I recently wrote about the great car seat dilemma that parents of young kids face when they travel internationally: should I take the baby/toddler car seat with me, or organise one at my destination. I face this quandary every time I travel, and even more so now that I have two car seats to organise! In my first post, I talked through the pros and cons of taking the seat with you, so this time round I’m going to look at the flipside – the pros and cons of organising the car seat at your destination.
The Advantage of Organising a Car Seat at your Destination and How to do it
A big positive for organising a car seat at your destination is that you don’t have to worry about adding to your flight luggage! This can be a huge plus if your car seat isn’t part of a travel system and you don’t intend to use the car seat on the plane. Car seats are bulky and awkward and add to your luggage allowance. So if you opt to leave the car seat at home, there are some options for you to organise one at your destination.
The most obvious solution is to hire one . The biggest advantage of renting locally is that your car seat will meet local regulations. Here is a great resource I’ve found for finding out car seat regulations in other countries. If you’re hiring a car, then most rental companies are able to provide a car seat at an additional cost calculated on a daily rate. Another way is to hire it from a local company that rents baby equipment. The New Parents Guide has a great comprehensive global list for baby rental equipment. I’ve also provided a brief list below of companies that may be able to assist you with car seat hire. I personally haven’t used any of these companies, so can’t vouch for them, but the list may be able to kick start your research if you decide to go down this route. Alternatively, most hotels should be able to recommend a good hire company and may even offer preferred rates to hotel guests.
As I often travel to a destination where I have friends or family, another option for gaining access to a car seat is to borrow. Alternatively, if you frequently travel to a particular destination it may even be worthwhile investing in a car seat and keeping it stored with friends or family. For example, we travel to our home countries (Canada and Australia) often enough that it made sense to purchase a car seat to keep in these locations. Although more expensive up front, it turns out to be the most cost effective option for us in the long run.
Disadvantages of Leaving the Car Seat at Home when you Travel
If you’re not taking your car seat with you, then getting to and from the airport without a car seat puts you in a difficult situation in terms of safety and you’ll need to arrange a solution almost immediately upon arrival. In many countries, it is not legal (and even unsafe) to carry a child on your lap. Getting family or friends to drop you off at the airport or arranging for a pick-up/drop-off service is a possible answer but not always convenient for your hosts.
Cost can also be a factor. Hiring might not be a suitable option if you’re on a tight budget or you plainly consider it a waste of good money when you already have a suitable car seat. Or you simply may not consider it a hindrance carrying it as part of your flight luggage.
If you have weighed up the pros and cons and decide to leave the car seat behind in favour of organising one at your destination, the following companies may be able to assist you with renting car seats (as well as other baby equipment) in various popular travel destinations:
United Arab Emirates