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How to choose a foldable car seat for travel

A safe and travel-friendly car seat is one of the most vital requirements in today’s world. Most parents spend countless hours poring over tens or hundreds of car seats trying to select the most suitable one and a huge chunk of these parents usually end up with a less than satisfactory car seat. But, don’t beat yourself up for this. Parenting isn’t easy more so when you are juggling between taking care of your little infant and making ends meet. That’s why we have taken the liberty to undertake a comprehensive research of folding car seats and identified the most suitable options that may just be the right fit for your baby’s need when traveling.

Our choice of folding car seats was directed by the following key factors:

  • Safety- Your child’s safety is paramount and should be the first thing you factor in when settling for a foldable car seat. The safest type of booster seat should be high-backed and ideally contain ‘wings’ too. This is to ensure your child’s head and neck are safe in case of an impact crash from any side.
  • Flexibility- an ideal folding car seat should serve more than just a single purpose. You need a car seat that won’t eat up all the space in your car, or be cumbersome once you leave your car and are rushing in a packed airport hallway only to discover it can’t fit on your designated airplane seat, no. Versatility should be present.
  • Size and Weight- Size and weight are also important factors in choosing folding car seats. You may have noticed that while some folding car seats are perfect for short, local trips, others are tailored for longer journeys with different weight/size restrictions.

As you can see, pricing isn’t among the key factors that we took into consideration during our review. However, we will include the average prices for the products listed below so you can have the option to choose the most pocket-friendly folding car seat if need be.

Doona infant car seat stroller is our 2020 overall best folding car seat for travel based on the key determiners we outlined above. This foldable car seat also deploys as a stroller for versatility, it is very safe and at the moment is the only foldable car seat stroller that rear faces.

Reviews of Folding Car Seats for Travel 

Below is our comprehensive listing of folding car seats tailored for travel that are a must have in these modern times.

Doona infant car seat stroller

Doona infant car seat stroller is our top choice. If Optimus Prime had a baby with one of the other female transformers (assuming they do that like us, humans), then they’d definitely opt for this Doona product as a foldable car seat. Why, you ask? Well, first and foremost this is not only a car seat but it also deploys wheels once you and your baby leave the car thus transforming into a perfect stroller at the click of a button. 

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This is a perfect solution for families living in big towns or cities where they need to hop in and out of Ubers or taxis. Or, if you are a parent with a constant knack to stop your car and hit a mall you just saw or a museum that sounds fun, this is a definite yes.

Doona infant car seat stroller comes with such incorporated features as a head support, handle extension button, infant insert, Shoulder pads, harness tightening strap, a brake release pedal and a brake lock pedal. You also get a button for handle rotation and a UPF 50+ sun protection canopy that is water repellant.

Doona infant car seat stroller is ideal for infants from birth to ages between 1 and 1.5 years old.

Pricing

Doona Car Seat and Stroller Collections has two products:

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  • Doona Car Seat and Stroller- $499.00
  • Doona Car Seat and Stroller (Midnight Edition)- $599.00

Specs

This product weighs 16.5 pounds. It has a maximum weight recommendation of 35 pounds and a minimum weight recommendation of 4 pounds.

Pros

  1. This car seat also transforms as a stroller so you won’t have to break your back carrying a foldable car seat and a separate stroller for your child.
  2. It is approved by FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) meaning your transition from driving to catching your flight will just be a smooth stroll down the airport aisle without any worries.
  3. It has a rear-facing option to ensure optimum safety of your baby.
  4. The incorporated car seat handle also comes in handy as an anti-rebound bar.

Cons

  1. It is pricey.
  2. 16.5 pounds is a bit heavy for a foldable car seat.
  3. Its age limit means once your child has outgrown this limit, you’ll have to buy a new car seat and stroller.

WayB Pico

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WayB Pico is the second folding car seat for travel that we consider to be most suitable for your child. Apart from Doona car seat and stroller, WayB is the coolest thing we have encountered while hunting for foldable or collapsible car seats. WayB Pico kicked off with a massive Indiegogo campaign all over Facebook in 2018 promising a folding car seat that has a 5-point harness, is ultra-light as well as being ultra-compact. The results have been far from disappointing.

The WayB Pico travel car seat is portable with a compact fold and therefore very convenient for travel. 

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It has also passed all required safety testing stipulated by standards in the U.S., according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The founders of this company also boast extensive experience from industries that deal with outdoor gear so to them safety and quality is a lifetime commitment.

If you need guidance in installing the WayB Pico travel car seat, you can access a tutorial video here.

WayB Pico is ideal for ages 2-5 years old.

Pricing

Pico Travel Car Seat is priced at $320.00 on the WayB online shop.

