Our buying guide to the best travel high chair for easier restaurant meals with your baby or toddler, anywhere in the world. Discover pros and cons of each style and the best travel high chairs of 2010.
Eating out is one of the great pleasures of traveling, but if one of your meal companions happens to be a toddler, this easy pleasure can turn into a headache-inducing endeavor pretty quickly.
Meals with a toddler are a lot of work at the best of times and probably the thing that most of all changed the way we organized our days and meals while on the go.
Before having kids, we would pick a restaurant based on offering and budget, but since the kids came along, it felt like any meal decision had to be accompanied by an endless list of questions: will they accept kids? Is there space for the stroller? Will they serve anything he/she will eat? Will they gave a high chair?
Some of these questions are inevitable and have answers outside of our control but some aren’t and I quickly discovered there is a lot I could do to make things easier for everyone involved.
One of them was equipping myself with a travel highchair.
In this post, I go through the several table booster seats we considered and the portable high chair style that worked for us.
Please note: this post contains affiliate links and, should you make a purchase through them, we might make a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Do you need a travel highchair?
I am a very light packer and one of those people who believe you do not need a full set of new gear for every possible situation simply because you have a baby.
However, I find a travel high chair to be a good investment (you can find our other baby travel must have here).
The main reasons to get a high chair for travel for us where:
Babies and toddlers love them
My two children are different in many things but they share a love for independence …and high chairs!
They always preferred having their own seat rather than sitting in their stroller or perched on our knees and giving them their own space usually made for smoother eating experiences.
A baby or toddler with space to make a mess with food is a happy one, so this was a big one for us.
They are safer than makeshift boosters
During our first overseas trip with not one but two toddlers, we decided we had too much stuff to worry about a high chair and this meant we made do with pillows over normal chairs, baby carriers tied in the fashion of harnesses around restaurant chairs and other makeshift systems.
Nothing happened and these tricks can work well but I remember each of those meals being a huge headache for me as I worried my children would slip down, push the chair back and hit their head or get away from the harness.
Once we moved to a proper travel high chair, I knew I could trust the harness system and this kept them safe and me relaxed.
We could eat in peace
You don’t realize how nice it is is to eat with two free hands until you have a toddler on your knee preventing you from using them both.
Having a high chair was an easy way to regain our personal space and also a great way to save our plates from little curious hands!
Travel high chairs styles: which ones are best
Several types of travel high chair exist on the market and the best one depends on your type of travel, child and budget. At a glance, the main types of travel high chair are:
Unstructured, fabric travel high chair (harness chair)
Unstructured travel high chairs made of fabric are the most portable of all solutions.
They operate as a harness that keeps your child secured on a normal chair and have the huge advantage of folding very small, so small in fact that you can fit them in tour handbag and forget they are there.
They are an excellent solution if you have a child that is small and not too wriggly.
The biggest disadvantage I found was that my children grew out of these quite quickly and therefore it wasn’t a particularly durable solution.
The other disadvantage is that they do not lift your baby any higher than a normal chair meaning you may still have to stuff coats or pillows under them to have them at the right height. Harnesses work to secure the child to the chair but are not designed to be a table booster seat.
So, in summary:
Fabric chair harness pros:
- Very light and portable for size / weight
- Usually machine washable
- Suited to most chairs
Fabric chair harness cons:
- Usually not wipe clean (which can be a problem if traveling and with no access to a washing machine)
- Only suitable for small age range
- No boost in height
Clip-on travel high chairs /Clamp-on seat portable high chair
Clamp on portable high chairs are exceptionally popular with traveling families and much loved by children too.
Unlike fabric high chair these do not use the restaurant chair but clip directly onto the table edge, meaning your child has pretty much zero wriggle room and therefore zero changes of slipping down outside of the chair.
However, these chairs also come with some disadvantages, the first one is that they are bigger to carry than their fabric counterpart. The other is that they do not work with all types of tables.
These chairs are perfect for booth tables with a smooth edge but do not work on smaller, looser table (think Parisian cafe as a typical example of where this would not work).
This is something to consider carefully as you may find yourself inquiring about table built rather than high chair availability, defeating the whole purpose of having your own gear!
Overall, I find these are a good choice for a table booster seat and a good compromise between versatility and portability.
Clip-on travel high chair pros:
- Keep baby close to the table and in place
- Keep baby at good height on most tables
- Reasonably small to carry
Clip-on travel high chars cons:
- Not as small when folded as fabric ones
- Do not work with all tables
- Might make bigger kids feel too constrained because of the small space between the seat and the table
Foldable travel booster seats for tables
A foldable travel booster seat for a table is exalt what its name suggests: a booster seat that can be folded small and therefore is easy to carry.
These are a very common and very popular choice when it comes to travel high chairs as they are more versatile than clip on ones and reasonably small when it comes to portability.
Foldable travel booster seat for table pros:
- Suitable for most chairs
- Easy to clean on the go
Foldable travel booster seat for table cons
- Usually bulkier than other styles
What to look for when choosing a high chair for travel.
I usually loo at the following characterize when choosing the best travel high chair.
Travel high chairs and booster seats are for babies and toddlers who can sit unattended but they do have different age specs depending on style and material. Check manufacturer’s specs and maximum child weight allowed for each brand / style.
Size when closed
The whole point of a travel high chair is to be portable and non intrusive while on the go. Check sizes when closed so you can be sure it fits into your backpack / stroller basket / handbag
I like items that I can use over and over again so I always look for things I can use on my travels as well as at home. Check the shape of your chairs and tables first if you intend to use the travel high chair also while home (I did and found it make a huge difference to the tidiness of my house not to have a bulky full on chair out all the time!)
