How to Select the Best Travel Car Seats?

Picture this: you're setting off on a journey by car or by plane. But, you're not going alone - your child is going with you. What would you do?

Worry no more since I have an answer for you - use the best car seats for travel! But how can parents be certain which ones are the best?

I thought of it too, and now the article reviews the best seats that deliver in safety, comfort, and budget!

Want to know more? Stay with me, and take a peek at the wide variety of choices. I'm sure you're going to find the best seat for car!

Top 3 Recommendations

Best Car Seats for Travel Approved by FAA: My Top 8 Choices

Doona Infant Car Seat & Latch Base - Best for Safety Features

If you're planning a shorter or longer trip, I have something for you! It's the best travel car seat for toddler! Let me show you why.

The first advantage is a one-hand motion where you can convert the travel car seat into a stroller for better maneuverability in seconds. No matter where you're going, this 2-in-1 best car seat for travelling will satisfy all your needs.

Speaking of needs, Doona rear-facing car seat contains the adjustable handlebar that works as an anti-rebound bar inside your motor vehicle. Another big plus is the three layers of the side impact protection, with the highest quality and safety standards and regulations.

It is easy to clean concerning material since the content is machine washable and removable, and the fabric is breathable; therefore, your kids can freely breathe, relax, and enjoy the travel. The content won't make your child feel the pressure since there are enough airflow and circulation for ultimate comfort.

Most vitally, the best travelling car seat is an FAA-approved car seat. It means that you can freely travel with this airplane seat without any obstacles. However, the rear-facing seat is TUV approved due to its safe materials.

Thanks to its proportions, our rear-facing travel car seat can withstand a child weighing from 4 to 35 pounds. Moreover, in a wide variety of options, you can choose the one that you like the most.

Not only does the package contain the Doona stroller seat, but also Doona bamboo infant insert, Doona base, infant vehicle seat protector, and bamboo head support. But you will also find breathable inner foams, a charcoal aluminum handle, and a two-year warranty period.

So, what else do you need when the Doona rear-facing travel car seat contains all the necessary elements to be the best?

Pros
  • Easy to install/use
  • Lightweight
  • Thick
Cons
  • /

Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 LX Infant Car Seat - Best for Protection

If the Doona seat didn't blow your mind, this one undoubtedly will! Our next rear-facing traveler car seat has magnificent travelling features, so it's time we learned them together!

With only one quick and straightforward motion, you can effortlessly adjust the handle, leaving your other hand free. As you can see, our Graco rear-facing car seat for travel is easy to manage, but it contains other super features.

If your baby is sleeping, the canopy straightforwardly adjusts without disturbance since it's a silent shade canopy. Thus, you can protect your baby from rain, sun, wind, and other adverse weather conditions for ultimate protection and comfort.

The LATCH system installs in seconds with appropriate LATCH connectors and attachments. Thus, the baby won't slip away, but the child will move freely in the rear-facing travel car seat.

Of course, I need to mention the 5-point harness front adjustment that will add extra protection for the baby, and the 4-position adjustable base. The base is crucial since you can manage and moderate your car's right position and the kiddo's needs. So, this is our best seat for cars and kids from 4 to 35 pounds.

Furthermore, the base passed rigorous tests run by FMVSS - Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards 213 and US standards. Additionally, the rear-facing car seat is FAA approved car seat, and you can freely use it as an airplane seat.

Finally, our travel car seat is easy to install since you can read the level indicator placed on the seat's base. Hence, you can eliminate the setup guesswork and get to work straightforwardly.

There are various benefits, as I have told you previously. So, why don't you pick the best traveling car seat today, and see the advantages yourself?

Pros
  • Quick installation
  • Easy to use
  • Lightweight
  • Affordable
  • Comfortable
Cons
  • No infant insert

Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat - Accent on Children's Development

Moving on, we have another excellent travel car seat! Believe me, and you're going to love it as much as I do!

The Evenflo Tribute LX convertible car seat keeps safe and protects the kids between 5 and 40 pounds, serving as a rear-facing car seat. But, it serves as a forward-facing car seat for kids who are between 22 and 40 pounds, and at least two years old.

Another reason I love it is the applicability to the Evenflo side impact test standard for structural integrity and Federal Safety Standards. As the convertible car seat passed all these tests, you can rest assured that it will provide the best possible protection to your little ones wherever you go. Perfect!

When you use it as a forward-facing seat, the top of the children's ears is below or at the top of the child restraint seat. When you use it as a rear-facing travel car seat, the top of the kids' heads is one inch below the car seat's top.

The Evenflo Tribute LX follows the kids' development and provides enough space for their growth thanks to its 5-point harness system with front adjustment and 4-position adjustable base. The kids can use our seat for an extended period.

