Car Seat: to Pack or Not to Pack

Should you pack your car seat when traveling with little kids or opt to leave it at home?

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Should you pack your car seat when traveling with younger kids or leave it at home?

That is the question.

It’s a personal question! I, personally, opt to leave the car seat at home for a couple of reasons:

  • I’ve never had a problem having a car seat included with our car rentals. Yes, you may have to pay a bit extra, but it’s usually minimal.
  • The car seat takes up the entire airplane seat. Once kids get to the age where they want to move a bit, this makes a plane ride difficult as there is no extra room for them to get comfortable.
  • Leaving the car seat at home and having one waiting for you in your destination, allows you to have room for other packing essentials.

Instead, with younger kids, I usually opt to travel with a travel stroller and a carrier.

(The stroller is so amazing when kids are younger and you’ll be doing a lot of city walking. The carrier is awesome for even school age children for short or longer hikes where they may tire out. I’ve used the Ergo baby for years on my back so we could partake in some beautiful hikes we otherwise might not have made.)

Products that can help:

If you’re not sure about leaving the car seat at home, here are a few gadgets that I have found helpful. (Note: It of course, depends on the age of your child and your comfort level. Use your own judgement on what makes sense for your family!)

1. Airplane Child Safety Harness

There are several products out there that are airplane harnesses for children. Here is just one example: Child Airplane Travel Harness.

2. Inflatable, Packable Travel Booster

When kids are a bit older and no longer need a car seat or high-backed booster, I have found this inflatable travel booster to be a great find: Bubble Gum Booster.