Best travel high chat comparison table
|Name of travel high chair / brand||Type||Ague/ max weight||Folds flat|
|Yssvic baby chair harness||Fabric Harness||5 to 36 months||No (but does fold very small)|
|Munchkin Brica go boost||Chair booster seat||12 – 36 month||No (comes with carry strap)|
|Inglesina Clip on||Clip on travel high chair||6 – 36 months||Yes + comes with carry bag|
|Lobster clip on||Clip on travel high chair||Up to 17 Kg||Yes + comes with carry bag|
|Summer infant pop and sit||Booster seat / camping chair||6 months to 16.5 Kg||No|
Please note: the product specifications in this post and table come from the official information on the product website. Always double check suitability of each product for your own child. Recommendations in this post reflect out opinions on the products only.
The best travel high chairs 2020 by type
Best fabric travel high chair
Yissvic baby chair belt (fabric)
If you are going for a fabric harness type of high chair, the Yssvic baby chair belt is a good option. It is designed for babies aged 5 to 36 months old and has a higher weight limit of about 35 pounds, which makes it an item you can probably use over a decent length of time.
It is easy to fold and come with its own carry bag which makes it easy to just stuff into your handbag without fear of it coming undone or getting tangled.
In terms of suitability with different types of chairs, it can be used with many but the way it attaches to the back of the chair means that some very wide one or special model may not be able to accommodate it safely.
- 100% Polyester Fiber
- Shoulder Straps for Extra Safety
- Fits most types of chairs
- Washable and durable
- Item weight: 6.4 ounces; product dimensions: 6.4 x 5.8 x 2.6 inches
Best portable booster seat for table: Munchkin Brica go boost
If your child needs an extra little boost to seat at your table, the Munchkin Brica go boost high chair fits the bill perfectly. This is a traditional style booster seat that you use on the table chair and is as such compatible with almost all dining chairs, regardless of style.
The seat is light and portable and the seat area is built to doubles up as small storage space, which makes it super handy. You can store bibs and even bottles here and you can access it also when the chair is in use, which is very handy.
The seat can be wiped clean which is handy although this means you do not give it a full wash as you would with a fully fabric one.
It comes with a built in shoulder strap that makes it super easy to carry.
- Ultra portable travel booster seat with a strong and stable internal frame
- Includes storage for bottles, diapers and more
- Durable and easy to clean materials
- Xtra-Grip™ traction pads provide a no-slip grip on chairs for increased stability
- Folds neatly and includes a convenient carrying strap
- Adjustable 3 point harness system to fit child approximately 12-36 months (50 lb. max)
Best clip on travel high chair: Inglesina
Inglesina is my favorite brand for clip on high chairs as I find it is compatible with more tables than other offering a similar solution.
This chair folds almost flat and comes with a a large carry on bag that is attached to the chair itself: the bag is generous in size that may make it look cumbersome to carry but it is attached to the chair (so you won’t misplace it) and can be used to keep additional gear.
The chair also has a pocket for small gear (bibs, extra soothers etc), which is also a nice addition.
- Inglesina’s Fast Table Chair fits tables up to 3.5″ thick and is perfect for use with most table designs
- Complete with an integrated travel-friendly carry bag, the Fast Table Chair is easy to pack
- For babies & toddlers between 6 and 36 months, and up to 37 pounds, it has durable & washable design
- The functional design includes a convenient storage pocket to ensure immediate access to wipes, toys, snacks and more.
- Made in Italy. Inglesina has been designing quality strollers, highchairs and table chairs since 1963, with a focus on safety, practicality, and utilizing the finest materials.
Lobster clip on travel high chair by Phil & Teds
The clip-on travel high chair by Phil and Teds is one parents rave about in our family travel community.
What people love about this high chair is that is easy to fold and carry and that can be easily wiped clean. This chair has a screw-on system and, provided the table is suitable, it is very easy to set up and sturdy.
The Phil & Teds Lobster folds really flat and comes with a little carry bad for easy of movement and extra protection. he chair folds so flat that it can easily fit in a stroller basket, which means it is very easy to carry even if out most day.
The chair comes with a tray but many parents find that it doesn’t hold safely in place and therefore prefer to use it without when out and about.
- Super light and compact . Aluminum frame with padded back support and a shoulder harness system weighing in under 4 pounds
- Robust aluminum clamps with non slip grip pads fit tables from 0.8″ up to 3.75″ thick and suitable for indoor and outdoor use
- Globally safety certified design can accommodate a child 3 months to 3 years up to a max weight of 37 pounds
- Hygenic: Includes a dishwasher safe tray and travel bag that fits easily into diaper bags, purses, and stroller gear baskets
Summer infant pop and sit
Different from pretty much anything else on this list and even just for this worth a mention is the summer infant pop and sit travel high chair. this product looks more like a camping chair than a booster seat and i didn’t pay too much attention to it until I heard many parents raving about it.
Indeed, this simple-looking chair is very versatile, easy to set up and offers extra height to your toddler to seat at the table.
Unlike other boosters, which have a flat base to rest on the chair, this one has small legs which can be an advantage or not, depending on use.
I find its shape makes it perfect for using it on the floor or ground but somehow tricky on chairs, that may just not be wide enough to accommodate it (although it does come with a strap for securing it onto their backs)
I feel this is a great seat for outdoorsy families in particular.
I hope you found this quick guide to the best high chairs for travel and it gave you good ideas. Safe family travels!
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites