car seat travel bags
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Car Seat Travel Bag: Is It Needed for Flying?

If you’re traveling with your baby and planning on renting a car you will need a car seat. While it’s easier to rent a car seat for a toddler or preschooler, many rental agencies don’t have a car seat suitable for an infant. Unsurprisingly, many opt for bringing their own travel car seat and

Having traveled with my babies and toddlers and their car seats many times, I discovered how important is to have a durable and water-resistant car seat travel bag. It can make your trip easier and your arrival stress-free.

How to Pack Your Car Seat

When you decide to fly with a car seat for your child, you have three options.

First, you can pack your car seat and check it at the counter, just like you would check your luggage. Some airports will ask you to drop off your car seat at the overhead counter, but ultimately it’s the same result.

That way you can breeze through the airport without a heavy car seat.

The second option is to bring a car seat with you and gate-check it. A car seat can be checked on its own, or in a travel bag. You will need to carry the car seat through security though.

Many opt for this option as it’s known to be handled better, but in reality, it’s not necessarily true. The biggest benefit is if you’re flying with a lap infant you can ask if the flight is full and if not, bring the car seat on board for free.

Lastly, you can bring the car seat on the plane, so your child will be contained. For this option, your seat has to be FAA-compliant. It also needs to meet the requirements of the specific airline.

Best Car Seat Travel Bag

  1. Simplest one with extra space: J.L. Childress Gate Check Bag
  2. High-end runner-up: J.L. Childress Spinner Wheelie Deluxe
  3. Best padded bag: Zohzo Backpack Bag
  4. Best for infant seats: Yorepek Water Resistant
  5. Small bag for booster seat: Reperkid Blue

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. 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.

Branded Name or No Name Car Seat Bag?

Many car seats and stroller producers sell their own branded bags. Some might be padded better than others, but the biggest benefit is a guarantee that the brand will reimburse you for damages if your item was in their travel bag (Uppababy does it for example!).

Before splurging a ton on a dedicated bag, remember that apart from a few budget airlines, most airlines will reimburse you if they damage your items anyway. In reality, you don’t need a branded travel bag.

Detailed Buyer’s Guide: Best Car Seat Travel Bags

car seat travel bags
Childress Gate Check Bag in orange on the left. On the right a stroller bag from the same brand.

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. It will fit any car seat, regardless of the brand or size.

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

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

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 seat inside and the material is water-resistant.

J.L. Childress Backpack 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.

Keep in mind that if you get a backpack style car seat bag you will feel the weight of the car seat. For me, it isn’t a first choice (I’d go for wheels before backpack straps any day), but many people like it.

a family carrying a car seat in the backpack car seat bag

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

Like the bag above, Simple Being Baby Car Seat Travel 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 Jeep Car Seat Travel 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, or baby life jacket.

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 from bumps and dirt, the Yorepek has you covered.

As you may have seen, most of the previous models are not compatible with infant seats per see (although you can put a bucket car seat in the Childress bag), as the shape is designed for an upright car seat for toddlers.

Yorepek model works for all the Nuna Pipa and Graco SnugRide seats, as well as some other brands.

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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