Talk to parents regarding traveling with young children and one topic rules the conversation. Is it the hotel in Santorini that got the best Mediterranean views? Not quite. Where you can get the best cream rolls in Maine? Unfortunately, no. The answer is car seats. Heavy, clumsy car seats.
They’re dreadful to pack and even worse to wrestle onto a plane. They’re bulky, they are big, and they have weird names that are hard to Google when you’re searching for, say, “how to install a huge American car seat in a small Italian Fiat.” Not every city or country car seats, but probably you’ll still want to pack one for your family trip to Thailand or Mexico—or from Manhattan to LaGuardia Airport in a cab.
|Convertible Car Seats||Price|
|Graco 4Ever DLX Convertible Seat||Check Price|
|Graco Milestone 3 In 1||Check Price|
|Britax Marathon Car Seat||Check Price|
|Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1||Check Price|
|Britax One4Life Car Seat||Check Price|
|Safety 1st Grow Blue Coral||Check Price|
|Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat||Check Price|
|Graco Contender 65||Check Price|
|Britax Allegiance 3 Stage||Check Price|
|Graco Ride Rear Facing||Check Price|
Why? As infuriating as car seats are, they definitely save lives. Like so many lives. They have helped in bring down motor vehicle-related deaths in the U.S. by almost 58 percent since 1975.
Anyways, here’s the good news for you: Car seats have also annoyed a veer of smart, practical travelers, so much so that they’ve finally decided to do something about it.
Now a handful of portable and light child seats make it easier to keep your kids safe on the go. Read on for our tested best convertible car seats for travel right now.
Let’s dive in!!
- 1 Do You Need a Convertible Car Seat?
- 2 These are the Best Convertible Car Seats for travel in 2020
- 3 Graco 4Ever DLX 4 in 1 Car Seat | Toddler Car Seat
- 4 Graco Milestone 3 In 1 Convertible Car Seat
- 5 Britax Marathon ClickTight Convertible Car Seat
- 6 Graco Atlas 65 2 in 1 Harness Booster Seat
- 7 Britax One4Life ClickTight All-in-One Car Seat
- 8 Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Car Seat, Blue Coral
- 9 Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat
- 10 Graco Contender 65 Convertible Car Seat, Glacier
- 11 Britax Allegiance 3 Stage Convertible Car Seat
- 12 Graco Ride Rear Facing Convertible Car Seat
- 13 How We Chose the Best Convertible Car Seats for travel
- 13.1 Tips for using convertible car Seat on a plane
Do You Need a Convertible Car Seat?
Sometimes parents use the convertible car seat from the very beginning whereas others opt to go for an infant car seat as a start and then move over to the convertible car seat afterward. This is because the convertible car seats are usually more and bigger in size than infant car seats.
They cannot be easily transferred out of the car and it is nearly impossible to carry them around like an infant car seat. But the infant seats are eventually outgrown, and parents need to transition to a convertible car seat.
What Should You Look for in a Convertible Car Seat?
The great news is that all car seats must meet the same safety standards imposed by the government, but some seats come along with extra features or can be used for longer durations. Here are some of the important factors you should absolutely consider when looking to buy a convertible car seat:
Safety indicators: Some car seats come with built-in systems to level the seat along with indicators that signal that the seat has been correctly installed.
Ease of installation: Some car seats can be easily installed by using the seat belt or the LATCH system already present in the cars, which makes it easier to secure the seat being installed using the built-in tethers and anchors.
How it fits in your car: Since car seats come in a wide range of sizes and shapes, with some being wider or narrower than others, this is another important consideration you’ll need to factor in when buying a convertible car seat.
Fabric: When looking at the type of fabric that suits your needs, you should also consider the durability and the ease of washing the fabric.
Safety extras: Additional shock absorption features, more padding, and higher quality material to ensure more safety are other factors to consider.
New versus used car seats: Used car seats at times may not meet the current government safety standards and may have been damaged from previous use. It is best to buy new seats if possible, but if you do end up considering a used car seat, make sure you buy it from someone you trust.
These are the Best Convertible Car Seats for travel in 2020
Graco 4Ever DLX 4 in 1 Car Seat | Toddler Car Seat
Do you know the one car seat that will perfectly work from birth to big kid? The Graco 4Ever starts out as a rear-facing seat which you can use when your baby is just four pounds.
