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Best Baby Carrier For Travel Reviews & Comparison Chart 2021

Having a baby carrier in your hand luggage is essential for flying with a baby. Not only are they invaluable for boarding the aircraft or disembarking the aircraft and keeping you hands free for all of the other baby gear, they are also complete life savers if you have a long walk to baggage claim, and your travel stroller needs to be collected there. This guide compares the best baby carrier for travel features so you can decide which style will suit your needs best whether you are planning to hike, visit a hot country, ski with a baby or need a flexible and comfortable all rounder.

Baby in a baby carrier

When deciding what baby carrier is best for you and your baby, there are so many considerations especially if more than one adult will be baby-wearing. However, when you are flying with a baby or searching for the best baby carrier for travel there are even more things to think about; from practicality, comfort and even the weather and terrain.

Everybody’s needs for baby wearing on holiday or baby-wearing on vacation will vary a lot, but this guide will help you narrow down and decide on the best baby carrier for your circumstances. Whether you are flying on a plane solo and need you hands free, or are planning to hike a national park and need a backpack baby carrier, or prefer a wrap baby carrier which is easily adjustable for feeds, there is something for everyone!

A Travel Stroller or Baby Carrier For Travel?

We have taken both, and both a travel stroller and a travel baby carrier have their pros and cons. There are some absolutely brilliant and airplane cabin approved travel strollers which you can pop in the overhead lockers (subject to meeting certain size requirements) with some having a recline option. However, if you have a newborn, a lie flat feature is needed on the buggy and you will need to take them out of the stroller to feed. A lot of baby carriers are now so adjustable that you can feed on the go.

Can you wear a baby carrier through airport security?

Yes, but not always. Whereas with a stroller, you will often need to remove a sleeping baby for security staff to either place it on the X-Ray conveyer belt for screening or be patted down, you are more likely to be able to walk through airport security machines whilst baby-wearing. Should you be requested to remove it, then you are less likely to wake up baby as you wriggle out of the baby carrier.

Baby wearing at the airport is very useful if you are also flying alone with a baby as it means you can keep you hands free for grabbing your travel documents, luggage etc

Using a Baby Carrier on an Airplane

With some flights over 24 hours and transit stops, long waits at border control etc, having a baby carrier in your hand luggage or wearing it onto the plane can be very convenient. Although you cannot use a baby carrier for taxi, take-off or landing, having a baby carrier can be very useful if you need to get up and walk the aisle to calm baby, or pop to the loo or have them sleep on you if your flights doesn’t have a airline bassinet. If you use your baby carrier whilst boarding, it doesn’t count as part of your baggage allowance. Baby carriers are much easier to stow away and pack too! The best baby carrier for air travel needs to be easy to use, light weight to stow away and comfortable for using in whatever climate you are heading to.

Using a Baby Carrier For Travel

A lightweight baby carrier is much easier to transport and less bulky if you need to jump on a train or bus at rush hour with a baby. We had great difficulty using our stroller on the Paris Metro with a baby and learnt the hard way, that a baby carrier would have much more useful but I left it in the hotel room! Also depending on your location, a travel stroller may not be able to cope with dirt tracks, rough ground, cobbled streets, steps or high inclines if you are hiking. A travel baby carrier can also save you time as you won’t need to wait for a lift or elevator at the airport, station, attraction etc.

What Style of Baby Carrier for Travel?

Baby carriers come in all shapes and sizes and baby carriers for toddlers are also available for up to around 4 years old.  Styles of baby carrier include:

  • Front Facing Baby Carrier
  • Baby Back Carrier
  • Baby Wrap
  • Hip Baby Carriers
  • Baby Sling Carrier

Slings and wraps are very convenient when you have a young baby. They are snuggled in, nice and cosy and you can pretty much go about about you normal routine with a small person attached to you!

The best travel baby carriers can offer a great advantage: You can also breastfeed whilst on the go – although I did manage to breastfeed with the BabyBjorn too. However, when baby is a bit bigger you may prefer a more versatile baby carrier or even start with one of the following from the start.

Lots of places offer sling and baby carrier workshops or libraries where you can borrow and try what suits you best. It is very much your own personal opinion but hopefully these insights along with readers of Flying With A Baby, and from others that have tried them, can help you decide what will best for your next family travel adventure. Please do let me know your recommendations for the best baby carrier for travelling below too and why you loved it.

