Having the right baby carrier is going to play a huge role in how successful your travels with a baby will be.
Whether you’re sightseeing, rushing through the airport or even going on a hike, choosing the right baby carrier is essential.
But with so many different types of carrier to choose from, it’s hard to know which one is going to be best for you.
In this guide you’ll find all the information you need to choose the best baby carrier for your travel needs.
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Best baby carriers reviewed
Best overall baby carrier for travel – Ergobaby Carrier 360
The Ergobaby 360 is our favorite baby carrier for traveling. It’s super comfortable and ergonomic, and allows you to carry your baby in 4 different positions: front carry (both inward- and outward-facing), back carry, and hip carry.
Since traveling involves carrying not only your baby, but also your luggage, passport, and other items, a baby carrier that allows you to wear your baby in a variety of ways can be super handy. It also allows you to switch positions if your back starts to hurt while you’re out and about.
Another thing we love about the Ergobaby 360 is that it’s built to keep you and your little one comfortable and cool in hot weather. The breathable mesh material is lightweight and allows for good ventilation (a lifesaver in warmer climates). The fabric is also machine washable.
The whole carrier weighs just over 2 pounds, and also comes with a tuckaway baby hood with UPF 50+ sun protection to keep your little one safe from the wind and the sun’s harmful rays.
What we like:
- The Ergobaby 360’s wraparound waistband and padded shoulder strap help distribute your little one’s weight evenly. This makes carrying your baby much easier and provides great lower back support.
- The waistband and shoulder straps are super adjustable, which means the carrier is likely to fit both you and your partner, even if your frames are very different.
- The adjustable seat accommodates little ones from 7 to 33 pounds, which means you can continue to use the Ergobaby as your little one grows (note that to carry infants, you’ll need to purchase an infant insert, which is sold separately).
- The breathable mesh material and sun-protected baby hood are awesome for hot or sunny weather, and the hood makes breastfeeding discreetly on the go super convenient.
What we don’t like:
- The velcro on the carrier’s waistband and shoulder straps can be a pain to adjust. It’s also pretty loud, so if your little one is napping, adjusting the carrier can wake them up.
- It doesn’t come with a carry case, so you have to throw it in your diaper bag or backpack when you’re not wearing it.
If you want to know more about the differences between the Original, 360, Adapt and Omni Ergobaby carriers, this video does a good job explaining it.
Overall, the Ergobaby 360 is our top pick for traveling because of its comfortable design, multiple carry positions, and the fact that it’s built for hot weather.
These are great features in any carrier, but especially for traveling!
Runner up – BABYBJORN Baby Carrier One
If you plan to wear your baby for long periods of time, or if you and your partner prefer to carry your baby in different positions, we recommend the BabyBjörn Baby Carrier One. It’s super versatile, lightweight (only 2 pounds), and comfortable for you and your little one.
Like the Ergobaby 360, the BabyBjörn One allows you to wear your baby in 4 different ergonomic carry positions: newborn, front carry (inward- and outward-facing), and back carry. This carrier also has a 12-inch seat and zippers on the sides that allow your baby to sit in either a wide leg or a normal leg position.
The BabyBjörn One is suitable for little ones from birth to 3 years old, and has an adjustable head support for newborns. This means you don’t have to purchase a separate infant insert.
The carrier’s waistband is really study and is designed to redistribute your child’s weight to your hips. This is a really nice feature, along with the carrier’s well-padded shoulder straps, which help prevent back and shoulder pain, even as your baby grows.
What we like:
- The BabyBjörn One’s multiple carry positions are ideal for day tours, sightseeing, or other travel activities that may require you to carry your little one for long periods of time.
- The option to have your little one sit in the wide leg position is also great for long days of wearing your baby, as it helps provide support for your baby’s legs and spine, and encourages healthy hip development.
- The carrier is super quick and easy to get in and out of, with clasps at the front and top of the carrier.
- It’s machine washable, which is great for feeding your baby on the go without worrying about accidents or spills.
What we don’t like:
- While you can adjust this carrier, it’s better suited to parents on the slightly taller side. More petite wearers may have to pull the waistband up, which causes the carrier’s fabric to bunch up a bit.
- Although the added padding on the shoulder straps is nice for shoulder and back support, it can cause you to overheat in warmer weather.
We love the BabyBjörn One for it’s multiple carry positions and ease of use.
The carrier’s sturdy build and the fact that you can adjust your baby’s leg position are also big pluses.
You can be sure your little one’s hips, head, neck, and spine will be supported. In terms of comfort and versatility, this is a great carrier for travel.
