Best Car Seat Travel Bag: Is It a Must Have?

A car seat travel bag is the best option to keep your car seat clean and protected when you travel. It also makes carrying your car seat around much easier, especially when you need hands-free to catch a runaway toddler.

Car seat covers come in a range of different styles, some with backpack straps, some with wheels, some fitted to a specific brand seat and others are more universal. Because of all the variations, picking the best one for you can become quite confusing.

Having traveled with my kids and their car seats many times, I am going to share all my knowledge about what to consider when picking a car seat bag and which are the best ones for different needs.

Do You Need a Travel Bag for Your Car Seat?

While the car seat travel bag isn’t compulsory, I highly recommend getting one. Well, if of course, you’re bringing a car seat on your trip, which might not be necessary, depending on the trip.

Then, the next question you need to answer yourself is whether you want to use your car seat on the plane or not. Using car seats on planes is a very American trend and you won’t see it much in other places around the world, but if you decide to use it make sure that your car seat fits within the airline width restrictions (some planes might be different) and has a stricter that’s FAA certified to use it on planes.

Personally, I don’t recommend bringing car seats on the plane for anyone who travels with kids on flights longer than 5 hours. It’s uncomfortable for the kids (and actually unhealthy for infants) and if they don’t want to stay in the car seat you end up with zero space and screaming kids.

Now, before the crazy internet moms jump at me for not keeping their kids safe and risking their car seat destroyed:

  • The chances of your car seat or stroller being destroyed are small and there are ways to ensure that the airline pays the damage.
  • If you’re driving after getting off the plane, you can pay more attention to the driving (and as a result, be safer) if you’re rested after the flight and if your child is screaming after being uncomfortable in the car seat you won’t be.
  • That said, you can also keep your child contained in a CARES harness. It’s packable and doesn’t take up space if your child wants to lie down and sleep on the flight.

I recommend checking a car seat in a bag not only because of the obvious protection but also because you can easily stuff some extra things in the bag. The most obvious items that are not heavy, but take up a lot of space is diapers! We sometimes put swim floats as well.

What to Look for in a Car Seat Travel Bag?

There are a few things to consider when buying a bag to protect your car seat. Firstly, check the amount and placement of padding. The main reason you need a bag is to protect your car seat from damages it may incur during transport.

Next is the quality, a bag made from flimsy material or featuring cheap zippers is likely going to break if thrown around in the hold of a plane, making it quite useless. Make sure you are buying a good quality product that can stand a little torture.

You should also look for a waterproof material as it might be raining at the airport and luggage often has to wait outside to be loaded onto the plane. We all know things can be wet but you don’t want to have to deal with a wet car seat directly after landing in a new destination.

Lastly, another thing to consider is pockets or extra storage space, some car seat covers have added pockets that allow you to store lightweight baby equipment like diapers! When traveling with a family, any extra luggage space you can get becomes priceless.

Car Seat Travel Bags

How to Travel with a Car Seat on the Plane

Depending on if you’re planning on checking the car seat at the check-in desk or gate can impact your decision of weather or not to buy a car seat bag. Many people will tell you to always gate-check your car seat as they claim there’s a less chance of damaging it, but I will be real: if you have multiple kids it’s simply not always possible as you have a limited amount of hands to carry it all, on top of wrangling the kids.

At big airports you might have to walk for 20 minutes and take trains and stairs to get to your gate, it can make your travels a nightmare if you do it that way. No wonder many parents don’t want to travel with kids when they bring so much stuff.

You can safely check your car seat at the check-in desk. The car seats have to be checked at the special items area, the same area where skis, bikes, and basically special and fragile equipment get checked and it’s handled differently from regular luggage!

Best Car Seat Travel Bags

We could have saved more room in our suitcase when using a car seat bag, as it’s a nice spot to throw extra diapers, wipes, swim vests

Budget-Friendly Car Seat Bag – J.L. Childress Gate Check Bag

The most important reason I recommend this bag isn’t that it’s budget-friendly, but the fact that it’s universal.

Over the years our children outgrew some car seats or strollers, but we are still able to use this bag as it isn’t cut out to fit only a specific item.

The simple design closes with a draw string and when not in use, fits into a tiny travel pouch so it doesn’t take up too much space.

Car Seat Travel Bag

Best Backpack Car Seat Bag – J.L. Childress Backpack

If you’re someone who is always running out of arms, this backpack car seat bag provides padded straps so you can carry it hands-free.

The case itself is also padded to protect the chair and water resistant so your seat won’t get wet if caught in a shower.

This car seat bag is more fitted and while it does fit a range of different brands of car seat, it isn’t completely universal as with the one above.

Best Car Seat Bag with Wheels – Simple Being Baby Car Seat Travel Bag

Like the bag above, this car seat bag has padded straps but also has wheels with 360-degree rotation, so you can choose which way is easiest to carry it for you.

The water-resistant, padded bag is compatible with most car seat brands and uses high-quality materials to ensure long life of your seat and bag.

Just make sure to tighten the backpack straps if you plan to use the wheels as the straps getting caught is perhaps the most common user complaint.

Best Car Seat Bag with Extra Storage – Jeep Car Seat Travel Bag 

Since most airlines check car seats for free, if you’re looking to get the most use out of your bag while flying, this Jeep car seat travel bag is a game changer.

Inside the bag there is plenty of space for your car seat plus any other extra baby gear you can’t fit in your suitcase like diapers, clothes and toys.

There’s also a handy external pocket that you can store anything you might need in a hurry while in transit.

Infant Car Seat Travel Bag – Yorepek

If you’re traveling with a baby and need to protect your infant car seat, the Yorepek has you covered.

As you may have seen, most of the previous models are not compatible with infant seats as the shape is designed for upright car seat. This model works for all the Nuna Pipa and Graco SnugRide seats as well as some other baby seat.

What’s more, the materials are extremely durable and there are added rubber feet on the bottom to prevent wear and tear when your bag is placed on the ground.

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