BEST BABY CARRIER FOR TRAVEL COMPARISON CHART 2021

ImageNameChild Weight LimitsFront CarryFront Facing OutBack CarryHip CarryHoodPockets
Ergo Baby 360 All PositionsMin 5.5kg to 15kg
(12.13 lbs to 33.1 lbs)
From 7lb if newborn insert is purchased
✓ plus a head rest.X
ManducaMin 3.5 kg to 20 kg
(7.7lbs to 44 lbs).
X✓ plus a head rest.X
LILLEbaby All seasons ergonomic carrierMin 3.17kg to 20.4kg
(7lbs to 45lbs)
✓ plus a head rest.
Baby Tula Free to Grow CarrierMin 3.17kg to 20kg
(7lbs to 44lbs)
XX
Baby Bjorn OneMin 3.6kg to 15kgs
(8lbs to 33lbs)
XX Can be bought separately Baby Bjorn Cover With HoodX
Boba WrapUp to 35lbsXXXX
Baby Tula7-45lbsXX
Hip Baby Ring Wrap 8 – 35 lbs.XXXX
Deuter Kid Comfort Lite ActiveMax weight 48lbsXXX

 

Baby carriers, best baby carrier for travel
We loved the Baby Bjorn and consider it one of the best baby carriers for travel. Using the baby carrier for 1 year old.

Baby Bjorn Baby Carrier One

The BABYBJÖRN Baby Carrier One is suitable from newborn to 3 years, making it a useful bit for a decent amount of time. This versatile carrier can be used in 4 ergonomic front and back carrying positions. These include newborn, baby facing-in, baby facing-out and back carrying.  I bought this because not only do I have a dog to walk, but also to support my back as I’ve had back surgery in the past. It’s one of the best forward facing baby carriers for when baby likes to look out and about. 

The extra lumbar support and padded shoulder straps have proved invaluable which is why we recommend it as one of the best baby carriers for traveling. – I’ve managed to carry both of my daughter’s up to the maximum weight allowance. For travelling, it can squish up very nicely into a regular sized carry on bag. (Also in my carry on bag, I’ve had a spare change of clothes for me, 2 spare changes for her, extra muslins, extra nappies, bag of toys, a book for me (wishful thinking), two books for her and usually my sunglasses case.) So hopefully that gives you an idea of how compact it can be and why I think it’s a good candidate when searching for the best baby carrier for flying.

The carrier has also been very handy for either boarding or disembarking the aircraft and keeping hands free.

As all airports/airlines vary with their policies of stroller delivery on arrival, (sometimes at aircraft door or baggage carousel or oversize luggage), this carrier proved to be invaluable, especially when I have flown alone with little Miss A.

For more information and latest prices on the Baby Bjorn Carrier, see here

LILLEbaby All Seasons Carrier.

Lillebaby all seasons carrier in stone

This is a contender for the best baby carrier for travel as it is suitable for all seasons. For warmer climes there is mesh panel to help with air flow. For colder or windy days there is a hood and adjustable neck support. For your comfort, there is additional lumbar support and large padded straps. It can be used in all positions, including hip and is suitable from birth to toddler. (Up to 45lbs)

A Flying With A Baby reader adds, “I have the Lillebaby 6- in-1 complete airflow. It’s great with a larger child since there is extra back support. Also I love the breathable mesh all over so you and your child don’t sweat while walking around. I use it all the time while traveling and very easy to use. For more information and prices see here.

Ergo 360

Review by Leonor Gonzo

360 All Positions Baby Carrier
Cool Air Mesh – Carbon Grey

What I really like about it, is that it is so comfortable for the baby and the mum! It’s the perfect travel baby carrier for the 3 long haul flights to Australia that we have flown.

It keeps baby in the correct position with the legs bent around the parent to support the lower back. It’s very versatile and can be worn a number of ways; facing forwards, on the back and on the hip and is suitable from day one if you buy the infant insert. Otherwise it is suitable from 12.1lbs. I also like the fact it has various supports, which you can adjust to make it comfortable for your baby. A further advantage is the hood. This model does not have pockets but the original Ergo does. The various supports help make it one of the best baby carriers for air travel as it is so flexible.

