If you are planning to travel with your kids, here are the best car seats for travel. From infant bucket seats to convertible car seats and travel booster seats to child restraint systems, there is a travel car seat for any age!

When travelling with young children, the biggest challenge is usually the logistics of bringing a car seat along. They’re bulky, they’re heavy, and just another thing to manage on top of your regular luggage.

And while you don’t need one for a flight (it is recommended though!), you may need one at your destination, depending on how you are getting to your destination from the airport.

But I’m assuming if you are reading this, you’ve decided you want to travel with a car seat, and we’re here to help you decide which is the best car seat for travel!

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Not all car seats are made the same (obviously!) and while all car seats that pass the safety standards are safe to use, there are certain ones that are better for travel.  

What Makes a Great Car Seat for Travel?

There’s no specific ‘travel car seat’, but when you think about how you are going to be using the car seat when travelling, these are some things that you will want to consider:

  • Weight
  • Ease of use
  • Design
  • Portability

Whether you’re travelling for a short vacation or a longer trip, you’ll probably want a car seat that is lightweight and compact, but also easy to transport and install during your travels.

You’ll also want to make sure that the car seat is approved for use on the flight – a quick check on the sticker will tell you if it’s airline approved.

Keep in mind though, that different airlines MAY have different requirements, so it’s always best to check with the airline first, especially if flying out of North America.

Keeping all of that in mind, we’ve rounded up the best car seats for travel, from infant bucket seats to convertible car seats and booster seats, plus some other safe restraint options if you choose not to bring your car seat.

We’ve also included some really nice extra accessories that will help you get your car seat through the airport and lessen the burden of carrying a car seat while travelling!

The Best Infant Bucket Car Seats for Travel

Doona Infant Car Seat + Stroller

While it’s a bit on the pricier side, the Doona is a hybrid stroller and car seat, so well worth the expense! With a click of a button, it transforms from an infant car seat into a stroller. When you need just the car seat, the stroller legs and wheels fold up under the car seat.

Hands down, this is the easiest car seat to travel with, as it conveniently turns into a stroller the minute you’re off the plane or out of a car. Plus, instead of carrying a stroller AND car seat while on vacation, you only need to worry about one.

Car Seat Weight: 16.5 lbs
Child Requirements: 4-35 lbs, up to 32”
Cost: $550USD

Chicco Keyfit 35

Lighter than most infant seats, and reasonably priced, the Chicco Keyfit 35 is a great option for travelling.

It’s FAA-approved and can be used on the plane (if you’ve purchased a seat for your baby). Once at your destination, the Chicco Keyfit can also be used in cars or taxis, using the seat belt to install it. Paired with a lightweight stroller frame, it makes for an easy way to travel on vacation with your little one.

Car Seat Weight: 18.5 lbs
Child Requirements: 4-35 lbs, up to 32”
Cost: $250 USD

The Best Convertible Car Seats for Travel

Cosco Scenera NEXT Convertible Car Seat

Most convertible car seats are heavy and bulky and not a great option to travel with. But the Cosco Scenera NEXT is not your typical convertible car seat.

Weighing in at only 10lbs, which is light for any car seat, the Scenera NEXT is a great light weight option for travel. Its slim design is a bonus on narrow airplane seats – and yes, it’s FAA-approved. It’s also easy to install, can be used both rear-facing and forward-facing, making it a popular choice for parents who travel.

It’s also REALLY inexpensive! (You can find it at Walmart in the U.S. for only $50!)

Car Seat Weight: 10 lbs
Child Requirements: 5-40 lbs, up to 43”
Cost: $50 USD

Evenflo Tribute LX Convertible

The Evenflo Tribute LX Convertible is another lightweight car seat, and although it is compact, it’s a bit bulkier than some of the others mentioned here. It’s easy to install and can be used either rear facing or forward facing.

And best of all, the Evenflo Tribute LX is super affordable!

Car Seat Weight: 9 lbs
Child Requirements: 5-40 lbs, up to 37”
Cost: $100 USD

Diono Radian 3RX

The Diono Radian 3RX is our personal favourite which we use in the car when at home, but they are quite heavy. It can be used forward or rear facing, although the angle adjustor for rear facing is not included but can be ordered separately.

Although the Diono Radian 3RX doesn’t have any handles, it can be folded up, making it easier to transport. There is a travel bag that you can purchase to carry the car seat as a backpack. While heavy, this is a nice option, leaving hands free to manage kids, strollers and luggage.

One of the big bonuses is how slim this car seats is and being so slim, you can easily fit three across the backseat if needed (this also comes in handy on narrow airplane seats and many European cars that are typically smaller than American SUV’s). 

But at 26lbs, compared to others that are around the 10lb range, it may not be the ideal car seat for travel.

Car Seat Weight: 26 lbs
Child Requirements: 5-50 lbs (rear facing), 22-120 lbs, up to 57”
Cost: $269 USD


The WAYB Pico is one of the more expensive options, but it IS designed specifically for families who travel!

