** this is another post in out “What to Pack” Feature. To see more posts and packing lists click here
For so many families, when planning a vacation, there is always the decision: “Do you pack the car seat?”
Some holidays, there is an easy answer. If you are staying in one place and have an airport transfer, you probably don’t put much thought into it. But if you are thinking of renting a car, or already have one booked, it is sometimes more difficult to make up your mind. You can add another wrinkle into your plans if your young toddler has their own seat and you would prefer to restrain them on the plane, because they are more comfortable with their familiar seat.
So what do WE do?
In a simple answer, YES we travel with car seats for every trip we have taken. In the past three years that has been a decent amount of travel! On our first overseas trip with a baby, we took it from Vancouver to England, then to France and back to England again. Twice we have packed 2 car seats to go to Hawaii and Las Vegas.
And I will admit, they are BIG, BULKY and a HUGE PAIN.
Here are the reasons WHY we take our car seats for travel:
You know where it has been: Car seats can be compromised when in an accident, and if you rent a car seat from a rental company, or add on to your car rental, you don’t know the history of the seat: how it has been taken care of, if there has been any recalls on it, if it is expired.
It is set up to fit your child: The harnesses and buckles are ready to install quickly, and you can start enjoying your holiday. After a long travel day no one wants to be fiddling with an unfamiliar seat, trying to set it up properly to fit your child
You know hot to install it: when you bring your own car seat on vacation you know exactly how to install it correctly. Your rental car may be unfamiliar, but at least your car seat is not. You know where to feed the straps through the seat to get a proper fit and you don’t have to try to read manuals or pull on buckles while you may have an overtired screaming child who didn’t nap on the plane (despite your best efforts)
It saves money. We like having a car, so instead of paying around $10 per day to the car rental company, we bring our own. Furthermore, most airlines will check the car seats for free as it is a necessity for children. Make sure you check with your airline before your trip!
You know it will be there when you arrive. We personally choose to gate check our car seats. Yes it makes for more stuff to take through security, yes you have to hold on to that bulky thing a little longer, but yes it means it will be there when you arrive, and you don’t have to worry about lost luggage!
Now we are planning overseas travel. That is much different than a 2 week vacation! We will most likely NOT be taking car seats, but we haven’t ruled it out, depending on where we head off to! My oldest will likely use a bubblebum or another booster seat, so those are much easier to carry! I love that they fit in a suitcase or backpack! But my youngest will only be 2.5 years old when we leave. We are still undecided but im sure we will figure it out as our trip plans firm up!
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