Another Flying With A Baby reader adds, “I found the Ergobaby not great for short mums. My body is to short. Baby Bjorn is nice and easy for getting your baby in and out of going through security (though at Singapore I had plenty of security staff keen to help/ cuddle my little munchkin!)”

best travel baby carrier
Ergobaby 360 – image courtesy Life of Reilly

Ali and Dave from the fabulous Life Of Reilly, also add the following about the Ergobaby 360, “Being a travelling family we’ve used a few different types of carriers. We’ve found different types are best for different ages.

The slings and wraps are wonderful when they are infants. They’re hugged really tight to you so they can hear your heart beat and feel as if they’re still in the womb. You can also breastfeed on the go. Once they get to be about one I found they were too heavy to wear on my front anymore. The Ergobaby is an essential baby equipment if you ask me and the best travel baby carrier for us.

Kids can go in it up until about 3 years old. It’s all fabric so can pack down to the bottom of a nappy bag or rucksack as a “just in case” your toddler insists they want to walk but their little legs get tired faster than they anticipated, which of course will happen.

Despite being all fabric and no metal frame it’s very structured so you won’t get a sore back. Once they get to toddlerhood and you know they’re going to be on your back for a long stretch of time however, we really like the large metal framed rucksack carriers to protect our backs. We use a buggy for site seeing or theme parks but for almost anything off road we love our carriers. They help us to explore hands free with lots of freedom.”

Pros 

  • Comfortable
  • Versatile
  • Supports baby well

Cons

  • It’s a little tough to do up the top strap behind your back, as it’s right in the middle of the shoulder blades and high up! I often get others to help me for that.. However, it is easy to adjust once the baby is in and the higher the baby is the better for your back/shoulders.

For more information and latest prices, see here.

Boba Wrap Baby Carrier

The Boba Wrap Baby Carrier is ideal for newborns til approximately 3 months of age up to a maximum weight limit of 35lbs. It comes in a range of colours, is easy to tie and breastfeed in, with one size fitting all – so no adjustment needed when parents swap wearing the baby! This is a good wrap for travelling, as the sling only weighs 1.5lbs, is easy to pack away when not in use. If baby is sick or poops through, it’s washable and dries quickly plus it’s easy to breastfeed whilst traveling.

Baby Tula Free To Grow Carrier

The baby Tula is lightweight and flexible with complete adjustments to suit your measurements. The mesh and cool fabric make it ideal for warmer climates.

The padded areas also make it comfortable to wear. This baby carrier is suitable from birth up to 44lbs and also for toddler wearing. This travel baby carrier also has small pocket for small items. For sleeping, feeding or sun protection, each baby carrier includes a coordinating removable hood.

For more information and latest prices of the best baby carrier for travel in summer, see here.

Manduca Carrier

Popular in Europe (but also available in the USA), the Manduca ergonomic baby carrier offers flexible carrying positions. These include forward facing, back and hip. This soft structured carrier is suitable from birth to approximately 4 year old and can hold up to 20kg. The carrier is made from organic cotton and has an adjustable head and neck rest.

For more information and prices, see here.

Scootababy Hip Carrier

Photo courtesy of Scootababy

Review by Charlotte Fletcher

For bigger babies a hip carrier has been really useful. Most airports have allowed us to keep our buggy with us until we get to the gate, but there have been several instances where we’ve had to check it in and missed out on the first-come-first-served airport buggies.

Obviously the Babybjorn (or equivalent) is great for wee ones (not least because the airport buggies often aren’t suitable for very young infants) but our hip carrier was a godsend for our chunky 12 month old. It also weighs very little and is less bulky than the Babybjorn. It can carry a child between 12 lbs and 37 lbs (5.5 kg–17 kg)

Pros

  • Light and compact so easily stashes in hand luggage.
  • Brilliant for pre-walkers who’ve outgrown the babybjorn
  • Distributes baby’s weight around your waist, hips and shoulders; leaves both hands free for holding onto other children!
  • Can be used as a front, back or hip carrier.

Cons

  • It’s not a miracle worker so a heavy child will still be difficult to carry for any substantial length of time.
  • Initially took a bit of jiggling around to work out how to get the straps optimally positioned.

Another option to consider is the i-angel carrier. Karen from Travel Mad Mum says the,

“The i-angel carrier is a really good all round choice as it can be used from 7-44lbs. It’s ideal for a young baby right up to a toddler, a great product if you want it to last for a long time.

It has a lot more structure than the usual carrier because of the hip seat and the straps both around the waist and the shoulders are super thick making it extra comfy, even with a big toddler. The hip-seat allows little ones to have a more upright view and I strongly believe this contributes to their development as they can see everything and interact a lot more with others.

With a pocket for storing a phone or credit card and a little hood for when they are sleeping or feeding, it’s an ideal carrier for travelling.”

BEST BABY CARRIER FOR NEWBORNS

Having a carrier for a newborn makes simple tasks so much easier – like being able to pop the kettle on or answer the door if they have fallen asleep on you! For travel, a newborn baby carrier needs to be supportive and comfortable for you as well as baby, and potentially easy to feed in and get in and out of.

Below are our readers choice for the best baby carrier for newborn babies. These are also great baby carriers for twins.

Boba Wrap Baby Carrier

Boba wrap baby carrier
Boba Baby Wrap Carrier

The Boba Wrap Baby Wrap Carrier is ideal for newborns til approximately 3 months of age up to a maximum weight limit of 35lbs. It comes in a range of colours, is easy to tie and breastfeed in, with one size fitting all – so no adjustment needed when parents swap wearing the baby! This is a good wrap for travelling, as the sling only weighs 1.5lbs, is easy to pack away when not in use. If baby is sick or poops through, it’s washable and dries quickly plus it’s easy to breastfeed whilst traveling.

Hip Baby Ring Sling

Hipbaby rainbow ring sling
Hip Baby rainbow ring sling

The Hip Baby Ring Sling can hold a baby up to 8kg, comes in various colors and is made with hand-loomed eco-friendly cotton. Position wise, it can be easily adjusted to be used for front tummy to tummy and hip carries for infants through toddlers. Sling baby carriers or ring slings are a little quicker to put on than baby wraps so are convenient if you are having to move quickly or are in a hurry.

BEST BABY CARRIER FOR BREASTFEEDING

Having a baby carrier which is easy to breastfeed in, makes travelling with a baby so much easier. Baby carriers which are easily adjustable for comfort and are breathable are perfect for the job. For travel, these baby carriers are supportive for newborns as well as being lightweight when not in use.

Below are our readers choice for the best baby carriers for breastfeeding.

Boba Wrap Baby Carrier

boba wrap baby carrier
Boba wrap baby carrier

The Boba Wrap Baby Carrier is ideal for newborns til approximately 3 months of age up to a maximum weight limit of 35lbs. It comes in a range of colours, is easy to tie and breastfeed in, with one size fitting all – so no adjustment needed when parents swap wearing the baby! This is a good wrap for travelling, as the sling only weighs 1.5lbs, is easy to pack away when not in use. If baby is sick or poops through, it’s washable and dries quickly plus it’s easy to breastfeed whilst traveling.

Hip Baby Ring Sling

Hipbaby rainbow ring sling
Hip baby rainbow sling

The Hip Baby Ring Sling can hold a baby up to 8kg, comes in various colors and is made with hand-loomed eco-friendly cotton. Position wise, it can be easily adjusted to be used for front tummy to tummy and hip carries for infants through toddlers.

This is a great baby backpack carrier for hiking

BEST BABY CARRIER FOR HIKING

When you are researching the best baby hiking carrier, comfort and air flow are the two main considerations.

Our pick of the best baby carrier for hiking is the :

Deuter Kid Comfort Active

Deuter Comfort Active/Lite baby carrier for hiking
Deuter Comfort Active/Lite is comfortable and provides a good airflow for the parent making it a great hiking baby carrier!

When purchasing a baby back carrier for hiking, our reader didn’t opt for the ‘Comfort Pro’ model, which has extra padding, because he wanted the increased airflow for hiking in warmer weather. He’s still glad he went for that option. “The extra padding might have been fine for just walking about town but I think it would have been a negative on a good hike, versus better airflow.” Plus this model of carrier for baby is the lightest for traveling at 6lbs with plenty of pockets.

BEST BABY CARRIER FOR BACK PAIN

After having a microdiscectomy for past back pain and pelvic girdle pain whilst pregnant, it was important to find the best baby carrier for back pain which was supportive and comfortable. I opted for the Baby Bjorn Baby Carrier One whereas a friend highly recommends the Ergo all 360.

