UPDATED FOR 2019:
A portable car seat is mandatory in many countries and finding the best portable car seat for your child should be on your priority list of travel accessories.
To quickly get an overview of some important features of popular portable car seats, we’ve compiled a comparison chart of infant car seats that you can find below.
In case you see the lightweight car seat that you like most, you can conveniently click through to Amazon, check out the portable car seat reviews and complete your purchase.
In paragraph 3 you will find described more in detail the pros and cons of these portable car seats.
NOTE: This article contains affiliate links. Find more info here in the Disclaimer.
|NAME||IMAGE||WEIGHT||PRICE||DIMENSIONS||RATING (/5)||AGE RANGE|
|Evenflo Symphony Elite All in One Convertible Car Seat||24 LBS||$$$ Click HERE||27.5 x 21 x 20.8 inch||4.5||Less than 18 months|
|Safety 1st Grow and Go 3 in 1 Convertible Car Seat||18.7 LBS||$$$ Click HERE||24.5 x 19.2 x 24.2 inch||4.5||Less than 18 months|
|Sit 'n Stroll 5 in 1 Baby Car Seat & Stroller||16 LBS||$$$$$ Click HERE||24 x 18 x 18 inch||5||Less than 18 months|
|Safety 1st Guide 65 Convertible Car Seat||14 LBS||$$ Click HERE||20 x 18 x 23.5 inch||4||Less than 18 months|
|Evenflo Sonus Convertible Car Seat||13 LBS||$ Click HERE||20 x 19.25 x 28 inch||4||--------------|
- 1 A portable car seat for travel, luxury or necessity?
- 2 Best Portable Car Seat for Travel
- 3 What is the Ride Safer Delight vest for over 3 years old
- 4 Travel Toddler Car Seat – Booster seat from 4 years old
- 5 Car Seats & Travel for families with 3 kids (or more)
- 6 Research the laws for the use of portable car seats for travel in your destination
A portable car seat for travel, luxury or necessity?
Being a single mother who loves to travel I need to be very conscious about which travel gadgets I buy because of course I only have 2 hands. I have to make sure that it is ABSOLUTELY necessary, otherwise I won’t bring it on our trips. A portable car seat for travel was one of those things and of course I wanted to find the safest portable car seat for travel available, not just any.
The first time I took a domestic flight within South Africa with my daughter, I thought I would just rent a portable car seat for her as I didn’t want to schlepp the bulky thing by myself. But never again did I leave our lightweight car seat at home.
The rental company took ages before we got our portable car seat and then no one knew how to install it and I didn’t have enough hands to look after my daughter AND figure this new portable car seat out. It took us literally hours before we could hit the road to our safari lodge.
Since then I’ve always travelled with my own lightweight car seat. Needless to say, not only for safety but also for comfort reasons it is necessary to bring your own portable travel car seat if you’re going to travel by rental car in your destination.
Best Portable Car Seat for Travel
Although this portable car seat might seem a bit bulky, the feedback it receives with regards to safety is spectacular. It exceeds all applicable federal safety guidelines. Multiple customers who have been in an accident report back that although the car was totalled their child was unharmed. The Evenflo Symphony Elite portable car seat for travel is super easy to install with the exclusive Sure Latch connectors system. Installation can be done within 60 seconds so this is a great option if your child needs to get into different cars. Get one for the grandparents too!
This travel car seat can convert from a baby car seat to a travel toddler car seat. Rear-facing it can hold an infant from 5 – 40 lbs, forward facing toddlers from 22 – 40 lbs and it accommodates children in its booster form from 40 – 110 lbs. Sooo it is not exactly a lightweight car seat BUT it will be the only travel car seat that you will ever need. However, this option will not be ideal for an air plane car seat as it will be too bulky to fit.
Quite a bit lighter than our first option, this car seat is more ideal to use as a travel car seat. This portable car seat for travel is ‘certified to use on aircraft’ and will have a label that clearly states that the seat is certified. Please do still double check with your airline in case there might be any restrictions and find out if it possible to take it on the aircraft you’re flying with. This travel seat comes with side impact protection and has a 3 position recline system so that it is able to fit into small cars as well. The covers of this car seat are easily removed and washable.
Also called The Rolls Royce of Travel Car Seats. This is your state-of-the-art stroller, international car seat and booster seat ALL-in-ONE. No more carrying your child from stroller to travel car seat. The entire seat is easily installed onto a latch system into the car without baby having to leave the seat. If you’re a fan of handy gadgets, this is your thing! It must be the coolest portable car seat on the planet and it is approved for forward and rear facing travel on an airplane. It only takes one pull on the handle to turn it into a fully functional stroller. Simply because of this functionality it is THE best car seat for airplane travel. You don’t need to check in a stroller so you can easily move around the airports.
