Car Seat Advice -- Specifically Booster for Traveling? (At Destination)

Updated on February 12, 2013
J.S. asks from Kalamazoo, MI
13 answers

I have 2 girls who will be 3 and 5 in May. The younger one is in a Britax Marathon convertible seat right now and the older in a Britax Frontier harness-to-booster seat. We are flying next month, and I'm planning to take the Marathon for use at our destination, but looking for options for the older daughter (to be used in the rental car at our destination - I will buy and bring with us.)

I'm leaning towards a simple backless Graco TurboBooster for the trip. It could be useful as a backup booster for carpooling (if/when I do that) and if she needed to go somewhere in Dad's car (never been in Dad's car! LOL!).

I recognize I'll might be buying another booster seat in probably 1-2 years for the younger one, and I prefer a 5-pt harness, so guessing I'd buy another Frontier (though $$$) or maybe a Graco Nautius or something. But these are not easy to travel with right now. Ideally I'd love a "foldable 5-pt harness that is light" -- does that exist?

(It's hard for me to see what I'll need when the girls are 4 and 6 years old -- any advice? Maybe the then-6-year old could move into the Graco Booster and the then-4-year old could move into the Britax then if my 6-year old will be using the Graco Booster, I should get it with the back too? But it still won't be a 5-pt harness, but at 6 years old will she still need a 5-pt harness?)

So what do I use now for traveling?

Added: Specifically I'm looking for the booster to be used in the car (not on the plane).

Added 2: I always gate check my car seats, as I fear arriving at my destination and not having my car seat there! (as could happen with "luggage checking") Thx!

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers



answers from Pittsburgh on

Wondering why you would not just request from the car rental? Seems a lot easier. We did this and were always pleased with the seats provided.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Phoenix on

I always just travel with our carseats. I bought them for a reason-they're what my children are safest riding in-so I don't see any benefit in buying a different carseat for traveling in a car that will be strange to drive and may not have all the safety features our regular car has. Besides, these are the seats I'm familiar with installing, so I can do it quickly and safely anytime, anywhere. I have travel bags to protect my seats and have never had a problem checking them with the luggage.
Just take the Frontier with you and keep both girls in the safest seats possible.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

At 4 yrs old she absolutely needs to be in a 5 pt. harness. Just bring the Britax you have for her, or rent one from the rental car company. Even at 6 yrs. old, she needs to be in a 5 pt harness. I hope you have a very safe and happy vacation! BTW, airlines typically do not charge you, or count your car seat as luggage--it's just free/included.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

We put my 4 year old in a backless booster when we travel to Ireland. There is no way we can bring two big carseats. It's not the safest, but there is just no way we can drag two big carseats with us, and 5point boosters with backs are big!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I have a five year old and got a Britax Parkway high back booster just for traveling. I got it used (I know, I know - but I don't have a problem with that!), it is lightweight and if it gets destroyed during transport I won't have spent $$$$ on it.
My DD is light (40 lbs) and smallish, so there is no way she would be safe in a backless booster. I would not choose the Parkway for our regular transportation needs (lightweight = flimsy) but hey, it meets all the standards and we are not in the car very much when we're on vacation.

Depending on your older girls size (height) I would rather get a high back booster than a backless one... You can always take her to the store and try a few.
Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

You should be able to rent one from the rental company, call ahead.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

We have the Graco high back booster and have been happy with that. My son is too tall now, so we took the back off and it's just like the Turbo.

You could also rent one from the car rental. We did that when we flew to Orlando 5 years ago. Our son was about 1 1/2 and in a 5-pt harness. They supplied us with an Evenflo carseat. Worked great for us, and saved us the hassle of having to bring ours with us.



answers from Los Angeles on

If I were you, I would buy the Graco high-back Turbo booster. You can take the back off for when you travel and just use it as a low-back, but then you'll have the full high back for use at home, carpooling, husband's car, etc. The high backs are generally safer than low backs and, since it converts, you get the best of both worlds.



answers from Detroit on

We brought a carseat for all 4 kids on the plane last time we traveled. We did it, but it was not easy. 2 carseats would be a piece of cake. The oldest was 5. I would use the carseat on the plane for the child's safety (and your sanity). I'd get an Evenflo Maestro for the 5-year-old if she's under 50 lbs. And a Cosco Scenera for the 3-year-old if child is under 40 lbs. They are LIGHT seats, and fairly cheap. $40 or so for the Scenera.

I would not put a child who is 5 in a booster, let alone backless, on a trip. You would need to do booster training well before a trip.
When she's 6 I'd consider a high-back booster, yes, but only if child is mature enough to sit properly. The Frontier ought to harness to age 7, 8 or's a great seat with such a high harness! So no rush. :)



answers from Pittsburgh on

The reason not to rent from the car rental company is most charge $9/day - way more than many boosters cost (depending upon the length of the rental).

This is the backless booster we travel with. It weighs next to nothing and can be tied on to any piece of luggage. Can also be carried by my son. Fits under the seat or in the overhead compartment. We also purchased one for my mom and my MIL so if we are flying to them, we don't need to take it along.

My son (age 7) is in a Graco Nautilus at home (5 point restraint, good up until 65 lbs) and if we take our own car on vacation. However it weighs 27 pounds (steel frame) and would be ridiculous to travel with. Yes a car seat w/ 5 point restraint is the safest. But we have decided in favor of practicality when we fly. Until he outgrew his previous car seats (I think when he was about 5), we traveled w/ his car seat and did use it on the plane.



answers from Portland on

If you are going to spend money anyway, then I would go with a Diono Radian. It is heavy, but it is a tall booster and it folds flat for travel. It also comes with a shoulder strap so that you can carry it for traveling. These are like the Britax, but they also have really good reviews and test results. I have two and feel like my kiddos are super safe. But, I have never tried to travel with them. I just know that they came with the straps to travel. Have a safe trip!


answers from Erie on

We flew cross country to Seattly last year (my boys were 2 and 5) and I rented a harness that snaps into the seatbelt of the plane and around the seat to convert it into a 5 point harness. I did not want to lug carseats around an airport (we rented them for our rental car when we got there) and this worked absolutely perfectly.


answers from Phoenix on

Most flights have booster seats you can use,but or you can just go without.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions