For us, traveling with our kids is a top priority. The decision for us to take on 22 adventures in 2022 is proof that we love traveling (or we’re just a little crazy). Either way, traveling with young kids can be very difficult…and extremely heavy!
The younger they are, the more things you seem to need.
Car Seat base…Check
See, so many things! I’m all about packing as minimal as I can, so for me the worst part was lugging the heavy car seat through the airport to the gate. By the time we got there I was already exhausted, and then we had the flight to contend with.
Along the way I’ve picked up a few tricks when it comes to traveling with a carseat and kids. I’ve also learned a great deal from my friend Michelle at Safe in the Seat, who is a car seat expert! I even picked her brain in a recent interview, you can read all about that HERE. It doesn’t have to be heavy and exhausting. So, come travel along with us as I share the best car seats and alternatives for travel…and bring your kids!
Alternatives for Air Travel
No product, except for a car seat, is approved for use during take off and landing. With that being said, here are a few of the best alternative options to use during the flight.
The travel vest is the only item on the market that is meant to be used with the plane seat belt. Once the plane has taken off you simply loop your seatbelt through the back of the vest and refasten.
The Primo lapbaby is a great alternative for your entire vacation. If you intend to hold your child on your lap during the flight but still want hands free. This is a great option.
It keeps your child close to you, and packs up super small. We all know how limited room is on a vacation. :)
The primo lap baby is recommended for children ages 3 months and up. You want to make sure your child has great head control before you plan to use it.
This harness is intended for children over the age of 1 and weighing between 22 and 44 pounds. The Cares harness is also the only harness that is approved for all stages during the flight. Meaning that this is the only car seat alternative that can be used during take off, and landing.
The cares harness keeps your children safe during turbulence, because their chest is secured to the seat. If you’re thinking of forgoing the carseat entirely, this is the alternative for you. Thanks to the cares travel harness you can leave that seat at home and your children will still be safe while traveling, even in the car.
And it weighs less than 1 pound and packs up very small. We all know how small I like to pack. :)
This travel vest is the best travel alternative on the market. It has been through countless safety tests, and is now legal to be used as a carseat substitution in all 50 states.
The ridesafer travel vest comes in 3 different sizes, and is safe for kids as young as 3 years old. This vest can be used for children between the weight of 30 to 100 pounds.
It is lightweight and compact. And will fit 3 across in a row of your vehicle. It is also a great alternative for special needs children.
This is one of the only travel restraints on the market that can legally take the place of a forward facing car seat.
Alternatives for Car Travel
The options are limited when it comes to a car seat alternative for a car. Some cities have laws that allow taxis and ubers to negate that law, but it is just not safe to travel in a car with children and no travel seat.
Note: Taxis and ubers are able to refuse service if you don’t have the correct type of car seat.
Unfortunately there aren’t many alternative options for infants. There are laws put in place to ensure that children are traveling safely. With that being said, I have found a great option to still help you bulk down your travel
The mifold is the most compact booster seat out there. Instead of it lifting the child up like other seats do, it brings the belt down to the child’s level, fitting them safely. This booster is adjustable so it will fit most seats, and it comes with a shoulder strap adjuster.
This booster will accommodate children 4 years old and up. And is safe for kids weighing between 40 and 100 pounds. It is convenient and super easy to use. And is so compact it will fit in a glove box, backpack or other carry on bag.
This is a staple in our house. I managed to pack this mifold travel booster in a backpack for a week long trip to Costa Rica! It even made the cut for our most needed travel items from Amazon. That’s how much we use, and love this travel booster seat.
The bubblebum is very similar to the mifold except it is inflatable. Yes you read that right, you blow this seat up to use it. This booster adjusts your child so that the belt fits them properly and prevents slouching while traveling.
The seat is intended for children 4 to 11 and weighting between 40 and 100 pounds. It is a very compact seat, and unlike traditional boosters, it can fit 3 seats in a row of a car. This seat saves so much space because when you are not using it you can deflate it and store in your bag.
The Doona infant car seat is for lack of a better description a 2 in one carseat stroller. This car seat goes from an infant seat to a stroller in a matter of seconds, because it is both. You can go from car travel, to air, to destination with such a seamless transition.
This seat is approved for insulation without a base and is safe for babies from 4 through 35 lbs. Now with the hefty price tag that the Doona car seat carries, I would suggest this be used for people who plan to travel often. I think that those families will see the most benefit and feel the convenience a lot more.
Friends that have used the Doona tell me that it is awesome and definitely a great alternative for infant travel.
If you are looking for the lightest and most compact travel carseat for your toddler this is the pick for you. Weighing only 8 pounds and folding up pretty compact is what makes this car seat out pick for kids ages 2+ within the range of 22-50 lbs. and 30-45 inches. Whether you’re ride-sharing or road tripping, Pico’s 5-point safety harness has you and your little ones covered.
This is as great option if you want that traditional 5-point harness but don’t want to carry your heavy car seat from home. The carrying case is an added bonus
Be sure to check out The Best Travel Strollers for Europe
Do you Love your carseat and want to bring it with? Here are a few options to make traveling with your car seat easier
- Car Seat Travel Cart – This car seat dolly for airport is designed for easy setup and use. Simply place the car seat onto the cart, secure it with the included straps, and roll it through the airport with ease. It can even fold up into the overhead bin of the airplane once you board
- Car Seat Travel Bag With Wheels – This bag can be effortlessly rolled like a suitcase, worn as a backpack or tethered to luggage with the included strap.
- Car Seat Travel Bag – Protect your car seat while you travel; bag is water, tear and dirt resistant. It features a drawstring closure that tightly closes around the car seat, helping to protect from dirt, grime and moisture. The bag is made of lightweight, yet durable material that can be machine washed.
Are you going to be traveling with your kids soon? Did I help to ease your traveling stress? I really hope so. Traveling with your kids and those bulky, heavy seats doesn’t always have to be a pain in the back. I truly hope that I was able to show you that, and give you some ideas to help make your next family vacation travel less stressful.
If this helped you, but you’re still looking for a little more info. I had the pleasure of sitting down with a good friend and carseat guru! She shared some great tips and alternatives in a little more in depth. I know she’ll be able to answer all your travel questions. Read the Interview Here.
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