Best budget baby carrier for travel – Boba Air
The Boba Air Baby Carrier is a great option if you’re on a budget, but still want a high-quality baby carrier that is durable, lightweight, and travel friendly.
The Boba Air weighs less than 1 pound and folds down into its own hood pocket for easy stowing. We love this feature for flying, as it allows you to wear your baby while you navigate the airport and then quickly fold up your carrier and pop it in your diaper bag, purse, or carry on just before your flight.
This carrier is great for different weather conditions. The fabric is lightweight and breathable enough for warmer climates, yet it’s also water resistant and comes with a built-in hood that does a good job of shielding out the wind, rain, and sun.
Because it’s so compact and lightweight, the Boba Air is also a great carrier to bring along with you if you plan on using a stroller for the majority of your trip. It’s super easy to store in the under-seat basket of your stroller and pull out when you want to be hands-free.
What we like:
- The Boba Air is extremely lightweight at just 0.7 pounds, and the fact that it folds down into itself makes it super portable and convenient.
- The built-in hood not only protects your baby from the elements, it also provides neck and head support, making naps on the go more comfortable.
- The 100% nylon fabric makes the carrier super quick and easy to clean.
What we don’t like:
- The shoulder straps are not as comfortable as they could be. While the mesh is nice and breathable, there is very little padding and the straps can get uncomfortable after a while.
- This carrier doesn’t fit small-framed people as well as it does larger-framed ones. If you’re very petite, you may want to look at other options.
The Boba Air is great for parents looking for a lightweight and travel-friendly carrier on a budget. Although it’s not as comfortable as the Ergobaby 360 and other, more expensive carriers, the Boba Air gets the job done, and is super lightweight and breathable.
Best wrap-style baby carrier – Baby K’tan Baby Wrap Carrier
Our favorite wrap-style carrier for traveling is the Baby K’tan Original, because it’s ultra-lightweight, easy to wear, and comfortable for both you and your baby. Best of all, it’s a wrap-style carrier that doesn’t require wrapping!
The wrap has a double-loop design in the back that allows you to simply slip into it like you would a t-shirt. Although it’s not quite as comfortable as some other wrap- or sling-style carriers, the fact that the Baby K’tan is so easy to take on and off (and get your baby in and out of) is a massive plus for traveling.
The fabric is super soft, and the wrap secures and cradles your baby snugly to your chest, which is great for newborns. The wrap is recommended for newborns up to children weighing 35 pounds.
You can choose from multiple sizes (XXS to XL), which can all be worn in 5 different carry positions, including inward-facing or outward-facing and with your baby’s legs inside or outside the wrap.
Note that the carrier is sized to fit the parent/wearer, so don’t worry about your newborn not fitting in an XL.
Like all Baby K’tan carriers, the Original comes with a matching carry bag. When you’re wearing the carrier, the bag can be converted into a sash that adds support for your little one in certain carry positions. The carrier is also 100% cotton, machine washable, and dryer safe.
What we like:
- This carrier comes with all the benefits of a regular wrap without you having to do any wrapping is a great feature, especially for traveling. Being able to get in and out of the wrap (and take your little one in and out) without extra time and hassle is awesome for carrying your baby on the go.
- The Baby K’tan Original is snug and secure enough to carry newborns in some positions, but can also accommodate children weighing up to 35 pounds. That means you’ll be able to use this carrier for quite awhile before your little one outgrows it.
- The front hug (inward-facing) position and side hip carry positions are awesome for breastfeeding on the go without having to use your arms to support your little one’s weight.
What we don’t like:
- The fact that the wrap comes in multiple sizes is great; however, unless you and your partner are similar in stature, you will probably need different sizes. This is kind of a bummer for traveling, since you won’t be able to easily take turns during long days.
- Since it’s made of cotton, the fabric has a tendency to stretch out after a few uses. Throwing it in the washing machine helps take care of the stretching, but over time it can lose some of its elasticity.
Overall, if you’re looking for a wrap-style carrier for traveling (especially if you have a newborn or preemie), you can’t beat the ease of use and versatility of the Baby K’tan Original.
It’s way easier to put on and take off than other wrap-style carriers, and the carry bag/support sash makes traveling with the wrap super convenient.
Best baby carrier for toddlers – MiaMily Hipster Plus
If you’re traveling with a toddler, we recommend the MiaMily Hipster Plus for its ergonomic design.
The shelf seat provides plenty of support for your toddler to sit comfortably, whether they’re facing inward or outward, and the carrier’s thick shoulder straps and wide waistband do a good job of distributing the weight evenly between your hips and shoulders.
