Are you planning a trip with your child, and need a good booster seat? Preferably one that’s portable and that doesn’t weigh 25 lbs? Lucky for you, you’re in the right place! You’ll only see the best travel booster seats here.
Ones that are used for travel by hundreds of parents just like yourself. All of the booster seats featured in this review are lightweight, portable, and most importantly, safe for your child.
At A Glance: Our Top 3 Picks for Travel Booster Car Seats
I found several different types of boosters, which are suitable for children of different ages. Including travel harness seats that are perfectly safe for babies and young toddlers. So, I am pretty sure you will be able to find something that’s a good fit for your child in our detailed review!
Best With Harness
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Best With High-Back
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Best With Backless
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Harness booster seats are best suitable for babies and young toddlers. If you’re traveling with a child that is 2 or younger, we recommend one of these travel booster seatsBest With Harness
This Cosco Scenera Next Convertible Car Seat is definitely one of our favorite harness boosters. It is very lightweight, so it’s fairly easy to carry around the airport. Also, it’s FAA-approved, so you won’t have any issues using it on the plane – so long as you purchased a booster seat for your child. If you didn’t, you can just check it with the rest of your luggage.
This car seat comes with a cup holder, which is pretty convenient for a bottle. But it is also removable, in case you don’t need it, or if it takes up too much space.
You can use this as both a forward-facing and a rear-facing seat. However, if you use it as a rear-facing seat on an airplane, the seat in front of it won’t be able to recline, which might be an issue. But if your child weighs less than 22 lbs, the manufacturer strongly recommends that you use this as a rear-facing seat.
Another thing I have to mention is the price point – this is without a doubt one of the more affordable harness boosters you can find. Because of that, even if you only use it 2 times, you will pretty much get your money’s worth.
We wouldn’t really recommend this as an everyday booster seat – the harness is nowhere near as elaborate as it should be, and the seat is not too comfortable. There’s not a lot of padding on the seat, and that could be an issue with prolonged use. But it is a really good option as a lightweight and portable seat.
The Evenflo car seat is a good choice for traveling with babies and young toddlers. It is FAA-approved, so you can use it in an airplane if you have purchased a seat for your child. It can be used both as a rear-facing and forward-facing seat. But, if your child weighs less than 30 lbs, it can only be used as a rear-facing seat.
This is one of the lightest high back seats in our review, at only 9.29 lbs. It is also one of the more affordable options, so it’s great for parents on a budget. You’ll get good value for your money, but don’t expect too much for some $55.
The straps on this booster seat are not the best, and that’s one downside. They don’t feature any pads, and there’s a good chance they’ll cut into your child’s skin – not the most comfortable feature of the chair. However, you can contact the manufacturer and ask them to send you shoulder pads – several customers did this.
This seat is suitable for children that weigh 5-40 lbs, which is about 4 years old max. And it is a very safe booster seat – it meets all applicable Federal Safety Standards, which is one of the main reasons why we recommend it in the first place. Plus, it has a detachable cup holder, which is always convenient in a travel booster seat.
This Chicco car seat is definitely one of the best options out there. It is extremely versatile – it is a harness seat that transforms into a regular high-back booster car seat, so your child shouldn’t outgrow it for several years. And it’s also a really good option for an everyday seat, and not just for travels.
There is a slight issue of weight – this is one of the heavier car seats. But not by too much – it weighs 12 lbs, which I think is still lightweight enough that you can use it for family travel. And the extra weight means extra features and more ways to use the booster seat. Perhaps the main reason for the extra weight is the steel frame inside the side, which significantly improves its impact resistance.
The harness mode is suitable for children that are at least 2 years old or weigh at least 25 lbs. This travel booster seat is also FAA-approved, but only in harness mode. As your child grows, you can easily transform the seat to accommodate them.
Chicco MyFit features two dishwasher-safe cup holders, EPS energy foam around the head and torso, latches, dual-density padding, and a contoured design. It is comfortable, safe, easy to install, easy to clean, and pretty lightweight for everything it has to offer. But all of that Chicco goodness comes at a price – and it’s the highest one in this entire review.
One thing to keep in mind about these boosters is that they are not FAA-approved. They don’t have a harness and airplane seats don’t have lap-shoulder straps that will keep your child safe. These boosters are a good option if you plan to check them at an airport, and not use them during the flight.
One thing that’s pretty cool about this travel booster seat is that it transforms into a backless booster easily. So, maybe you can use it as a full booster at home, and as a backless booster when you travel. But because of its lightweight, it’s also perfectly fine as a high-back booster for travels. It is a bit bulky, so we recommend it only if you’re renting a car, and not hopping in and out of taxis and Ubers.
This booster features DuoZone side impact protection (head and shoulder) and latches attachment for the safety of your children. It can also be adjusted in 10 different positions, to accommodate for the growth of your child. The seat is Ergo Boost with double foam padding, and it is actually very soft and comfortable.
There are two cup holders on the booster seat, which are removable, flexible, and dishwasher safe – just like on the Chicco backless booster I’ll show you a bit later. This booster seat is very easy to maintain since both the arm covers and the seat pad are machine washable.
