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This is the Best Toddler Travel Car Seat

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Traveling with toddlers is no easy feat, so we want to make it as easy as possible for you. I’m often asked ‘Should I bring a portable car seat on vacation?’ and my answer is almost always a big Y-E-S! Bringing along a lightweight toddler car seat will save you lots of headaches at your destination and is absolutely worth the extra hassle. Not only will you be confident that you have something safe to transport your toddler with on vacation, but you will also find that bringing a toddler travel car seat on the plane is a total lifesaver!

What are the best toddler travel car seats?

There are several top toddler travel car seats on the market. All of them are relatively lightweight and easy to carry throughout the airport. Each car seat has a different weight and height rating and this might affect your decision. We managed to get by with a travel car seat that went from 8-40lbs and then a portable booster seat from 40lbs and up. Some readers might prefer a portable toddler car seat that goes as high as 50lbs or more.

We’ve put together a comparison of the top travel car seats for toddlers on the market below. You can compare prices, weight restrictions as well as the weight of the car seat itself. Scroll down below to find out which car seat is our absolute favorite when it comes to traveling safely with toddlers.

Our Top Choice
Evenflo Tribute LX 2-in-1 Lightweight Convertible Car Seat, Travel Friendly (Saturn Gray)
Ride Safer Delight Travel Vest, Small Grey – Includes Tether and Neck Pillow
Disney Baby Apt 50 Convertible Car Seat, Mouseketeer Minnie
Evenflo Tribute LX 2-in-1 Lightweight Convertible Car Seat, Travel Friendly (Saturn Gray)
Ride Safer Delight Travel Vest, Small Grey – Includes Tether and Neck Pillow
Disney Baby Apt 50 Convertible Car Seat, Mouseketeer Minnie
$79.99
Price not available
Price not available
-
-
Max child weight: 40 lbs
Min Child Weight: 30 lbs Max child weight: 60 lbs
Max child weight: 50 lbs
Item weight: 5 lbs
Item weight: 2.3 lbs
Item weight: 11 lbs
Our Top Choice
Evenflo Tribute LX 2-in-1 Lightweight Convertible Car Seat, Travel Friendly (Saturn Gray)
Evenflo Tribute LX 2-in-1 Lightweight Convertible Car Seat, Travel Friendly (Saturn Gray)
$79.99
Max child weight: 40 lbs
Item weight: 5 lbs
Ride Safer Delight Travel Vest, Small Grey – Includes Tether and Neck Pillow
Ride Safer Delight Travel Vest, Small Grey – Includes Tether and Neck Pillow
Price not available
-
Min Child Weight: 30 lbs Max child weight: 60 lbs
Item weight: 2.3 lbs
Disney Baby Apt 50 Convertible Car Seat, Mouseketeer Minnie
Disney Baby Apt 50 Convertible Car Seat, Mouseketeer Minnie
Price not available
-
Max child weight: 50 lbs
Item weight: 11 lbs

The Cosco Scenera Next

Cosco Mighty Fit 65 DX Convertible Car Seat, Heather Onyx
  • An extra-comfortable ride that lasts for years: Rear-facing 5-40 pounds and Forward-facing 22-65 pounds
  • Fits 3 across in the back seat of most vehicles
  • Gives parent in the front seat more leg room
  • Side Impact Protection

The Cosco Scenera Next is hands-down our favorite toddler travel car seat. This car seat is super lightweight, compact, is easy to transport in a stroller, and is perfect until your toddler has reached the appropriate weight for a booster seat.

This car seat is also super affordable. We bought this car seat solely for travel. That way we don’t have to worry about our more expensive car seats getting damaged during travel. If you get a car seat for travel only then you also won’t have to deal with uninstalling and installing your regular seats!

This car seat is easy to install in a rental car and I much prefer bringing this car seat along than worrying about the quality of a potential rental car seat.

I discovered that the Cosco Scenera Next can fit into the bottom of my Uppa Baby Vista stroller basket. With this set up I can easily transport the car seat around the airport or even out in the city. It’s perfect!

