Top Baby Carriers for Travelers

Find the best carriers on the market for travelers as well as tips for buying the right babywearing gear to help ease sore backs and cranky children.


The market for baby carriers has seen a flowering of new designs in recent years—a renaissance driven by do-it-yourself moms and celebrity sightings that have revived kid-bearing traditions from Asia and Africa and taken child transport out of the stroller and onto the pages of glossy fashion magazines.

The options for babywearing, as the “sport” is called by its most ardent boosters, are so varied that it’s possible to have a rebozo, mei tai or baby sling to suit every mood and change of outfit (of both parent and child).

Best Child Carriers for Travel

When traveling, the best baby carriers will keep a child safe and secure (and, hopefully, asleep) while leaving mom’s or dad’s hands free to handle luggage, documents, other children and anything else. However, not all the new styles of carriers are equally travel-friendly. A crowded airport lounge is no place to learn how to tie a gorgeously-patterned wrap last seen on the quasi-prolific Angelina Jolie. Choosing the wrong carrier can leave you sore and frustrated.

What Not to Wear

Preferences vary wildly among both the carrier and the carried, so if possible, try out several models before purchasing one, or choose vendors with generous return policies. A good place to start is with the extensive reviews and tips at Beyond that, here are a few practical issues to bear in mind:

  • In general, travelers should avoid styles with loose flowing tails that can get caught in escalators, snagged on things, or trampled and tangled underfoot.
  • Going through security barriers will be easier if your carrier has little padding and no metal parts (like a ring).
  • If you are going to be on your feet most of the day, you’ll want a style that offers better support, both for you and your baby—that means choosing a baby travel carrier and child position that uses two shoulders rather than one (crossing two slings can work for this).
  • Support is even more important if your itinerary includes hiking: You’ll need a structured carrier that distributes most of the weight of your charge to your hips, rather than your shoulders
  • Where weather is a concern, look for products that offer extra protection from the sun and rain.
  • Make sure you are completely comfortable using the product at home before testing it out on a trip or trail. 

Themes: Family Travel

User Comments

Thanks for the information! I've been looking at baby carriers for my trips this summer, and your post definitely helped. I think the two slings idea is a really nice one.

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