When traveling the world with young kids, car seats are important for safety. Travel car seats are a little different from your typical car seats that may remain stationary in the car. Because you’re going to be using it and moving it around a lot, you really want to ensure you’re comfortable with transporting it, installing it, and securing your child in the seat safely.
Not every city or country requires car seats, but you’ll likely still want to pack one for your family trip to Thailand or Mexico, or from La Guardia Airport to Manhattan in a yellow cab. Why? As exasperating as car seats are, it is a fact that they save lives. They’ve helped bring down motor vehicle-related fatalities in the U.S. by 58% since 1975. See how important it is? It can save your child’s life in case of an accident and it can also bring peace to your mind when traveling with your child.
When you’re looking into the market for a travel car seat, here are some things to consider: convertibility, FAA approval, features, size/width of the seat, style, and weight. Because we want to make it easier for you we have listed down the best travel car seats for your child.
1. Safety 1st Guide 65 Convertible Car Seat
Undoubtedly one of the best convertible car seats for travel, the Safety 1st Guide 65 is well-loved for its size and safety. Three of these seats can easily fit side-by-side in the back of most vehicles which is perfect for parents with multiples or several young children. Weighing around 15 pounds, in rear-facing mode, the car seat can accommodate children between 5 to 40 pounds while it can accommodate children from 22 to 65 pounds when it’s forward-facing. The side impact protection is built into this car seat and the five-point harness can be adjusted from the front of the seat. Great additions include an adjustable headrest, a removable body pillow, and a removable cup holder. In terms of safety, this car seat meets and exceeds federal, ASTM, and JPMA safety standards. For the perfect peace of mind when you’re traveling with your child, go with the Safety 1st Guide 65.
2. Evenflo Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat
The Evenflo Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat is one of the best and safest car seats to travel with because Evenflo has thought of almost everything when it comes to great car seats for children. Weighing just over 9 pounds, its size and the fact that it’s so lightweight make it well-known among parents. The car seat can hold rear-facing infants weighing between 5 and 30 pounds who are between 19” and 37” and a forward-facing toddler weighing between 22 and 40 pounds who is between 28” and 40”. The seat can even recline when it’s rear-facing. To make sure you can use the car seat as long as possible, there are 4 shoulder harness positions and 2 crotch buckle positions. The Evenflo Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat includes a removable head pillow and an easy-off, machine-washable pad. Meeting or exceeding all applicable federal safety standards, if you need a lightweight car seat, Choose the Evenflo Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat.
3. Chicco Keyfit 30 Infant Car Seat
Chicco prides itself on providing an infant car seat that’s super easy to install accurately and securely. Popular as one of the best travel car seats, it’s designed for infants between 4 and 30 pounds who are up to 30”. The car base has a ReclineSure leveling foot and 2 RideRight bubble level-indicators to make sure the seat is at the correct angle. The head and body support are removable along with the canopy shade. For convenience, there’s a one-pull tightener on the five-point harness, and for enhanced impact protection, the carrier shell is lined with EPS energy-absorbing foam. Weighing in at 17 pounds, the Chicco Keyfit 30 is definite to give the support and protection you’re looking for in a car seat for your child.
4. Cosco Scenera NEXT Convertible Car Seat
The Cosco Scenera NEXT Convertible Car Seat is another one of the best car seats for travel. Its size is a plus point for families who like to travel because most cars allow three of them to fit in the back seat. It is ideal for infants and among the best travel car seats for toddlers, it can safely protect infants between 5 and 40 pounds (rear-facing) and toddlers from 22 – 40 pounds (front-facing). Wanting to make sure your child stays comfortable and protected as they grow, the harness features 5 heights and 3 buckle locations. The five-point harness can easily be adjusted from the front of the seat and there’s built-in side impact protection. It’s one of the FAA-approved car seats and fortunately, it doesn’t take up too much space in an airplane. Whether you’re driving or flying to your next travel destination, this is an ideal portable car seat for travel.
5. Combi Compact Coccoro Convertible Car Seat
With the Combi Compact Coccoro Convertible Car Seat, traveling is easier. An airplane-approved car seat, it’s easy to install in smaller cars and smaller spaces at only 15.5” wide. When the car seat is rear-facing it can accommodate an infant between 3 and 33 pounds, and when facing forward it can accommodate a toddler between 20 and 40 pounds. The minimum height for children is 19” while the maximum is 40”. There are 4 different harness heights and there is a color indicator to let you know the harness is securely buckled. The easy-off cover, harness pads, and infant insert are all machine washable to help keep the car seat looking good, clean, and new always. If you’re looking for the best car seat for airplane travel, choose the Combi Compact Coccoro Convertible Car Seat.