The manufacturer recommends this seat for children that are at least 4 years old. But, we don’t recommend this for younger children that move around a lot, because this type of booster doesn’t restrict their movement, as well as a harness, does. If you’ve only used harness car seats so far, consider whether or not your child is ready to graduate to this type of booster.
If you’re looking for a budget high-back booster, consider getting this one. It costs less than $40, and it weighs about 8.5 lbs. This is why it’s a good booster for travels – you will easily get your money’s worth even if you only use this on one trip. And it is light enough that you can carry it for hours without dislocating your shoulder.
This is not an FAA-approved high back booster, because it does not have a harness. So, you cannot use this during the flight, and you will need to check it at the airport because it is pretty bulky.
The height of this seat is adjustable to 6 positions – as your child grows, the booster adjusts to accommodate them. And when they get really big, you can remove the back and transform this into a backless booster.
This booster seat has two elastic cup holders, but they don’t make it too wide. In fact, this is a pretty narrow seat (about 15”), and it is a great option for smaller cars. The booster also features seat belt guides on both sides, to ensure the safety of your children.
But the padding in this seat is pretty disappointing. Also, there’s no padding in the armrests – they’re just plastic. The booster is not comfortable enough for really long rides, and that’s why we don’t recommend this as an everyday car seat.
If you want a reliable brand, Graco is always a great option. The Graco Highback Turbobooster Car Seat features seat belt guides on each side, for the safety of your kids. It doesn’t have a latch system – the seat belt keeps it in place. And that makes it super portable – there’s no messing around with buckles and latches. Just grab the seat and go. Which will be pretty easy, since the seat weighs only 9 lbs.
The booster seat is not padded too thickly, but it’s still pretty soft. And it should be comfortable for your kids even on longer rides. The adjustable headrest also helps keep your kids comfy.
There are dual cup holders on the booster, and they are great for regular bottles. Not so much for water bottles – the cup holders are a little shallow, and the water bottle might fall out when you’re turning.
The seat converts into a backless booster for longer use. But also for better portability and versatility. Actually, this is one of the few boosters that is suitable both for traveling and for daily use. And it’s also pretty cheap, so you will get great value for money with this car seat.
But it’s not FAA approved, so you won’t be able to use the high back version inside an actual airplane. You can use the backless version though, provided that your child is old enough for it.
Surely there’s a way to trick your child into being delighted to carry around their booster? Yes, there is, and it is called the Trunki BoostAPak.
It is a children’s backpack that doubles as a booster seat. So, even though it’s not FAA-approved as a seat, you can still bring it on a plane as personal luggage. The backpack part of it has a capacity of 8 liters, which is enough to hold some of your kid’s favorite in-flight toys!
Just remember to take out any snacks or toys your child will need during transport. Once you strap them in this booster, you don’t have access to the backpack.
The internal shell of the BoostAPak is hard, for maximum safety. It also protects the contents of the backpack part, and it is light enough that children can comfortably carry it. Trunki also has armrests and backrest, as well as seat belt guides. In terms of functionality, it does the exact same thing that a regular booster seat does. But it’s about 10 times more fun for the kids.
A downside to the Trunki booster seat is that it is not padded too much, so it won’t be comfortable on long rides. Also, it’s a little bit when it is in backpack mode. Consider the dimensions of the pack, to see whether or not it will be too big for your child.
Backless boosters are without a doubt the most portable option. They’re a lot smaller than high back car seats, and a lot lighter. But they only work with kids who are a bit older – at least 4-5 years. Backless boosters don’t do a lot, in terms of restricting the movement of your children, so they are not a good option for kids that move around a lot. But if your child is able to sit still, then this might be the best option for you.
This Chicco backless booster is a very comfortable option. The seat is very padded, and your children will stay comfortable even on longer rides. Actually, it features an Ergo Boost countered seat with double padding. Therefore, I think that this is a decent option not just as a travel seat, but also as an everyday seat.
This seat is suitable for children that are older than 4, and weigh between 40 and 110 lbs. At least, that is what the manufacturer recommends.
It features armrests with pop-out armrest covers. The covers are machine washable, as are all the other fabrics on the car seat. And the cup holders are also dishwasher safe, so the entire booster seat is very easy to maintain.
One thing I really like about this booster is that the cup holders are flexible and removable. So, in case you’re a little bit tight on space, you don’t have to stress about the cups poking out.
As for portability, I’m a little bit torn. On the one hand, it’s definitely more portable than a high-back booster. It is lighter, it has a carry handle and it is fairly small. But then again it’s still a little bulky, and it’s nowhere near as portable as the inflatable booster I’ll show you a bit later. So, this one is up to you.
As far as portability goes, this is a great booster car seat. When deflated, this can easily fit into your purse or backpack, and that’s pretty great. That’s why we recommend this for taxi rides and Uber – you don’t have to carry a booster in your hand when you’re walking around the town with your little one. Just deflate it and put it in your purse!
This inflatable booster is suitable for children that are 4-11 years old, and weigh from 40 to 100 lbs. However, we do not recommend this booster if your child moves around a lot even in a high back booster – there is the issue of safety.
