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The Best Car Seat Travel Bag Guide 2019

For so many families, when planning a vacation, there is always the decision DO YOU PACK THE CAR SEAT? For us, it is almost always “YES” as do enjoy traveling by car at our destination. Because of this, I have spent a lot of time researching the best car seat travel bag that you can buy to transport your child’s car seat from home to your destination.

Once you have finished this guide, you will have seen a  a list of the best car seat bags for air travel, as well as tips on navigating the airport with carseats and your options with checked baggage for babies and kids! Armed with this information, I am confident you will be able to pick out the best car seat travel bag for your child’s seat!

 

What is the Best Car Seat Travel Bag for Air Travel?

 

Some holidays, there is no need to bring your car seat. For example, if you are staying in one place and have an airport transfer by shuttle or bus, you probably do not put much thought into it.

But if you are thinking of renting a car, or already have one booked, it is sometimes more difficult to make up your mind. Further, if you plan on taking uber, arranging a guided tour or are very picky on abiding by your home country’s standards with regards to car seat travel, then packing the car seat is usually in your mind!

I have personally never rented a car seat before, as the price for one is often as much as a cheap car seat costs to buy. I have also heard many people had the option to chose from a pile of car seats and have had little help from rental agencies. I do not blame the employees, before I had kids, I probably would not have had any clue how to properly install one, and with so many different brands, each one has its own little quirks! While I am sure there are many great places to rent car seats from, I prefer not to have to worry about it!

You can add another wrinkle into your plans if your young toddler has their own seat and you would prefer to restrain them on the plane, because they are more comfortable with their familiar seat or believe that being safely bucked into a car seat during the flight is essential.  It is becoming more and more popular to bring car seats onto the plane for babies and toddlers and some safety advocates even want to mandate it as a requirement (although it is not required anywhere).

 

Best Car Seat Travel Bag | Packing a Car Seat for Air Travel Tips

Packing a Car Seat for Air Travel Tips

So what do WE do?

We pack car seats on every trip we have taken. And to ensure our car seats arrive in as good condition as possible, we use a car seat travel bag!

In the past three years that has been a decent amount of travel! On our first overseas trip with a baby, we took it from Vancouver to England, then to France and back to England again. Twice we have packed 2 car seats to go to Hawaii, Las Vegas and Panama City Beach! Car seats have come as far as the Middle East when we visited Jordan and quite recently in Turkey!

How to Protect Car Seat When Flying: Choosing the best car seat travel bag

 

I will be the first to admit, they are BIG, BULKY and a HUGE PAIN. But I do prefer that my kids are buckled safely to MY own personal standards and to meet standards in the countries we are visiting. So I lug them everywhere (we are finally into low back booster seats YAY!) However, with the best car seat bag, that big and bulky and expensive car seat, can come on your holiday with you and it should arrive safely!

Best Car Seat Bag for Travel

 

Our car seat bag has been on over a dozen trips, all over the world! It is worth finding the top rated car seat bag for travel if you plan on using it more than once!

In my opinion, this amazon car seat bag is exactly what you need and is a cheap car seat travel bag. It is the one we have been using since my oldest was a baby and we still use it 5 years later (thanks to some duct tape where it has worn thin on to the bottom thanks to us pulling it along the floor on the way to the gate.

 

Why Do I Love the Jeep Car Seat Airport Bag?

  • This bag can be used as an infant car seat bag, as well as with a convertible seat and as a booster seat carry bag.
  • It is inexpensive and durable.
  • It has a moulded shape rather than just a thin bag covering the car seat and has a strong shoulder strap.

the Jeep Car Seat Airport bag is 20″ long x 29″ high x 18″ deep.

Things to note about the Jeep car seat protector bag:

Practice putting your car seat into the bag before you leave home to ensure it fits. There is nothing worse than trying to wrangle it at the airport. Also due to its shape, the car seat will only fit in one way (if you have a high back booster or a convertible seat). Line up the back of the seat to the taller side of the bag.

