Travelling with children in the car is easy enough.
If push comes to shove, you can always just bung it all in.
Trains and planes are another matter.
You can only take so much luggage and you’ve got to lug a car seat along for use at the other end.
As I’m not a driver and I often travel alone with my now 3 year old, I’ve had to seriously master the art of this over the last few years, and these are my top tips:
- Get the lightest car seat you can
- Get car seat wheels or bag
- Get a child carrier
- Organise your packing ruthlessly
- Research supermarkets at the other end
- Get supplies delivered when you get there
- Borrow or buy books when you get there
- Leave the 4th, 5th and 6th pairs of shoes at home!
- Check luggage in the day before
- Send luggage ahead
1. Get the lightest car seat you can
Obviously, you want the most comfortable seat available but most are unbelievably heavy.
I tried loads out in our local department store and could barely lift them.
So started a mission to find a lightweight, good value seat I could actually carry. After copious research the lightest I found was the Britax Prince which is only 13lbs and cost £60/$90 – it’s not a fancy seat but it’s done us proud on numerous journeys.
|The Cossato Zoomi is just 11.6lbs|
You can still get the Britax Prince on Amazon UK, but there are now more seats available in both Europe and North America which are the same weight or lighter.
The two real lightweights are the Cossato Zoomi in Europe, which is just 11.6 lbs and the Even Flo Tribute in North America which is 12.2 lbs. You might not want to use the Even Flo Tribute day in, day out, but it is particularly good value at less than $60, so may be cheap enough to act as a second seat when you’re not taking the car.
The Maxi Cosi Pearl in Europe and Safety 1st Complete Air Convertible in N. America are a little heavier at 13.2lbs and 14.51bs and the Britax Eclipse and Britax Roundabout 50 Classic a little heavier again at 15.5lbs.
2. Get car seat wheels or bag
| The Go Go Babyz Travelmate|
adds wheels to your car seat
I totally depend on my car seat wheels – I’ve got the Go Go Babyz Travelmate.
The wheels strap on and allow me to steer the car seat round stations and airports with one hand, whilst pulling an enormous case with the other. At the other end the wheels unstrap and the car seat buckles into hire or friends’ cars or taxis.
Britax also do a Car Seat Travel Cart or as an alternative a Car Seat Bag which has wheels on the bottom so you can pull it and straps on the back so you can carry it like a ruck sack.
3. Get a child carrier
|The Little Life Voyager is brilliant|
for hiking and the beach
Although, my Travelmate is great for stations and airports and actually manages all the bumps of south London’s streets, you wouldn’t want to use it for extended strolling or if you’re going walking or to the beach where you really need a child carrier.
We have the Little Life Voyager – available from Toys R Us in the UK – which has been really well used as we do plenty of walking and hiking.
It folds up flat in our case so I have actually managed the car seat, a large case and a ruck sack on my own with a small child.
The Little Life Voyager is certainly not cheap but there are a range of child carriers available from £60/$90 and they are often available on eBay.
4. Organise your packing ruthlessly
5. Research supermarkets at the other end
6. Get supplies delivered when you get there
7. Borrow or buy books when you get there
8. Leave the 4th, 5th and 6th pair of shoes at home!
9. Check luggage in the day before
10. Send luggage ahead
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