Another thing worth mentioning is that you can easily fit three of these in the back seat of pretty much any car. They don’t have plastic edges, so that makes it easy to fit three seats even in some really narrow cars.
The booster seat has a valve that’s covered with plastic, and it inflates somewhat when you unscrew the valve. You only need a few breaths to fully inflate it, which is great. And when you are not using the seat, you should always close the valve – unless you want it to partially inflate inside your bag.
This booster seat is great for short uses, or as a backup seat for impromptu playdates. But it’s not something your child will want to sit in every day, because it’s not too comfortable. It is lightweight, portable, and very affordable, so it’s worth trying out for your upcoming trip.
Curiosity won me over with this one – a car seat that folds into a wallet-sized pouch? And that fits into your kid’s backpack? Sign me up!
Seriously though, the mifold seat is so innovative and practical that everyone should try it out. Because, if it turns out your child likes this, it could actually change your life.
In terms of portability, this is the best booster seat available. It’s lightweight, small, and fits into every carry-on bag. This is also a great seat for narrow spaces since you can easily fit three of them on the back seat of a car. It is also good as an extra seat to have in your car, just in case.
But how does it work, since it is so thin and small? Well, a regular booster seat lifts your child to the position of an adult, so that the seat belt is safe for them. The mifold does the opposite – it lowers the seat belt with the belt guides on each side so that it accommodates the size of your child. And it’s just as safe as a regular booster.
There’s one downside to that – a plain booster seat allows your child to see out the window. This one does not. Also, this is a very thin seat, so it’s not too comfortable. Because of that, I wouldn’t really recommend it for longer rides. But for running around the town on a trip, in and out of taxis and Uber’s with your little one, this is one of the best things you can spend your money on.
If this is your first trip with your child, you probably need some guidance. And we some tips on how to choose the right booster car seat for travel!
Because they are heavy. When you have to manage your child, a stroller, a diaper bag, your own bag, and a booster, weight plays a big part.
That’s why you want to get a booster designed specifically for travel. It is much easier to move around the airport with a 10lb booster than one that weighs two or three times more.
Backless booster seats would be the obvious choice if we were concerned only about the weight. But, we are also concerned about your child’s comfort, safety and age – you can’t really put a 3-year-old in a backless booster seat. So, we found some lightweight high-back boosters that you’ll love. Most of them are pretty affordable, weigh 10 lbs or less and you can bring them on an airplane without any issues.
And then we’ll also show you several backless, foldable, and even inflatable boosters that can pretty much fit in your carry-on.
Do you need a seat just for the airplane ride, or do you plan to use it multiple times a day while you’re traveling? While you are in and out of taxis or do you plan to rent a car? Do you expect your kid to carry their booster, or will you do that?
Those are all questions you need to consider if you’re not sure which type is right for you. If you’re renting a car and you’ll be driving around a lot, then I think you will be fine with a high-back booster. But if you’re going to take taxis, then definitely consider a backless booster – think of going sightseeing with your little one, and lugging around a high-back booster while trying to take cute photos.
Obviously, that only applies to children that are actually ready for backless boosters. And that is really an individual thing – most manufacturers recommend their backless boosters for children that are at least 4 years old. But is your 4-year-old really capable of sitting still and not fidgeting around while you drive? That’s another question that should help you choose between a high back and a backless booster.
Most countries have pretty different car safety laws. That’s something you should always check before you travel. Maybe the country you are going to requires a specific type of car seat, and maybe they don’t require children your age to be in car seats at all.
Did you know that the European Union prohibits rear-facing car seats in the passenger seat unless the airbag is deactivated? While only two US states have the same law. Anyway, here are some useful links that could help you prepare yourself for your next trip:
And if you’re traveling to a completely different country, Google is your best friend! :>
All of the car seats featured in this review have very high ratings and are highly recommended. You’ll be okay whichever one you get. But, I still loved some more than the others, so here are my top three recommendations – one in each booster category.
For a booster with a harness, it was either the Chicco MyFit or the Cosco. I decided to go with the Cosco Scenera because it is the lighter and more affordable option. And ultimately, better for travel. This car seat is FAA-approved, meaning you can use it inside the cabin. It is suitable for children that weigh up to 40 lbs, so you could get several years of use out of it. Especially because you can use it with babies as a rear-facing seat as well.
When you’re considering if an object is portable, its weight is one of the first things you look at. The Evenflo Booster Car Seat is the lightest high-back booster we featured, and so it is our favorite. It’s also the cheapest one, and it actually costs less than some backless boosters. The affordability, portability, and ease of use are definitely reasons enough to get this car seat for your upcoming trip. And it will keep your child safe in case of a crash, which is more important than everything else.
For me, it was a close call between the mifold and the BubbleBum boosters. But I think the BubbleBum is the better option because it is much more comfortable to sit on. It is an inflatable booster, so it’s super portable. When you deflate it, it can easily fit in your purse, and you can carry it everywhere. And it inflates super quickly when you want to use it. It is definitely one of the best options for children that are old enough for backless boosters.
Head over to Amazon to see what other traveling parents are saying about these booster car seats, and check out their prices!