Car Seat Travel Bag Comparison Chart

Below I have compared 6 car seat travel covers on a variety of factors. You can read about each bag in detail at the bottom of the chart

PhotoNamePriceRating /5
Jeep Car Seat Travel Bag$4.5
Jl Childress Backpack Car Seat Travel Bag$$4.0
J L Childress Car Seat Travel Bag with Wheels$$4.1
Britax Car Seat Travel Bag$$4.5
Gate Check Bag for Car Seats$3.5

 

Top Rated Car Seat Travel Bags

 

JL Childress Backpack Car Seat Travel Bag

 

JL Childress Ultimate car seat bag makes this list because of its handy backpack feature, its moulded shaped bag, and its padding. You may or may not notice that I have completely avoided the brightly colored (usually red) gate check bags for car seats because I have tried them and after one use the one I had was ripped. Not ideal. However, this one from JL Childress looks great. Having something over your back instead of just using a shoulder strap is much more comfortable and keeps your weight better balanced!

This bag measures 19 x 15 x 16 and you can click here for a compatibility chart to ensure your seat will fit

 

 

JL Childress Car Seat Travel Bag with Wheels

 

If you do not want to have to carry your seat, this car seat travel bag with wheels from JL Childress is a great option. The only reason that I have not gone with a bag like this is because I do not have an extra hand to actually pull it! I need something I can put on my back so I can pull my suitcase!

This bag is a hybrid cover as well as a car seat travel cart and you can bring it on the airplane with you if you plan on having your child sit in their car seat on the plane. It has rubber wheels and rugged handles.

If you plan to use this with an infant seat, it is suggested to detach the base and put it inside the bucket of the infant seat when traveling.

Britax Car Seat Bag Review

 

I have nothing against brand loyalty so anyone who owns a Britax car seat might want to gravitate to the Britax car seat bag or the Britax car seat trolley. Both are great products.

The Britax Travel Bag has great reviews online and all of the features that you want in a car seat travel bag. It has rolling wheels on the bottom with a durable base, backpack straps, and multiple handles. It is made of durable fabric and fits most other car seats as well.

This car seat carry bag from Britax measures 17″ x 15.5″ x 31.5″

 

Gate Check Bag for Car Seats

 

I have included this inexpensive car seat protector bag because in my experience it was not worth the money and you should go with spending just a few dollars more and get one that actually has sturdy fabric.

It is very popular all over the internet and you can see it has sold plenty on amazon by reading the reviews but I would not recommend it.

The one good thing about this bag however, is it DOES NOT have zippers, so there is one less thing to break. But we used it on one flight to Hawaii and the bag arrived with a huge hole in it. I would use this bag the same way as you would use a clear garbage bag, to keep the seat clean and dry only. I do not think it has any more value than that.

Car Seat Travel Bag with Wheels for your Vacation with Kids

My Oldest is big enough for a booster seat now and we still throw it into our Jeep Car Seat Travel Bag

Jeep Car Seat Travel Bag

Why do we bother bringing a car seat on vacation?

 

You know where it has been: Car seats can be compromised when in an accident, and if you rent a car seat from a rental company, or add on to your car rental, you don’t know the history of the seat: how it has been taken care of, if there has been any recalls on it, if it is expired.

 

It is set up to fit your child: The harnesses and buckles are ready to install quickly, and you can start enjoying your holiday. After a long travel day no one wants to be fiddling with an unfamiliar seat, trying to set it up properly to fit your child

 

It is comfortable:  In the last year we have road tripped in France as well as road tripped in New Zealand which means quite a lot of time is spent in the car! I want to make sure my kids are comfortable and if we have a rental seat, you never know how it is going to fit!