The Hipster Plus is suitable for kids from 3 months to 3 years (or up to 40 pounds) and allows you to wear your little one in a variety of ways, including front carry (both inward- and outward-facing), back carry, and hip carry.
The top part of the carrier also zips off, so you have the option to wear the shelf seat by itself (as a belt), which makes holding your toddler for long periods of time much less tiring on your arms.
The Hipster Plus is a great option for warmer destinations, since the front panel unzips to reveal super breathable mesh fabric. The carrier’s slim design also provides extra ventilation, which helps keep both you and your baby cool on hot days.
We also can’t get over how much storage this carrier has. Depending on your outing, you might even be able to leave your diaper bag at home.
What we like:
- For such a sturdy carrier, it’s super lightweight (under 3.5 pounds).
- It has tons of storage! There are 2 spacious zippered pockets (perfect for storing things like diapers and toys) as well as 2 pouches that are super handy for storing smaller items like your phone, keys, cash, and passport.
- It comes with 2 teething pads, a snap-on head cover, and a foldable storage bag for when you’re not using the carrier.
What we don’t like:
- It’s a bit bulkier (and doesn’t fold up as compactly) as many other carriers because of the built-in shelf seat.
Overall, the Hipster Plus is a great option for parents traveling with a toddler. It’s sturdy and has great support without being overly heavy.
That being said,if you’re looking for something you can stuff in your purse or diaper bag when you’re not using it, this may not be the carrier for you.
Comfort is an important factor to consider with any baby carrier, but it’s especially important for travel, since you’re likely to be out and about for longer periods of time.
If you prefer wrap-style carriers, the Moby Wrap is another super comfy and wearable option. It’s made out of super soft, well-padded fabric, and is designed to distribute your baby’s weight between your back, shoulders, and hips.
It doesn’t have any buckles, snaps, velcro, or other fasteners that could poke or scratch you or your baby, and unlike many other wrap- and sling-style carriers, the Moby has really wide straps that go over both shoulders so it doesn’t feel like it’s cutting into your skin.
What we like:
- The super comfy stretch cotton not only allows you to hold your baby close and keep you both comfortable throughout the day, it’s also perfect to use as a blanket or pillow when you’re not wearing it. It’s also machine washable.
- It’s a great carrier for newborns and preemies, since it allows you to wrap them up tightly, and there’s not a ton of padding or fabric between your chest and your baby, so they can be close to you and even hear your heartbeat. It can also accommodate older children, up to 35 pounds.
What we don’t like:
- Although it’s great for keeping you and your baby cozy in cold weather, it’s not the best option for warmer climates, as the soft and plushy fabric may cause you to overheat.
If you want something simple, wearable, and suitable for newborns, but you prefer a regular carrier over a wrap, we recommend the BabyBjörn Original (not to be confused with the Baby K’tan Original) as an alternative option.
This carrier is designed to hold your baby close to your chest in 2 different positions (inward-facing and outward-facing), and doesn’t require an infant insert for newborns, since it already provides extra support for your child’s neck, head, spine, and hips.
At only 1.2 pounds, it’s one of the lighter, more compact carriers on the market. It’s super simple and easy to put on, take off, and secure your baby in. It’s also pretty easy to adjust while you’re wearing it.
What we like:
- It’s one of the quickest, easiest to use, and simplest carriers on the market. It’s also super lightweight and portable, which makes it awesome for traveling.
- It’s adjustable enough that most adults will be able to wear it comfortably, so you and your partner or any other adults you’re traveling with can take turns carrying your little one during those long days out and about.
What we don’t like:
- The main downside is that, while this is an awesome carrier for newborns, it’s only recommended for children up to 12 months. If you’re looking for something that will last you a few years, this isn’t the best option.
There are lots of regular and wrap-style carriers out there that can make traveling with your baby much easier.
The one that’s right for you and your little one is likely to depend on your baby’s age, size, and temperament, your frame, and your specific travel plans.
Why travel with a baby carrier?
Baby carriers are great for traveling for a number of reasons. They’re relatively lightweight and easy to pack, and they allow you to carry your baby hands-free.
It always feels like you have too much to carry when you’re traveling.
Whether it’s your luggage, your diaper bag, shopping bags, or your camera.
Having both arms free can be a real lifesaver when you’re out sightseeing or navigating a crowded airport.
On that same note, airport security is one place you’ll definitely want a carrier!
In some cases depending on where you are flying, you can even make it through security without having to take your little one out.
Wearing your baby while you’re on the plane can also help facilitate in-flight naps.
