Your car seat gets your child safely from point A to point B, but you also need something to get that car seat safely to its destination when it’s not in use. That’s where the car seat travel bag comes in.
While airlines do not require you to put a travel bag over your car seat when checking it, using one is the best way to minimize damage to your car seat. Remember that busy luggage handlers might not treat your car seat with as much care as you do, so a padded and portable travel bag like the Britax Car Seat Travel Bag with Padded Backpack Straps can protect your investment.
What to know before you buy a car seat travel bag
It protects your car seat from damage
Between TSA, luggage handlers, bellhops and helpful, but busy train staff, there are a lot of people who might help you carry and stash your car seat who don’t care about it as much as you do. You’ve seen the way your suitcases are thrown onto carts when you check them at the airport. The same can happen to your car seat. Should your car seat suffer damage while you’re traveling, you could find yourself without a functional car seat for part of your trip, which poses a major safety concern. A high-quality and protective car seat travel bag can protect your car seat when others aren’t so careful with it.
It provides extra storage space
One of the greatest perks of a car seat travel bag is that it gives you a little extra secret storage space. There will be some extra space inside of the bag once it’s holding your car seat for you to stuff a few small things like diapers and toys. Plus, most airlines do not count your car seat towards your checked bag or carry-on limit, meaning you can sneak a few more items in for free.
It makes carrying a car seat easier
If you are traveling with children, then you already have enough on your hands literally and figuratively. Between keeping track of your kids in the airport and lugging around your own belongings, you don’t have the spare hand to carry a car seat. Fortunately, many car seat travel bags have features such as backpack straps or wheels that make it easy to transport the item without occupying all of your hands.
Car seat travel bag features
Look for a car seat travel bag with plenty of padding. A thin, unpadded one can only protect against cosmetic damage but cannot protect against structural damage, should someone throw the bag too hard or should it get tossed around during turbulence. Only a well-padded bag can minimize the chances of structural damage.
Multiple carrying options
You’ll likely appreciate having several ways to transport your car seat so look for a travel bag that gives you options. Some have both backpack straps and wheels so you can carry your car seat on your back, leaving your hands entirely free when necessary, or you can cart it around on the wheels when it gets too heavy to carry. Many also have a top-grab handle, making it easy to rapidly pick the bag up when in a hurry.
If you find yourself caught in a downpour, the chances are that your umbrella can’t cover you and your car seat bag. So do look for one that is waterproof, as moisture can destroy the fabric parts of a car seat and leave you with a car seat that smells like mildew. Even if you don’t expect rain, remember that others who handle the luggage might accidentally spill on it, and fellow travelers might not have properly secured their liquid belongings, which could leak and spill onto your car seat.
Car seat travel bag cost
Car seat travel bags can cost as little as $35 and go up to $100. Considering that they protect a life-saving product, they are well worth the price.
Do airlines require a bag to check a car seat?
A. Airlines do not require you to use a bag when checking in your car seat. However, using a travel bag is a good idea if you want to minimize the chances that when your car seat arrives at your destination it will have suffered damage.
Can I put other items inside of my car seat travel bag?
A. There is room inside of the bag to add a few other small items along with the car seat. Do know that the airlines will check to confirm a car seat is inside of the bag when you check it, but most do not mind if you’ve included a few other lightweight items inside of it.
Which car seat travel bag should I get?
Best of the best car seat travel bag
Our take: With several well-placed straps and rugged wheels, this bag makes it easy to take your car seat on many adventures.
What we like: In addition to convenient backpack straps, this car seat bag has a grab handle on the top and the side and built-in wheels and makes lugging your car seat through the airport a breeze. It has a large opening, along with an ID window for putting important identifying information.
What we dislike: It lacks a telescoping handle.
Best bang for your buck car seat travel bag
Our take: This car seat travel bag features a rugged design at an affordable price.
What we like: Thanks to reinforced corners and stitching, this bag will hold up to plenty of use. It has a clear ID window and an elevated platform sitting atop a wheeled base. Its protective feet prevent scratches when it’s placed on the floor.
What we dislike: It does not have backpack straps.
Honorable mention car seat travel bag
Chicco Car Seat Travel Bag: Available at Amazon
Our take: This car seat travel bag has several carrying options and a sleek aesthetic.
What we like: This travel bag has backpack straps that tuck away when not in use and multiple grab handles. It sits atop four wheels and has water-resistant fabric along with a tough rubberized platform.
What we dislike: It is slightly bulky even when empty.
Julia Austin is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
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