Traveling with a baby or child can be tough, as they do not move well – or in the right direction – without help. Thankfully, the world has caught on to the parenting woes of travelers and created a bunch of nifty inventions to help with car travel, air travel, walking, as well as items for the rare train and bus travelers.
With so many options for the best travel car seats available now, what should you choose? Don’t overthink it! We have all the best car seat for travel options available for you. Take a look:
|Why It's Best||Mom Rating|
|Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat||Highly Rated, Designed for Travel System, Removable Canopy, Smooth Underside||♥♥♥♥♥|
|Cosco Apt 50 Convertible Car Seat||Simple, 5 to 50 lbs, Lightweight, Roomy, Integrated Cup Holders||♥♥♥♥♥|
|Evenflo Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat||5 to 40 lbs, Side Impact Protection, Compact Design, Under 13 lbs||♥♥♥♥♥|
|Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Car Seat||5 to 100 lbs, 3 Position Recline, Harness Holders, Booster Seat Too, Three Across Seating||♥♥♥♥♥|
|Doona Infant Car Seat||It’s a light-ish car seat and stroller all in one!||♥♥♥♥♥|
Best Travel Car Seat
Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat
Highly Rated & Smaller Size
The Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat is a wonderful choice for every day use and even better for the airport. Check the base and connect in the airplane seat with the alternate installation. When you get out to your ride, connect the base with ease using the SuperCinch tightener for a secure fit with little effort. Your baby will love the comfy padded ride.
This portable car seat comes with all the basics. First, it has a five-point harness but with one-pull tightening. Second, the shell comes with EPS energy absorbing foam for safety, Third, the seat is smooth on the bottom for less wear and tear on your car. Fourth, the canopy protects your babies delicate eyes and is also removable for a full line of sight.
Fifth, Chicco designed the seat for babies as tiny as 4 lbs and all the way up to 30 lbs. Finally, the seat is designed to work with the Chicco Travel System. A lot of thought went into the design, the only issue is the weight is 17 lbs before you put the baby in.
Cosco Apt 50 Convertible Car Seat
Affordable, Light, & Simple
For the no-frills family look no further than the Cosco Apt 50 Convertible Car Seat. The seat looks so roomy your baby may want to move in and stay until she is ready for preschool. The sparse seat comes in five different colors and no extra padding or excess. Some babies prefer less in the way of their line of sight or just prefer a firm seat and this travel convertible car seat is for minimalist babies. Although, the car seat does have two integrated cup holders for drinks and snacks.
This best convertible car seat for travel offers a rear-facing switched to forward-facing from 5 lbs to 50 lbs, but what you are going to love about this seat is how lightweight it is to carry around an airport. It may be a bit bulky, but this airplane car seat will still fit in an airplane seat with ease and the backseat of a car with another car seat. For budget-friendly mamas, this car seat is a dream. The harness has six spots to grow with your child from newborn to toddler as well as 3 buckle locations. If you prefer a car seat with tons of padding save this simplistic and lightweight car seat for travel or for the second car.
The convertible car seat may be sparse but is still built for safety with side impact protection, a hard shell, 5 point harness, and a latch system. Moreover, the seat meets all of the Federal and ASTM Safety Standards. Finally, you will love the car seat for the ease of cleaning. Take the cover off in one fell swoop and toss in the wash and air dry. This no-nonsense seat does not recline in multiple positions though, which may not work for some families.
Evenflo Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat
Compact and Simple
The last car seat to meet travel requirements is the Evenflo Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat. This seat is lighter than the Safety 1st model at right around 12 pounds! That’s crazy light!
This convertible seat does not turn into a travel booster seat, which works for air travel, since booster seats aren’t allowed on the airplane. Start your baby in rear-facing from 5 to 40 lbs and forward-facing from 22-40 lbs.
Like most travel car seats, this one includes side impact protection. Also, it adjusts with your baby with an adjustable harness with 4 shoulder slots and 2 bottom buckle positions.
With all the necessities, this convertible car seat goes a step further by reducing the size to a compact design. If you have three kids you can buy three of these seats and fit them across your backseat.
There aren’t a lot of bells and whistles for this travel car seat. It’s very basic, with simple things like a removable cup holder, washable seat cover, and few position recline. Probably the best feature about this car seat is its low price!
The only downsides here are the lack of padding for comfort, and the lack of recline positions to get the right fit in any vehicle.
Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat
Light, Roomy, & 3 Uses
Unlike the Cosco car seat, the Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat is padded everywhere you look for the baby who wants to travel on a cloud. Built to grow with your baby, this car seat will work from 5 lbs to 40 lbs in rear-facing mode, then forward-facing for toddlers from 22 to 65 lbs, and finally from 40 to 100 lbs as a travel booster seat with belt-positioning. The seat reclines to three different positions. Harness holders make putting a baby in the seat easier. Also, the height of the headrest and harness adjusts in one easy step with the QuickFit Harness, including in the booster mode. A fabulous convertible car seat for travel with lots of thought.
For a car seat, this convertible is rather stylish in nine different colors all with varying shades of black and gray. Even better, the car seat is under 19 lbs which is quite a bit lighter than most of the convertible travel car seats on the market. Overall, the seat takes up less space than other models including less space in the back seat, which means extra legroom for drivers.
Up to seven extra inches compared to other travel car seats for the driver! This makes the car seat great for travel too, since most airplanes are short on legroom. Also, enjoy integrated cup holders and removable padding for easy cleaning. Lastly, the convertible travel car seat meets all ASTM, JPMA, and federal standards. A fabulous find to keep kids and mom happy. The only downside is some customers complained the seat is hard to install.
Doona Infant Car Seat
The Ultimate Travel Car Seat
The Doona Infant Car Seat has everything you need to hit the road. Since it’s a car seat and stroller in one, it’s the ideal airplane car seat. Just strap it into the airplane seat, and when you land, you can turn it into a stroller and navigate through the airport without having to stop and get your checked stroller.
It’s also ideal for car travel because it makes stops and staying at your destination just as easy. If you need to get out of the car for a quick potty break, just take the car seat and stroller in one with you. And you’ll save tons of space in the car since you don’t need to pack a separate stroller.
The car seat all by itself weighs 16.5 pounds, which isn’t too heavy, but it’s not the lightest. So that’s a tradeoff you have to make: weight for convenience. But it will still hold a baby from 4 to 35 pounds.
This thing is pretty loaded with other features. It has an anti-rebound bar that doubles as the adjustable stroller handle, washable fabrics, memory foam head support, an infant insert pad, side impact protection, an ergonomic shape, and a padded 5 point safety harness. Not to mention the stroller with 4 good wheels.
Be aware that there is no storage on this stroller, so you’ll have to still lug around a diaper bag or buy some stroller storage accessories.
Another huge consideration: the price. This is by far the most expensive option on the list. If you are a frequent traveler, it would totally be worth it. If you need this for a one-time trip, you may want to consider other options.
Safety 1st Guide 65 Convertible Car Seat
Compact & Comfortable
The Safety 1st Guide 65 Convertible Car Seat is designed for small cars and spaces. Unlike the foldable travel car seats, this car seat is safe for forward-facing (22-65 lbs, 34-52″) and rear-facing (5-40 lbs, 19″) use. And like standard car seats, you still get 5 harness height options and 3 buckle location options to choose from based on your child’s size. An added plus is a removable cup holder than you normally don’t find with smaller or compact car seats. Bonus!
Your child can enjoy some comfort with this seat too because it includes cushiony (and removable) body pillows. As your child grows, you can adjust the headrest to be at the necessary height. As for product dimensions, the Guide 65 car seat is sized at 20.2″ x 18.5″ x 27.2″ and weighs just 15 lbs.
Another benefit of this car seat is the reasonable price. The downside to that is you will receive a car seat chair that isn’t “as nice” as most full-sized models. Keep this in mind as your purchase, but if you’re only going to be using this one for travel, it seems it is worth the inexpensive purchase.
WAYB Pico Travel Car Seat
Throw the WAYB Pico Travel Car Seat in the back of your car and you’re ready to go if you need to travel outside of your vehicle, wherever you go! Weighing in at only 8 pounds, this is perfect for traveling and carrying to your next stop. This is a forward-facing only car seat so keep that in mind in you have a child who is younger than 2 years. The max weight is 50lbs and max height is 45″.
When it comes to dimensions, this car seat size is 15.2″ x 14.5″ x 22.8″ when it’s at its lowest use position. When folded and stored, the dimensions shrink down to 11.6″ x 14.5″ x 18.9″ leaving you more room to pack other things. You might be wondering if such a lightweight and thin car seat is even approved to be used in the car or airplane? Good news – it is! This WAYB car seat meets all standards necessary for traveling in the car and on a plane AND it’s easy to install.