Having your hands free while your baby sleeps on your chest makes allows you to eat, read a book, or use your phone while you’re in the air (it also prevents your arms from falling asleep).
Depending on your baby’s ability to sleep while you’re out and about, carriers can also be great for naps on the go. If your baby tends to get fussy and want to be held a lot, a carrier provides the same closeness and comfort without you having to sacrifice an arm.
Stroller vs. baby carrier
Many parents have a hard time deciding between a stroller and baby carrier for travel.
Both have their pros and cons and which one is right for you will likely depend on on a number of factors including:
- Your specific travel plans
- Your baby’s age, size, and weight,
- Your destination’s terrain and weather,
- How well your little one does in a stroller.
When to choose a baby carrier
Baby carriers are great for destinations and activities that aren’t stroller friendly.
If you’re visiting a place with lots of uneven or hard-to-navigate terrain, a stroller may end up being more of a hassle than a convenience.
There are lots of small villages throughout Europe where traveling with a stroller would be a nightmare.
Baby carriers are also ideal for taking public transportation, since buses and trains typically have steps and limited space.
If your baby is still relatively little (and light), wearing them for hours at a time is probably not going to be too taxing on your shoulders and back.
Plus, newborns love being held close to their parents, and carriers are great for bonding.
It’s worth noting that, while they do make structured carriers for infants, wrap-style carriers (like the Baby K’tan Original and the Moby Wrap) are often most appropriate for this age.
Another reason to choose a carrier over a stroller is your baby’s temperament.
Some kids do great in strollers and can even take long naps in them; others, not so much.
If your baby doesn’t do well in strollers and prefers to be held (or worn), a carrier may be your best bet.
When traveling with a stroller makes sense
If your little one is 24 months or older, you may want to consider bringing a stroller with you (even if you’re also bringing a carrier).
Wearing a toddler for extended periods of time can take a toll on your back and shoulders, and you may find that they don’t want to sit in a carrier for long periods of time anyway.
Most strollers also offer extra storage space, which can be invaluable when you’re traveling.
If you’re planning on bringing a lot of items with you while you’re out and about, the under-seat basket on a stroller can be a great spot to stash your baby’s blankets, toys, bottles, and snacks.
If you want to bring a stroller but aren’t sure how stroller-friendly your destination is. Debbie from Delicious Baby suggests checking the “wheelchair accessibility” section of a guidebook.
Types of baby carriers
There are several different types of baby carriers on the market, and choosing the right type (especially one that meets all your travel needs) can be a little tricky, especially if you’ve never traveled with a carrier before.
There are 6 general categories of baby carriers:
- front carriers
- backpack carriers
- Mei Tai carriers
- wrap and sling style carriers,
- hip carriers
- toddler carriers
Note that these categories are not necessarily mutually exclusive, since many carriers come with multiple carry positions.
Front carriers are the most popular type of baby carrier because they allow you to keep your baby close your chest without having to use your arms to support their weight, and typically allow you to have your baby in either an inward or outward facing position.
One of the nice things about front carriers is that they generally require very little hassle once you’re wearing them. You simply strap, snap, or velcro the carrier on, secure your little one to your chest, and you’re good to go. Because they’re in front of you, it’s also easy to keep an eye on your baby.[
This type of carrier allows your little one to sit behind you, typically facing forward, which lets them rest their head against your back or neck.
This can be great for naps on the go. With your little one on your back, you can easily carry your luggage or other items while you wear your baby. They’re also great for carrying toddlers!
The most common gripe when it comes to backpack-style carriers is that you can’t keep an easy eye on your baby.
You also need the help of another person to get them out of the carrier, which can be annoying when you’re rushing to make a flight.
Wrap and sling style carriers
Wrap and sling style baby carriers are typically made from woven, soft, and/or stretchy material that wraps around your back and shoulders.
Wrap carriers (like the Baby K’tan Original and the Moby Wrap) are ideal for newborns and preemies and are great for breastfeeding on the go.
Although both wrap and sling style carriers are made of comfortable, soft material, they do differ from one another.
The main difference is that wrap carriers typically allow you to wear your baby entirely hands-free, while slings generally require you to support your baby’s weight with your arms.
Sling-style carriers are usually more simple and inexpensive than wraps, but there are more safety concerns, since they do not fully secure your baby.
Mei Tai carriers
Mei Tai carriers are usually woven out of natural, comfortable material, and are designed to support your baby in a way that makes it feel like you’re holding them in your arms.
Mei Tai carriers generally allow you to wear your little one at your chest or on your back.
