Traveling with Kids in New Orleans: To Lug or Not to Lug the Car Seat?


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April 1 2020 | Family Travel Tips

Remember when it was just the two of you, a couple of carry-on bags, and two free drink coupons? Those were the days. Now you’re parents – and traveling with kids is not so easy. It means stuffing backpacks with books and toys. It means packing several changes of clothing, diapers, bottles, and a “favorite pillow.” Checking or not checking your luggage is no longer an option. And then there’s the question of the car seat. Should you lug it or should you rent one? Here are the pros and cons:

First, Are Car Seats Even Required on Airplanes?

Ironically, no. Everything in the cabin of an airplane has to be secured during takeoff and landing except for kids young enough to ride on laps. Still, both the Federal Aviation Administration and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend you bring an FAA-approved car seat or a CARES harness when you fly with kids. Tip: To fit into most coach seats, make sure your car seat is no wider than 16 inches.

Check Your Car Seat

If you’re traveling with your baby in your lap or have a child who doesn’t need the seat on the plane but will need it when you get to New Orleans, you can always check your car seat. The thing about car seats, though, is they’re easy for baggage guys to toss around, bang up and leave outside in the pouring rain. If by chance you have the box your car seat originally came in (yeah, right), or another box that works, we suggest you pack the seat and check it that way. Otherwise, find a water-resistant bag and pad the seat with your jackets or whatever’s handy.

Rent a Car Seat at the Airport

We’ve heard stories about parents sorting through stacks of dirty car seats, searching for one without missing parts that fits their child, but most car rental companies are dependable. Plus, you can avoid airline baggage charges if you rent one at the airport. Talk with the company before you reserve a car to find out what they offer.

Buy a Stroller/Car Seat Combo

You know, those strollers that convert into a car seat? They're great for making your way through the airport, in the plane seat and for getting around New Orleans. 

Get Around Town by Streetcar or Bus

Car seats are not required on streetcars or city buses in New Orleans and it's an easy way to get around. As you might guess, kids love streetcars. The driver might even let your kids ring the bell. 

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