Best Car seat for travel
Can you spot the Cosco Scenera Next in the stroller basket?? Seriously, the best!

The Evenflo Tribute LX

Evenflo Tribute LX 2-in-1 Lightweight Convertible Car Seat, Travel Friendly (Saturn Gray)
  • MEET THE HIGHLY REVIEWED CAR SEAT WITH UNBEATABLE VALUE: This fan- favorite offers a budget-friendly choice without sacrificing safety, comfort or ease
  • TRAVEL SLEEK AND LIGHT: Compact design offers an ideal fit for smaller vehicles, while lightweight design makes this a popular car seat for family travel
  • GROW WITH IT: With use from 5 to 40 lb (19 to 40 in. tall), offers rear-facing and forward- facing modes, 5-point harness, plus 4-position shoulder harness
  • SECURE YOUR CHILD WITH EASE: Upfront harness adjust makes it easy to get an accurate, snug fit for your child as they grow
  • KEEP DRINKS AND SNACKS WITHIN REACH: Removable cup holder is dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning
Car Seat Belt Strap to Suitcase, Convert Kid Car Seat and Carry-on Luggage to Airport Stroller Carrier,Safe Travel Solution for Transport (Orange)
  • A good way to transport the kid car seat,Use this car seat belt to band the car seat with the luggage together, can use your suitcase to transport the car seat easily.
  • 2.Quality and Strong Heavy Duty material : The car seat Luggage strap is made of the strong quality nylon material Belt, Steel Ring and a quality strong buckle,Which can Withstand heavy objects. It is can ensure that the belt can last for years to use.
  • 3.Help you save money and time: to get a car seat travel strap, No need to spend large amounts of money for a car seat carrier or cart. And it also have help you save your time looking for other tools.
  • 4.Four easy steps to fixed the car seat with the luggage or kid cart. First, Attach to tether of car seat to the vertical D ring of car seat strap ,Second ,Take one of end of the belt and feed through side of the car seat to another end, Third, Connect both end of the belt and close, The Last, Pull loose end to tighten strap around roller bag ,then tilt roller bag and pull while walking
  • 5.Save Space and Convenient: The car seat luggage strap can only take up a little space in you bag ,and it is can take to anywhere you want, when you need it ,can just take it out and let it work. Notice, it is not not work with Graco Snugride 30 car seat.

This inexpensive car seat is another great travel option. Weighing in at 9 lbs this car seat is the most lightweight travel car seat we’ve found. The Evenflo Tribute is rated from 5lbs (rear-facing) to 40lbs (forward-facing) making it super versatile even for young babies.

The Evenflo Tribute is easy to install and uses the LATCH system for easy installation when you arrive at your destination. With the Go-Go babyz car seat luggage strap you can easily turn your toddler car seat and carry on luggage into a mini stroller.

Ride Safer Delight Travel Vest

Ride Safer Travel Vest with Zipped Backpack-Wearable, Lightweight, Compact, and Portable Car Seat. Perfect for Everyday use or Rideshare, Travel, and Rental Car. (Small/Black)
  • IT IS UNCONVENTIONAL and INNOVATIVE. This is a vest type Child Restraint System and uses a revolutionary technology to increase safety for the little traveler by optimizing the adult seat belt fit for their body.
  • IT IS SAFE AND LEGAL. This is certified for use in motor vehicles, meets or exceeds all applicable FMVSS 213 requirements so is legal to use in all US states.
  • IT IS COMPACT, ULTRA-LIGHTWEIGHT, AND PORTABLE. This is perfect for a family travel, fits 3-children in the same row of a vehicle with comfort and ease; ridesharing, taxi, or rental car. Great for grandparents and caregivers because it’s lightweight and easy to install and use.
  • IT CAN BE USED WITH OR WITHOUT TETHER. This is to use with a vehicle lap belt and top tether by securing the vest with a top tether anchor in the vehicle. Also, this can be used with a lap and shoulder belt only without a tether strap.
  • WHO CAN USE IT? The small size is recommended to use 3 years and above and a weight between 30 lbs. and 60 lbs.