These types of carriers are often compared to wrap-style carriers, since both types are made from soft, comfortable, and unstructured materials. Both make breastfeeding on the go super convenient.
Hip carriers generally allow you to have a wide range of motion, as they free up space in front of you and behind you by allowing you to carry your baby on your hip.
These carriers distribute your little one’s weight between your shoulder and hip on the side where you’re wearing them, which stabilizes your center of gravity and helps with balance.
Many parents decide to keep using their regular baby carrier as their child grows and becomes heavier.
While this may work just fine up to a point, toddler carriers are taller and wider than regular carriers, and are specially made to support the added weight of a toddler.
Not only are these carriers designed to keep your toddler supported, secure, and comfortable, they also distribute your little one’s weight more evenly across your body.
Most toddler carriers are backpack-style, although some also come with other carry options.
We recommend toddler carriers with multiple carry positions, since carrying a toddler can be tough work, and it’s nice to be able to switch positions if you start to overheat or your back hurts after awhile.
What to look for in a baby carrier
Although your specific travel plans, your little one’s age and weight, and your personal preferences will all help determine what you need in a baby carrier, we recommend looking for the following features:
Whatever type of carrier you decide on, you’ll want to make sure your baby can be securely buckled, strapped, snapped, wrapped, or otherwise fastened into their carrier without worrying about them falling out.
There are different safety concerns to think about at different ages and with different types of carriers.
For example, with newborns, you’ll need to look for a carrier that provides adequate head, neck, and spine support.
As your little one grows and begins to move around more, you’ll want to look for a carrier keeps them secure, but allows them to move their legs and turn their head.
Check out this guide for more information about baby wearing safety.
Bringing the right carrier can make traveling with a baby way easier and more fun. On the other hand, a carrier that doesn’t fit properly, doesn’t have enough padding, or causes back or shoulder discomfort may be you more trouble than it’s worth.
Finding a carrier that’s comfortable for both you and your baby can be a little tricky, but it’s definitely possible. Here’s what we recommend looking for:
For your baby:
- Something soft, with good head and neck support are especially important for newborns, but can helpful for older babies too.
- The carrier should not displace or constrain your baby’s legs too much.
- Breathable or mesh fabric will help prevent your child from overheating.
- Backpack-style carriers are typically most comfortable for toddlers.
- Finding a carrier that distributes your little one’s weight so that your back, shoulders, and hips share the burden is really important.
- Carriers that allow you to wear your little one in multiple positions can also help ease any back or shoulder discomfort, since you can switch positions if you get uncomfortable.
- Extra fabric or thick material can cause you (and your baby) to overheat. For warmer climates, we recommend breathable material
Especially when you’re traveling, you’ll want a carrier that’s quick and easy to put on and take off (and get your baby in and out of).
Buckles and snaps are really convenient–if they’re easy to do up.
If they’re fussy, they can be a pain. Also keep in mind that wrap-style carriers tend to be a little tougher to figure out at first, with the exception of ready-to-wear designs like the Baby K’tan Original.
Consider when you’re most likely to be using your carrier when you decide on a style.
If you’ll have lots of luggage to carry, a backpack-style carrier might be most convenient, but if you’re hoping to breastfeed on the go, a wrap-style carrier may be your best bet.
Although some families only need one style of carrier for one parent, it’s often nice to have a carrier that both parents can wear, and one that allows you to carry your baby in different positions.
For example, maybe one parent has a larger frame and prefers a backpack-style carrier, while the other parent is more petite and wants to be able to hold their little one close to their chest in an inward-facing position.
Having a carrier that has adjustable straps, accommodates a variety of body types, and allows for multiple carry positions, like the Ergobaby 360, provides you with more options and prevents you from having to bring along 2 carriers.
If you’ve traveled with a baby before, you’ll know it’s only a matter of time before their travel gear needs to be washed, so a carrier that you can clean quickly and easily is a huge plus.
Many carriers are machine washable (although this is not always the case, so you’ll want to double-check).
There are a few carriers that are also dryer-safe, like the Baby K’tan Original and some other wrap-style carriers, but most unfortunately aren’t.
The bottom line
We hope you found our product recommendations and tips and tricks for finding the perfect baby carrier for traveling helpful.
There are lots of things to consider, and lots of great carriers on the market to suit your individual needs and preferences.
Our absolute favorite carrier for traveling with a baby is the Ergobaby 360, because it’s comfortable and ergonomic, has breathable fabric for warm weather, and is super adjustable and versatile, with multiple carry positions.
Feel free to leave any comments, thoughts, or suggestions of your own down below. Safe travels!