5 Pet Carriers for Travel: Which Is Right for You?

pet carrier

Getty Passengers wait with their luggage, a dog and another pet in a box at the Gare de Lyon train station in Paris.

When going away on any vacation, long or short, we miss our pets. Rather than board them, leave them with loved ones, or ask someone to take care of them, why not bring them along in a pet carrier? If you are traveling and are planning on taking your pet, be sure to give them a comfortable and safe carrier so that the transit is as easy as possible.

Traveling with a pet can be extra tricky, especially because you will want to make sure that your pet is small enough to be permitted in the cabin, and that the carrier that you choose for them is up to the task of providing comfort and security. Thankfully, there are a lot of different styles and brands of carriers that are designed for small to medium-sized cats and dogs.

They range from traditional looking totes with mesh covers, backpacks that are also rolling bags, a sling, and a multi-compartmented carrier. Some offer a snug fit for your pet to stay extra close, and some are designed to allow your pet to have more room for longer transit. Additionally, all of these carriers can be used on or off airplanes, and can even be used after you arrive at your destination and would like to take your furry companion out sightseeing with you.

Best Pet Carriers for Travel

small pet carrier Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Compact, but expandable
  • Durable
  • Comfortable for your pet
Price: $39.95 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
rolling pet carrier Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Can roll or be worn as a backpack
  • Provides privacy while being breathable
  • TSA approved
Price: $62.50 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
pet carrier tote bag Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Durable and easy to clean
  • Good air flow
  • Lightweight
Price: $99.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
pet sling carrier Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Comfortable
  • Good for pets with anxiety
  • Machine washable
Price: $21.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
wheeled pet carrier Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Good for medium-sized pets
  • Easy to roll
  • Comfortable
Price: $60.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 1. Best Small Pet Carrier for Airplanes: PetPeppy Double Expandable Pet Carrier

    Pros:
    • Compact, but expandable
    • Durable
    • Comfortable for your pet
    • Storage pockets
    Cons:
    • Not for larger dogs
    • Small but long-bodied dogs might not fit
    • Zippers can be slighly hard to unzip

    If you are taking your pet on an airplane, you’ll want a carrier that is designed to provide the same care and comfort your pet gets at home. The PetPeppy Double Expandable Pet Carrier is designed for cats or small dogs and is made from safe and eco-friendly waterproof nylon.

    The construction is durable enough to carry your pet in the carrier without it buckling or breaking and features two zipper sides that, when unzipped, fold out to form two mesh-covered wings that allow your pet to sprawl out, turn around, lay down, and see you through the mesh.

    The interior comes complete with a soft faux fleece bedding for your pet’s comfort, and is removable for easy washing. If you are concerned about storage, there are also zippered pockets for storing food, treats, toys, or your own personal items. Measured at 17.9 x 6 x 2 inches, this carrier is airline approved and can be stowed right underneath the cabin seat during flight. When unzipped and expanded, the carrier measures 18 x 11 x 11 inches. It also features a soft shoulder strap for your carrying comfort, and a leash ring to keep your pet secure and safe while traveling.

    One traveler used the carrier for two small dogs and was pleased with how the mesh sides allowed both dogs to stand up and move around during long layovers. Another reviewer, a Dachshund owner, said it has been challenging to find a pet carrier that can accommodate a long-bodied dog, but that the dog was able to curl up and lay down while the bag sides were zipped up, and once the sides were unzipped and the compartments opened up, the dog was able to stand up and turn around and lay down. Multiple reviewers have said that their pets even willingly go into the carrier to sleep, even when they aren’t traveling. A few reviews mentioned that the sides were slightly difficult to unzip.

    VideoVideo related to best small pet carrier for airplanes: petpeppy double expandable pet carrier2018-10-03T11:29:11-04:00

  2. 2. Best Rolling Backpack Style Carrier: World Traveler Pet Carrier

    Pros:
    • Can roll or be worn as a backpack
    • Provides privacy while being breathable
    • TSA approved
    • Multiple color options
    • Durable construction
    Cons:
    • Not for large pets
    • Some cats have unzipped the carrier
    • Designs might not be for everyone

    While carrying luggage through an airport, you already have a lot to keep track of. The World Traveler 18″ Rolling Pet Carrier Backpack allows you to either carry your small pet on your back like a backpack, or wheel the carrier with ease along with your other luggage.

    The backpack is made out of polyester with mesh zippered compartments for your pets, it has a telescopic handle and is TSA approved at 13x11x19.5” and 5.3lbs when empty. The mesh allows for air circulation through the bag, and also gives your pet the added comfort of being able to see you while at your feet while on the plane. The carrier is able to be stowed under the seat in front of you during the duration of the flight.

    Another benefit to this carrier is the dark mesh and the backpack style allows you to discreetly carry your little pet around without drawing attention to it in a crowded airport. The privacy that it allows has made this carrier a favorite for one person who stated that their cat even willingly goes into it to sleep when not traveling. The carrier comes in a variety of 14 colors to choose from so you can carry your pet in a style that suits you specifically.

    The size of the pet that is able to fit in the varies based on some of the reviews. One reviewer said the shape of the carrier was long but narrow which made it difficult for their large cat to fit inside, though their small dog was able to fit. Based on the reviews alone, most have said their pets under 10 lbs have fit with ease. A few reviews have suggested finding a way to keep the zippers secured because cats have found ways to unzip the bag, but that the overall construction of the bag was good.

