Baby Travel: Car Seat Solutions for Travelling Overseas

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To take the newborn car seat on holiday or not, that’s the question, or at least it was for us when we were planning our upcoming travels. Knowing what to take on holiday is a bit confusing, but especially so when you have a newborn to think about.

If you’re in the same boat, or will be sometime soon, this post is for you. We’ve got trips to Jersey, Mallorca and Greece coming up. We’ve gone round and round in circles considering the different options, so I thought I’d lay them out here for you, along with a few things to consider.

Travel With Your Own Newborn Car Seat

The perks of taking your own car sear with you are that it’s familiar and reliable. Little one is used to it so less likely to have a melt down and you’re less likely to have a melt down too as you know how to use it. You also don’t have to worry about the car hire place not having one left. FYI That happened to a relative, despite booking one in advance. Nightmare.

On the flip side, it’s another bit of equipment to lug about. You need to get think about how you want to protect it whilst it’s in the hold on the plane, so whether that’s a car seat travel bag, an infant car seat cover or trusty bubble wrap or industrial cling film.

Most airlines allow you to take two pieces of baby equipment free of charge, so typically a stroller, car seat or travel cot. We always travel with a Nuna SENA travel cot (see review here) as Nova sleeps so well in it and we’re now travelling with our Quinny Yezz Air stroller (see review here) as he’s too strong for the sling. So that’s our two free bits sorted. If we take the car seat (we have the Maxi-Cosi Pebble) it means that we need to pay a fee for an additional piece of luggage.

Don’t let that small price (typically around £20) put you off though. As you’ll read in the next option, sometimes hiring a car seat can cost much more than that, so for some trips it can be better to just bring your own. Weigh the costs up.

Pre-Book Your Car Hire and Seat

Most car rental companies give you the option to book a newborn car seat or a children’s travel seat when you hire a car. However, bear in mind that there are a limited number in stock so it’s best to book online in advance. This is particularly true if you’re travelling during peak season, such as the school holidays.

The downside of this route is that you can’t be sure of the reliability, quality or comfortability of the seat. Regulations are different overseas, so there’s potential for the seat to not meet your expectations. Check with your provider in advance if you can.

Another consideration is the cost. We found car hire for a week to be pretty cheap, but once we added a car seat on to the booking it doubled the price. It actually worked out cheaper for us to pay £20 to check-in an extra bit of equipment so that we could take the car seat with us.

It’s only worth hiring a car if you’re going to be doing a lot of driving. If it’s just a short journey for your transfers the next option may be better for you.

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Pre-Book a Taxi and Car Seat

For Jersey in particular, we only need to be in a car for fifteen minutes, once to get from the airport to the hotel and then vice versa. It seems stupid to hire a car for the sake of being able to hire a car seat.

The solution? We’ve booked a taxi through a firm that can also provide newborn car seats and child booster seats. There’s no additional charge, but to be honest even if there was it’d be worth it for convenience. They’ll pick us up from the airport like a regular taxi. Job sorted!

Visit the website for whichever airport you’re travelling to and you’ll usually find a list of recommended taxi providers. Ring ahead and book in advance, as they’ll only have a limited number of car seats available.

Use Public Transport

Depending on where you’re going and how much time you have, you may be able to avoid needing a car seat by using public transport. We did this when we took Nova to the Netherlands. From the airport we got the train to the city centre and once there, everything was walkable. It meant that we could just travel with our sling.

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This option probably isn’t for you if you’re travelling somewhere that doesn’t have a reliable transport system or if it means you’re going to lose out on lots of precious holiday time.

Use a Hybrid

Another option that we considered is the Doona; a hybrid car seat-stroller. The Doona is basically a car seat with extendable legs on wheels. It means that you can use it as both a car seat and a stroller, and it only counts as one bit of equipment.

It’s not the cheapest bit of kit, so this option is probably only for you if you travel quite a bit. Even the second-hand ones on eBay go for upwards of £150.

Have you travelled with a baby overseas? What do you normally do in terms of car seats?

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