When we went to America for half term, we were presented, once again, with the whole hire-them-or-take-them-with-us car seat issue. I don't like taking them with me - too big and bulky - so we usually hire.
This year however, we splashed out £40 and bought one of those Trunki BoostApak Travel seats
. They are a booster seat that doubles up as a backpack, and now that Freyja is 5, she is old enough to use one (I think they are from age 4 - but Freyja is quite small and I'm not sure I'd have been happy with her using one from age 4. But that is because I am slightly obsessive about carseat safety.)
Anyway, we figured a week in America and a possible two weeks in France later this year would make it a worthwhile purchase.
And the verdict is that it is a great item and worth buying if you travel a few times a year. It is quite heavy so Freyja didn't actually carry it herself very much, but the fact that it doubles up as a bag just makes it so useful. You don't feel like you are carting extra luggage around with you. We put all of Freyja 'on-board' essentials in it (snacks, colouring books and pencils, stickers, headphones, drink, 1 soft toy) and they fitted easily.
Another bonus, which we found out while on the flight, was that Freyja was able to sit on it like a booster seat on the plane which made her the right height to actually see the TV screen rather than having to crane her head up and not really be able to see the picture clearly, which is what usually happens.
And the booster seat itself is a good height and feels sturdy. The back bit did crunch down a bit when in use, but this didn't seem to affect the performance.
All in all a worthwhile buy. And we've already made use of it again when Freyja had a friend round and we all went out for an impromptu dinner which required a car journey.
I think it's £40 well spent. We haven't had a problem with the straps breaking which I did read on some reviews, but then again we didn't really carry it as a backpack all that much, so I guess this could be an issue with further use. Weakness in the straps is something Trunki have addressed with the newer versions but I'm not sure which model we have as we got ours from Amazon.
So far, it gets the thumbs up from the Lightlys.