Being a lightweight and compact, Evenflo Tribute LX is ideal for smaller cars, transport between various vehicles, and airplanes since this is another FAA-approved car seat for travel.

Our convertible (forward-facing/rear-facing) seat for travel is easy to clean as it contains the machine washable and removable parts. Of course, with a removable cup holder, the plastic and metal parts you can wash with a bar of mild soap and water. But you shouldn't use solvents or abrasive cleaners.

Pros
  • Quick setup/use
  • Excellent support
  • Durable
  • Load leg
Cons
  • Issues with straps 

Safety 1st Guide 65 Convertible Car Seat - The Most Convenient One

We finish the first half of the collection with our next convertible car seat that won our hearts for many reasons. Want to learn more? Read below.

Our Safety 1st Guide 65 travel car seat is convenient for smaller motor vehicles and helps you protect your kiddos in the form of a forward-facing or a rear-facing car seat.

If your little ones weigh between 5 and 40 pounds and 19 inches, you can use this seat as a rear-facing one. However, if they weigh between 22 to 65 pounds and are 34-52 inches tall, you can use it as a forward-facing car seat.

Another big plus is the additional space for growing children, and that is why children can use the convertible seat in two ways. Thus, no matter how you use it, the Safety 1st convertible car seat will provide extra legroom for extended use.

You can effortlessly wash the seat pad since it is hand-washable and removable. The bolsters are anti-rebound, and on the side, you can find a cup holder for the perfect storage for snacks or drinks and a more convenient journey.

But what is the most powerful feature?

Indeed, that's the fact that our Safety 1st Guide 65 seat for travel is FAA approved car seat; hence, you can install it in airplanes as well if you travel across the country, continent, or ocean. Impressive, right?

Being a 5-point harness convertible car seat, our guide 65 rear-facing/forward-facing travel car seat has five different heights for a more comfortable ride, and three buckle positions for proper fits and convenience.

Why don't you pick it now and make your child happy during the whole travel? It's high time you did so.

Pros
  • Easy to clean
  • Affordable
  • Comfortable
  • Durable
  • Load leg
  • Great security features
Cons
  • Installation issues

hiccapop UberBoost Inflatable Booster Car Seat - For All Travel Types

Are your travel car seats bulky, impractical, and sober? If your answer is "YES," I have something special for you; just stay tuned!

Well, this is our packable and portable backless booster seat

The very name tells you that our booster seat inflates in less than 20 seconds and sets up effortlessly and straightforwardly. It's a perfect choice for travel since it easily folds up and rolls in the travel bag so that you can carry the booster seat into a backpack, large purse, carryon, or a suitcase.

As your child deserves the best conditions on your trips, the booster seat is an excellent option for taxis, rented cars, school trips in various carpools or Uber rides. This is possible thanks to strict tests by FMVSS and USA standards and regulations.

However, the backless booster seat is not appropriate for plane travels since it isn't FAA approved and doesn't follow the air traffic regulations and standards.

Your motor vehicle's seat will be secure and protected from any damage since the booster seat fits all vinyl, cloth, and leather seats. It won't leave any stain or ruin the vehicle's seat since the non-skin material matches the vehicle's seat firmly and steadily. So, it's gentle to your vehicle's upholstery.

Concerning protection, I must tell you that the booster seat remains stable and immovable while on the road, and keeps the same stability and fixation even in the case of a car crash. As the proportions are excellent, the seat holds up the kids 40 pounds to 100 pounds.

Your little ones will adore cushiony paddings and the most comfortable rides that our seat creates! And the seat belt system attaches to the vehicle's seat belt correctly - it covers upper thighs, shoulder, and chest parts, as it should.

Pros
  • Easy installation
  • Comfortable
  • Affordable
Cons
  • Not for sleepy kids

Cosco Apt 50 Convertible Car Seat - The Most Durable Seat

For more than 70 years, the Cosco company always has the best products!

From swings to strollers, bouncers to car seats, high chairs to play yards, their products are famous for smart design and solid values. They won't let you down this time as well. So, let's learn together about their best travel car seat!

The primary feature the Cosco convertible car seat contains is the two modes of use:

  • Rear-facing seat for a child between 5 and 40 pounds
  • Forward-facing car seat for a child up to 50 pounds 

Thanks to the LATCH seat belt system and LATCH connectors, this convertible car seat with the 5-point harness has the six adjustable positions of the height and the frontal part, as well as three buckle positions.

Being a 5-point harness seat, your child will buckle up with two shoulder straps, two hips straps, and a crotch for the ultimate protection and stability.

No matter whether you use the travel seat as a rear-facing or a forward-facing one, the side impact protection with the foam paddings and side walls will keep your child untouchable if a car collision occurs.

Having the removable pads, the convertible car seat is easy to clean in the washing machine and dry it for the next use. Moreover, the two cup holders on both sides provide the storage for the children's favorite food and drinks, letting a driver stay focused on the road.

But what if you decide to travel by plane? 

It is possible since the seat is FAA approved and tested, but that's not all. The travel car seat passed ASTM and Federal Safety standards and regulations.

Finally, Cosco provides a one-year warranty period for their travel car seat. Will it be your choice?

Pros
  • Easy to clean 
  • Comfortable
  • Excellent support 
  • Load leg
Cons
  • Hard installation
  • Slips away

hifold fit-and-fold high back booster Seat - The Most Adjustable Seat

When you think of adjustability, think of this car seat. You may ask why. Here is the answer!

This is the world's most adjustable booster seat with more than 243 individual settings that are part of the famous "multi-fit" technology. This booster car seat is everything!

It withstands all children from 33 to 100 pounds, and 35 to 59 inches tall. Therefore, it's an ideal choice for toddlers, for a forward-facing use, and other services. You get all-in-one!

But there is more! As the car seat has the "multi-fold" system, it easily folds and packs into carrying bags; hence, the seat is compact and convenient for travel, storage, carpooling, and more. Plus, the seat contains the carry strap.

While your child grows, the all-in-one car seat follows the development providing more comfort and an optimal seat belt system; you can moderate the four-seat height positions: head height, head width, body, and seat. This way, the seat keeps your child safe and secure all the time.

As the car seat meets and passes all FMVSS and NHTSA regulations and standards, it is convenient for global use, and parents can use it everywhere, except in Australia. Since it meets the European standards as well, if you're planning an overseas trip to the Old Continent, you can freely use this seat as your best option.

However, the booster seat is not FAA tested and approved; therefore, it's not convenient for airplanes and air traffic. The experts say that children who use boosters are ready and old enough to fasten the airplane's seat belts, so they don't need booster travel car seats.

If you want the best travel experience and maximum safety and security, you should definitely opt for this high back booster seat! Believe me, your child is going to love it since it's so adjustable and user-friendly!

Pros
  • Sturdy
  • Comfortable
  • Easy to use
  • Sturdy
Cons
  • Design flaws

Combi Coccoro Streamlined Lightweight Convertible Car Seat - The Most Comfortable One

Are you tired? I'm not because I have so many cool things to tell you about our next car seat for travel! Listen carefully, and pay much attention.

The first benefit I want to tell you is that the Combi convertible car seat contains a side impact protection - a true safe one, and energy-absorbing foam that protects your kids in the case of side, front, rollover, and other car crashes. The side walls will keep their heads, necks, and spines safe.

The convertible car seat is an excellent and comfortable option for smaller kids since it contains the removable infant insert. The same insert provides the proper body position for your baby.

As you can notice, the design fits smaller vehicles and tighter spaces. This way, it allows the so-called quick "three across installation" and the most uncomplicated portability. Moreover, being FAA approved and tested, our car seat undoubtedly deserves to be the best convertible car seat for travel and the most convenient one!

Of course, our convertible car seat has a locking clip that works with other buckles and straps and has a cue when everything is secured. But the Combi convertible car seat also features a connector for rear-facing buckling.

If you want to clean the content, you can put it into a washing machine, but please, read the instruction manual first, and then wash it.

The most significant advantage is being a convertible car seat, which means that it functions as a rear-facing seat for kids from 3 to 33 pounds and a forward-facing seat for children from 2o to 40 pounds.

Lastly, the 5-point harness system will provide extra protection together with the 4-position adjustable heights for the right body posture and most comfortable use.

Pros
  • Easy to install/use
  • Affordable
  • Lightweight
Cons
  • Minor design flaws

Traveling by Kids: What You Should Know About the Best Travel Car Seats?

No matter whether you're traveling by car or a plane, you must afford the best travel car seat for your child. But how can you find out which one is the best?

Worry no more since I considered everything and provided you with helpful and useful information on picking the right seats.

You'll just have to dig up a little bit.

1. Children, Planes, and Car Seats

best travel car seats for toddlers

According to the American FAA, all infants younger than two must be placed into the approved car seats. These seats are the safest and most comfortable means of transport by planes.

The most convenient car seats are convertible seats since they are both rear-facing and forward-facing, but if you have a baby, you will use a toddler seat, of course.

You are not legally demanded to use one; however, as your baby won't move around, it's a better option if you carry a car seat.

2. Car Seats That Contain the FAA Approval

To be allowed to travel by plane, parents must obtain the FAA approved car seats. You may ask which seats.

You have to look at the seat and find the approval stating that the car seat is approved for travel by motor vehicles or airplanes

However, if you live in Australia, you will have to search for an approved safety label that says, "Certified product, Australian standards AS/NZS 1754." That's the only way to take a seat into a plane.

3. Car Seat Weight

Since you're going to the airport, you will have to carry car seats with you; therefore, my recommendation is travel car seats that are 15 lbs or less - 10 lbs, for instance.

