Hitchin’ A Ride: Travel With A Car Seat On Your Carry On Bag

If you don’t have a latch carseat, check out this updated post.

Katienne in her car seat, enjoying a ride on our carry on bag. Isn’t she cute?

On our first cross continental flight with our kids, things did not go as smoothy as I wanted. I knew that there could be a better way, but I wasn’t sure how to accomplish that. Naturally, I started researching! I originally found a product at One Step Ahead that I thought would be helpful, a cart that you put your child’s car seat on so you can use it as type of stroller. Carrying two car seats through the airport was definitely something I wanted to avoid doing again. But the price tag was purely ridiculous! For $80, I would expect a lot more than a car seat dolly.

Then on Amazon I typed in, “car seat luggage” and found a strap that uses your rolling carry on as a dolly for your car seat. I was amazed. A quick type of my ebay login and $12 PayPal dollars later, I had ordered something I thought would be amazing. It operates using the LATCH system that all new car seats in the United States have (if you have a car seat that is not from the US, check out the TOTEaTOT below). The truth is, the Traveling Toddler Car Seat Travel Accessory is pretty amazing (although they could have shortened the name… wow), but recently as I was perusing the Amazon reviews I came upon a highly useful one by “Jessica.” This is what the review says:

I showed my husband the picture of this item because I thought it looked pretty darn smart. Well, two minutes later he had the carseat attached to the rolling carry on WITHOUT an added purchased strap. You still use the seat hooks from your car seat – both side clips and the top clip. Put the top car seat hook under the top handle of your luggage & the side ones simply around the sides of the luggage. Buy a $0.50 metal ring from a hardware store & clip the car seat hooks to it & tighten all straps. Voila! We tested it with our kiddo in it & she giggled as we wheeled her around the house. Perfect.

First of all, Jessica, where have you and your husband been all of my life? Second, this is so smart!! I could have saved $11.50!! In fact, we probably will buy a ring and do this, because our carry on is kind of small, and the TTCSTA we bought is a little bit too big for our otherwise alright rolling carry on.

Then yesterday when I was checking out Zulily.com (sometimes they have amazing prices, although I haven’t personally bought any products off of it yet. They recently had a Dash with doubles kit and two weather covers on sale for $449.99… a seriously good deal!) I noticed something called a TOTEaTOT on sale for half price (they are normally $30) that does the same thing as the $0.50 ring from the hardware store, but it works for car seats that do not have the LATCH system, and it has a bag you can put stuff in. Nifty! So, if you don’t have a car seat with the LATCH system, this seems like an interesting alternative. Although a lot of reviews on this product are disappointing to say the least, so I would definitely go with Jessica’s homemade solution if you do have the LATCH system.

This will seriously help you out, and then you can check your stroller in with the rest of your luggage instead of lugging it through the airport. We find this solution to make layovers and security much easier. Of course, I recommend using this technique with an air friendly car seat.

What inventions have you found that make traveling easier?

16 thoughts on “Hitchin’ A Ride: Travel With A Car Seat On Your Carry On Bag

  1. I’m so glad I saw this! I am going to be travelling by myself with my 14 month old….whoops I just looked at the date, and he’s 15 months today lol….in 2 days. I saw one of those strap things at a Just Between Friends sale a few weeks ago, and I almost bought it. A couple days ago, I googled car seat luggage strap and found this blog entry. πŸ™‚ I sent my hubby to the hardware store today and tried it out, and it works perfectly! Thank you for sharing, and thank you Jessica and Hubby for being so smart! πŸ˜‰

    1. Emily, I am so glad it worked out for you, just like Jessica said it would :)!! Enjoy your trip, and thanks for taking the time to comment. I really appreciate it!!

  2. How much weight have you had on this? I have the Graco Smart Seat that weighs 42.5 pounds and my daughter is 22lbs. I love this idea but am wondering if 65 pounds is too much weight to do something like this.

    1. Hi Traci! I have only used this method personally with a 20 lb seat and a 25 lb child for a total of 45 lbs, about the same as your car seat alone (I have never heard of such a heavy seat). I would still give it a try, but make sure the rolling suitcase you use has a really sturdy body and handle. Happy Travels!!