Then, at age two, your kid can sit forward-facing from 22 to 68 pounds. Beyond that, it converts to a high back booster than a backless booster that pairs with the seat belt of your car until your child is up to 110 pounds and 56”, well I know that’s hard to imagine.
Other best features include the six-position recline, two attached cup holders and 10-position no-rethread harness. Anyways, keep in mind that this car seat can be a little difficult to install. But, once you install it, it’ll stay perfect for a very long time.
Just think about all the money and time you’ll save not having to research and switch seats out over the years. Graco protects Plus engineered helps you to protect your little one in the frontal, rear, side, and rollover crashes.
Not only this but its adjustable harness system easily adjusts the height of your harness and headrest to 10 easy positions in one motion to make sure that your child is properly secured.
The 6 position recline helps you to keep your growing child comfortable on your many journeys together. Its belt locks off for easy vehicle seat belt installation. You can wash it in a machine easily.
4 in 1 car seat
- Graco protect Plus engineered helps to protect your toddler in frontal, rear, side, and rollover crashes
- With safe adjust harness system you can adjust the height of your harness and headrest to best 10 positions in one motion
- 6 position recline keeps your growing child comfortable·
- The Graco exclusive Latch attachment provides one-second attachment
- Integrated belt lock-off for simple vehicle seat belt installation
- Machine washable
Graco Milestone 3 In 1 Convertible Car Seat
Graco makes one of the best convertible car seats for travel. This 3-in-1 car seat will help you to protect your baby from rear-facing harness, to forward-facing harness, to even high back booster.
With the Graco protect plus get tension free as it helps to protect your child in frontal, rear, side, and rollover crashes. It has a no-rethread harness.
It has a really safe adjust harness system that adjusts the harness and headrest in one motion, to ensure the proper fit. The 4-position recline helps to ensure a protected installation and helps to keep your growing toddler comfortable on your so many journeys together.
Graco’s smart push-button in right latch provides an easy attachment in just one second with an audible click to make sure a secure installation.
Its 10 headrest adjustable height positions help you to get the safest fit for your child as they grow. The Integrated harness storage compartment makes the harness safely store without removing in belt-positioning booster mode.
- 3-in-1 car seat
- Graco ProtectPlus help to protect your little one in rollover crashes.
- No-Rethread Harness
- 4-position recline ensures a secure installation
- InRight LATCH provides an easy, attachment with an audible click
- 10 headrest height positions get the safest fit for your child as they grow
- Integrated harness storage compartment
Britax Marathon ClickTight Convertible Car Seat
Are you feeling worried about your “baby on board?” This one of the best convertible car seats provides peace of mind with ensured safety.
The two layers of side-impact protection, a tough steel frame and an absorbing base that can easily reduce the force of a collision. Better yet, you will always know when the harness is just right, thanks to a trusty click sound that it makes when it’s been correctly tightened.
The no-rethread harness is very easy to adjust and has 10 positions that grow with your child.
Well, keep in mind that all the extra safety features mean extra weight, so this is not the seat you want to lug from one car to another car.
Your backseat will most likely fit the Boulevard and one other person or a car seat.
- Easy installation
- No rethreading, ever
- Relax and Recline
- Surrounded by safety
- Rear-facing 5 to 40 pounds
- Forward-facing 20 to 65 pounds
- Dimensions: 23 x 18.5 x 23.5 inches (LxWxH)
Graco Atlas 65 2 in 1 Harness Booster Seat
Graco Atlas 65 offers one of the best convertible car seats for travel. Its 2 in 1 booster car seat converts from a five Point harness forward-facing car seat to a high back belt-positioning booster.
It has a really Safe Adjust Harness System that adjusts the height of your headrest and harness in one motion to make sure that your kid is always well secured.
The weight of the car seat without the base is 18 pounds. The integrated harness storage compartment stores the unused harness straps.
This seat offers one hand, five-position adjustable headrest that easily adapts for your growing kid. Its integrated, dual cup holders help in keeping your child’s drink close.
The harness, seat pad, and buckle covers are highly comfortable and machine washable.
- 2 in 1 booster car seat
- Simply Safe Adjust Harness System adjusts the height of harness and headrest
- Integrated harness storage compartment easily stores unused harness straps
- 5 position adjustable headrest easily adapts for a growing child
- Integrated, dual cup holders
- Harness, seat pad, and buckle covers are comfortable and you can wash them in machine
Britax One4Life ClickTight All-in-One Car Seat
This is another one of the best convertible car seats for travel it is best for 10 years. Its new convertible booster car seat grows with your child from 5 to 120 pounds and up to 63 inches tall.