 

You know hot to install it: when you bring your own car seat on vacation you know exactly how to install it correctly. Your rental car may be unfamiliar, but at least your car seat is not. You know where to feed the straps through the seat to get a proper fit and you don’t have to try to read manuals or pull on buckles while you may have an overtired screaming child who didn’t nap on the plane (despite your best efforts)

 

It saves money. We like having a car, so instead of paying around $10 per day to the car rental company, we bring our own. Furthermore, most airlines will check the car seats for free as it is a necessity for children. Make sure you check with your airline before your trip!

 

You know it will be there when you arrive. We personally choose to gate check our car seats. Yes it makes for more stuff to take through security, yes you have to hold on to that bulky thing a little longer, but yes it means it will be there when you arrive, and you don’t have to worry about lost luggage!

Gate Check or Not to Gate Check?

This is a debate about car seat travel bags that you will see all over any travel forum and facebook. There are those who gate check, and those who advocate against it. Personally, I check my seats with my luggage. I never used to. I used to carry it all the way to the gate, through security blah blah blah (and I had TWO for the longest time!). Then before loading the plane I would leave my car seats (and usually my stroller) and get on the plane to happily retrieve them on arrival.

Why did I Gate Check?

Well there were several reasons. As a mom with two kittle kids and expensive Britax car seats (car seats cost twice as much in Canada than the United States just FYI ) I di dnot want any damage to come to them. I figured not going on belts and out of sight at the airport would be the best situation. Once we actually brought them on the plane for the kids, but that is not our thing and we only did that once.

The second reason that I would gate check my car seats is so that there was less chance of them getting lost. I figured that if I left them right outside the plane, the probability of them being lost somewhere was quite low. I would get them back right away, and they would not get misrouted and loaded on the wrong plane etc.

The third reason that I gate checked using my car seat bag was because we were two adults and two kids with a double mountain buggy and could literally “push” everything to the gate. Often we even had more than two adults with us as we like to travel with family. There was no carrying (except maybe a kid) so it was not a pain to bring them all the way to the gate.

Why I no Longer Gate Check my Car Seats

Packed safely in my favorite car seat travel bag I now drop my luggage and my car seats (or booster seats) at the check in counter.

I no longer take my car seat in the travel bag all the way to the gate. Why? Well circumstances in my life have changed. I often travel solo with my boys. Also, we no longer travel with a stroller, so carrying a car seat in a bag all the way to the gate (not to mention two) is heavy (and hard!). Thirdly, as my children have gotten older and we have traveled more extensively, the fact that they are actually in a car seat or booster seat while we visit Egypt (where kids sit on their parents laps on the front seat) makes me feel as though I am doing just a little bit to protect them. Yes we travel in taxis and busses without car seats. I am comfortable with that. You might be to. Or you might not be. Everyone has their own comfort level. I also like my kdis to be comfy when they nap in the car, so having a comfy car seat is good.

Now my boys are 5 and 7 and we are nearing the end of our car seat travel. I now bring two boosters all over the world, in the same car seat travel bag. I drop it with my luggage and it has always arrived. Now that they are older, I would be ok traveling without them. We will be back in the Middle East soon and I am still bringing them, despite them being not required at all. It makes it easier for my kids to see out the window for one! We will stick with our local standards, as long as we exceed the local ones, and will reevaluate as our needs change.

The biggest things with traveling with kids, is do what works for you, and do not shame others if their choices do not align with yours. There is a lot of that going around. These are my suggestions on the best car seat travel bags around, and I hope you find it useful. If you have another bag that you love, I would love to hear about it!

 

Want to read More:

Do you travel with car seats? Would love to hear why or why not?

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Car Seats for Travel | The Best Car Seat Travel Bags for traveling the world with kids The Best Car Seat Travel Bag and Car Seat Bag for Air Travel #travel #familytravel #carseat #vacation #kids

 

 

19 thoughts on “The Best Car Seat Travel Bag Guide 2019

  1. Lisa P

    I plan I trying out the bubble bum aswell. It’s such a pain to travel with all the “gear!” Great list of pros and cons!