  3. 3. Best Pet Carrier Tote Bag: Manhattan Pet Carrier Tote Bag

    Pros:
    • Durable and easy to clean
    • Good air flow
    • Lightweight
    • Comfortable
    • Storage pockets
    Cons:
    • More expensive than other carriers
    • Not for pets over 15 pounds
    • Bottom not soft enough without a blanket or padding

    Getting your pet to and from your vacation destination may require a different carrier than the one you use when you go out sightseeing and exploring. The Manhattan Portage Pet Carrier Tote Bag is an option that looks a lot more like a regular tote, but still comes with all of the benefits of a carrier.

    The bag measures at 7x14x11 inches and has a removable liner for easy cleaning. It has an easy-to-clean nylon interior and a mesh zipper closure that ensures that your pet will remain safe while in the bag. The bag comes in two colors: grey and red, or grey and black.

    With a sturdy bottom, the carrier shouldn’t buckle under the weight of your pet. To add a little extra comfort you can add a small pet bed or a soft blanket, as a number of reviewers stated that they had done. In fact, the lack of soft padding was the only criticism in the reviews of the product.

    Those who used the bag for travel commented on its high-quality, and said their pets were comfortable during flights. The weight limitations on the bag were debated, with some reviewers claiming that the bag would probably suit pets around 10-15 lbs, and others saying that the bag is so sturdy they have even used it for carrying actual items and luggage that have weighed more.

    The bag’s mesh zipper top and side allow you to give your pet a little freedom or to zip it and keep your pet safe and secure inside, while still allowing consistent air flow and visibility. The bag is small enough to allow your pet to come with you on airplanes, and it can be used on shopping trips, walks, trains, or anywhere that you might want to bring your pet while on the go. The bag is very lightweight, at only 1.65 lbs while empty, and comes with small pockets to store treats, toys, or your cell phone or wallet.

  4. 4. Best Cross Body Pet Carrier: Alfie Pet Sling

    Pros:
    • Comfortable
    • Good for pets with anxiety
    • Machine washable
    • Affordable
    • Hands-free
    Cons:
    • Might fit awkwardly for shorter people
    • Not for large pets
    • Can be harder to carry than other styles if your pet is heavy

    For extra comfort, and to keep your pet close to your heart, the Alfie Pet Petoga Couture – Chico Reversible Pet Sling Carrier combines convenience and style. The sling is made out of soft materials and is extra lightweight so you can bring your pet around town without needing worry about carrying along a pet tote or carrier. In fact, the pet sling allows you to keep both hands free.

    It features a safety collar hook to ensure your pet stays secure while in the sling, and a soft shoulder strap that can be adjusted from 14” to 35” in length. After use, or if the sling should get dirty, just toss it in the washer as it’s entirely machine washable.

    The sling is suitable for breeds of dogs or pet up to 12 pounds and recommends Yorkshire Terriors, Chihuahuas, Pomeranians, and Italian Greyhounds as a few of the suitable dog breeds. The sling is said to help pets with separation anxiety since they get to be close to their owners, and won’t be left behind.

    How does a pet stay secure in a sling? For those worried that their pet may attempt an escape without a zipped mesh lid or other secure covering, reviewers of the sling have said that the depth of the sling combined with the soft fabric makes standing and attempting escape difficult. Instead, they prop their furry friends up with a blanket inside and allow them to peer out of the side of the sling and lay comfortably.

    The majority of the feedback regarding the bag has been around where the bag lays against the hip. Some reviewers have said the bag might be awkward in length for shorter buyers.

    VideoVideo related to best cross body pet carrier: alfie pet sling2018-10-03T11:45:08-04:00

  5. 5. Best Wheeled Carrier Medium-Sized Pets: Pettom Pet Rolling Pet Carrier

    Pros:
    • Good for medium-sized pets
    • Easy to roll
    • Comfortable for your pet
    • Storage pockets
    • Can be worn as a backpack or rolled
    Cons:
    • More expensive than others
    • Not for pets over 17 pounds
    • Lack of instructions

    For owners of medium-sized dogs, there is also a solution for you. The Pettom Pet Rolling Carrier Backpack is an option for those who want to take their dogs up to 17 lbs onto airplanes, or just want a little extra wiggle room for their smaller pets. This carrier is extra versatile with backpack straps for easy carrying, wheels on the bottom for rolling through airports or travel stations, a simple tote for carrying, and can even be used as a car seat that can be buckled in safely.

    The carrier features a collar latch inside for pet safety, as well as mesh windows for air circulation and for you and your pet to keep a close eye on each other. It also has two front pockets that can be used for storing the pet’s favorite toys or treats.

    The carrier is made out of high-quality oxford and aluminum, is able to hold up to 17 lbs. It measures 16.9”L x 11.8”W x 16.9”H. The bottom can be removed for easy cleaning. The interior and shoulder straps are padded for the comfort of both you and your pet. It also comes in pink, blue, silver, green, and coffee, so you can choose a carrier that fits you as well as your pet. It has reflective piping for extra safety in the evening.

    A few observations on the bag from purchasers state that the ability to roll the bag versus carrying it has made it much more convenient than totes, especially for those with heavier pets. For those who are planning to travel on airplanes, the carrier was able to be taken on flights and one reviewer said that it fits under the seat. Another said that it fit after the bottom board was removed, but it was still comfortable for her pet after removal. If you feel like this carrier is for you, keep in mind that the carrier’s lack of instructions for use has frustrated some purchasers, but the overall reviews have been positive.

    VideoVideo related to best wheeled carrier medium-sized pets: pettom pet rolling pet carrier2018-10-03T11:50:44-04:00

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