You can confidently install it yourself. With click tight installation, you will get to know how to install it in just 3 easy steps.
This convertible car seat converts from rear-facing infant car seat to the forward-facing 5 point harness, to even high back belt-positioning booster. It has Britax safety.
The high strength steel frame and crumple zone help to absorb crash energy.
It offers full Body Protection. Its 2 layers of side impact protection surround the head, neck & torso of your child. Have a safe ride with your child.
- 10 years of use
- Install confidently
- Converts from the rear-facing infant car seat, to forward-facing
- Britax Safety
- Full Body Protection
Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Car Seat, Blue Coral
Safety 1st grow is one of the best convertible car seats for travel as it is built to grow with your child. this convertible car seat supports a child from 5 pounds to toddlers of 40 pounds as a rear-facing car seat, 22 to 65 pounds forward-facing toddler car seat, and 50 to 100 pounds as a belt-positioning booster.
The adjustable 3 position recline makes it super easy to get a perfect fit for the seat in your car. Harness holders make the harness open, to make it easier to get into and out of the seat.
Front seat passengers can relish up to 7 inches more legroom with the rear-facing child seat’s reduced footprint. Well, you can adjust the height of the harness and headrest in 1 simple step with the QuickFit Harness.
Even in booster mode, the headrest adjusts very easily and ensures the best fit for your baby.
Its 2 integrated cup holders keep drinks and snacks close.
It is very easy to clean as the seat pad removes easily. You can wash the seats in the washing machine. This car seat is safe for your kid and it also comes with a one year warranty.
- Built to grow with your child
- An adjustable 3 position recline makes it very easy to get a good fit for the seat in your car
- Harness holders keep the harness open
- Adjust the height of the headrest and harness in 1 step
- Two integrated cup holders
- 1 year limited warranty
Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat
With the Graco extensive adjustable features, your baby’s safety and comfort are the primaries. The four-position extension panel makes your child able to have 5 inches of additional legroom when the convertible car seat is rear-facing, and that is just the beginning.
There’s also a headrest as well as a six-position recline that easily adjusts up to ten different positions. Graco car seat is designed for rear-facing infants between 5 and 40 pounds and front-facing toddlers from 22 to 65 pounds.
The max height is 50 inches. The seat pad is luxurious and you can wash it in the washing machine to make your baby’s seat comfy and clean.
The car seat weighs just under 25 pounds and has surpassed or met the essential safety standards.
Purchasing the Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat promises your child stays as safe and comfortable as possible.
- For rear-facing infants
- 4 position extension panel
- Up to 50 Pound rear-facing
- Protect Plus Engineered
Graco Contender 65 Convertible Car Seat, Glacier
Designed one of the best convertible car seats for travel to protect your child until they reach 65 pounds or 49 inches, Graco has created the best car seats for travel.
It will also protect your infant from the crash so you can definitely say that it is a great convertible car seat.
This convertible car seat is designed with eight-position, easy to adjust the headrest to ensure that the car seat is the right fit for your baby.
The LATCH-equipped car seat means that you can install it with the seat belt of the vehicle or with the built-in LATCH system. It also includes a cup holder and also removable head and body support.
Along with being engineered meet and exceed safety standards, the Graco contender 65 Convertible Car Seat features energy-absorbing foam that ensures effective impact energy management.
With all the features that it offers, you cannot go wrong with this car seat.
- Designed to help protect your rear-facing
- Safe Adjust Harness System adjusts the headrest and harness height together with one easy motion,
- Graco ProtectPlus Engineered
- 8-position headrest is adjustable
- Hassle-free installation
Britax Allegiance 3 Stage Convertible Car Seat
If you want to buy one of the best car convertible car seats for travel, you are going to love Britax. Britax offers easy installation with the push-button Latch connectors and built-in lock-offs make car seat installation as easy as possible.
Now no rethreading, ever. You can quickly adjust 10 position harness with a headrest that grows along with your child.
It is very easy to clean. You can remove the car seat cover without removing the harness.
It is designed for the safety of your kid.
Steel frame, side-impact protection, impact-absorbing base, and forward movement reducing v-shaped tether offers the best protection of your child.
