Best Travel Car Seats

Editor’s note: The following article is not intended to be a ranking, but is only to serve as a list of possible options. As the saying goes, your mileage may vary.

So you‘ve decided to take your family on a much needed vacation and one of your children is still in a car seat. That’s OK! When traveling by air it’s encouraged to bring along an FAA approved travel car seat to keep your little ones safe and sound while traveling. If you’re curious as to which travel car seat you should choose when traveling, we‘ve laid out some of our top picks, below.

Quicklook: Best Travel Car Seats

Best Travel Car Seats

If you are trying to decide which car seat is best for you and your family when traveling, FLYING has determined the best options to take on airplanes, below. 

Evenflo Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat 

The Evenflo Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat can be a great choice for parents looking to purchase a car seat that can be perfect for car travel and plane travel. The FAA approved seat is lightweight and affordable in an effort to make traveling with an infant or toddler  a little easier. 

Front or Rear Facing: Both

Child Weight: Up to 40 pounds 

FAA Approved: Yes

Weight: ‎9.29 pounds

Why People Like This Car Seat

  • Long lasting
  • Affordable
  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable 

Why People Don’t Like This Car Seat: 

  • Not compatible with all cars 
  • Low quality material

WAYB Pico Travel Car Seat

While the WAYB Pico Travel Car Seat may be a little on the pricey side, it is the perfect lightweight car seat for families on the move. The foldable design makes the WAYB easy to carry around and can fit in carry-on bins if needed. Unlike other models, the WAYB is only front-facing compatible. 

Front or Rear Facing: Front 

Child Weights: Toddlers between 22 to 55 pounds

FAA Approved: Yes

Weight: ‎8 pounds

Why People Like This Car Seat:

  • Portability 
  • Convenience 
  • Durable 
  • Easy set-up

Why People Don’t Like This Car Seat: 

  • Expensive 
  • Not very comfortable

Graco My Ride 65 Convertible Car Seat

If you are looking for a car seat good for older, heavier children the Graco My Ride 65 Convertible Car Seat may be the best choice for you. This all-in-one car seat features the LATCH system and is side-impact tested to ensure your child’s safety. This car seat is one of the top sold car seats in the US. 

Front or Rear Facing: Both

Child Weight: Up to 65 pounds

FAA Approved: Yes

Weight: 14.7 pounds

Why People Like This Car Seat

  • Easy assembly 
  • Extra comfort 
  • Easy to clip

Why People Don’t Like This Car Seat: 

  •  Heavy 

Pricing: $152

Maxi-Cosi Pria Max 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat

If you are looking for a car seat that can last in the long term and stay with your child through infancy all the way up to late toddlerhood, the Maxi-Cosi Pria Max 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat may be the best fit for you. While this car seat does have a higher price tag than most, it shouldn’t need replacing while your child is growing. The easy to install system and the padded comfort will keep your child safe and cozy whether they are in the car or on an airplane. 

Front or Rear Facing: Both

Child Weight: Up to 100 pounds

FAA Approved: Yes

Weight: 19.88 pounds

Why People Like This Car Seat

  • Adjustable Headrest 
  • Easy to take in and out 
  • Great for children with acid reflux
  • Cozy

Why People Don’t Like This Car Seat:

  • Connection problems 
  • Not washable

Cosco Scenera NEXT Convertible Car Seat

If you are looking to purchase a travel car seat in addition to the standard one you have at home and you do not want to spend a ton of money, the Cosco Scenera NEXT Convertible Car Seat is the car seat for you. The harness features 5 heights and 3 buckle locations so you can be sure you’re giving the best fit to your growing child. The lightweight and compact design also gets you through the airport without weighing you down.

Front or Rear Facing: Both

Child Weight: Up to 40 Pounds

FAA Approved: Yes

Weight: 10 pounds

Why People Like This Car Seat:

  • Lightweight 
  • A lot of space
  • Adjustable
  • Affordable

Why People Don’t Like This Car Seat:

  • Low weight limit 
  • Large care seat

Pricing: $60

Can You Take a Car Seat on a Plane?

If you are traveling with an infant or toddler it is recommended to bring a portable, FAA approved car seat on the aircraft. Just like in a car, the car seat will help protect your child while traveling and prevent injury in case of an emergency. Most standard car seats are FAA approved and can be taken through TSA.

What To Consider When Choosing a Travel Car Seat

When considering a car seat to take with you traveling there are a few things to consider. While safety is at the forefront of every parent’s mind, understand the car seat will need to be adjustable, to fit onto aircraft seats, lightweight, and affordable for your family.

Safety 

Car seats are the first line of defense for a child who is in an accident. While air travel is the safest way to get from point A to point B, it is essential that the car seat you choose is safe and secure for your little one. Takeoff, landing, and turbulence are all instances when children should be fastened safely in their travel car seat to ensure their safety. The FAA has set regulations for car seats and put their seal of approval on those they believe are the best options for air travel. 

Weight

Going through TSA and walking from gate to gate is already a workout without having to lug around a car seat. Keep this in mind when choosing what travel car seat to buy. The lighter weight your child’s travel car seat is, the less of a hassle it will be to cart it through the airport. 

Comfort

For most people, airplane seats are not very comfortable, but for your child you have the ability to choose a seat that they will enjoy sitting in. When choosing a travel car seat for your little one, choose one that is comfy and cozy for their little bodies. 

Price

Travel car seats come in a variety of prices. Your family situation will determine how much you would like to spend on one. Keep in mind that most car seats are compatible with aircraft seats and are FAA approved. If you do not want to buy a new car seat, check your everyday one to see about taking it with you!

Child Compatibility

When you are choosing a travel car seat for your child, make sure the age and weight limits are compatible with your little one. Just like standard car seats, travel car seats have weight limits associated with them. You can normally find these limits in the manual of the car seat on the specifications on the website. 

Family Vacation

Going on a family vacation can be stressful, but picking your child’s travel car seat shouldn’t be. If you liked this content and would like to stay up to date on more aviation related topics, including information about training to be a pilot, subscribe to FLYING Magazine.

FAQ

Do you need a car seat on a plane?

It is not required to have a car seat on a plane, but it is recommended.

Do you need to check a car seat as luggage?

You do not need to check your child’s car seat as luggage; you can bring it on to the plane if your child has been assigned their own seat.

Is flying safe for kids?

Yes, flying is the safest mode of transportation.

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