After watching parents struggle to lug bulky car seats through the airport, the creators of the Pico were inspired to create a super strong, ultralight travel car seat that was easy for parents to use. Read more about it on their site.

Featuring a five-point harness and mesh fabric that is breathable, the Pico also has a lightweight aluminum frame that folds up easily to carry by hand or in the WAYB travel backpack.

The WAYB Pico is FAA approved, so you can use it on the plane. Or it folds up small enough to fit in the overhead bin on the plane!

Car Seat Weight: 8 lbs
Child Requirements: 22-50 lbs, 30-45”
Cost: $330 USD

The Best Child Restraint Systems for Travel

CARES Harness

The CARES Harness is a restraint that attaches directly to the back of the airplane seat, turning the airplane seat belt into a car seat style harness. It’s the only FAA approved restraint for children on flights.

The CARES harness is super compact and lightweight – it only weighs one pound! It comes in a convenient carrying case and is easy to install on the plane.

Keep in mind, the CARES harness is only approved for use on the plane – not in cars! But paired with the Ride Safer Travel Vest (see below), it’s a great way to travel with young kids and not have to carry a car seat for travel.

Car Seat Weight: 1 lb
Child Requirements: 22-44 lbs, up to 40”
Cost: $69.95 USD

RideSafer Travel Vest

The RideSafer Travel Vest is a wearable child restraint system, bringing the seat belt down to the child’s level. It’s designed for use in cars, but can also be used on trains and buses when an attachment loop is purchased as well.

The RideSafer Travel Vest is lightweight and easy to use. It’s a safe alternative to car seats for children over the age of 3. Many parents use the Ride Safer Travel Vest along with the CARES Harness to provide alternatives to car seats for their entire trip.

*Important note – The Ride Safer Travel Vest is approved for use in the United States but it is not approved for use in Canada or Europe (although there is a comparable version available for purchase in Europe).

Car Seat Weight: 2.4 lbs
Child Requirements: 30-60 lbs, also large size for children 50-80lbs and extra large for children 80-110lb
Cost: $165 USD

The Best Booster Seats for Travel


The mi-fold is a super compact, backless booster that makes travelling with a car seat REALLY easy.

The mi-fold folds up into a compact size, about the size of a large clutch purse. In fact, it fits nicely in most carry-on totes or purses (if you’re a mom, chances are you’re not carrying a small purse anyways!).

Although it doesn’t look like much of a booster seat (it’s quite thin and not as high as regular booster seats), the mi-fold works by pulling the seat belt in close to your child’s hips (it has 3 adjustable slots for the seat belt) and an adjustable clip to pull the seat belt close to the child’s shoulder, effectively making the seat belt fit like it would on an adult.

It’s small size, easy installation and adjustable fit make it a perfect option to use as a travelling booster seat.

Car Seat Weight: 1.5 lbs
Child Requirements: 40-100 lbs, 40-57”, age 4+
Cost: $45 USD


The Bubblebum is an inflatable booster seat that deflates completely, making it easy to travel with when it’s not in use. Using the seat belt to hold the seat and child in place, it’s easy to install and quick to inflate.

*Note: The Bubblebum is approved for use in the United States, but not in Canada or Australia.

Car Seat Weight: 1 lb
Child Requirements: 40-100 lbs, age 4+
Cost: $29.99 USD

Accessories to Help Manage Car Seats through the Airport

Car Seat Travel Bag

Car seat travel bags are great to use to keep your car seat protected while travelling. If you are checking your car seat, a padded car seat bag is best. There are also backpack travel bags, allowing you to carry the car seat as a backpack, freeing up your hands to manage the stroller, luggage and kids!

Car Seat Travel Cart

A travel cart is just what it sounds like! It conveniently helps you pull the car seat around the airport, just like you would pull a piece of rolling luggage.

Car Seat Travel Belt

Instead of using a car seat travel cart, you can also use these travel belts to secure the car seat to your carry-on luggage, and pull both through the airport together.

Car Seat Gate Check Bag

If you are planning to gate check your car seat, it’s best to make sure its protected as well as possible. This one doubles as a backpack, which makes it easier to carry!

Final Thoughts: The Best Car Seats for Travel

(Or for those that just like to skip just to the end of the post)

There are quite a few good options for car seats when travelling. Above, we’ve listed some of the top choices, based on weight, design, ease of use and portability.

You can find some of these car seats at Walmart or Target in the US, or they can be found online at Amazon.

Best Infant Bucket Seats for Travel

Best Convertible Car Seats for Travel

The Best Child Restraint Systems for Travel

The Best Booster Seats for Travel

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  1. Bård Olsen says:

    First you say WayB Pico is FAA approved….and in the next wording the CARESS Harness “It’s the only FAA approved restraint for children on flights.”
    Which is it? 😀

    1. The WayB Pico is an FAA-approved car seat, while the CARES Harness is an FAA-approved restraint, but only for flights – it’s not a car seat.

  2. This is a wonderful review on car seats! I will be saving this for reference when I have children. Thank you for sharing your insights!

    1. You’re welcome! I hope it’s helpful!

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