6. Graco Contender 65 Convertible Car Seat
Designed and engineered to protect your baby until they reach 65 pounds or 49”, Graco has made one of the best toddler car seats for travel. It can also protect your infant between 5 and 40 pounds, so it’s an exceptional convertible car seat option. Graco Contender 65 Convertible Car Seat is designed with a one-hand, eight-position adjustable headrest to make sure the car seat is always the right fit for your child. The LATCH-equipped car seat means you can install it with your vehicle’s seat belt or with the built-in LATCH system. It also includes a cup holder and a removable head and body support. Along with being designed to meet and exceed safety standards, the Graco Contender 65 Convertible Car Seat features energy-absorbing foam for effective impact energy management. With all the features it offers, you can’t go wrong with Graco Contender 65 Convertible Car Seat.
7. Cosco Apt 50 Convertible Car Seat
The Cosco Apt 50 Convertible Car Seat is one of the best car seats for travel because it grows with your child. The car seat is ready as soon as your baby is 5 pounds (19” height minimum) and it can stay with them until they become a 50-pound toddler (43” height maximum). The 11-pound car seat provides side impact protection, 6 harness heights, and 3 buckle locations. It’s LATCH-equipped and comes with a machine-washable seat pad for easy cleanup when your child makes a mess. Cosco Apt 50 Convertible Car Seat is an aircraft-approved model among the lightest car seats available and the dual cup holders make it easy to travel with and keep your baby busy. Make your next trip a breeze by choosing Cosco Apt 50 Convertible Car Seat.
8. Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat
Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat has extensive adjustable features. Your child’s comfort and safety are the priorities with this car seat. The four-position extension panel allows your child to have 5” of extra legroom when the car seat is rear-facing, and that’s only the beginning. Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat also has a six-position recline as well as a headrest that adjusts to 10 different positions. The car seat is designed for rear-facing infants between 5 and 40 pounds and front-facing toddlers from 22 to 65 pounds. The height maximum is 49”. The seat pad is plush and machine washable, making for a clean, fresh-smelling, and comfortable ride. Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat weighs just under 24 pounds and has met or exceeded the necessary safety standards. Choosing the Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat guarantees your child stays as comfortable and safe as possible when you travel.
9. Mifold Grab-and-Go Car Booster Seat
One of the best travel booster seats, the Mifold Grab-and-Go Car Booster Seat is one of a kind because it’s more than ten times smaller than a regular booster seat, but it is just as safe as it has met and exceeded safety standards. Mifold Grab-and-Go Car Booster Seat stands out because while the majority of booster seats lift up a child so they’re in the position of an adult, Mifold Grab-and-Go Car Booster Seat does the opposite and holds the seat belt down. While it’s great for daily use, it’s especially practical when a traditional booster seat isn’t available or practical, like when you’re taking a bus tour of your new favorite city or during a taxi ride. Weighing just under 2 pounds and measuring around 10” x 4.5” x 2”, it can fit inside of almost all luggage sets and even inside of something as small as your travel briefcase. Mifold Grab-and-Go Car Booster Seat is designed for children four and older who are between 40 and 100 pounds and 40” to 57”. Thanks to its weight and size, it’s definitely among one of the best travel car booster seats.
10. BubbleBum Backless Inflatable Booster Car Seat
No one should be surprised to see BubbleBum Backless Inflatable Booster Car Seat on the list of the best car booster seats for travel. The BubbleBum Backless Inflatable Booster Car Seat is a safe, inflatable, and super portable seat that’s excellent for everything from carpools to vacations. Surprisingly it has more memory foam than air, and the foam technology creates structural integrity and stability in the case of an accident because it reduces the displacement of air. The car seat was designed for kids aged 4 to 11 who are between 40 and 100 pounds. It inflates within 20 seconds and once it is deflated it can easily fit into everything from your everyday handbag to your travel bag. And yes, BubbleBum Backless Inflatable Booster Car Seat does meet and exceed the necessary safety standards. The seat weighs just over 1 pound and measures 11.8” x 5.9” x 3.9”. Whether you’re only heading to Miami for the weekend or you’re vacationing overseas to explore the best of Maldives, the BubbleBum Backless Inflatable Booster Car Seat will be a welcomed companion for your child’s safe travel.
Both you and your child will adore your new travel car seat. Any of the above car and booster seats will make sure your child can see and travel the world in safety and comfort. Have a safe trip with your child on your next travel.