The Ride Safer Delight Travel vest is an interesting option for a travel car seat. This option works great if you are really tight on space or if you are planning to do a lot of sightseeing by taking taxis. The ride safer can be stored in a backpack and is lightweight and easy to carry.

The main negatives of the ride safer delight is that the minimum weight is 30 lbs, it is not FAA approved for the airplane, and it is also really expensive. I would likely only consider this option if you are planning to do a lot of travel when your child is between the ages of 30 lbs-40 lbs.

Disney Baby Apt 50 Car Seat

Disney Baby Onlook 2-in-1 Convertible Car Seat, Rear-Facing 5-40 pounds and Forward-Facing 22-40 pounds and up to 43 inches, Mouseketeer Minnie
  • With two modes of use, this LATCH-equipped Cosco Kids car seat accommodates infants from 5 pounds up to toddlers weighing 40 pounds in rear-facing mode and kids up to 40 pounds in forward-facing mode.
  • The five-point harness adjusts easily from the front of the seat and features six heights and three buckle locations.
  • In both the rear-facing and forward-facing modes, built-in side-impact protection keeps your little one extra secure.
  • Easily remove the machine-washable and dryer-safe car seat pad to clean.

From one Disney lover to the next, this adorable travel car seat is also an awesome portable car seat option. I like that this car seat is rated to 50lbs. This is helpful for toddlers that might not meet the appropriate age or height requirement for a booster. My only complaint about this car seat is that it is a bit bulkier than the Cosco Scenera Next.

Top Toddler Travel Booster Seats

Prior to 40 lbs, a 5 point restraint in a properly fitted car seat is the safest way to transport your toddler. Once your child is 4 years old and above 40 lbs and provided they meet the height requirement for the specific booster, a portable booster seat is an option.

mifold hifold fit-and-fold Highback Booster Seat, – Adjustable Narrow, Foldable Booster Car Seat for Everyday, Travel, Carpooling and More – Racing Red
Cosco Topside Backless Booster Car Seat, Leo
bubblebum Inflatable Booster Car Seat - Blow Up Narrow Backless Booster Car Seat for Travel. Portable Booster Seat for Toddlers, Kids, Child - Black
mifold hifold fit-and-fold Highback Booster Seat, – Adjustable Narrow, Foldable Booster Car Seat for Everyday, Travel, Carpooling and More – Racing Red
Cosco Topside Backless Booster Car Seat, Leo
bubblebum Inflatable Booster Car Seat - Blow Up Narrow Backless Booster Car Seat for Travel. Portable Booster Seat for Toddlers, Kids, Child - Black
$199.00
$26.99
$35.19
Ages 4 and up
Ages 6 and up
Ages 4 and up
Min Child Weight: 40lbs
Min Child Weight: 40lbs
Min Child Weight: 40lbs
mifold hifold fit-and-fold Highback Booster Seat, – Adjustable Narrow, Foldable Booster Car Seat for Everyday, Travel, Carpooling and More – Racing Red
mifold hifold fit-and-fold Highback Booster Seat, – Adjustable Narrow, Foldable Booster Car Seat for Everyday, Travel, Carpooling and More – Racing Red
$199.00
Ages 4 and up
Min Child Weight: 40lbs
Cosco Topside Backless Booster Car Seat, Leo
Cosco Topside Backless Booster Car Seat, Leo
$26.99
Ages 6 and up
Min Child Weight: 40lbs
bubblebum Inflatable Booster Car Seat - Blow Up Narrow Backless Booster Car Seat for Travel. Portable Booster Seat for Toddlers, Kids, Child - Black
bubblebum Inflatable Booster Car Seat - Blow Up Narrow Backless Booster Car Seat for Travel. Portable Booster Seat for Toddlers, Kids, Child - Black
$35.19
Ages 4 and up
Min Child Weight: 40lbs

Here’s our list of the top travel booster seats for kids:

