The Best Ways to Get Around Town with a Newborn, Toddler, or Preschooler

2023-01-12 02:07:55 - Drany Macley Drany Macley, the senior editor of, brings extensive journalism background and over eight years of experience in travel writing and editing to the site, offering practical insights and first-hand knowledge through articles on innovative hotels, backed by a BA in Journalism from Ithaca College.

Traveling with a young child can present some interesting challenges when it comes to arranging transportation. Without a car, how do you get around the city? What do you do with a car seat if you bring it on your trip? Is there some other risk-free choice

Planning our transportation and figuring out how to transport a baby without a car seat has always been one of the most challenging aspects of trip planning for me. There are numerous factors to think about, and the potential for harm is always present.

Because everyone has a unique level of familiarity with and perspective on this topic, there is no universally correct response.

In any case, I've learned a few things over the years about traveling without a car seat, and here's how I handle it now with my infant and toddler.

Make sure you're prepared by doing some research and organizing your trip in advance.

Get clear on your goals before you go so that you aren't pressured into doing something you don't want to do once you get there.

Before going somewhere new with kids, it's a good idea to do some research online to get a sense of the local transport options available there. To what extent do locals rely on If you have any advice on how other tourists have handled baby transportation, please share! When traveling with children, how common are car seats, and do taxis permit their use? Does anyone know if taxis will have seat belts

Learn the resort's transportation options for kids if you plan on bringing them. They may rent out automobiles, or you could take day trips using a chartered bus.

Having a firm grasp of the situation at hand will allow you to make more informed decisions and take precautions.

traveling baby standing in front of impressive bell tower


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Before making a reservation, think about how you will get there via public transportation.

I feel most secure when taking a train or monorail. Then, buses will leave I always think about these things when reserving a room for us.

Due to the lack of seat belts in Thai vehicles, I knew it was impractical to bring my child's car seat with us. As a result, I chose a hotel in Bangkok that was conveniently located near a monorail station for our visit. From the airport, we rode the monorail to nearly all of our destinations, eliminating the need for cabs.

woman in sunglasses smiling with baby on back in carrier and toddler in uppababy minu stroller in a bus stop Thrilled to be boarding the bus for an adventure

The bus system in Amsterdam is also excellent. We had no trouble finding a rental with a bus stop right outside it. Taxis in Amsterdam are child-friendly, so we took one to get from the airport to the apartment.

Is a car seat necessary for a baby to ride the bus?

Buses do have a stellar reputation for security. In fact, it is not possible to install a car seat in the majority of buses. However, taking a bus is a relatively secure mode of transportation, even on freeways.

You could rent a car and bring your car seat with you.

Great news if you're staying somewhere where having a car would be useful! Pack your own car seat or buy a foldable one for the trip. In my opinion, this is the best budget option, and it's widely used as a spare car seat for occasional road trips. If you have a family that likes to take trips together, you might want to look into the more expensive and better-quality Wayb Pico. Although I haven't given the Pico a try myself, I can share this verdict from a reviewer who has:

toddler in car seat on airplane watching a phone Everything we need for a relaxing flight, plus the added convenience of a lightweight car seat once we arrive.

For children younger than three, I strongly advocate bringing the car seat on board. It keeps your child contained and comfortable, and it's safer in case of an accident during takeoff or landing.

When bringing a car seat in for inspection, is there a fee?

Car seats can be checked for free in the United States and the vast majority of other countries (just make sure to use a car seat bag or box to keep it safe) even if you don't want to bring it on board.

Most car rental agencies offer car seat rentals, but there are cautionary tales to be found online. First of all, they probably don't have a huge selection, and even if they do, sizing could be an issue. And it's possible that you'll get an incredibly revolting one.

You also have no idea if the safety of that car seat has been compromised by its prior use in a collision. Although I have done this and the car seat we bought in Mexico seemed fine, you really have no idea Since the price of the Cosco car seat I recommended above is less than half of what it would be to rent one, you're better off just bringing your own.

It is rumored that some vacationers buy a car seat once they get there and then give it away before they leave. Certainly a possibility, though it likely won't be any less hassle than just bringing it along.

toddler holding baby in airport chairs

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Consider using a private driver service.

Hire a driver if you will be doing a lot of moving around or if you will be staying in a location where renting a car is impractical.

It's surprisingly cheap in some areas To see more without spending a ton of money on taxis, try grouping together a number of shorter outings on the days that you have a driver. We did it in Indonesia and saw many Bali temples and other sights without breaking the bank or dealing with crowds.

