Travelling as a family can be expensive, and most times when we fly, we fly low-cost if we can. The good news about this is that the tickets usually cost next to nothing, the bad news is that baggage is always an issue. With hand baggage restrictions seeming to get tighter and tighter, and both Ryanair and easyJet charging for each bag put in the hold, taking baby car seats and child booster seats abroad becomes more and more of a challenge.
Of course, if you are hiring a car you can also hire seats, but the prices hire companies charge are ridiculous, plus you don’t know the history of the seat you are getting – which in my experience tend to be pretty manky. When the children were smaller we also had several instances of the children having to use seats which were too old for them, and of staff not knowing how to fit the seats.
So, for many reasons, it is generally better to take your seats with you if you can – so these are my top tips. Trunki has recently come up with the BoostApack booster seat which doubles as a backpack (pictured) – which is ideal either for your child to put their bits and pieces in or is also ideal to put your own handbag in while you go through security. It costs £39.99 which sounds pricey but it could pay for itself in just a couple of journeys by saving on hire costs or having to pay for extra baggage.
Bubblebum (£24.99) is also an excellent product which is a blow-up, legal seat which is such a fantastic idea that I can’t believe no-one has ever heard of it.
Another option we have found works for older children is to buy small, light booster seats and put them in a Tesco Bag for Life which is exactly the right size to pass as hand luggage on budget airlines – plus you can chuck in all those little bits you probably forgot to pack like your daughter’s hairbrush (whoops.)
If you are still at the baby seat stage, it is more difficult. You will not usually be allowed to take them onto planes unless you have booked an extra seat for your child, for while you will have to pay full price. Before you decide whether to take a seat or hire, check the bagagge restrictions of your airline carefully – we once had to pay nearly 100 euros to fly a car seat back. If you decide to hire, check that you have specified the age of your child and if possible, call the local branch to check they will have a seat the right size.