Eventually, even this summer, travel will resume in earnest and feel safe again, and if you are traveling by plane with your child, you have several options when it comes to dealing with your car seat. The simplest one, by far, is to get a car seat travel bag. If your car seat is FAA-approved and your child has his or her own plane seat, you can take it onboard to use during the flight. Otherwise, you will need to check it as luggage, either at the airline check-in counter or gate.
Either way won’t cost you anything — all U.S. airlines and most international ones allow them on board free of charge. But other than being the victim of kiddie projectile vomiting, nothing can wreck your trip more effectively than finding your car seat shredded from its time in the hold. The key to avoiding that fate is to invest in a durable, solid car seat travel bag that keeps it safe from scratches, dents, water damage, and other nastiness.
Make sure you pick a model that fits your specific car seat brand (they generally fit all the major ones, but read the fine print for any exceptions when it comes to more niche brands). Padded straps make hauling the bags around easier, and some of them even have wheels, if you need that extra convenience. If you want options, get a car seat travel bag that lets you carry it around multiple ways, whether by toting it or strapping it on your back.
The king of travel bags, this one has four 360-degree spinner wheels so you can roll the seat, or padded backpack straps so you can carry it. It's made from hardy, durable, water-resistant PVB reinforced fabric and has a reinforced rubberized base so it stays put. And because parents always overpack, it also has built-in backpack strap pockets
This backpack bag offers thick wraparound padding to cocoon your seat while in the hold. It’s made from heavy-duty, puncture-resistant fabric and has a water-resistant anti-microbial inner lining. The straps are padded, so toting it is less of a nightmare.
This car seat travel bag has 360-degree spinner wheels, so you can push or pull it along without having to carry it. It has fully padded sides, top, and back to keep your car seat protected. It's water-resistant and has a lockable zipper.
For parents particularly leery of dirt, this bag has both a drawstring and buckle flap double closure system to keep your precious seat protected. It's made out of rip-free water resistant 1680D ballistic nylon. Plus, the handle is rubberized, to make carrying it around just that little bit easier.
A cheaper and more basic option, this car seat travel bag is made from 600D nylon material, which is waterproof, tear-resistant, and lightweight. It's roomy and has ergonomic adjustable shoulder straps.
If you don't want to commit to a backpack, get this bag instead. It has two carry options: You can strap it on or tote it. It’s well-padded, water-resistant, and has a lockable double zipper opening that provides a bit more piece of mind.
This car seat cover and travel tote can be worn as a backpack or rolled behind you like a suitcase, because, drumroll, it has wheels. It also has extra-wide zippers to simplify loading and unloading.
For ultimate lifting options, this lightweight bag has numerous carrying handles as well as two padded backpack straps for sherpa-ing it through the airport. It's made of puncture-resistant, water-proof nylon, and is designed to keep your car seat germ-free. A pair of drawstring closures and a velcro flap help secure car seats within it and it works with nearly every brand. Once the seat is out, it folds into a small carrying pouch.
This simple car seat travel bag is machine-washable, and is worn like a backpack. It's also incredibly lightweight, which is a bonus. When you're not using it, it compacts into an attached, zippered pouch.
While not a bag, this item is equally life-saving. This luggage belt lets you cart around your car seat and other baby gear without needing a trip to the chiropractor. Plus, it works with every type of car seat that has a top tether.
Every product on Fatherly is independently selected by our editors, writers, and experts. If you click a link on our site and buy something, we may earn an affiliate commission.