    2. My daughters other seat is a Britax Marathon which we used from about 8months until about 27months. So much of this review will compare the two. I should also mention my daughter is of average weight and height for her age 30monhts. The Sunshine kids seat is thinner, sits lower in the seat, and has a steel frame all of which make it more safe. She can get in and out of the Radian seat on her own since it sits so low on the seat(she does not get out of the belts, if she is unbuckled she can get down on her own). The Sunshine Kids Company is concerned about chemicals in the products they use and have one of the best records for using non-leeching materials another safety+. They have an additional part for children under a certain weight that should act as an absorber in the event of a crash I think this might be causing complications for tightening her seat belt straps on the Radian. The Britax seems to put in her in a better position for naps, she can see better in it and has wider base. I personally think the LATCH on the Britax is better for our car (Subaru Outback) also the general make-up of the Britax car seat just works better with the contours of our car. The Britax is easier to install since it has two sides for tightening, it fits over the humps of the seat of our car better and with headrests. Much of this stuff is specific to your car though so it would be helpful if you can check them out at a store, however Amazon had the best price when I was purchasing and they shipped to an APO! I got this seat for a couple of reasons. One, we are having a second child and need space in the back seat for two car seats and hopefully space enough for a person to ride with them in the back. Two, we have a second car and wanted to have an option for her to ride in without having to switch seats. And she prefers to ride with her old seat when she has a choice. Being able to see and her comfort appears to be the reason that she likes to ride in the other’ car because her primary seat is the Radian. Three, the pattern on this seat matches my car better, not really important but I do like that about it. Four, the Radian can be folded in half for travel, this was a big selling feature as we live internationally and take flights frequently. You do have to purchase an additional strap to make it into the back-pack it is HEAVY for me to carry with my daughter but it is much easier than trying to transport the Britax and my daughter. Bottom line if you can check out whatever seat you are going to be using with your car it would be helpful. I like both seats but now we are wondering what we will purchase for our next child. I do think the Sunshine Kids rear facing seat is one of the safest and has the highest weight for rear facing however they are difficult to install so consider going to a professional installer if you go with the convertible from birth.

      1. I agree that the Sunshine Kids, now just called Radian, is a PAIN to install, and it seems like you have to be an engineer to figure out the instruction manual. I have never installed it rear facing, but even forward facing it is a pain. I also agree it is extremely heavy feeling, even though when we weighed it at the airport it only weighs 23 lbs (still, that is the same as my double stroller). I like the Britax Marathon much better, but the Radian does hold the child until a higher weight and taller height. It is also much thinner which is ideal for us since our car is tiny. Think Mini Cooper with five seats instead of four. If you have limited funds and a small car, I would go with the Radian, definitely.

  3. It looks a bit like the carseat it dragging on the floor. is this just the way it looks or is it dragging?

    1. No it was not dragging, but to be honest that roller bag was a tad too small to be using for this. I made it work until I could get a new one though, and now it works much better. I do not have to push the bag so far down while walking to get it to work like I did with that green bag.

  4. Great idea! I went to Home Depot and bought metal rings (look near the aisle where they carry chains for swings and play sets) and his Peg Perego fit perfectly on a carry on size bag. Thanks for saving me $90!


  5. I agree I’m trying this and getting the ring today! We have 3 car seats to haul thru the airport this summer. I refuse to check 1000.00 worth of car seats thru airport luggage! We have Britax’s and my worry was the car seats being to heavy. I’m glad to hear they aren’t!! Were not strapping kids into two of the three as they are 5 and 8 and have “their own carry ons” now πŸ™‚ but our 18 mo old will be, so I’m glad to hear that we won’t be dragging these and 3 kids thru the airport like I’ve had nightmares for months now about!

    1. Hi Melissa!!
      I was wondering if you knew that child tickets include the check in of your car seats and strollers for free (one for each child). I hope the tutorial works out for you! Happy Traveling! Kristin

  6. If you don’t have metal ring at home, we were able to do the same thing with a Carabiner that we had laying around!

  7. Hi! This idea looks absolutely amazing and I’m thinking of using this method rather than bringing a stroller for an upcoming trip as I will be flying solo with my 15 month old (for the first time without hubs, EEK!); my biggest question is, if you plan on bringing the whole “contraption” onto the plane with you, does security make you take it apart so they can xray your carry-on luggage?? That would be a huge downfall in this plan for me. Alternatively, if you strap it to luggage you plan to check (along with the car seat), do they make you take it apart in order to check both the suitcase and car seat?? Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Nancy,
      Your question is a great one. Unfortunately, they do make you disassemble your carseat luggage stroller whenever you go through security or get on the plane. However, my husband has gotten the whole process of hooking it together to about a minute. For me it probably takes three minutes. With the travel accessory strap, it goes pretty fast. I hope you have a great trip!! Be brave, you’ve got this πŸ™‚

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