Best Travel Car Seats of 2020: Complete Reviews With Comparisons
Finding the best travel car seat can be a challenge, but if you are looking for something for your child for all those long road trips, it’s essential to find one that will make them more comfortable and secure.
Today, we’ll take a look at some travel car seats that are currently popular on the market.
We also included a buying guide and provided answers to some of the more common questions regarding travel car seats.
Best Travel Car Seat Comparison Chart
Best Travel Car Seat Reviews
1. Baby Trend Expedition Jogger Travel System
While the car seat is a convenient part of the set, the stroller is perfect for outdoor excursions.
That is especially when you are on unpaved terrain since you can navigate the stroller with smoothness and ease.
The Baby Trend Expedition Jogger Travel System stroller has bicycle-style tires that can help you push your child through on any the terrain without any worries.
It’s also perfect for while you are walking or even jogging with the kiddo in tow.
The front has a swivel wheel so that you can navigate through corners with smoothness and ease.
It’s a way better feature to have compared to those standard strollers that don’t always have wheels that turn when you are going left or right.
This also comes with a reclining padded seat, a five-point harness, a tether, and a large canopy storage basket.
Best of all, it’s easy to store and is also easily portable, so it's perfect for when you are on the go or when you are on those long road trips.
As for the car seat, it has a five-point harness for safety, which you can adjust with one hand.
It also has an easy-to-push release button for your convenience.
Additionally, you can adjust the height to four different positions with ease since you just need to push a button, and there is an indicator for you to know if you've reached the correct level.
One of the great things about this stroller-car seat set is that it’s quite durable.
You can easily use it for one child and use it again with the next child.
No matter how long you have it, it can withstand years of on and off use.
Also, the stroller is easy to fold up and store away, so if you have tight storage space, you really have nothing to worry about.
The car seat doesn’t take up to much space either, so it won’t have to hog any room in the backseats, assuming you have older children riding up back.
Lastly, both the car seat and stroller come with padding.
It’s good enough to ensure excellent comfort for your child.
Plus, it’s enough to absorb any kind of shock that may disturb them while you are walking or jogging.
For a car seat, you really want it to be of excellent quality; you don’t want things to fall apart and jeopardize your child’s security.
That said, the car seat in this set could improve overall quality.
Not to mention, some of the moving parts should be even sturdier.
Another problem is that if you take a look at the warning label on the car seat, it mentions a weight limit of up to 30 pounds.
However, on one part of the instructions, it says that it’s not suitable for children over eight pounds. This is where things get really confusing.
The instructions should specify the weight limit rather than leave you guessing.
Another problem that seems to plague new users is how tough it is to fasten the safety belts and closures.
Understandably, this is one of the most important safety features, but these should be easily adjustable and easy to fasten to fit the child’s size.
2. Chicco Bravo Trio Travel System
Chicco Bravo is among one of the “under the radar” brands built to impress.
Similar to the first product, this travel system comes with a stroller and a car seat.
The stroller frame comes with a tray with two cup holders and an additional storage compartment for your phone and other items.
It also has auto-positioning wheels that make navigation and moving around a breeze.
You can fold it easily with just one hand when you no longer need it, or you'll store it.
The car seat serves as the stroller's seat.
It has a removable canopy to protect your baby from the harmful rays of the sun.
You can recline it according to your baby's needs.You can easily attach the seat to the stroller and into the included stay-in-car base.
If you are looking for a car seat that is easy to clean, you’ve found it.
You can wash the fabric in the washing machine with cold water, while you can wipe the hardware and plastic with warm soapy water and a sponge.
Another great thing about this product is that unlike the previous car seat, you get the weight limit instructions right off the bat.
This can handle a child up to 50 pounds, so it’s very sturdy even when your child is getting a bit older.
We also love that this car seat has awesome safety features.
A locking system ensures that the car seat is secure and stays place and sufficient padding that can absorb shock.
One thing that we don't like about this product is that although the cup holders are convenient features, they seem to be too small for most sippy cups.
Plus, the cups that can barely fit will usually come off at some point while you are in motion.
If you don’t want your child to lose their favorite cup, then the cup holders may not be of good use to you, except for your own water bottle.
We also didn't like the fact that even without the child, the stroller is a bit heavy to carry.
Not to mention getting it up a small flight of stairs might be a challenge.
Lastly, if you are using the stroller, you might hear some noises that might sound like the wheels are coming off.
Strangely enough, all the wheels are tight and secure.It might be something else, but try a bit of WD-40 to see if the problem goes away.