Baby Bjorn Baby Carrier One

This versatile carrier for baby can be used in 4 ergonomic front and back carrying positions and comes in numerous colours. Positions include newborn, baby facing-in, baby facing-out and back carrying.  I bought this because not only do I have a dog to walk, but also to support my back as I’ve had back surgery in the past. It’s one of the best forward facing baby carriers for when baby likes to look out and about.

The extra lumbar support and padded shoulder straps have proved invaluable which is why we recommend it as on of the best baby carriers for traveling. – I’ve managed to carry both of my daughter’s up to the maximum weight allowance. For travelling, it can squish up very nicely into a regular sized carry on bag. (Also in my carry on bag, I’ve had a spare change of clothes for me, 2 spare changes for her, extra muslins, extra nappies, bag of toys, a book for me (wishful thinking), two books for her and usually my sunglasses case.) So hopefully that gives you an idea of how compact it can be. 

The carrier has also been very handy for either boarding or disembarking the aircraft and keeping hands free.

Ergo 360

ergo 360 baby carrier
Ergo 360 baby carrier

What I really like about the Ergo 360, is that it is so comfortable for the baby and the mum! It’s the perfect travel baby carrier for the 3 long haul flights to Australia that we have flown..

It keeps baby in the correct position with the legs bent around the parent to support the lower back. It’s very versatile and can be worn a number of ways; facing forwards, on the back and on the hip and is suitable from day one if you buy the infant insert. Otherwise it is suitable from 12.1lbs. I also like the fact it has various supports, which you can adjust to make it comfortable for your baby. A further advantage is the hood. This model does not have pockets but the original Ergo does. The various supports help make it one of the best baby carriers for air travel as it is so flexible.

Another Flying With A Baby reader adds, “I found the Ergobaby not great for short mums. My body is to short. Baby Bjorn is nice and easy for getting your baby in and out of going through security (though at Singapore I had plenty of security staff keen to help/ cuddle my little munchkin!)”

Using a Baby Carrier Safely

  • Always check the manufacturers guide, particularly for weight limit for the baby carrier.
  • Double check that everything works properly and clicked/tied properly into place. I walked around still supporting the carrier with my arms for a while due to nerves with this!
  • Make sure baby is supported correctly, especially airway and hips when you are trying out carriers for baby.

Which baby carrier for travel do you recommend?

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A review of the best baby carriers to use when travelling with babies and young children #familytravel
baby carrier reviews for travelling. Tried out by Mums on flights. around the world.


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pigeonpairandme

Monday 11th of June 2018

What a useful post! We're beyond the carrier stage now, but I'm sharing this post as it's brilliant for people with small children.

CarrieB

Monday 11th of June 2018

Thanks Nell!

Carrie Bradley

Sunday 15th of March 2015

Hi Svetlana,American and Canadian airlines do not provide lap belts. Their FAA rules stipulate these cant be used and lap babies must be held for take off and landing. You will not be allowed to use the wrap on carrier during taxi, take off and landing as again these are not FAA approved. If you have a separate or spare seat, then you can use a FAA approved car seat. European airlines and Australian, and many other countries etc, do provide lap belts as their aviation authorities permit them.

Svetlana

Wednesday 11th of March 2015

Hi, very useful info here! We are about to fly with an 11 month old from Europe to USA with Delta and I was wondering if they have a lap-belt for a handheld baby(the one that attaches to the adult seatbelt), I do not see this info on their site and thought you might know this detail. And second (and more relevant question for this section of the blog) - what do you think of using a wrap carrier onboard instead of a the regular strap-on carriers? I am really worried if they don't have any safety measures for a hand-held baby, will they at least let me have the baby attached to me via teh wrap during take-off and landing, do you know? Thanks in advance!!

Carrie Bradley

Thursday 23rd of January 2014

I also found this very useful blog which has formulated a lot of research into hip issues and rumours of 'good' or 'bad' carriers. A very good read with a lot of thorough research. http://skeptoid.com/blog/2013/01/25/will-the-babybjorn-endanger-your-infants-health/

Carrie Bradley

Thursday 23rd of January 2014

Hi Becci,

Thank you for your kind words. One of my friends is writing a review of the Ergo. However, if you have used any of the others you mention when travelling/flying, please feel free to contact me if you wish to add your own review with pros and cons please! It would be lovely to have this section full of a variety to inform others. Thanks again ;-)