I bet you always wanted to be one of those parents who checked the baggage claim without a care in the world. You look at them and think: “How do they do that? How do they make traveling with kids look so easy?” I’ll let you know a little secret.
Those are the parents who read our guides beforehand and equip themselves with the lightest versions of kid gear on their vacay. Do you want to master how to be one of them? Keep on reading.
In this article, I have prepared a helpful review of 8 of the best travel booster seats on the market that are bound to make your trips more manageable.
So, grab a coffee, and let’s prepare you for a family staycation.
Table of Contents
- Best Travel Booster Seats - Top 8 Picks That Will Astonish You
- #1. BubbleBum Inflatable Backless Booster Car Seat - Best Travel Car Booster Seat
- #2. Cosco Topside Booster Car Seat - Runner Up
- #3. Ride Safer Travel Vest Gen 5 - Best Booster Alternative
- #4. hiccapop UberBoost Inflatable Booster Car Seat - Most Sturdy Inflated Model
- #5. Mifold grab and go Car Booster Seat - Foldable Master
- #6. Graco TurboBooster Highback Booster - Best High Back Booster Seat
- #7. Hifold fit-and-fold high back booster seat - Best Adjustment System
- #8. Baby Trend Yumi Folding Booster Car Seat - Budget-Friendly Pick
- Buyers Guide For Best Booster Seat For Travel
- Final Words
Best Travel Booster Seats - Top 8 Picks That Will Astonish You
The BubbleBum backless booster seat must have caught your eye in at least one of your booster reviews. The inflatable design is increasingly popular among traveling parents nowadays since we are all looking for convenience and comfort at a budget-friendly price.
Are you looking for the lightest version of the booster seat possible? What does 1 pound sound like? Yes, you read that correctly.
This booster car seat is light enough for you not even to feel it in the backpack. Not only this but once it’s deflated and rolled up, you can have extra space in your bag for those travel snacks.
I tried my share of backless boosters, and BubbleBum always seems to find its way back to me. I cannot tell you how convenient it has made all the hectic rides with a kid by my side. It’s a great booster to have with you when you need a quick installation in a taxi or an Uber, even during travels.
However, there is something I need to discuss with you. Since it is so light, it may not be the top choice for wiggly children. It’s known for slipping away if it’s overinflated or not appropriately secured.
Other than this, I find it to be one of the best travel booster options for parents who do not want heavy luggage every time they decide it’s time for a vacay with kiddos.
Since kids are known to get messy from time to time, the BubbleBum travel booster seat is straightforward to clean! There is no need for machine wash, just wipe the cover and let it air-dry.
You should also know that this backless booster seat is designed to support children between 40 and 100 lbs, and it meets all federal regulations, even when it’s deflated!
If inflatable booster seats are not up to your alley of likings, how does a traditional plus booster car seat sound like? There is no such thing better than going back to the roots and choosing a trustworthy model.
The Cosco Topside Booster seat offers secure support to children between 40 and 100 lbs and 43’’ to 57’’ inches in height. The main advantage of this booster seat is that you will likely use this one for a very long time, and everyone loves getting a good deal!
Since inflatable and foldable booster seats are incredibly lightweight, they are also quite uncomfy for the little ones. A traditional model like this offers plush padding and gives your child ‘a boost’ to reach those few inches of the car seat belt.
The lightweight design makes it that much lovable among travelers. It’s light to move it from car to car, as well as to pack it in a carry-on and to store it above your airplane seat.
According to the numerous parent comments, this backless booster seat is convenient for fit three across installations. It’s an excellent purchase for growing families looking to save up on both space and budget.
The ultimate benefit of the booster seat has got to be its design. Now, you might think, what’s so special about it? It looks like a regular booster seat, right? WRONG! The bottom side of the booster is designed to leave the car seat unmarked.
Consider this one your best buy for all of you who are looking to protect your car seats as best as possible. No more marks or scratches on the car seat; the Cosco Topside has come to your rescue.
Sure, inflatable and foldable booster seats are impressive but have you heard of Ride Safer Travel Vest. Yes! You read it correctly. A travel vest is an excellent booster seat alternative but with an added torso protection. Hop on to see what’s so revolutionary about this product.
If you scroll to see the Mifold booster seat, you will notice that they kind of work in the same way. They do not give children a boost to the car seat belt, but it brings the seat belt closer to them.