The MiFold Travel Booster

mifold hifold fit-and-fold Highback Booster Seat, – Adjustable Narrow, Foldable Booster Car Seat for Everyday, Travel, Carpooling and More – Racing Red
  • ADJUSTABLE BOOSTER – hifold booster seat is the world’s most adjustable booster, with unique “multi-fit” technology that can be adjusted to 243 individual settings. This car seat is designed for kids aged 4 and up, 40-100 lbs., and 40 to 59 inches tall.
  • PORTABLE BOOSTER FOR TRAVEL AND MORE –The world’s most portable booster. The “multi-fold” system quickly folds down to a compact and convenient size for storage, travel, carpooling and more. It is lightweight and includes convenient carry strap.
  • KEEPS CHILD SECURE – hifold kids booster seat not only grows with your child, but ensures optimal seatbelt fit and comfort while they grow. It can be adjusted in 4 areas: the seat, body, head width and height. Ultra-light weight EPE (Expanded Polyethylene) foam for superior impact resistance.
  • SAFETY TESTED – This portable car seat meets or exceeds NHTSA standard FMVSS 213 and is regulated for global use, so it can be taken and used everywhere in the world except Australia and Taiwan.
  • CONVENIENT AND NARROW BOOSTER SEAT – This travel booster seat is easy to use and has won many awards, including the 2019 Creative Child Product of the Year Award. Use this car booster seat for older kids, grandparents cars or for fitting three children in a row.

The MiFold travel booster is our favorite option for travel when our kids reach the over 4 years and over 40lbs mark. We’ve used the MiFold extensively with our eldest son and he really loves it. The only complaint that I have about the MiFold is that it is a bit uncomfortable for kids during a long car ride. I absolutely love that you can fit this in your purse and bring it with you on a sightseeing trip to the city.

The Cosco Topside Backless Booster

Cosco Topside Backless Booster Car Seat, Leo
  • This Cosco Kids backless booster securely fits in your car and gives your child the extra height they need to keep seatbelts properly positioned.

This traditional booster is a great lightweight option. It’s perfect for a rental car and doesn’t take up too much space in either your luggage or carry on. The Cosco topside is not recommended until age 6.

BubbleBum Inflatable Booster

Sale
bubblebum Inflatable Booster Car Seat – Blow Up Narrow Backless Booster Car Seat for Travel. Portable Booster Seat for Toddlers, Kids, Child – Black
  • The Ultimate Travel Booster Car Seat – Unlock the convenience of the USA’s Original backless inflatable booster seat. BubbleBum is the only inflatable childrens booster seat for your car with a patented system to guarantee stability and comfort on every journey.
  • Safety You Can Count On – BubbleBums patented ComfortMax technology exceeds all US federal car safety standards (FMVSS213) for booster car seats 40 lbs and up to 100 lbs. Your car booster seat comes with a seat belt positioning clip for optimal seat belt fit and comfort.
  • Take Anywhere Travel Car Seat – Your inflatable carseat is perfect for everyday use, car rentals, taxis, vacations and carpooling. Take your new backless booster seat on all your school trips and adventures. Perfect for your little toddlers, girls and boys aged 4 to 11 years old.
  • Practical Dimensions Fits a Car Load of Kids – The narrow, compact and slim BubbleBum booster seat is perfect for the middle seat, even small cars. It fits between 2 full-size car seats, allowing 3 kids across the back of almost any car.
  • Global Award Winner – BubbleBum has won the ‘Mom’s Best Award,’ and the ‘Parent Tested Parent Approved’ award, plus dozens more. Ask our millions of happy car seat customers how much they trust the BubbleBum name. Your Bubblebum Car Booster Seat also comes with a lifetime guarantee.

BubbleBum inflatable booster gets rave review from all my friends! It also has consistently high safety ratings. This booster is not approved in Canada and therefore I have not tried it myself. The BubbleBum inflatable booster is more comfortable than the MiFold.

Why you should absolutely bring your toddler car seat on the airplane

POrtable Car Seats
Bring your car seat on the plane and enjoy some relaxation!