Specs

Storage position: 11.6” L x 14.5” W x 18.9”H

Lowest use position: 15.2” L x 14.5”W x 22.8” H

Highest use position: 15.2” L x 14.5”W x 27.8” H

Product Weight: 8 pounds

Pros

  1. It’s light and compact. This ensures you can easily carry it around.
  2. It’s perfect for flights since it is airplane-approved by FAA and can also fit most of the overhead bins that are present in most airplanes.
  3. It’s easy to install. Plus you can install it without the top tether.

Cons

  1. It’s expensive. It may be cheaper than Doona car seat and stroller but it is definitely not the cheapest option available out there.
  2. The 45” upper height limit and harness slots limit of 16.5” are inadequate to some families. These limits are usually outgrown by kids around the age of 5 and 5.5 years old.

Hifold Fit and Fold Booster

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Hifold Fit and Fold Booster comes third on our listing touting a product that is the world’s most adjustable booster, and justifiably so with 243 individual settings that not only meet but exceed NHTSA FMVSS 213. This car seat features the ‘Multi-Fit ™’ technology which ensures you have this wide and varied array of 243 settings. With these settings Hifold is able to accommodate the growth of your child as well as ensuring your child is comfortable and enjoys a seatbelt fit that is optimized.

This product saves you storage by allowing you to easily and quickly fold it down into a size you consider compact and ideal for either storing or carrying around. And, to ease and aid portability, Hifold also includes a comfortable and convenient carry strap.

Hifold Fit and Fold has safety measures deeply ingrained in its designing and engineering. It optimizes the safety and comfort of your child through the 6 incorporated advanced impact protection zones and a design that has 4 layers.

This travel car seat is made out of lightweight materials such as EPE, a polypropylene shell, fabric layer and a PU foam.

Hifold is ideal for children aged 5+ years and the product has a regulation for global use except in Australia.

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Here is a link for the How to Use Hifold video.

Pricing

This product is priced at $119.99 on the official mifold online store.

Specs

Full height: 29.7 inches

Folded height: 9.8 inches

Folded length: 13.5 inches

Full length: 15.6 inches

Folded width: 13.5 inches

Full width: 18.9 inches

Product Weight: 10 lbs.

Pros

  1. A wide variety of adjustment options available to ensure your child fits comfortably.
  2. Optimized portability since it can be folded down to a very small size.
  3. It has a long expiration period of 7 years.
  4. You can use it anywhere in the globe except Australia

Cons

  1. It is relatively expensive especially if you will only use it for a few years.
  2. It’s bigger and heavier than some of the other folding car seats for travel.
  3. It doesn’t come with a cup holder.

RideSafer® Travel Vest

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Fourth on our list of folding car seats for travel is RideSafer® Travel Vest. This product provides a good solution for: traveling with kids, taxi-using parents with infants, easy carpooling, safety for parents with special needs kids and any other activity that requires you to drive your kids around in a safe setting.

One of the most attractive features of RideSafer® Travel Vest is its lightweight and compact; compact for maneuvering through airports. With this product you can forget about all the heavy lifting that is involved in many car seats especially going through airport security or terminal. The product easily fits in your luggage or on your child’s backpack.

This travel vest helps ensure the safety of your kid by doing the following:

  • Making sure the vehicle’s seat belt moves with the movement of your kid by positioning the seat belt on your child. This is vital for maintaining a proper position of the seat belt.
  • Ensuring the comfort of your child by holding the shoulder belt safely in place and not too close to your kid’s neck.
  • Reducing injuries on your kid’s head and knees by maintaining a low gravity center in the seat of the vehicle.
  • Exceeding all FMVSS 213 (Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards) requirements for a crash test.
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RideSafer Travel Vest is ideal for kids aged 3.5 to 6 years old.

Pricing

RideSafer® prices this folding car seat at $165. It comes with a free returns policy with a 15-day trial period. You can order from the RideSafer® shop here.

Specs

Here are the specs for the small RideSafer® Travel Vest:

Dimensions: 15 x 9.5 x 3.5 inches

Weight recommendation: minimum- 30 pounds, maximum 60 pounds.

Product weight- 2.4 pounds

Pros

  1. Tailored to make your child seat properly. This is even better than a booster seat as it ensures this happens even when they fall asleep while traveling.
  2. Quick and easy to install during cab/ taxi rides.
  3. Comes with a 10-year expiration period.
  4. You can roll it up to a small size roughly the size of a 2L bottle of soda.
  5. It’s as wide as the child in it so you can easily fit 3-across.
  6. The product is ultra-light.

Cons

  1. Doesn’t have permission for use on plane seats
  2. Unlike a highback booster seat, this product doesn’t offer your kid protection from a side impact.
  3. Most people need rigorous practice to get the optimum fit for the belt.

Peg Perego 2-3 Viaggio Flex

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The Viaggio 2-3 Flex is a car seat that can probably be used for a longer period of time than any other folding car seat available today. For this and much more, this product comes 5TH on our review of Folding Car Seats for Travel.

