Traveling with children is always a memorable and fun experience. However, there are certain factors that you need to consider while traveling with your kids. No matter if you rent a car every time you go on a trip or if you are a car rental virgin, there is always a question of whether it is better to depend on the rental company for your car seat rental or bring one from your home. Experts are divided on this question with many sitting in one camp while others taking the different side. To establish an unbiased opinion, we first need to evaluate the pros and cons.
Pros of Opting for the Car Rental with Car Seat:
You Don’t Have to Carry the Seats Around:
While traveling, it is always recommended to pack light so you can enjoy the trip without worrying about the luggage. We know how overwhelming packing can be, especially if you are going with your children. And when you have to carry that around while handling the kids, it can be a nightmare. Car seats are bulky and you can’t certainly fold them to fit in your luggage. So, you can simply just pack the essentials and rely on rentals for the bigger items such as car seats, cribs, strollers, prams and high chairs. When it comes to car seats, it is wiser to first check in with the same company that you are renting the car from and if you can’t find the ideal one, then there are plenty of good independent websites that you can get in touch with.
The Rented Car Seats Comply with Local Child Safety Laws:
The rules regarding child safety are stricter in some areas of the world as compared to others. Some states require you to use locally-certified car seats. If you are planning to travel abroad, then the situation definitely intensifies. Local law-enforcing authorities often restrict car rental companies and make sure they offer certified car seats. On top of that, most of the local children’s car seat rental companies or car rentals source their car seats from the local market so most of the time, they comply with the laws. Considering that, it is always smart to rent car seats.
Car Seats Are Usually Only Required for A Part of Your Trip:
If you are planning an extensive trip that requires you to travel via different means of transportation, then you will only be needing the car seats when you are driving around. You will likely be carrying your personal car seats around on trains, boats, planes, and cruises unnecessarily for the most part of your trip. So, if you are planning for a multi-legged journey then you should skip the option of bringing the car seats from your home and consider children’s car seat from rental company.
Cons of renting car seats:
You Never Know the History of Your Rental Car Seat:
We know how scary it can be- you never know if someone licked or threw up on the rental seats. All you will be doing is blindly trusting someone else who probably wiped it with a rag once to make it “hygienic”. Especially with the recent pandemic outbreak, health hazard concerns are more pressing than ever. You can try sanitizing the rental car seat but it won’t bring you a lot of good, considering there are very limited options to do that.
Renting Car Seats Comes with an Additional Cost:
You need to bear in your mind that rental car companies often charge extra for rental seats. The exact cost varies, usually depending on the type of seat that you are opting for- toddler, booster or infant. The rental cost typically averages between $10 to $15 per day. Multiply this amount if you have more than one child traveling with you. Oh! And did we mention there might be an additional tax? So, if you wish to save a couple of bucks, it’d be in your best interest to bring your own seats.
You Can’t Rely on The Rental Company to Install the Car Seats:
Most of the time, rental agents don’t have any knowledge of installing the rental car seats. They are sometimes, also instructed not to do so to avoid any potential life-threatening mishap. Therefore, it is safe to assume that if you are opting for a car rental with car seat, you will have to install it on your own most of the time.
Rental Car Seats Are Not Always Super Comfortable:
We know how we all select our children’s gear- with utmost care and love. Now, obviously, the car seats that you are getting from the rental place are not going to be the same as the ones that you have back at your home. The companies usually don’t pay much heed to comfort. It could be any model of seats and most certainly not an expensive one. Chances are it might be the outdated model that you once sat on as a kid.
Considering all of the factors that we discussed above, there are certainly both pros and cons to either of the options. If you are depending on the rental car seats, you can certainly forget about the comfort and be prepared to pay additional for something that you aren’t sure is safe for your kid. However, that might not be the case every single time- a lot of renowned companies offer health certificates and go out of their way to make sure that you and your kid are comfortable. It is just a matter of doing good research and finding the right rental.
At the end of the day, the choice is yours to make. We’d recommend analyzing your situation before arriving at any conclusive decision. If you intend to go on a multi-legged journey where travel by car is only partly required then you should rent infant car seat. However, if you are planning to travel miles on road for a couple of days, bring your own seat from home.
If you are relying on your car rental for the car seats, we’d recommend you to discuss this prior with the company, either while booking or right after it. That will certainly save you from any unexpected inconvenience that you might face if the rental seats are unavailable.