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UPDATED SEPTEMBER 2020 – If there is one thing in my life that has made traveling with a baby easier, it is babywearing. We have taken our daughter on numerous trips in her young life. From the mountains in Canada to the rainforest in Costa Rica, we’ve been able to explore far and wide with our daughter.. But baby carriers aren’t just great for hiking and outdoor activities, they make navigating airports, train stations, and new cities with a baby way less stressful. While I won’t traveling with a baby is easy, using a travel baby carrier has made it easier. A baby carrier is an invaluable piece of travel gear. Luckily there are numerous baby carriers for travel that are lightweight, durable, and comfortable for both baby and parent. Here are the top ten best baby carriers for travel and where to buy them.
Baby Carrier Comparison Chart
|Carrier||Weight Range||Carrying Positions||Price|
|Baby Tula||7-45 pounds||front facing in, front facing out, back carry||$$$|
|Ergobaby 360||12-33 pounds (without insert)||front facing in, front facing out, back carry, hip carry||$$$|
|Lillebaby 360||7-45 pounds||front facing in, front facing out, back carry, hip carry||$$|
|Pura Vida ring sling||8-35 pounds||front facing in, hip carry||$$|
|Infantino Go Forward||8-40 pounds||front facing in, front facing out, back carry||$$|
|Babybjorn One Air||8-33 pounds||front facing in, front facing out, back carry||$$$$|
|You+Me Convertible||8-32 pounds||front facing in, front facing out, back carry||$|
|Manduca||7-44 pounds||front facing in, back carry, hip carry||$$$|
|Baby K'Tan||6-35 pounds||kangaroo/cradle, front facing in, front facing out|
|Beachfront Baby Wrap||8-30 pounds||front facing in||$|
HAVE A TODDLER OR BIGGER BABY? READ OUR REVIEW FOR OUR FAVORITE FRAMED CHILD CARRIER.
Why use a travel baby carrier
We go into much more detail about the best baby carriers for travel below but before we do, I first wanted to touch on why a baby carrier is so vital for stress-free travel. For much of my adult life my passion has been traveling. While traveling did change after having a baby, it didn’t stop. So, a travel baby carrier was a must for us.
Whether at home or traveling, I’ve always loved babywearing. It just makes life easier. At home, babywearing allows you to get tasks done, especially on those extra clingy days when your baby only wants to be held. When you’re traveling, a baby carrier allows you to remain hands-free and to keep your baby close and safe. In fact, there are so many benefits of using a baby carrier for travel.
Using a baby carrier at the airport makes going through airport security much easier. If using a soft-bodied carrier you don’t even have to remove your baby from the carrier. And although you have to remove your baby during takeoff and landing, while in the air, a baby carrier may even help them sleep better on the plane.
We love to hike and explore the outdoors as a family. And babywearing makes that super easy to do. Changing terrains and rocky paths are easy to handle while wearing your little one. You’ll want to make sure you have a breathable carrier if planning to hike for several hours. A soft-structured carrier or even a framed hiking carrier for toddlers works best in this situation.
While many cities in the world have wide sidewalks and well paved streets that are suitable for strollers, that is not the case everywhere. A baby carrier is much more dependable in varying circumstances. From cobblestone streets to uneven sidewalks, a baby carrier is the more practical choice for exploring cities with a baby or toddler.
It takes some practice, but babywearing can be a great way to nurse your baby discreetly. In a face-in front carry, moms can nurse on the go and remain at least somewhat covered while doing so.
Comfort for your baby
Being in a new environment when traveling can be hard on a baby. But just feeling their mom or dad next to them is a comforting feeling for babies. Using baby carriers for travel can also give your little one a way to nap while mom and dad are sightseeing.
Safety in water
Beach trips with babies and afternoons at the swimming pool have never been easier. A water wrap allows you to wear your baby safely while wading around in shallow water. No risk of losing your grip on your slippery baby in the water.
Types of baby carriers for traveling
If you are new to babywearing, there are numerous types of baby carriers for travel or simply for use at home. Here is a quick definition of each type of baby carrier.
A baby wrap is a type of carrier that is great for newborns. It is typically a long, lightweight piece of fabric that you wrap around your body in a special way to form a safe and secure pocket for your baby.
Similar to a wrap, a ring sling is a long piece of fabric with two rings. The fabric is worked through the rings and secured to form a womb-like pouch for your baby.
A soft-structured carrier uses buckles and adjustable straps to fit both the parent and the baby perfectly. It is the easiest type of carrier to put on.
These work best for older toddlers and young children. Unlike the other types of carriers, these do have to be removed when going through airport security. A framed carrier has a metal frame and seat for the child. They also have plenty of pockets, which make them great for hiking, as well. Framed carriers are bulkier and heavier, and often have a higher weight limit. I didn’t included any on this list because we didn’t use a framed carrier until our baby was a toddler, but if you are interested in one I have a full review of the one we used here.