The flexibility of this product is honestly quite impressive. You can use it for children from the ages of 3-12 years. This means that it will grow with your child without you needing to buy a new car seat every time your kid hits another year.

Viaggio 2-3 Flex comes with EPS which are inserted for impact shock-absorption. This seat also comes with two cup holders that are retractable and for your kid’s safety, the product incorporates a backrest that is reinforced with Aluminium. It also comes with Adjustable Side Impact Protection (ASIP), a feature that helps protect your kid’s head and neck in case of a collision from either side. Other than this, you also get Kinetic Pods, a 4D Total Adjust Technology, a Surefix Base and a Blind Lock System.

Pricing

This product is priced at $279.99 on the Amazon Store.

Specs

Unfolded item size: 44W x 66H x 56D

Folded item size: 44W x 25H X 60D

Product weight: 6.7 KG

Pros

  1. Grows with your kid for a long period of time.
  2. Contains 2 cup holders that you can stow when not using them.
  3. Very easy to unfold and fold.
  4. Is recline-able for comfort when the child wants to sleep.
  5. Contains an Aluminium frame for extra safety.
  6. Is portable.

Cons

  1. It is very heavy compared to other folding car seats.
  2. Relatively expensive for a booster seat.

Bubblebum

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We are not big on backless booster seats as they lack the added safety availed by better highbacked booster seats. However, if you were to go for a backless booster seat then we’d highly recommend Bubblebum. This is our sixth option for a variety of reasons that are about to become apparent below.

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Bubblebum, first and foremost, is absolutely lightweight clocking in at an unbelievable weight of 1 lbs. I know, right? It’s unbelievable. This means that this product is very easy to carry around or fit in your kid’s backpack. Bubblebum can also be deflated or rolled to the same size as a soda bottle. This is a good option for parents that don’t sleep much during travelling or aren’t wiggly. If your kid is wiggly then you should consider the other highbacked options we have outlined above such as Doona infant car seat and stroller or RideSafer® Travel Vest.

Below is a snapshot of how Bubblebum works.

Bubblebum is ideal for kids aged 4-11 years.

Pricing

The Bubblebum Backless Inflatable Booster Car Seat which comes in a Twin Black Bundle currently goes for $59.98 on the Bubblebum online shop.

Specs

Minimum weight recommendation: 40 lbs.

Maximum weight recommendation: 100 lbs.

Dimensions: 11 x 4.5 x 11 inches

Product weight: 1.2 lbs.

Pros

  1. Bubblebum is extremely light and portable.
  2. Very easy to use.
  3. It is relatively budget-friendly.
  4. It is very narrow therefore saves a lot of space.

Cons

  1. It  is backless so no head support for your kids.
  2. Feels tippy to some kids especially when it’s 100% inflated.
  3. Offers no safety measures during any kind of impact.

Graco Turbo GO™

Graco Turbo GO is another folding backless booster that has earned the 7th spot on our review of folding car seats for travel.

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This product is made out of fabric that is machine washable, contains a belt positioner for the shoulder and ensures portability is optimized by being absolutely lightweight.

Pricing

This product is priced at $19.99 on the Graco online shop.

Specs

Product dimensions: 14.8 x 15.2 x 8.86 inches

Maximum weight recommendation: 100 lbs.

Minimum weight recommendation: 40 lbs.

Product weight: 4 lbs.

Pros

  1. Relatively light to carry around
  2. Very easy to use
  3. Pocket-friendly pricing
  4. They incorporate various colors that are kid-friendly

Cons

  1. It has a relatively limited padding
  2. Doesn’t include a handle for carrying easily
  3. Some users complain about difficulty adjusting the shoulder belt guide

Mifold

Mifold is a booster seat that is simply grab-and-go and is the last (on our list) backless folding car seat you should consider for traveling. Mifold is considered one of the most compact and portable backless booster seat in the world today. 

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However, compared to Hifold Fit and Fold Booster which is a product from the same company, Mifold isn’t a great choice for many parents with kids. Most kids using Mifold have often complained that it is uncomfortable for long drives and most users who are experts with car seats and boosters have also realized that this product is prone to unsafe belt fits.

Mifold is ideal for kids above the age of 4 years.

Pricing

Mifold grab-and-go is priced at $29.99 on the Mifold online shop.

Specs

Product dimensions: 2 x 10 x 5 inches

Maximum weight recommendation: 100lbs.

Minimum weight recommendation: 40 lbs.

Product weight: 1.7 lbs.

Pros

  1. Product is compact and easy to carry
  2. Perfect for fitting 3-across

Cons

  1. Its slightly pricey compared to the value you’ll get
  2. Only comfortable for short trips
  3. Unsafe belt fits
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