Bringing our toddlers car seat onto the airplane was an absolute GAME CHANGER for us. We didn’t start doing it until our toddler was two years old and we needed to pay for the seat. If I had known how much it would have saved our sanity, I may have considered buying a seat before age 2. Being in the car seat is definitely the safest way for an infant under age 2 to travel by air.

Before bringing our car seat onto the plane we struggled with our toddler wanting to explore the aisles, poke the people directly behind or in front of us and crawl under the seats. Once we started strapping him in he happily sat and played in his seat. Our little ones have always been used to car rides and getting into the car seat is a comfortable routine for them.

Our favourite FAA approved car seat for toddlers is still the Cosco Scenera Next. This car seat easily fastens using the planes seat belt in the forward facing position. The only negative I noted is that my sons legs were now at the perfect distance to kick the seat in front of him. We solved this problem by sitting his older brother directly in front of him so we wouldn’t have to spend the whole flight yelling ‘stop kicking!

Toddler Travel Car Seat Tips

Using your stroller as a car seat carrier

As I’ve recommended above, I LOVE to bring my full-size stroller on vacation. I love having the full-size cargo basket, the full recline and the canopy. I love my Uppababy Vista and bring this on most trips. Unless you are really tight on space, I don’t advise purchasing a separate travel stroller.

If you have a large stroller you can easily fit the Cosco Scenera Next in the under basket. The Cosco Scenera Next fits nicely into the basket of the UppaBaby Vista.

Consider a seat strap for your luggage

Car Seat Belt Travel Strap to Convert Your Car Seat and Carry-on Luggage into an Airport Car Seat Stroller & Carrier – Bright Orange and Heavy Duty – Includes Bonus E-Book Gift
  • This Car Seat Luggage Belt turns your rolling bag (handbag or suitcase) in to an ultra-portable travel solution that works for all car seats that have a top tether. No need to spend large amounts of money for a Car Seat Carrier or Cart
  • RELIABLE AND COST EFFECTIVE – Reinforced stitching and commercial grade belt ensures that this lasts for years to come. When compared to the carts or dollys, you’ll save a lot of time, money and headache each time
  • QUICK AND EASY – Attach to or remove Car Seat from your luggage in just a few seconds. When not in use, fold the strap and store it anywhere as its light and takes minimal space
  • COMPATIBLE – This belt works with most 13″- 56″ roller handbags and suitcases and forward facing car seats that have a top tether. Be sure to practice at home and look like a PRO at the airport
  • BONUS – Free E-Book for parents on how to keep your children busy while on the move

A seat strap is a really cool invention to turn your carry on luggage into a portable stroller for travel. You simply strap the car seat to your luggage and bring your little one along for the ride!

Make sure your car seat is FAA approved

FAA Aproved Car Seat
Look for this label on your FAA Aproved Car Seat

It’s important to check that your car seat is FAA approved if you plan on using it on the plane.

Here are our favourite FAA approved toddler travel car seats:

Have a separate seat car seat for travel

We have a separate car seat just for travel and find the convenience worth the extra cost. We don’t have to worry about installing and uninstalling our car seats and we also don’t have to worry about lugging around our heavy car seats from home.

What about renting a toddler car seat?

We have rented a car with car seats on a few occasions. We have always been pretty lucky with good quality seats. I have heard from a lot of friends that the quality of the airport car seats is inconsistent and sometimes the fit isn’t appropriate. Since we found the Cosco Scenera Next we haven’t bothered to rent a car seat because bringing it along is a piece of cake. Most car rental companies charge $10/day for a child seat so the Cosco Scenera Next is a great deal if you use it for more than one trip!

How to travel with car seats using taxis and public transportation?

If you are going to be touring a city and taking taxis, options for car seats are limited. Public transportation is always the easiest with small children, so if you have the opportunity to take a bus or subway, I would consider this first. There are some cities where you can use a car rental service with car seats. We like the MiFold and the Cosco Scenera Next (in the stroller basket) for traveling in the city with young kids.

Pin for Later!

Toddler Travel Car Seat
Best Toddler Travel Car Seat

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