If you're planning to fly anywhere and drive when you reach your destination (in a rental car, in a taxi, or with friends), you have three options:
(1) You can rent a car seat from a car/baby rental company when you arrive.
(2) You can bring your own car seat and carry it on the plane with you (if you buy a plane ticket for your baby).
(3) You can bring your own car seat and check it as luggage for use at your destination.
We decided against option #1 because we couldn't get over the "yuck" factor of borrowing a used car seat (a seat that likely wasn't cleaned with care after its last use...if at all). Since my baby's face was going to be in that fabric all weeklong, I figured we might as well bring our own.
We decided against option #2 because our 6-month-old isn't a big fan of car seats (and we are taking advantage of the free "lap baby" option as long as we can manage it) and our 3-year-old would go cray-zee in a car seat for 3 hours.
We settled on option #3 - checking our car seats as luggage. The good news is that most airlines allow you to check car seats free of charge. The bad news is that airline employees aren't exactly "gentle" with checked luggage. Thus, it's important to protect your cargo somehow...preferably with a specially-designed car seat bag.
Rover Gear was kind enough to send me the Westport Car Seat Bag ($59.99-$79.99) for review - and it passed the "traveling-through-three-different-airports-test" with flying colors. The heavy-duty nylon is high-quality and extremely durable - protecting your seat from bumps and bruises. It also features internal and external pockets. Best of all, the whole thing is on wheels so you can roll it through the airport rather than lugging it over your shoulder. If you prefer, you also have the option to wear it as a backpack (sweet!). Plus, the black/green color scheme is fresh and professional-looking (not that it matters a whole lot, but still...).
Our one minor critique was that it would have been nice if the handle was extend-able for easier pulling around the airport.
The bag is a bit pricey, but it's also "reusable" and heavy-duty. I have a feeling we'll be using this bag for many years to come.
WIN IT! One winner will receive a Westport Car Seat Bag ($59.99-$79.99) from Rover Gear. To enter, leave any topic-related comment on this post prior to Wednesday, October 14th at 11:59 p.m. (Don’t forget to follow the rules…all generic comments like “Enter me!,” “Love it,” and “Cool stuff!” will be disqualified.).
*UPDATE* The winner is #1 Melissa. Congratulations!