If you intend to do this, like when renting a car, you should bring your own car seat. To be on the safe side, double-check with your driver-hiring service in advance to see if this is acceptable. Many of these services also provide car seats for rent, in case you forget your own, though again, you never know what you're gonna get.

child and baby each in a car seat in large van Our shuttle bus in Vietnam was private. The car seat we brought for my younger daughter to use on the plane is currently being used by my older daughter. The transfer service also supplied a car seat for my younger daughter.

Moreover, we frequently reserve a private transfer from the airport to our hotel. Taking a baby on an airport shuttle is as easy as hopping on a shuttle from your hotel. Knowing that a driver will be waiting for you at the airport—possibly even with a car seat if you've requested one ahead of time—can be a huge relief. From the airport to the hotel, this is our top choice.

Rent a car seat from a neighborhood family when you get there.

Baby equipment rental services are on the rise at popular tourist spots. My favorite is BabyQuip, which is primarily a North American company but is rapidly growing internationally. Globally, you can find equivalents to these choices.

By using a service like BabyQuip, you can rent from a local family and rest assured that you will be provided with safe, high-quality equipment. All the information you need to get a car seat that is appropriate for your child's age and weight is available on the website, making it a great way to avoid buying an inappropriate seat.

A car seat can be delivered to your hotel, or in some cases even the airport, before your arrival.

How to get to the airport without a car seat is something to think about if you decide to go this route. Keep in mind that you'll still need transportation to and from your home airport, so packing a car seat is a must. Having someone you know and trust who can drive you (in your car or one with your car seat installed) would be very helpful in this situation. Even though taking a taxi would be cheaper, we've parked in airport lots before because it's more convenient when we don't need to bring a car seat.

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Is it possible to take an Uber with a child?

Yes, but there are a few caveats

While most Uber drivers will allow passengers to bring car seats, their decision is ultimately up to them. Usually, you should contact the driver right after you make the reservation to let them know you have a car seat and will need to have them install it. We haven't called ahead many times, but we've always been welcomed.

Keep in mind, though, that an adult seat requires the space of two cars. You shouldn't reserve a car for 3 people if there will be 2 adults and a baby in a car seat. Due to the fact that we have two children in car seats, my wife and I always opt for the more expensive Uber XL.

The safety of taking a baby on an Uber without a car seat is identical to that of taking a taxi (see safety tips below), but the legality of doing so varies widely across the United States and the rest of the world. If you are bringing a baby or toddler without a car seat or booster, you should contact the driver ahead of time.

Check if there are ridesharing services in your area that are suitable for kids.

Market demand for rideshare services that provide a car seat is on the rise, and some providers are responding.

The UberCarSeat feature makes it possible to arrange for a child safety seat to be brought along with your ride. It costs an extra $10 and is only accessible in certain areas (Uber's website is ambiguous about this; however, if you open the app and enter your destination's zip code, you'll see the option). As of right now, Lyft is also working on implementing this choice.

GrabFamily is worth a look if you're planning a trip to Southeast Asia. Comparable to Uber in Southeast Asia, Grab also offers a car seat option through GrabFamily in some countries.

For all of these manufacturers, the minimum age for using a car seat is one year. I'm hoping that this service will expand to more locations.

family on train at plantation in kauai Ah, yes Traditional plantation transportation Perfect for a risk-free trip (to the pineapple).

Just in case, use a taxi

Taking a taxi can be a necessary evil at times. Perhaps it's just the first leg of the journey from the airport; from there, you can take the bus or a taxi to your hotel. Maybe you just have to take a young child on a quick errand across town. Perhaps you're just going out for the day and won't bother bringing the car seat with you.

Almost worldwide, using a taxi without a car seat is perfectly legal. Still, in the majority of the USA's states No, it's not safer than driving, but at least you won't have to worry about breaking the law.

Now the question is, how do you safely transport a baby in a taxi?

Actually, there's no way you can However, there are some measures you can take to lessen the dangers of taking a taxi when necessary. Firstly, you should try to keep your trips short and stay off major highways. Although taking taxis around Rome with our infant made me anxious, the city's traffic meant that we rarely reached speeds of more than 15 miles per hour. Safe Without a doubt However, it's still not as risky as driving down the highway.

The safest thing to do if you find yourself in a taxi without a car seat is to buckle your infant in next to you. Lap belts should be worn snugly across the upper thighs, not the stomach. Keep the shoulder belt across his front (even if it rubs his neck) and away from the armpit. [Information courtesy of] Safe Ride 4 Kids and The Car Seat Lady

While this may seem risky, rest assured that the seat belt will still do its primary function and keep your child from being thrown around the car during an accident.