  2. noel

    Sounds like you guys are the perfect travelers and parents, always prepared for a new fun adventure and thinking ahead, way to go with those car seats~

  3. Natasha

    So far I have successfully managed to avoid breeding, so I do not see car seats in my future. It is interesting to see travelling from a different perspective than a solo female.

  4. Carol Colborn

    I know my daughters do. They will learn a lot from this piece! I often wondered how difficult it might be! They’ve lost a few.

  5. Anne Sutherland-Smith

    Lindsay, it is a real dilemma as they are so big and bulky to get around. Fortunately we are now in a phase where only our youngest (of 3) is still in a car seat and he only has ~6 months to go before he can sit in the normal car seat – we will definitely be pleased to see the last one go! For our upcoming trip to Japan we have booked a hire car for our last two days and I have added their booster seat to the booking – hopefully it will be ok.

  6. RaW | Ramble and Wander

    I certainly would although I would probably opt for a stroller + car seat combo. They could be a hassle when checking in for flights but could also save a lot of headache when travelling with young children.

  7. Natalie Deduck

    I have never thought about this bulky question: carry car Seats, or not!
    Now I understand when my friends with little kids tell me that a family trip involves lots of different stuff to be organized…
    And you are right while renting a car every little extra service costs a lot of money! 😀
    All the best,

    Nat

  8. Dave from Daves Travel Pages

    Not having kids, this is one of the small details of travel with kids that passes me by I suppose! Although you cast some doubt on car rental companies supplying a reliable seat, I’m pretty sure they are not going to leave themselves liable for a faulty product, and that it would be inspected as much as the car is?

  9. Vicky and Buddy

    I always see families with car seats and feel so bad for them! They always look frustrated and tired. But I guess at the end of the day it is worth it. Especially since, like you said, it’s already set up to fit the child once you land.

  10. Katja - globetotting

    We usually always travel with our car seats too. With the older two it’s easier as we use the Trunki Boostapak, which doubles as a backpack for the kids to carry. Now that we have a baby again we’ll be back to lugging along baby car seats and then toddler car seats etc.. I always think they are really annoying to bring and then am really grateful when we have them on the other side of the flight!

  11. Allison

    We are out of the car seat phase, and it’s nice to have one less thing to worry about on vacation. When we did have two kids in car seats, we nearly always took road trips, so that made the decision easy.

  12. Danielle (Bubs on the Move)

    We do the same. When our eldest was younger we were horrified at the broken and unsafe car seats we were provided by big name rentals here in Australia. We have three kids now that need carseats and on a recent trip I worked out taking our seats saved us $450 in hire costs of seats.

  13. Jody Robbins

    True enough! We took our car seat on our first trip with our daughter when she was 5-months old. The next trip we didn’t and we totally regretted it. This is a great tip, I need to remind other parents of. Thanks for the reminder.

  14. eileen at FamiliesGo!

    i never brought my car seat. I used the CARES harness on planes. As long as the country you are visiting requires car seats I’ve found that the rental agencies will have decent ones. And with AAA, Hertz will give you free car seat rentals in the US. Now that my daughter is older we have the Bubble Bum. In a country where they aren’t required, i would bring something, as the rental agencies are less reliable then.

  15. Kyla

    I agree, when traveling to and from a single destination (and picking up the car from the airport) we always take our carseats. It’s one less thing to worry about, and one less thing to pay for! We hauled two convertible carseats around the Paris Metro once, with kids in a double umbrella stroller, and my husband swore we would never travel with carseats again. We have…but only if there is a car at the airport. For everything else we use and love our bumblebums. They are a bit bulkier than I’d like, but they work fantastically!! For our 3-year old (and when our 5 year old was smaller) we use the “Ride Safer Travel Vest”. They easily slip into the back of our backpack (or top of a suitcase) and are ridiculously easy to use, especially in countries where no car seats are the norms…although then you’re lucky to even get a carseat! The girls complain a little bit that they are hot, but I’d rather them be hot and safe.

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