Top 10 BEST baby carriers for travel
Tula is one of the top names in baby carriers, and with good reason. You’ll find many traveling parents use a Tula when they are on trips. The Tula Explore is a versatile carrier that can be worn in several different ways. Your baby can face in toward your body in a front carry, face out to see the world, or be worn in a back carry. The carrier is great for infants as small as seven pounds all the way up to 45 pound toddlers. It also has a mesh panel in front to keep you and your baby cool. I also love that the patterns and colors are unisex, so either mom or dad can wear this baby carrier when traveling.
Ergobaby Omni 360
Ergobaby is another popular brand of baby carriers for travel, and it is the one we ultimately used the most. The Ergobaby 360 fits babies and toddlers from 12 pounds to 33 pounds. You can buy an additional infant insert to accommodate newborns from 7-12 pounds.
Like the Tula Explore, the Ergobaby Omni 60 has a breathable mesh panel to keep babies and wearers cool and comes in neutral, unisex colors and patterns.
Another ergonomic option for a travel baby carrier is Lillebaby’s SIX-Position 360 carrier. Although the company touts, six positions, the positions are similar to Ergobaby. Front face in and feet in (fetal), front face in with legs out, front face out, toddler front face in, hip carry and back carry position.
A bit more affordable than its primary competitors, the Lillebaby carrier is similar in functionality, and unisex appeal.
Pura Vida ring sling
Many babywearing mamas prefer a ring sling over a soft-structured baby carrier for travel. The Pura Vida ring sling is made from soft, breathable bamboo and linen fabric. It is lightweight and easier to use than a wrap. Although you cannot wear your baby in as many positions in a ring sling as a soft-structured carrier, the carrying positions for a ring sling are both natural and ergonomic for safe hip development.
Infantino Go Forward Evolved
Infantino is one of the more affordable brands of baby carriers for travel. While the company makes various carriers, we would recommend the Infantino Go Forward Baby Carrier since it is ergonomic and keeps your babies legs in the proper position for correct hip development. The adjustable carrier is great for all body types and can be worn comfortably by both mom or dad.
Babybjorn One Air
Perhaps the most breathable of the carriers on this list, the One Air Carrier by Babybjorn is airy and lightweight. It is made almost entirely of a breathable mesh fabric. The mesh version comes in several colors but does not come in fun, creative patterns like some of the other carriers. Still it is durable, adjustable for babies and toddlers up to 33 pounds, and your baby can be worn facing in, out, or on your back.
You+Me Convertible Baby Carrier
Another affordable option for travel baby carriers is the You+Me Convertible Baby Carrier. The carrier fits infants to toddlers. It has a mesh lining for airflow and comes with a fun bandana bib for your baby.
While it is affordable, it doesn’t offer as much head and neck support in certain positions, and isn’t as comfortable as some of the higher end carriers.
Manduca is a popular European brand of baby carrier. Like many of the others on this list, it has a versatile design to adjust as your baby grows.
From an infant carry position to a back carry for toddlers, the Manduca is soft, organic and can be used for children up to 4 years old or 44 pounds.
When my daughter was a newborn, I loved the feel and security of a baby wrap carrier, and so did she. The Baby K’tan Wrap carrier accommodates babies up to 35 pounds, although my 33 pound 4-year-old would not like to be carried in a wrap anymore. Wraps can take some time to figure out how to wear them, but the Baby K’tan is a bit easier than most wraps to put on. If you prefer a wrap over a soft-bodied carrier, than I’d definitely recommend the Baby K’tan.
Beachfront Baby Wrap
The Beachfront Baby Wrap is not an everyday wrap. It is specially designed to help you safely introduce your baby to the water. Wet babies are slippery babies, but when worn correctly in a front face-in position, babies can enjoy the water while being securely attached to mom or dad.
The wrap is made of a jersey material and is extremely lightweight and fast drying.
Which travel baby carrier is right for you?
While many babywearing moms, like myself, have several baby carriers that serve different purposes, if you are looking to buy just one baby carrier for travel, I’d recommend a soft-bodied carrier. While I like wraps and ring slings, as well, the soft-bodied carriers are easier and more convenient for travel. Dads also don’t mind wearing them as much as the other types of carriers. We used the Ergobaby 360 and love it, but there are plenty of options that are similar in price and functionality. The comparison chart at the top of this post has all our recommendations for the very best baby carriers for travel. Whichever one you choose, know that you are investing in an important piece of travel gear that will help you travel with ease for years to come.
Have a question or comment about which baby carriers are best for travel? We’d love to hear from you. Leave your thoughts in the comments below.