No worries, this car seat still offers a safe 5-point harness and aluminum frame for protection when traveling. If you’d prefer a travel bag to stow away the folded up car seat, you can purchase a car seat and storage bag bundle here. This is such a convenient car seat to have whether you’re traveling, picking up an Uber, or want to leave an extra seat with grandma and grandpa.
Graco SnugRide 35 Infant Car Seat
Light, Rear-Facing, & Up To 35 lbs
The Graco SnugRide 35 Infant Car Seat is one of the lightest infant car seats available at just 7.5 lbs. As all moms know, carrying a car seat with a baby in it can wear your arms out. Sure, strong arms are nice and all but there are easier options than a heavy baby and a bulky car seat. The SnugRide is also fabulous because it goes up to 35 lbs and 32 inches.
Attach this lightweight car seat to the sleek Graco SnugRide Elite Infant Car Seat Frame Stroller for a lightweight and small footprint first set of wheels for your baby. Even better, keep your little one warm without a loose blanket getting in the way with a removable boot, great for autumn and winter babies.
While infant travel car seats only last a few months, they are amazing for easy portability and this one goes farther than others – up to 35 lbs and up to 32 inches – for a fantastic first car seat. The latch-based installation makes this easy to install especially with the easy-to-read level indicator for a perfect and snug fit. Finally, buy for the lightweight but love because of the rigorous safety standards. A few customers did complain about the seat being stuck in the base and sometimes difficult to remove.
Peg Perego Primo Viaggio Nido Car Seat
Lightweight and Luxe
The Peg Perego Primo Viaggio Nido Car Seat with Load Leg Base is the Lamborghini or Ferrari of car seats, and like both of these brands, the car seat is Italian. The headrest is what dreams are made of with six different positions. Also, you will not need to re-thread the seat belt when your baby grows.
The Pagoda Hood canopy uses zippers to extend forward to almost completely block sunlight from babies little eyes. As a matter of fact, the UPF 50+ sun protection. The cushions also are made for two stages, the first for infants 4lbs and up for proper neck support and the second for growing babies who just need an alignment. Finally, like the Graco lightweight car seat above, this travel infant car seat is made for 4-35 lbs and up to 32 inches tall.
If you are not enticed to love this car seat yet, you may fall for the safety features. First, the shell is filled with EPS foam to protect your babies tiny body from impact. The load leg can be adjusted to ten different positions to work in all cars and has an Energy Management Foot to absorb energy by crumpling on impact so your baby won’t crumple.
Next, a built-in anti-rebound bar attached to the base also adds protection in the event of an impact and reduce rotation caused by an accident up to 50% which is a fancy way of saying keep your baby safer. The seat is built for travel with ability to use without the base and at only ten pounds the seat is a breeze to carry. Finally, pair with a stroller with an adapter for the UPPAbaby Stroller.
Car Seat Travel Tips
If you are traveling by car, here are some considerations:
- Make sure the travel car seat has a slim profile, so that there is plenty of room in the car for luggage and other passengers
- A travel car seat with a cup holder is always smart
- If using a rear facing car seat for travel, consider buying a baby car mirror so that you can keep an eye on your little one
- The more padding in a travel car seat, the better, since your child will likely be spending hours at a time in the car seat and will want to be comfortable
If you are traveling via airplane, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Make sure that the airplane car seat you choose is on the FAA Approved car seats list (all the car seats on this list are FAA approved for air travel)
- Be aware that booster seats are not allowed on airplanes; all airplane travel car seats must have harnesses
- You will have to carry the travel car seat through the airport, so consider a travel bag to protect it and a car seat cart to roll it around with
- If you need a car seat for the airplane, but not for your final destination, consider using an FAA-approved CARES harness system, which works for children from 1 year up and from 22 to 44 pounds and up to 40 inches tall
Each of the above travel car seats has quite a few advantages for travel, but one stands out among the crowd.
The Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat offers extra leg room for drivers and a smaller footprint for baby. Because the seat can work from infancy into toddler years and then work as a booster seat means you will save money.
Just remember that for airplane travel, once this seat turns into a travel booster, you cannot take it on the plane. Otherwise, enjoy the legroom and your baby will enjoy the cozy seat.