The handles and wheels disappear into the bottom of the seat once you’re ready to use the Sit ‘n Stroll as a car seat. This is super ideal for when you reach your destination and need to get into your rental car or into a taxi. It seems that the stroller is quite short so if you’re very tall, we advice that you try it out first to see how comfortable it is for you. I always used strollers just for very short distances so perhaps if you don’t use it for hours on end, it will work for you. The Sit ‘n Stroll is definitely the most handy option for a portable car seat for travel because it combines both car seat and stroller.
This lightweight car seat is probably your best option if you’re looking for a portable car seat for travel. Not only lightweight but also small in size, this car seat should be the best car seat for airplane travel as well as travelling in a small car. As you can see in the picture, this travel car seat is equipped with padding all around and has side impact protection which makes it not only comfortable but also safe which is actually the most important feature of any car seat. The cupholder comes as an attachment so once your child is a bit older you can attach it to the seat.
This is the lightest option in our reviews. In case you need to use this travel car seat in a hot climate, this would be your best option to consider. The Sonus comes with a revolutionary air flow ventilation system to ensure a comfortable travel experience for your child.
Don’t underestimate how easy it will be to travel with a 13 lbs travel car seat instead of a 24 lbs car seat for travel. I’m a single mother who always looks for the lightweight and small options for everything so that it will be easy to handle for me.
It converts easily from rear facing (5 – 40 lbs) to forward-facing (up to 50 lbs) for your toddler. What I especially like about this option is the dual, removable cupholders AND the buckle pockets to protect from hot buckle burns.
Besides being comfortable, safe and light, this is also one of the most affordable options
I had never heard of this option until recently. It basically is a safety harness that you can use together with a travel booster seat. The child is well strapped in but will have more room to move. It is approved in the US and adheres to all the necessary safety regulations. It is only 2.3 lbs so top light to travel with. This option can be ideal if your child moves in different cars because it easily fits into your child’s school bag. However, the vest is not allowed to use on airplanes for children under 40 lbs so for the airplane you would need to purchase a CARES harness to make sure the airplane seatbelt safe.
Travel Toddler Car Seat – Booster seat from 4 years old
This travel booster car seat fits into you hand bag!! Aren’t we excited that our kids are now old enough to choose these kind of options? This inflatable travel booster car seat has won many awards and is the best lightweight car seat. It is perfect for vacation car rental and car pooling. You can easily fit 3 of them next to each other so it is a perfect option for families with 3 kids OR if you car pool kids around.
This light weight car seat is 10x smaller than a regular portable car seat for travel and just as safe. It’s allowed for use in countries that recognize and adapt the EU R44.4 / US FMVSS 213 / CA RRR safety standards. It is ideal for kids on the go, car pooling and if you are like me, prefer lightweight products. It adheres to all safety standards.
I hope this guide has helped you in finding the best portable car seat for travel for you family. We all have different needs, wishes and budgets and luckily there’s so much on the market that you should be able to find your perfect car seat for your precious ‘cargo’.
Car Seats & Travel for families with 3 kids (or more)
To get the best portable car seat for everyone AND still fit in the car might become a bit of a challenge once you’re family grows to more than 2 children. Of course it all depends on the age and size of your children how to come up with the best configuration for your portable carseat arrangements. There are some options already mentioned above that might be convenient for you.
Check HERE the Mifold Grab & Go Car Booster Seat
Of course the older your children get, the easier it will be. Once you’re comfortable letting them sit in a backless booster seat it will create a lot of space for the younger ones.
The Rider Safer Travel Vest is another great option that literally fits in your hand bag and will free up lots of space.This one is suitable for kids 3 years and above. It is certified in the US to use in vehicles.
Research the laws for the use of portable car seats for travel in your destination
You do need to check the safety regulations in each country before you go there. If you travel to the US it is highly recommend you get a FAA approved car seat. All the portable car seats mentioned in this buying guide are FAA approved. In Australia the rules are the most stringent and you’re not allowed to use a portable car seat that is purchased outside of the country.
Travelling to Switzerland you HAVE to take your own portable car seat because it is not even allowed to be in a taxi without a portable car seat for travel with kids under the age of 12 or up to 150 cm. So please research beforehand the laws of your destinations so that you don’t have any unpleasant surprises and you can’t get onto your transport.
It is of course possible that the portable car seat you have is perfectly suitable for taking your child travelling. However, in case you have a very big and heavy portable car seat, you might want to look for something which is a bit easier to carry around at airports and easy to install. Perhaps you’ve taken all these things already into account when you purchased your first portable car seat.
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