3. Safety 1st Smooth Ride Travel System
This travel set lives up to its name, providing safety and security and a smooth, comfortable ride for your child.
With this product, you can attach the car seat to the stroller body, making transferring a lot easier.
Plus, it has an oversized canopy that you can use to keep your child cool and under the shade.
Perfect for those hot, sunny days when you are out and about.
You also get a storage compartment located below the stroller.
It’s got plenty of space so that you can keep a diaper bag and whatever else you need whenever you are on the go.
This is also a lightweight stroller that you can fold and carry on the go.
If portability is what you are looking for, then this could be the stroller and car seat combo you need.
The best thing about this product is that it is easy to transition from a stroller to a car seat, and vice versa.
You can quickly unfasten the seat from the stroller and convert it into a standalone car seat.
That’s pretty impressive, considering that you want to save money.
Another thing that we love about this product is that the canopy has a perfect size to give excellent coverage and better shade to keep your baby cool.
We know that those warm, sunny days are nice, but it’s important to keep your child protected from any harmful UV rays.
Not to mention, the temperature might be enough to harm the child.
One of the things that should be improved in this product is to add a bit more extra support, especially for the head.
This wouldn’t be a problem if the child is a bit older, but this becomes an issue for newborns and infants less than six months old.
Another thing we are concern about is the product's latches since they are a bit difficult to secure at times.
Thus, you’ll need to double-check regardless if it’s in stroller or car seat mode.
4. Baby Trend Nexton Travel System
This travel set is the ideal choice for expectant parents and parents with a newborn.
You get easy security and excellent support to keep your child comfortable.
This product boasts soft head support for both the stroller and the car seat.
It will be most helpful for your child if they are newborn or in the early infant age.
You won’t have to worry about using extra padding in order to “prop” the child’s head.
This also gives you the ability to adjust and recline to various positions.
If comfort for your child is your number one priority, consider this car seat as one of your best choices.
The head support provided by this product is its most important feature.
Having excellent head support will keep your child’s breathing normal and will not pose any risks.
The adjustment for reclining and different positions is another great feature of this product.
You can prop your child up or lay them low if they are sleeping.
Either way, they deserve the best in comfort.
Another thing we love most about this product is you can secure your child well.
It’s as important as keeping your child’s head up and not moving forward.
You can easily latch it on and lock it on the moment.
Once everything is secure and locked, your child will be safe and sound through the duration of the trip.
While it’s nice to have a base to keep the car seat secure, there’s a bit of an issue.
It's quite hard to remove the base from the car seat itself.
It might come to the point where it might be challenging to get the car seat out of the car.
Additionally, while it may sound ridiculous, the storage compartment doesn’t have enough space.
It might fit the essential diaper bag, and that’s about it.
Lastly, the stroller is a bit tough to open and close at first, especially if you are trying to do so with one hand.
So, the only thing you are left with is possibly using both hands to open and close, which becomes a problem since most of the time, with a baby, your hands will be full.
5. EvenFlo Pivot Modular Travel System
EvenFlo has long been one of the most reliable brand names for parents.
This travel set stands out for it’s easy, fuss-free conversion and lightweight handling, and if you are looking for versatility, this has it.
The stroller has a modular frame that will be useful when you want your child facing one way or the other.
You can also easily transfer the car seat to the stroller, which makes conversion from one component to the next a lot easier than you think.
This product also has an oversized canopy that will protect your child in either a car seat or stroller mode.
This system is also lightweight and portable.
If you don’t want to lug around anything heavy even with your child intact, this might be what you need.
There is nothing more impressive than the ability to convert this product from car seat to stroller and vice versa easily.
This will save you a lot of time and even a lot of money.
Also, you can get your child out of the stroller and into the car with ease and quickness.
Another great thing about this system is it has enough storage space.
If you are on the go, storage space is quite important.
It’s always a great thing to have ample storage space for diaper bags and even toy bags.
You’ll never know what you’ll be carrying with you when you are traveling.
If there is another thing to like about this product, it’s affordability.
Not only that, the quality isn’t that bad, so you can have excellent quality and security at a price you can probably afford.
One of the major issues is the stroller’s inability to navigate rough terrain.
Thus, it might not be wise to use this stroller on unpaved pathways at a park.
Your best bet would be paved walking or biking paths.
Most of the strollers we have reviewed are more space-saving, but this one might take up a bit of space when it comes to storage.
So if you choose this stroller-car seat set, you better have a bit more space than normal.