You will have to take and carry it out of the car/taxi/Uber, etc.place it on the trolleys, carry it to the airport, and place it on the plane. 

Pick a lightweight seat, believe me!

4. Car Seat Width

best travel car seats 2020

Just because car seats have the FAA approvals doesn't mean they'll fit airplane seats. It's imperative that your car seats be in accordance with the airplane seats since they are between 16 and 22 inches wide.

You have to check car seats that are wide in this radius, or else you wouldn't be able to place them on the airplane seats effortlessly.

The other problem could be the security scanner - if your car seat doesn't fit the airport scanner control, the inspectors will have to check and inspect the car seat manually, which would slow down the checking in process.

5. Car Seat Convertibility

When you shop for the best car seat, bear in mind that the convertible seat is the best option.

It won't eat your budget since the seat will accommodate children from approximately 5 to 65 pounds comfortably, and you'll get two in one for the same price.

Tips on How to Travel by a Car Seat by Plane

best travel car seats for 2 year old
  • Booking a car seat - it's vital if you book a set that won't block anyone's way, for instance, next to a window. The best option is to use the car seat since the bulkhead car seat has fixed armrests, thus limiting the possibility of moving regularly. And you cannot use the car seat if you block other people's way out.
  • Use rear-facing car seats - if you're traveling by these car seats, the person sitting in the front might not be able to recline at all. So you'll have to book one parent in the front and one on the right.
  • Airlines and car seats notifications - please contact the airport and emphasize that you're taking your car seat on the travel in advance. You should ask for written approval and confirmation that you can do so.
  • Infant capsule car seats with bases - if the capsule seats ARE NOT FAA approved, you must check-in them or pop them in the overhead compartments if they fit. You can only place the seat parts on the planes.
  • Booster car seats and planes - according to the regulations, booster seats ARE NOT FAA approved; hence, they ARE NOT allowed on the on-board. You can take a combination car seat/booster car seat with an INTERNAL HARNESS, but the booster is not acceptable since no shoulder seat belts fit the airplane's seat belts.
  • Airport and car seats - making your way at the airports might be challenging with the travel car seats. The last that you would want to occur at the airport is a struggle before checking-in. You have two options: investing in a car seat trolley or take a backpack car seat.
  • FAA-approved child harness devices - consider the usage of care since they are convenient for children weighing between 22 and 44 pounds and are one year old or older. They are small, portable, and appropriate for carrying in carrying bags. However, they are not comfortable for sleeping since children must sit straight in the seat.

Tips on How to Travel by a Toddler Car Seat

best travel car seats for infants
  1. 1
    Take a stroller or the stroller frame
  2. 2
    Carry the car seat on your back
  3. 3
    Attach the baby seat on the luggage
  4. 4
    Take the handles of your stroller
  5. 5
    Bring a wagon
  6. 6
    Take a car seat bag with wheels 
  7. 7
    Add wheels on the car seat travel cart

Final Thoughts - Summary

As you have seen, there are various benefits when traveling by the best travel car seats since you can place them in motor vehicles and planes. Our list contains the products that are mostly FAA approved, and you have tips on how to check their convenience for aircraft.

However, the best travel car seat from the list is Doona Infant Car Seat & Latch Base.

Since it contains the stroller, the seat is convenient for airports, airplanes, motor vehicles, and all other means of transport. Being a 2-in-1 car seat is appropriate for babies since it provides maximum security, comfort, and stability.

Your little ones will love it!

Doona Infant Car Seat & Latch Base – Car Seat to Stroller – Blush Pink – US Version*
  • PRODUCT FEATURES & BENEFITS: One simple motion operation – From car seat to stroller in seconds, 5-point harness, adjustable handlebar - also acts as an anti-rebound bar inside the car, 3 Layer Side...
  • COLOR: All Black Patterned Textile Fabric, New Stretch Material Canopy in Flame Red, New Stretch Material Shoulder Pads in Flame Red, New and Improved Breathable Inner Foams, Charcoal Aluminum Handle,...
  • USAGE: Suitable from 4 lbs. to 35 lbs, Max. 32 Inches Height, Rear facing only, Car Seat weighs 16.5 lbs, Base weighs 10.3 lbs.
  • INCLUDED IN THE BOX: Doona Infant Car Seat, Doona Bamboo Infant Insert, Doona Bamboo Head Support, Doona Vehicle Seat Protector, Doona Base
  • PRODUCT DIMENSIONS: Folded: 23.6x17.3x26 Inches; Unfolded: 39x17.3x32.2 Inches; Weight: 16.5 Lbs.

Kathy Warner

Kathy is a busy mother of two and a CPS technician for more than eight years. Her mission is to awaken parents to the importance of child passenger safety and show them the right practice. You can read more about her here