- Easy installation
- No rethreading, ever
- Easy cleanup
- Designed for safety
- Fits: Rear-facing up to 40 pounds and forward-facing up to 65 pounds
Graco Ride Rear Facing Convertible Car Seat
Graco ride is for rear-facing infants from 4 50 Pound and forward-facing toddlers from 22 to 65 Pound.
The 4 position extension panel easily adjusts to provide 5 inches extra legroom allowing your kid to ride very safely.
Up to 55 Pound rear-facing allows the child to ride safely.
Graco ProtectPlus makes a combination of the most demanding crash tests that helps protect your child inside, frontal, rear & rollover crashes.
I believe it is going to be perfect for your kid.
- For rear-facing, toddlers, and kids.
- 4 position extension panel adjusts to provide 5 inches additional legroom
- Up to 50 Pound rear-facing
- Graco ProtectPlus Engineered
When Do You Need a Convertible Car Seat?
The convertible car seats can be used directly after the birth of your child or once your child outgrows the infant car seat, which usually occurs around the baby’s first birthday.
If you choose to go for the convertible car seat from day one and your baby will usually be riding around in multiple vehicles, you might want to look into buying more than one car seat.
Trust me, transferring a convertible car seat from one vehicle to another is not worth the time and hassle!
How We Chose the Best Convertible Car Seats for travel
We went around and asked thousands of families with babies about the type of products they loved the most after the birth of their babies. We took the top of the list products that they shared with us and added our own insights to come up with this list of must-have features in convertible car seats that we think you and your baby will absolutely love.
Weight of Seat
The weight of the seat is an important feature for your own sake considering that you’ll be the one carrying it around. We usually prefer a car seat that is around 10 lbs in weight. You will be needing to lift the seat in and out of your car, port it around as well as potentially have to lift it over objects. It would be wise to stick to a lightweight car seat.
Width of Seat
The width of the seat is another important consideration, especially when you need to use it when traveling via airplane. Even if the seat is FAA approved, this does not mean that it will necessarily fit on the plane’s seat.
Airplane seats can be anywhere between 16 inches to 22 inches in width. Most are usually between the 17 inches and 18-inch mark. You can easily check to see what size your seat will be ahead of time by looking at the seat chart table on the SeatGuru website. We found that child care seats around 18 inches or less usually fit on all airplane seats. Although you might need to lift the armrest on planes with 16 inch wide seats.
Another important consideration you’ll need to think about with seats of slim designs is the fact that the seat will be able to fit through the airport security scanner. If the seat does not fit, the airport security will need to inspect the seat manually and this would slow down the checking in process.
As mentioned above, you will need to make sure that infant car seats or toddler car seats you purchase are FAA approved. You can easily do this by checking for a sticker on the side of the seat that says: “This restraint is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft.”
When you are looking to buy the best car seat for traveling purposes, you’ll need to make sure that you get the best convertible car seat option there is. Buying a convertible car seat saves you money in the longer run by accommodating your child from approximately 5 lbs. infant to a 65 lbs. toddler with ease and comfort. Most of the seats on our list are airline approved convertible car seats.
With that in mind, you’ll have to make sure that you check the convertibility features very carefully and choose the car seat that suits your needs best.
Tips for using convertible car Seat on a plane
It is important that you will need to book a seat that won’t block anyone’s exit by using your convertible seat, for example, the window seat.
You will only be able to use your car seat in the alley seats if your convertible car seat is very narrow. The alleyway seats have fixed armrests, which results in a reduced amount of width available for the convertible car seat. You would not be allowed to use the convertible seat in the exit rows or places where it could block anyone’s exit path.
Rear-Facing Car Seats
Another important consideration is that if you are using a rear-facing seat, the person sitting in front of you might not be able to recline their seat at all. So consider booking seats in such a way that one parent is with the baby and one in the front seat.
Notify the Airline to Use a Car Seat
You should take the time to make a call in advance to the airline in order to notify them of your intention of traveling on the car seat.
As an additional precaution, we also recommend that you request the airline to have this noted in your booking details and also demand written confirmation of approval that you can use the car seat on the plane.
Infant Capsule Seats with a Base
Please note that the base of the capsule-style infant travel car seats are not FAA approved and you might need to remove your base and either check it in or pop it into the overhead compartment if it fits.