The way you put it on a child is like you would an ordinary vest. Strap it on with a velcro panel and secure the metal buckle in the back and the front. The whole process is pretty much self-explanatory. Here is a video for a better explanation.
The travel vest is entirely safe for children with passing all the necessary Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, so you can legally use it in the U.S.
Though this is a vest in design, it’s still considered to be a booster mostly. It provides all the mobility that the 5-point harness usually wouldn’t. Still, I’d let you be the judge whether your child is ready for this type of restraint system.
The best thing about this travel booster seat is that you can leave it attached to the rental you are taking. There is no need to attach it each time you need to use it. Simply unbuckle the seatbelt and secure the child.
I love the fact that you can just roll it up in a bag while you wait for your Uber to arrive. You know you will not waste time with installation after it comes. Ride Safer is all about helping parents under the cosh.
An inflatable backless booster has caught my attention, and it makes me wonder. If there are numerous travel booster seats in the market, it must be a puzzle for making a first time purchase.
But, that’s what I’m here for, to make your choice easier. Let’s see how the Hiccapop UberBoost inflatable booster compares to a similar model by BubbleBum.
Okay, so right from the start, these two differ in design. While BubbleBum is filled with foam, the Hiccapop is air-filled and constructed out of a thick vinyl bladder. However, it does feel sturdy once it is inflated and reaches full size.
The shoulder belt guides contain a clamp lock, which is always preferable when making adjustments. For parents who meet with the clamp lock for the first time, you are in for a treat.
Another difference between the boosters is that the BubbleBum supports little ones up to 100 lbs while the Hiccapop has a 10 lbs advantage added. So if you feel like this makes a significant difference, go for the Hiccapop backless booster seat.
The bottom cover is made of gritty material, ensuring the booster seat does not slide over to the other side. If your child gets restless after a few hours of traveling, you will need a secure booster seat that stays in place.
The booster served many when fit three across installation was needed. Although it is quite roomy, the narrow design is just right when you need more than two boosters in the back seat.
On the side, you will find a metal belt loop designed to fit all types of three-point harness. Whatever type of ride you rent or book, the one and only Hiccapop is made to work everywhere.
It seems as though the Mifold Grab and Go Booster are taking the world by storm! Although it may not offer superb comfort, it remains one of the most popular backless booster options. So, why is that exactly?
When it’s folded completely, the booster car seat is around 2 inches thick! Can you imagine just how convenient that is when your bags are already full of travel necessities?
However, many parents question Mifold safety. Let me tell you, this travel backless booster seat has been carefully tested and meets all the NHTSA standards and regulations.
But, quite a few had problems with installations, reporting that the travel booster seat is fiddly and did not fit their car seat belt guide. So, to avoid any stressful situations as soon as you land, I recommend you give the Mifold a try a couple of times at home.
Okay, so we need to discuss the most controversial issue of the backless booster seat, and that is comfort.
Since the seat lacks significant padding, you will hear a lot of complaints from the back seat. If this is something, you can deal with and look past at, great! I cannot, so I would recommend you opt for a padded seat instead if the comfort of your child is a priority.
Although the seat is made out of dense foam, I still wonder if the compact version is worth it due to poor comfort. If you are to make a compromise, I am sure this will make an excellent portable booster seat for all your travel adventures.
If you don’t want to overthink a high back booster seat, I recommend looking at the Graco selection. The travel car seat booster offers a trustworthy service with traditional features and sleek design.
Why should you pick this booster car seat over the other ones I reviewed? I would always give advantage to a more extended service. With this design, you get a 2-in-1 system with a high back booster seat and a backless travel car booster seat.
Both of the settings offer support for children between 40 pounds and 100 pounds. If your child is not mature for a backless booster design, but you do not want to splurge on it later, that is where the Graco shines the most!
The backless booster is relatively easy to fold and is always ready to be stored in a carry bag. Forget about carrying large luggage each time you decide to take a vacay with children.
The best part for the little ones on the road is the neatly placed cup holders. You can store a few snacks in there for longer trips and reduce the number of complaints from the back seat.
Though this is not the lightest version possible for traveling, it’s still lighter than your everyday 2-in-1 booster car seat. By weighing around 12 pounds, it folds nicely and is always ready for on-the-go travels.
Parents usually go for this booster seat if they have a long trip ahead. It offers most of the benefits you would usually get from a conventional booster but with a travel-friendly advantage.