Instead of protecting your child, buckling around the two of you while holding the child on your lap is riskier. When you crash, your body weight is multiplied by the car's g-forces, and that mass plus the force of the seat belt equals a lot of pressure on your body. Even in a low-speed accident, your child is in danger if she is sandwiched between you and the seat belt.

During our time in Tel Aviv, we took a few rides in sheruts, which are shared taxis that resemble minibuses. Your best bet in a minibus is to take a seat in the very back and secure your infant in her own seat belt.

In some cases, parents will use a baby carrier and fasten the buckles around their waists. Before I knew any better, I always did this when taking my baby in a taxi, thinking it would keep her from being thrown around in the event of a low-speed collision. She'd be safer if she had her own seatbelt, but this is better than buckling her in with you. There's a good chance the baby carrier won't keep her safe in the event of a collision because it wasn't made to do so.

If your baby is too young to sit in the seat next to you, this may be a viable alternative. Anyhow, if you can help it, try not to take taxis without a car seat.

Airport taxis typically accommodate passengers by installing car seats for use on the flight. This is fantastic, as the taxi ride to or from the airport is usually the longest of your travels. Don't be afraid to ask for a ride from the taxi stand if the first driver says no. Even though most taxis in some cities don't have backseat seatbelts, you can usually find one that does if you ask around.

And if that fails, look for something like Uber in your area. There will almost always be seat belts available (though you should double-check yours before getting in; we've seen our fair share of non-functioning ones). )

Without a car seat, you and your toddler may have more freedom in your travel arrangements.

You can find products that are small in size but effective in reducing taxi danger for children. We have used and highly recommend the RideSafer Travel Vest for kids weighing 30 to 60 pounds. My comprehensive analysis of the RideSafer is available at: If your child weighs less than 33 pounds, you can easily bring them along with you thanks to the Hifold high-back booster. and up After the age of 4, children can use a wide variety of booster seats for car rides.

As an added measure, we have put our RideSafer in a large number of cabs and Ubers. Uber is our go-to service for this because, in our experience, they are more likely to have working seatbelts and are more patient overall. While the RideSafer vest takes less than a minute to install (once you get the hang of it), some taxi drivers may not be willing to wait that long.

Consider the other possibilities. When taking children on vacation, how do locals typically do it?

Children can be found in every corner of the globe. They also find a way to be everywhere at once. Wherever you go, ask how the locals do things.

toddler looking out of ferry at cargo boats in Vancouver Harbor Transportation on a Pedestrian Ferry Good bet Not to mention the stunning Vancouver landscape

The prevalence of bicycle transportation in Amsterdam meant that we saw lots of families affixing child seats to their bikes. If you live in a city designed for bicyclists' safety, this is a fantastic choice!

Pedicabs and tuk tuks are commonly used for transportation throughout Southeast Asia. Even though they might not be the safest option, we would take one in order to take in the sights.

It's not always possible to prevent negative outcomes.

You can't anticipate everything, and sometimes you have to put your safety at risk. Parenting is a constant game of chance, but it becomes even more so when you're on the road.

Recently, on a family trip to Malta, we had to deal with this issue. It seems that car seat safety is not a high priority in Malta. We had booked a private transfer to and from the airport, and while we had a hard time locating our driver initially, getting back to the terminal was a major hassle.

The driver showed up without the reserved (and paid €8 for) car seat, and we were pressed for time to make our flight at 4 in the morning. In order to reach the airport, we traversed the entire island. Because of our predicament, we had to accept the driver's assurance that he would "drive safely." He found it peculiar that I was concerned about it so much.

Daily, countless people—including virtually all of Malta's adult population—drive without using car seats. But doing so is out of my comfort zone, and the unexpected lack of the expected level of security threw me for a loop.

girl standing on railroad tracks in old train station tel aviv Evidently, I am a stickler for security. (Just kidding - the Tel Aviv train station has been transformed into a hip boutique.)

But that's just the price you pay for seeing the world. In some cases, it's best to follow the lead of the locals, while in others, you just have to go with the flow. Get out there and make some memories; enjoy it to the fullest.

Share your best tips for taking a baby on the go without a car seat. I hope this clarifies any concerns you may have had that I didn't Write your thoughts down below.

for future reference:

Transportation on vacation: How to get around while traveling with a baby or toddler. What are the safest modes of transportation when traveling with kids, and how do you plan ahead for safe trips from the airport, around town, and throughout your vacation. Car seat alternatives and tips for keeping baby or toddler safe when traveling!

Date first posted: November 2019 Changed in April 2022

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