Traveling with a baby can be the height of inconvenience! Navigating airport security can be testing at the best of times and we all know that nothing is ever easier with a baby.
If you are bringing your stroller you will have to check that in at the baggage desk. You can’t check in the baby too which means you are on your own…. With your carry on luggage of course.
A light and compact baby carrier will be your best solution to help you through this endeavor.
We have dived into the baby carriers available on the market today that are the best fit for the demands of travel.
In this post we will look at the following baby carriers that are best for travel:
What Makes a Carrier Suitable for Travel?
We are going to focus on three criteria to assess the suitability for travel. This first pass excludes a number of styles of baby carriers which we will summarise at the end of this section:
A compact design will ensure the structure is light. This is important when you are also lugging around your carry-on luggage.
Add a handbag into the mix and you can get weighed down quickly. While this is great for burning calories it could also tire you out fast.
The second consideration is what happens when you get on the plane?
You need to be able to rest the unclipped carrier on your lap, or slide under the seat in front of you while in your seat without it limiting your leg room.
You are balancing a baby at the same time remember!
Quick and Easy
You need to be able to take the carrier off quickly and easily.
So we have limited our list to simple designs that are ready to go out of the box.
Not only do you need to be able to operate on your own, but also in the confines of an economy class plane seat.
Airports always mean lots of walking, waiting, and general standing around.
Being comfortable in your carrier can make a challenging day slightly less…. Challenging.
As with any baby carrier, even weight distribution and a sturdy design are key to your comfort and to minimize fatigue on your back and shoulders.
After we apply these filters we can exclude the following whole categories of baby carrier designs:
- Baby Wraps; the time and space required to safely tie a wrap make them unsuitable for travel.
- Framed hiking carriers; these are bulky and will not fit under your seat. Most would exceed carry on size limits.
Best Travel Carriers of 2023
1. Infantino Sash Wrap and Tie
This may be an unusual top pick, but the sash wrap is a Mei Tai baby carrier. This is a hybrid design between a wrap and a soft structured carrier.
No clips or buckles to deal with. Just a neck strap and a ribbon like tie off at the base of the carrier.
This enables instant customization of the seat area to fit your baby’s size, and your body shape. It also takes no time to put on.
The simple design allows for quick and easy shifts in carrying position. Convenient when juggling so many things at once.
The only pitfall is that you do have to tie the knot yourself. A minor skill that anyone can master with ease.
- Versatile design
- Easily adjusted for a growing baby
- Seat may be too wide for newborns
- You need to be good at tying a knot
2. Baby K’Tan
This carrier may look like a wrap, but it requires no tying and is ready to be used right out of the box.
This is the ultimate simplicity in design and very safe for your little one.
You get many of the benefits of wrapping without having to do any of the associated challenges. Great for the small spaces you will encounter on the plane.
The tricky part is to get your size right when purchasing. The out of the box design restricts versatility in use.
It is also very enclosed for your baby. So if it does get hot in the airport or on the plane your baby could be uncomfortable.
- A wrap without wrapping
- Out of the box design
- Safe seat area
- Not one size fits all
- Material traps heat
3. Bitybean UltraCompact
The name of this carrier speaks for itself; the Bitybean is indeed ultra-compact.
It is thin and small enough to pack into its included carrying bag while still having the capability of carrying up to 40 pounds.
This will double as a useful carrier at your destination if you are headed somewhere warmer and beachey. The material is water friendly so you can use this in the pool or beach without an issue.
The nylon material is light and can also be compressed into a small space as needed. Perfect for tucking out of the way when in transit.
You wouldn’t want to use this carrier for extended periods of time though. It is not as comfortable as the carriers higher on this list with less ergonomic features built in.
- Extremely lightweight and breathable
- Suitable for water play
- Straps are narrow with little padding
4. Boba Air
Nylon, breathable, easy to pack, simple sleek design, 15-45 lbs
The Boba Air is the slimmed down, lightweight, version of the popular Boba 4G. The differences in the design make it perfect for travel.
It is feature rich carrier still includes the hood for your baby’s head, extra padding in key places around the legs, and also has superior breathability to ensure your baby remains comfortable.
This is another nylon carrier so it compresses easily into its storage case and is very lightweight. With a capacity of 45lbs it is one of the stronger carriers on the list.
You will find much less padding than the 4G though and it is less enclosed for your baby.
- Self-storing design
- Extremely lightweight and breathable
- Very little padding
5. BabyBjorn Original
If you are after a soft structured carrier that is made of cotton, and will be easier on your baby’s skin then we recommend the Babybjorn Original.
You will find similarities in the design to the lightweight and compact options above but with that different material.
You will notice how collapsible the carrier is and the ease with you can slip in and out of the straps.
There is also a simple buckle at the front of the pouch that allows your to clip your baby in closer to your chest if they are sleeping, or just want some extra comfort when in a crowded area.
It will be easy for you to juggle your other bags with the narrow front of the seat area. Your arms will be well clear of the material allowing for free and easy movement.
- Minimalistic design
- Clip to hold baby in tight
- Design structure is narrow
- High quality cotton material
- Limited ergonomics due to limited back support
Each of the carriers we have included in our list are unique and we hope the information provided has helped you find what will best suit your needs.
Our top pick, the Infantino Sash Wrap, is a design that is not for everyone.
But it does offer most of the benefits of a soft structured carrier and a wrap and is just an easy option for travel days.