The only downside of the booster is that it’s not so comfy for everyday use. Due to the foldable mechanism, it is entirely reasonable Graco lacks a bit of padding.
If your kiddo is not so little anymore and now needs a high back booster seat, I have prepared a few options. One of them is the innovative Hifold fit and fold booster seat that amazed many on-the-go traveling parents.
I’m not going to mull on the weight of this car booster seat. Let’s just say that 10-pound weight is a whopping number that you won’t find in many high back booster seats fit for traveling.
As for the size, when folded, it reaches 13,5 inches square. With this compact size, it can easily fit in a backpack or a carry bag without adding excessive weight.
Now here is the real x-factor. The high back booster seat offers 243 individual settings combinations. It is adjustable to fit children of most ages with the help of nine height settings.
I would recommend this travel booster seat to those who are transitioning from a car seat and older ones who are not ready for a seat belt yet. That being said, both categories of children can enjoy the booster seat for a longer time, giving you a sound mind and a wise purchase choice.
Another great benefit of the travel booster seat is that you can easily fit three across the back seat. Due to its narrow design, it makes a perfect companion when you rent out a car.
The bottom line, I genuinely recommend this seat if you are willing to spend a couple of more bucks than usual. Its high price can sometimes reject parents, but the price is a fair point when you consider the prolonged use.
The only downside is that the booster seat does not have a 5 point harness or switches to a backless booster.
I believe all of us are looking to save up a few bucks then and there. For this reason, I recommend the Baby Trend Yumi booster seat as the best budget-friendly 2-in-1 booster.
The belt-positioning seat has been in the market for a long time now, although many are not familiar with it. Stay tuned to see if this would be your best pick.
You can notice that most of the travel booster seats in the review support kids from 40 pounds; however, Baby Trend lowers the bar a bit by supporting kiddos from 30 to 100 pounds. However, due to the narrow design, I do not think most kids would fit once they reach 100 pounds.
An astonishing benefit of the travel booster seat is the use! Not only can you use it for voyages, but also after you get back from your vacay. It’s comfortable and fit for everyday use as well as for longer rides.
This would be my number one choice if we landed from a 10-hour flight and a long ride awaits as for our destination. The very last thing you want is a grumpy kid after a long flight, and with Baby Trend, you will not experience such a scenario.
Plus, cup holders on the side sure do make any trip twice as fun and easy on the parents. The most significant safety is delivered with the side impact protection in the headrest.
But, there is a slight drawback to this impressive travel booster seat. When folded, it’s nothing compared to, let’s say, a Hifold booster seat. It is narrow once it’s unpacked, but things get different when you need to fold and store it under the airplane seat. Hence, this one will probably be stored best in the overhead bin.
If you are not planning an airplane ride and are going for the old-fashioned road trip, I would genuinely recommend the comfy forward-facing Baby Trend booster seat.
Buyers Guide For Best Booster Seat For Travel
Buying a booster seat is like winning a jackpot for family travels. No more dragging bulky car seats to the airport and going to all that trouble for luggage claim.
However, there are a few tips I would advise you to check before your purchase. Purchasing a booster car seat for everyday rides is one thing, but buying travel booster seats is a different scenario.
1. Booster Seats Requirements & Types
Once your child outgrows its convertible car seat, it’s time to choose the best boosters for all of your family trips.
It is advised to keep children secure during transportation in a 5-point harness as long as possible. But, when you switch to booster seats, this may not always be possible. Some of the market models will offer a 5-point harness, and some will only supply belt guides and seat belts.
If you feel like your child needs torso support for a little while longer, then I recommend you go for the Ride Safer Travel Vest Gen 5. (Check the full review above).
Some of the parents may still be in the blue when choosing booster seats, and for that reason, let’s review some of the most common types.
High Back Booster Car Seats are designed to offer kids extra head and back support. This type of seat is best recommended for cars that do not have a proper headrest or the ones with lower seat-backs. Either way, you cannot go wrong with them.
However, they can be quite bulky for travel. That’s why I selected the most convenient types of high back booster car seats, and they are Hifold fit-and-fold high back booster seat or Graco TurboBooster TakeAlong Highback Booster.
Like high back booster car seats, backless ones are designed to give kids a proper boost to reach the seat belt. Even though they are a fraction of the large back size, you should be careful.
Check if your child is ready for this type of restraint system. You don’t want to secure them just for convenient travel purposes prematurely.
