One of the biggest challenges I have had when traveling with older kids is the decision on what car seats I should go for. From about age four it becomes quite a complicated maze to decide which convertible car seat or booster car seat is best for travel.
Traveling while at home is quite easy and convenient as you have all manner of options to choose from to keep your child safe and comfortable.
However, traveling away from home is a different kettle of fish as you have other considerations including traveling in taxis, and how portable your booster seats are.
Check out our essential baby packing checklist for travel
I have always advised that you use a high back booster car seat rather than a backless one since it provides the most protection for the child with its 5 point harnesses that ensure a snug and secure fit, and proper head support , neck and back support for little bodies.
However, I have found that when I am traveling, I need more portable car seats for travel and the high back booster seat the likes of the Britax Marathon are just too bulky. When I have to move across crowded airport floors, transfer from hotel to the airport and use a taxi, I need a travel booster best suited for these situations. In this article I review and analyze the best portable car booster seat that will make traveling easy and convenient. These are portable car seats that you can use in taxis, roll around on the airport floor, and even take and install onto airplane seats. Take a look at the reviews below.
But before we get to that here is a comparison chart of the best travel booster seats
mifold Grab-and-Go Car Booster
Baby Trend Yumi Booster
Child Airplane Travel Harness
Safety 1st Guide 65
What to look for in a travel car booster seat
Car Safety & Legality
When you are traveling with your child, the most concern you obviously have is that they are safe. The other concern which you also need to take very seriously is the safety laws of the given country you are traveling in or into.
There are different regulations on booster car seats convertible car seats, and infant car seats that you have to adhere to. Not adhering to these regulations and rules could cause legal problems that will make your travel especially with kids a nightmare if you run into trouble with authorities.
The following are some important resources if you are looking to travel with car seats.
- United Kingdom car seat information
- Australia car seat information
- USA car seat information
- Europe car seat information
Booster Seat Weight & Size
You have to take into consideration what you will be using your travel booster seats for. Check out the following chart on how to make that all important decision on what car seat to use while traveling.
Types of Travel Booster Seats You Need
Portable Car Seat for Taxi
Traveling with a child particularly abroad means that at one time or another you may have to use a taxi or ride sharing service. For your children less than 9 years old and at least age two a good booster seat will make your life easier while on the move.
Many taxi services nowadays come with a travel car seat but not all and hence you need to come prepared just in case they do not have one. Some of the best booster car seats for taxi that you can check out on Amazon include the likes of the child restraint travel harness, the mifold grab and go, the Rider Safer Delight Vest and the bubblebum backless.
I love these car seats for taxi as they are lightweight and portable and are as safe as can be for travel. Read more comprehensive reviews below.
Travel Booster Seats on Trains
You will not be needing any car seats if you are planning to travel by plane since planes generally do not have seat belts. That being said if the train is simply a transition mode before you hop onto a car or a plane, you need to bring along your booster seats to install on the plane or car.
Travel Booster Seats on the Bus
If you are traveling on the bus and will not transition to taxis, planes or cars, you do not need to bring along your booster seats. Buses in general are safer than vehicles as they tend to go slower and their compartmentalization provides better protection to the child in the instance of a crash. Nonetheless if you will be taking long distance buses which tend to go faster and have seat belts, find some booster seats on Amazon such as the Yumi Baby Trend the safety 1st guide or the Ride Safer Delight Travel Vest which will provide good protection for the child in a crash.
The mifold Grab-and-Go booster seat is a portable, compact and advanced booster seat that you could ever get for travel. As compared to the regular high back or backless booster seat the mifold car seat is up to 10x smaller making it so easy to travel yet performing the same functions just as well.
When it comes to the regulations and safety standards of this car seat, the mifold has some of the highest scores as it has been tested against the rigorous standards of the NHTSA and the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and been found to be safe.
I have found this to be a great car seat particularly if you are traveling with several children as its small nature makes it easy to not only lug around but to fit three seats in the backseat even if you have a small car. With such as small footprint the mifold is excellent for carpooling, for use with rental cars on vacations travel and even in taxis or ride sharing taxis such as Uber.
With this car seat which is so compact and portable the child can always be safe as you can keep the small car seat in your bag or the child’s backpack at all times and use it when needed. I have also found that children who think they have outgrown car seats will put up much less of a resistance to the mifold, since it is not as conspicuous as the high back or backless booster seats.
Features of the mifold Grab and Go Booster Seat
- Very safe car seat that is up to 10X the size of regular backless and high back travel booster seats.
- Portable compact and advanced car seat designed for children children between 40 and 57 inches tall and 40 to 100 pounds which is typically four years and above
- Excellent for travel, carpooling, taxis and vacation travel when you do not want much clutter
- Easy to lug around in a bag, glove compartment or backpack
- Tested and met or exceeded the highest safety standards in the United States and internationally
The Bubblebum backless booster seat is a portable easy to fold, inflatable travel booster seat that is excellent for he traveling parent. Just like the mifold, the Bubblebum booster seat is easy to fold and deflate so that it can be stored into the glove box, the skids back pack or school bag.
At only 1.2 pounds, it is very lightweight and you will not feel the weight even if you are carrying several car seats for your kids. This makes it excellent for not only play dates, car pools but very good for traveling. Traveling to and from the airport is always a huge problem but the bubblebum makes this easier as at only 33cm wide it will fit in your small car and even in most taxis and ride sharing services such as Lyft and Uber
My child love these car seats not only for their colorful designs but also because they are super comfortable. Made with memory foam they provide great comfort to most kids who would rather ride this seat than any otherAnother big thing I love about the bubblebum backless inflatable is that it is very cheap and hence you do not have to spend a lot of money on renting booster seats while on vacation which can be up to three times the cost of purchasing these little bubblebum boosters.
Features of the Bubblebum Backless Booster
- Best for children aged 4 – 11, 40 – 100 pounds. It fits kids of height up to 4ft 9in
- Safe car seat Rated a “Best Bet” Booster by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
- “three across” fits because of the small, narrow and light design
- Deflated, it easily fits in your backpack making family travel easier!
If you prefer the regular looking booster seats, you will love the Baby Trend Yumi Folding Booster Car Seat the folding booster seat to travel with.
The Yumi is a comfortable car seat with deluxe padding for the comfort of the child on those long rides to and from the airport.
It comes with flip up arm rests, head rest an, 3 position shoulder head rest, 8 position height adjustment for the headrests and excellent side impact protection making it one of the safest booster seats reviewed here.
What makes the Yumi so great as a travel booster though is that it folds up to become a small package that you can stash into the overhead compartment of the airplane alongside your other luggage.
Features of the Baby Trend Yumi Folding Booster Seat
- Fip up arm rests and 2 cup holders
- Convenient travel as the seat is small fold-able and compact
- Excellent safety standards with side impact protection and energy absorbing head rests
- 8-position height adjustment headrest
- Easily removable covers so that you can easily clean the car seat
- Suitable for children between 30-100 pounds
The CARES child restraint system is the only FAA Approved restraint system. The system is one of the best for any child from the ages of one up to a maximum of 44 pounds.
This car seat is best if you frequently travel with a child a year old or up to 5 years and need to have them secured onto the plane seat without the hassle of lugging along a huge and heavy booster car seat.
The CARES child restraint system is so small that it can fit in my purse, or my husbands pocket.Another thing about this travel car seat is that it so easy to install and will be a great fit for any type of air plane car seat out there.
At only one pound in weight, the FAA certified car seat unlike some other booster car seats is safe for landing, turbulence, take off and taxiing.
Features of the Child Airplane Travel Harness
- Made for children at least a year old up to a maximum of 44 pounds
- At only 1 pound it fits into some of the smallest of bags
- Easily adjustable and will all sizes of airplane car seats
- One of the easiest travel booster seats to install as it takes only about a minute
If you are a lover of the classic travel car seat then the Safety 1st Guide 65 car seat is the best in its class. What makes this car so great is that it is small enough to make for extra room in the car when you are traveling to and from the airport.
The side impact protection provided by the FAA Approved car seat is not only great for travelling to and from the airport, but also on the airplane during turbulence and in landing and taking off.
The car seat also comes with comfortable removable pillows, machine washable covers making it easy to clean when it inevitably gets dirty, and removable cup holders so that the child can have all their drinks on the bottle and sippy cup while traveling in the car.
Features of the Safety 1st Guide 65
- accommodates children from 5 to 40 pounds in rear-facing mode and from 22 to 65 pounds in forward-facing mode.
- Extra legroom and space for your large family as it can fit up to three car seats in the backseat
- Met and exceeded the highest safety standards
- Comes with machine washable covers and pillows