Alternatively, you can leave it in your car trunk if it has enough space.
If you want to make your final purchasing decision an easy one, it’s important to follow this buyer’s guide.
There are several features you’ll need to pay close attention to when looking for a travel car seat.
Some of these features are a must since they pertain to the safety and security of your child.
Here are some of the things to look for in a car seat:
For the most part, your travel car seats will come as a convertible type, which also includes a stroller frame.
Another type will be a standalone type, which includes just the car seat and no additional stroller or accessories.
Consider which one will be the better option for you.
2. FAA Approval
Your stroller or car seat needs to meet any FAA compliance requirements.
FAA recommends that the car seat should be 16 inches in width.
Since they do not count as checked luggage, you will not be charged extra for bringing car seats or strollers on the plane.
You can use this handy guide to determine how you can find an FAA-approved car seat.
3. No-Rethread Harness
It’s important to keep your child’s head propped correctly and not slumping forward.
A slumping forward head can restrict the child’s breathing.
Thus, one feature that you must have in a car seat is a no-rethread harness.
It will keep the headrest in place so it won’t slip off and cause any loss of support.
4. Weight and Height Limits
These are exceptionally important, considering your child will grow over time.
Some car seats are for newborns and infants only, while others will be ideal for older infants and toddlers.
The stroller you are about to buy should meet or exceed your child's height and weight.
Not only will it ensure that it can support your child, but will also make sure your child stays comfortable.
5. Side Impact Protection
While most car seats are tested only for frontal impact, you should take it a step further.
Find a car seat that will not only be fitting for frontal impact but also side impact.
These car seats will protect the child in the event of your vehicle getting “T-Boned” by another car.
6. Steel-Reinforced Frames
Steel-reinforced frames are needed to ensure the security and retention of a car seat.
These are also proven to increase the car seat’s ability to handle the impact that may come from any direction and side of the vehicle.
7. Anti-Rebound Bars
Anti-rebound bars help prevent the car seat from moving back and forth too much.
It is another essential thing to have on your car seat, considering that security is paramount.
Though the Federal Government does not require it, it should be a must-have.
If you have these on a car seat, the better the chance your child will be able to survive a crash.
You want your child to be as comfortable as possible when you are on the road.
That’s why it would be a smart thing to consider getting a car seat with adjustable features.
A seat that can recline in various positions is best because your child will be comfortable and in a safe position when you are on the go.
9. Crash Testing Performance
Every car seat will likely undergo a crash test performance before they even hit the market.
At the same time, they all must meet federal safety requirements.
If you are concerned about your child’s safety, you’ll want to find a car seat that is highly rated.
You can take a look at this ratings list to help you determine which rating will be acceptable for you.
10. Energy-Absorbing Foam
An energy-absorbing foam might be what you need for shock absorption purposes.
The shock caused by the impact may be enough to cause some injury to your child, especially when they are at an age when their bone structure has yet to develop fully.
Be sure that it’s at a good enough amount of thickness without it posing any potential safety risks like suffocation.
1. Do I Need to Bring a Car Seat When Traveling?
While it may not be required to bring a car seat when boarding an airplane, it’s totally optional.
If you choose to use a car seat for your child, be sure that it is TSA approved.
2. Are Travel Car Seats Safe?
Yes, they are safe since all car seats must undergo safety tests that will satisfy any government safety regulations.
You can find one with a high rating in terms of the safety test results.
3. How Do You Travel With Car Seats?
You can travel in a car seat by installing it in the back seat of your vehicle.
Alternatively, you can attach it to an airplane seat that is right next to you.
The latter will depend on the seating arrangements planned before booking the flight.
4. Can a Child Travel Without a Car Seat?
This depends on how you will be traveling.
In a vehicle, the children from newborn to toddler age should be in a car seat.
On the other hand, a car seat is optional during air travel since you can choose to have the child on your lap for the duration of a flight, preferably for short flights.
5. What Do You Do With a Car Seat Base When Flying?
You can stow the car seat base away in the overhead container.
Alternatively, you can pack it your carry-on or checked luggage.
A travel car seat will be vital for you as a parent, but which one stands out as the best travel car seat?
While a difficult choice, we recommend the Baby Trend Nexton Travel System because it provides excellent head support and comfort, as well as easy to install and secure.
If you are tight on a budget, though, the EvenFlo Pivot Modular Travel System would be best for you.
While being affordable, it excels in a few categories.
Not only is it easy to secure, but it also has a fuss-free conversion that will be quick and painless.