We don’t mess about when it comes to our kids’ car seats. We take it seriously and do our research, following whatever is the best guidance at the time. It is one area where we don’t try to scrimp, even for grandparent’s cars. To us, it’s just not worth it. Lena has good extended rear facing car seats still (age 3) in both our car (Cybex Sirona, you can see our review here) and in her grandad’s car (Concord Reverso – see our video review here). When it comes to holidaying abroad, we never know what to do about car seats for holiday transfers in Europe. The thought of not having appropriate car seats makes us really anxious.
Neither of us have worked up the courage to drive abroad yet, so we won’t be hiring a car and doing a lot of driving around. It’s really just for short transfers that we would need the seats for. Previously, we have booked coach transfers so it’s less of an issue. However, for our latest holiday, we had a 15 minute private transfer and not having car seats for it was making me nervous.
Options for kids car travel in Europe
Just risk it
It’s legal to not have car seats for taxis/transfers in Europe so you won’t get into trouble for not using one. Lots of people do this and generally it’s fine, after all, crashes aren’t super common. We decided against this option though as we spend all this money to keep them safe at home, why risk it when abroad?!
Arrange for the travel company to provide seats
Our first port of call was to contact the travel operator to ask if they could provide car seats. After 2 emails, we weren’t making much progress though and there was a language barrier. I was left with no confidence that there would be seats provided, and if they were, that they would be the right ones for the size of my children. This would be my preferred option though. If anyone knows of any great European transfer companies that are good at providing car seats please let me know in the comments.
Take your own seats
Our second consideration, was whether or not we should take our own seats. This is something we decided against. We have our hands full with 2 kids and luggage at the airport anyway. The kids’ car seats are really bulky and heavy. Plus they are expensive and I don’t want to risk them getting damaged in the hold.
Buy cheap car seats to travel with
This is certainly an option, be it booster seats or just cheaper, more travel friendly seats than we have but for some of the reasons above, this again is something that we chose not to do.
Buy travel car seats
This is the option we chose to go with. Lena is too young for a booster seat at 3 and I would never put Arlo (6) in a booster seat without a high back at home. However, I’ve done my research and a travel seat option would be better for both than nothing at all.
Travel car seat options on the UK market
After asking around and doing some googling and it seems there are three top options for travel car seats on the UK market at the moment:
- The BubbleBum (affiliate link) – this is an inflatable booster seat that you blow up for them and then deflate to put in luggage. From the limited amount of safety reviews I’ve been able to find on travel car seats, this one seems to score the best.
- The Trunki BoostApak (affiliate link) – this is a hard shelled back pack that transforms into a booster seat. The hard shell means that whatever you have put in the backpack can remain in it meaning it’s a good ‘two for one’ option. I’ve read some reviews that say it can be a bit heavy (3lbs without anything in it) for younger kids though and I know mine would complain about carrying it.
- The mifold grab and go booster seat (affiliate link) – this isn’t a seat per-se but a contraption that guides the seat belt into a more optimum position on the child. If you are looking for the most compact travel seat then this is the smallest I’ve seen on the UK market.
We’ve chosen to go with the BubbleBum for a several reasons:
- It seems better for safety (as I read here)
- My kids both seemed better positioned with it than the mifold when testing them in it
- My kids said it was the most comfortable to sit on (as compared to the mifold)
- I liked that it had a case unlike the others. You can pay £15 for a case for the mifold but I think that’s a bit of a cheek when you just paid £50 for the seat itself.
- It was the lightest product at only 1lb. The mifold is 1.5lbs and Trunki BoostApak is 3lbs.
- It was the cheapest product on the UK Market, coming in at around £30. The mifold is around £50 and the Trunki BoostApak is around £50. To get the safest product for the cheapest price was a no-brainer for us.
BubbleBum holiday review
We have now taken the BubbleBum with us on our recent holiday to Lanzarote. They aren’t heavy at all and they fit inside the kid’s carry on luggage (kid’s size character suitcases). We tried both the BubbleBum and the mifold out in our car to see which we preferred. The kids seemed positioned better on the BubbleBum and told us it was much more comfortable.
I was surprised that something so small and light could make such a difference. It reassured me that whilst it’s not as safe as a high backed proper car seat, it’s certainly a lot better than just putting a seat belt on them.
If you usually don’t take car seats on holiday because of the hassle, then I would thoroughly recommend the BubbleBum. It’s an easy option to make their car journeys safer and give you some peace of mind.
You can buy the BubbleBum for £29.99 on Amazon here (affiliate link). This is a bargain to keep your kids safer. It puts it £20 cheaper than the the mifold and BoostApak.
Disclaimer: Thanks to BubbleBum for sending us some of their travel seats to test for this post. This blog post contains clearly marked affiliate links. If you buy a product using an affiliate link you pay no more for the product but we get a small fee for referring you.