer little protection in case of gate checking, although it would be fine if you are not using your car seat bag for flying.

4. Price 

The price for a car seat travel bag usually ranges between $40 – $100 depending on the features available. The car seat bags on the lower end tend to come with inline skater wheels or none at all. If you do not travel much or find the backpack version sufficient, this is a cost-efficient option that works for most people. The bags on the higher end come with better material quality and additional features such as pockets and wheels. 

5. Universal Fit

A ‘one size fits all’ design can make your car seat travel bag worth the investment. A universal fit car seat carry bag is one that can hold, protect and even provide room for extra items, regardless of the brand of your child’s car seat. Shopping for a Universal Fit bag is a lot more hassle-free than checking and rechecking your car seat’s measurements for every new prospective bag you find during your search! 

6. Water Resistance

Between rainy days, clumsy kids and rough baggage handling, water resistant car seat covers have become a must. Besides, it’s easier to find a water resistant car seat travel bag than one without any such reinforcements nowadays anyway. 

7. Size When Folded 

Many parents want their car seats on the airplane. Not only is it safer for your child, but it might be the best way to get your toddler to sleep on the airplane. Getting a few extra snoozes can help with baby jet lag. Since these baby car seat travel bags can take up a lot of room when folded, we offer other options on how to carry a travel car seat through the airport below.

What happens in the instance when you plan to gate check your car seat, but an open seat is available on the plane?

In these instances, how do you store your car seat travel bag in a way that doesn’t take up a ludicrous amount of space? By folding it, of course!

Some travel bags even come with manual instructions for folding your car seat bag on a plane. These are not only a blessing for traveling parents but also co-passengers trying to fit their luggage in as well.  

8. Reinforced Base

A reinforced base assures peace of mind when your car seat carry bag is off being handled by operational staff. It is also a major plus when dealing with bumps and scuffs that you’re bound to face while dragging it along in a hurry. It is definitely a consideration worth making, especially when you are looking for a car seat travel bag with wheels. 

How to Choose the Best Car Seat Bags for Travel

When it comes to choosing the best car seat bag for travel, there are a few things to consider. If you are looking for car seat bags for flying, you’ll also need to consider how you’ll be flying with your car seat: in the airplane, gate-checking or checking it with your luggage.

1. Size: There are two main factors to consider here; whether the bag fits your child’s travel car seat, and whether it’s foldable when required. It’s a bonus if it can hold more accessories.

2. How you will transport your car seat:  Your decision for your investment can be influenced by how you choose to transport your bag. If it’s being gate-checked or added with your check-in luggage, look out for a reinforced base and overall quality of protection. It is worth mentioning that users often find traveling with wheels more convenient. After all, your journey does continue outside the airport as well. 

If you’re just looking for way to carry a car seat to the airplane, see our other suggestions below.

3. How often will you use your car seat carrier: If you plan to use it frequently, choose a padded car seat travel bag with high quality features that stand up to repetitive use.

4. Bulky vs compact: While we highly recommend parents who are flying with toddlers to opt for padded car seat covers for travel, we understand that there is also a matter of budget to consider. If you’re looking for an affordable option, choosing a nylon bag without internal padding does have one upside, and that is its compactness. These bags are lighter to carry and offer extra space for packing more items you may need. 

5. Type of travel seat: The size and shape of your car seat most definitely affects the travel car seat cover you choose for it. Take your specific type of car seat and its needs into account when searching for one, because an infant car seat may not require the same size as a convertible car seat or a travel booster.

a laughing toddler in airport sitting on car seat in car seat bag for flying.
My toddler sitting on the J.L. Childress Car Seat Cover (with his car seat packed inside)

Other Options on How to Carry a Car Seat Through Airport

If you plan to bring your travel car seat onto the airplane, there are other more cost effective ways (that pack smaller) to transport your car seat through the airport.

The car seat travel bags mentioned above are ideal for parents who plan to check their car seat with the luggage or who plan to gate check the car seat. If you’ve purchased a plane seat for your baby or toddler and want your car seat on board, here are the best ways to carry your travel car seat to the airplane:

1. Your Car Seat Turns into a Stroller

A car seat that turns into a stroller, like the Doona Infant Car Seat & Latch Base, makes transporting your car seat super easy! Just pop out the wheels and away you go. No other car seat carrier required and you don’t need to purchase a travel stroller, not yet anyways…

The Doona is suitable for babies 4 to 35 lbs and up to 32 inches in height.

2. Car Seat Luggage Cart

A car seat travel cart, like this popular Britax car seat travel cart or this one, is another easy way to get your car seat through the airport. Car seats attach to the Britax car seat travel cart using the latch system, plus it folds compact enough to go in the overhead bin on the airplane.

3. Traveling with a Car Seat and Stroller

Are you flying with a stroller and a car seat? When flying with a baby, a travel system will make travel through the airport a breeze. Gate check your stroller, then carry your car seat onto the plane.

Even if you don’t have a proper travel system, you can still put your car seat on your stroller to help carry all your gear. If it’s not a secure fit, make sure to carry your baby in a baby carrier and let your stroller do the heavy work.

mother next to travel system with baby in car seat on stroller.
I used a travel system for my daughter in London.

4. Lightweight Travel Car Seat Bag

A lightweight travel bag for car seat with backpack straps makes it easy to carry and it will fold away easy once on the airplane.

5. Car Seat Luggage Strap

If you travel with carry-on luggage, use a car seat travel strap to make the most use of those wheels on your suitcase. These easy to use car seat travel belts are the most cost-effective car seat carriers! You just attach your car seat with a luggage strap and roll your car seat onto the airplane.

6. Foldable Toddler Car Seats

Though you may scoff at the price, a travel car seat like the WayB Pico (see on Amazon or Saks Fifth Avenue) makes traveling with a car seat so much easier. If you travel frequently, it’s worth the price.

7. Booster Seat Travel Bag

If you aren’t traveling with a compact booster seat, like the hiccapop UberBoost Inflatable Booster or the BubbleBum Inflatable Booster Car Seat, then protect your backless booster seat with a booster seat travel bag.

The Best Car Seat Travel Bags

This post was written & edited by:

info@babycantravel.com | Website | + posts

Celine Brewer is the owner of Baby Can Travel. Not only does she have years of experience traveling with babies & toddlers, but she's helped millions of new parents travel with their babies and toddlers for over a decade. In addition to writing on her baby travel blog, she has shared her expertise on traveling with a baby or toddler by contributing to articles about traveling with a baby with the Washington Post, USA Today, the Lonely Planet magazine and Pregnancy & Newborn magazine.

Celine also writes about family travel on the site FamilyCanTravel.com, which she co-owns with her husband. Being from the Canadian Rockies, she shares her passion about her home and travel to Banff National Park and area on their site TravelBanffCanada.com.

Read more about Celine Brewer.

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