Should you bring a baby car seat when you travel?

Should you bring a car seat when you travel with a baby?

We were recently contacted by a reader who was struggling with the decision to bring a baby car seat on her upcoming vacation to Mexico.

Not surprisingly, we get asked this question often, so we thought it would be helpful to share our recent travel experience to the Mayan Riviera (you can see our Mexico photos here).

We also have written about the pros and cons of bringing a car seat traveling here.

First, to answer the question – yes, we did bring our baby car seat with us. And, we always bring our car seat with us.

Beach, Riviera Maya, Mexico

Baby B is not really a baby anymore, so we had to drag our big, bulky car seat with us all the way to Mexico.

We didn’t really have a choice. We needed to take a taxi from our house to the airport, about a 45 minute drive (we would also need to do this on the return trip home from the airport). Because we were arriving in the evening, we organized private transportation from the Cancun airport to our resort (check out our video footage from the resort).

Now, we could have requested a baby car seat for an additional charge, but we didn’t want to take the risk, especially after a 6 hour flight with a cranky baby. The thought of the private vehicle arriving without the car seat was a real possibility, so we didn’t feel like gambling.

We also needed to take a taxi from the first resort (located near Tulum) to the second resort (located between Playa del Carmen and Cancun), which meant we would need a car seat for that trip as well.

We flew with West Jet, a Canadian airline that offers direct flights between Vancouver and Cancun. West Jet allowed us to check our car seat for no additional charge and we were able to gate check the stroller (they are very good at accommodating young families). So, once the car seat was checked we didn’t need to deal with it again until arriving in Cancun.

On the surface, it was a fairly straight forward process. We only had to deal with the headache on the travel days, which was manageable.

But what happens when you want to leave the resort?

We planned to meet up with our friends Erin and Simon in Playa del Carmen. We hadn’t seen them since they visited Vancouver for TBEX 11, so we were looking forward to catching up and introducing them to Baby B (he was only a bump in Nicole’s belly at that time!).

We organized a shuttle from our resort to Playa del Carmen, about a 30 minute drive.

The problem – we could not bring Baby B without bringing his car seat.

I want you to think about that scenario for a moment. This meant we would have to carry around his heavy car seat while strolling the streets of Playa del Carmen during the hottest hour of the day. No thank you!

Our other option was to pay an additional fee to have a car seat provided by the shuttle company. This was fine for the trip into town, but what about the return trip back to the resort? The company would not guarantee that a car seat would be available on the return trip, so it was a gamble. Either we take the clunky car seat with us (along with his stroller and baby gear) or we cancel the trip into town.

Sadly, we cancelled the trip. It became far too complicated and we didn’t want to risk not having a baby car seat (and Baby B would not have the patience to deal with lengthy public transportation).

So, the lesson learned is that even if you bring your baby car seat with you, you still need to plan your excursions and day trips. That said, most excursions offer a private vehicle that stays with you throughout the day, so this will work with your car seat.

If you plan to take taxis or private transportation, it’s best to bring your baby car seat with you.


Have you experienced a similar situation? Do you bring your car seat with you?
Share your feedback and experience in the comments section below, we’re always interested in learning from other traveling families!


24 Responses to “Should you bring a baby car seat when you travel?”

  • This is really great information. Your tip is very helpful for the baby. I like your tip. Thank you for shear such post.

  • Can’t imagine going to a trip with my baby without his car seat. I wouldn’t feel safe at all..

  • Thank you for sharing. This gives me an idea for our family road trips!

  • Hi, thanks for sharing this one. When we have family road trips we really bring the car seat to ensure safeness of our kids!

  • Nice article.It helped me a lot.Thanks for sharing.

  • You really provided great information to us. This is really helpful. Thanks for sharing.

  • Nice and informative article. This article helps me. Keep doing this.

  • Stephen Holf

    this is really a great will help me for travelling with baby safety

  • For every parent their kid means the world to them and they definitely take every measure to ensure their safety and well being. A lot of parents who are into frequent travelling, install Baby Car Seats in their vehicles to ensure the travel is a safe one for their little munchkins.

  • Nice tips for me to learn because this can help keep babies safe while traveling with quality car seats.

  • Hi,

    Great Tips! Do you mind recommending what kind of Car-sear is best use? We are traveling all over the south of Indonesia. We’ve heard very mixed ideas on which one to choose.

    Thanks in advance!!

  • Hania

    This is a great post, I definitely recommend taking your baby car seat with you. If you are still using an infant car seat, these are pretty easy to install in a taxi with the seat belt and you can leave the base at home. Then you don’t have to worry about what type of car seat is provided by the taxi or rental car company. also has a good post about what to look for in a baby car seat if you think you will be traveling in taxis frequently.

    • It¡¦s actually a nice and useful piece of info. I¡¦m happy that you shared this helpful inimfoatron with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

  • This is a wonderful post! An auto seat is

    something that the cash needs to run

    towards with an infant, since they are in

    them to such an extent! I have

    unquestionably never purchased one that

    was modest, in light of the fact that I

    esteem my youngsters’ life! My little girl

    is very nearly 2 and has the Diono Radian

    and I am upbeat to say that we LOVE it!

    She appears to be so agreeable in it!

  • Thanks for a great post. I have always travelled with our baby car seat as ive found in the past that A) it can be really expensive to hire them and B) you cant always guarantee the safety or condition of a hired seat. I like to play it safe and to be honest, its never really been a massive issue. Baby number 2 on the way in less than 3 months so guess could be a hassle with 2 on board! im sure we will cope and havent had a bad experience yet. Thanks again for the post 🙂

  • I didn’t realize that taking babies with you in taxis meant that you needed to provide your own car seat. If you could confirm with the taxi that they could have a car seat available, it might be worth it to not bring it. I’ll have to remember this for the transportation that my family will need when we are travelling from the airport to the hotel on our upcoming trip!

  • Its really not easy to travel with a baby. Taking along the necessities will help make things easier.

  • We’re traveling to South East Asia next week with our two babies (both less than 3 years old), and all the struggles to carry all the things for our babies are real.

  • We always travelled with ours when our kids were younger. It is a lot easier to travel with them now that they are a bit older. The new challenge is to keep them all from fighting with one another! 🙂 Thanks for the great post!

  • We are also headed to Mexico next week from Vancouver, but I’m not sure that we want to bother with the headache of bringing our 2.5 year old’s car seat with us… We plan to leave our vehicle at YVR, then there will be a bus to take us to the resort. It’s unlikely that we will venture very far from the resort, but if we do, we would likely travel via bus so I’m not convinced it’s worth the extra effort. Of course safety is important, but we also try to be pragmatic about the likelihood of a serious car accident.

    • Yes, we agree Michelle. If you are doing an all-inclusive package there’s likely no need. But in every other case, we would bring one. Hope you have a great trip!

  • Yikes. I can barely take care of myself and carry around all of my travel gear. You guys are rock stars.

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