Traveling with Twins: What Should I Do About My Car Seat?

May 08, 2017

traveling with twins tips baby carrier blog

Welcome to TwinGo Carrier's Traveling With Twins Series, where each week we will answer new questions about the logistics of traveling with twins. We'll help you coordinate everything from stroller storage to in-flight baby soothing, and everything in between. Heading on a trip with your twins this summer? Fear not! We've got you covered.

Traveling with your twins, triplets, or more can be overwhelming and there’s usually a lot of questions about logistics going through a parent’s mind. Summer is coming and I’m getting lots of questions about flying as people plan summer vacations. It can be very stressful taking babies on a plane and that intensifies when you have more than one child to worry about. Many of these tips are general tips for flying with a baby and some of my adapted tips that are particular to flying with lots of toddlers and babies. We regularly fly domestically and internationally with my now 1-year-old twins and 2.5-year-old singleton. Hopefully these answers will help you understand some of the regulations and choices you have when flying and some extra tips to make it as easy as going to the park for the day.

#2 What should I do about my car seat?
This is the number one question I get asked from parents traveling with their baby for the first time. You have three options: Use it on the airplane, gate-check it, or luggage check it. Many parents won’t luggage check their car seats because they are often not handled well and can be damaged. This is true but in the world of multiples sometimes there’s no choice. When I fly alone with my 3 under 3 there is no way for me to get 3 car seats, 3 toddlers, and our carryon bag to the plane on my own. The safest recommendation is to buy a seat for your baby and bring the car seat on board. Here are a few solutions that have worked for us and other families I know:

  • Instead of using your stroller you can use a travelmate to turn your car seats into strollers. There are many different styles but we use the Gogobabyz Travelmate Mini. Many parents use bungee cords to stack 2-3 car seats on one travelmate. 
    • Pitfall: Wider car seats may not fit down the aisle in the airplane so be prepared if you have a seat such as the Britax seats. 

  • If you have toddlers but aren’t ready to let them sit in the seat without a car seat, CARES harnesses are perfect. I carry 3 of these in my carry-on when I travel by myself with my toddlers. These are great to have if your toddler is a lap baby but it’s likely there will be extra seats. If you have a child right on the lower edge of being able to use the CARES harness (or a particularly wiggly big toddler) then use a small piece of non-slip kitchen liner under their butt to keep them from sliding.
  • If you travel often you can buy “travel car seats” that can also be used in your extra vehicle. The most recommended travel car seat I hear about is the Cosco Scenera Next. They are about $40 and one of the lightest and narrowest convertible car seats. You can easily fit 3 across in most vehicles and they are narrow enough to be wheeled through the plane. Since they aren’t super expensive if you chose to luggage-check them and they get damaged it’s not a huge loss like a Diono Radian would be.

  • Infant seats: Bring the infant seat without the base. Many people are unaware that almost all infant seats have a seatbelt harness path. While it’s a hassle to buckle the car seats in each time on your trip it is typically much easier than attempting to pack big bulky bases. The infant seats are usually much easier to get through the airport than convertible car seats. Snap and Go type strollers are great for this. 
    • Pitfall: Infant seats are more likely to get damaged when luggage checking them than convertible seats are so if possible do everything you can to gate check or bring infant seats on board the plane. 

  • Keep in mind that FAA regulations don’t allow you to block anyone, including the parent, from easily exiting the row. This essentially means that you can’t sit between two car seats. You can have two car seats next to each other and sit in the aisle seat. This is one of my favorite perks of the CARES harness since it does not block anything it can be used in any seat. 


Be sure to check out our other Traveling with Twins tips!
Q: Can My Baby Sit on My Lap?
Q: Should I Take My Stroller?
Q: What Should I Do About My Stroller?
Q: What Should I Bring on the Plane?
Q: How Do I Get All This Through Security, and What About Liquids?
Q: How Do I Get Everything and Everyone on the Plane?
Q: How Do I Survive the Flight?

twin mom with twins on twin blogAja Harris is a mother of three toddlers and the wife of a US diplomat currently residing in Moscow, Russia. She frequently flies with her 2.5-year-old son and twin 1-year-old daughters around the world and throughout the United States. They have taken their children to over 15 US States and 4 countries via planes, trains, and automobiles. She hopes that this article encourages families to be adventurous and eases the worries of parents getting ready to fly with their little ones for the first time. You can follow the Harris family’s adventures on Facebook at The Wandering Chaos.