2. So, Which One is the Best for Traveling?
It all circles down to the type of journey, whether by a plane or a car. Generally, high back booster car seats are safer, but they can be bulky. Nonetheless, a backless booster seat is better than no seat at all.
With the models I picked out for you, you will not feel like you packed it in your backpack.
3. How Should You Choose Travel Booster Seats?
First of all, lightweight is the key here! Unlike traditional booster seats, whether backless or high back, travel booster seats need to be lightweight (ideally less than 15 lbs).
Choose a model that is compact and light to carry around. Although you do not know which type of ride you can end up with, there is one thing for sure.
You can make your trips a whole lot easier if you go for the compact option. Some of the models I reviewed here are foldable and inflatable. Though they are not the world’s comfiest car booster seat, they sure are a lifesaver when traveling with kids.
4. Different Countries, Different Rules
Let’s face it; you will not only be traveling within U.S. states, sometimes the destinations may take you on an exotic island with kid-friendly retreat.
For this reason, you need to do your research before you purchase a booster travel car seat. Different countries have a different set of laws. For example, did you know that children between the ages of 4 and 12 are required to use a booster seat in Costa Rica? This may not be the case in U.S. states, but it is useful to have it just in case.
You will also find that many states exclude taxis or any other form of public transportation from following the child restraint laws.
In Australia, booster seats are not required for a four years old child in taxis. However, you are obligated to bring your own if you are using another service such as Uber.
5. Is It Certified?
On the note of car booster seat laws, you also need to check whether the booster is certified and legal to use in the country you are traveling to. While it may be the law in the U.S. for younger ones to ride in a car seat, this may not be the case in other states and vice versa.
You do not want to arrive unprepared and splurge money again for the appropriate car seat.
6. Taking Booster Car Seat On Board
Firstly, you should know that travel booster seats are not FAA approved, meaning you cannot use them as a child restraining device on an airplane. Of course, you can take it along and use it as soon as you land, so let’s discuss the scenario.
A great thing about a travel car booster seat is that it’s relatively compact and light. When you are not using it, roll it up (if it’s inflatable) or fold it and store it in the overhead head bin or under your plane seat.
Many parents worry about their car seats or booster seats being damaged by the airplane staff, but you should have no such problem with these travel size options. Make sure you protect them the best way possible and enjoy your trip!
What are the safest booster seats?
The safest booster seats are the ones that have been thoroughly tested and pass the necessary Federal Safety Standard – FMVSS 213 to meet the U.S. design standard for optimal performance in the car.
Is the mifold booster seat safe?
Yes, the mifold booster seat is safe for use.
The booster car seat is classified as a belt-positioning device and was tested within FMVSS standards, meeting the safety regulations in the U.S., Canada, and the EU.
Are backless booster seats legal in NSW?
Backless booster seats are LEGAL to use in NSW as long as they met the Australian standards when they were manufactured. However, experts in NSW highly advise against them.
Did you finish that cup of coffee I suggested you prepare? I hope you did because you will need all the energy you can get now that you are ready to plan out your trip.
As I included a few tips of my own that have helped me during my travels, I hope I helped you as well. Knowing children, trips can take an unexpected turn, and you always need to be prepared if you are traveling to an unknown destination.
My number one of the best travel booster seats would be the BubbleBum Inflatable Backless Booster Car Seat.
It’s compact, inflatable and won’t cost you an arm and a leg to buy it. Seriously, what more could you ask for?
This little marvel will only make the travels easier and fun!
- TAKE ANYWHERE CAR BOOSTER - The inflatable travel car booster seat for children aged 4 - 11yrs and weighing 40 - 100lbs. It comes with a Seat Belt Positioning Clip for optimum seat belt fit. LIFETIME...
- ULTRA PORTABLE - The USA's lightest backless booster car seat. Folds away to fit in a purse or backpack. It can be easily carried by children wherever they go. Ideal for everyday use, car rentals,...
- COMFORT AND STABILITY - Added structural integrity, stability and comfort are ensured through the use of high density memory foam and a complex webbing harness. Added safety with no compromise on...
- GOLD STANDARD SAFETY - BubbleBum has been named an IIHS ‘Best Bet’ booster for the past 10 years. It meets (and exceeds) all US and EU safety standards.
- FIT 3 ACROSS - The narrow, slimline and compact design is perfect for the middle seat. It will even fit between 2 full-size car seats. BubbleBum allows you to fit 3 children across in almost any car.