Updated: Aug 29, 2022
Everyone has their own opinions about what makes a great stroller. And there are SO many marketed out there as perfect for travel.
Today’s blog post will not be a list of all of the great travel strollers on the market because truthfully we have only ever used two. What I will discuss is what we have used, why we like it, and some important things to consider when choosing one for your family.
So what makes a great travel stroller?
There are several things to consider when searching for a travel stroller but most importantly you should prioritize what is most important to you.
Weight - Since you are traveling, you are most likely going to want a lighter stroller than you might have at home. Even if you are not storing the stroller in the cabin of the plane, you are likely to be lifting it in and out of cars quickly or carrying it around with you as you do things on your vacation so it is good to keep this one light.
Mobility - What types of vacations do you take? Do you need a durable stroller that you can use on different types of terrain? Or maybe you will just be doing a lot of pavement walking. Is the stroller used solely for the purpose of getting your baby from the car, to the plane, and to another car? Definitely, something to consider when choosing.
Size - This goes back to mobility a bit as well. Depending on what your needs are you might be able to take a smaller stroller that is compact enough to be taken onto the plane as a carry-on! You are able to bring a stroller onto the plane and it would not count as your “carry on luggage” but it needs to be quite small when folded. For example, United Airlines states that a compact folding stroller must meet their size guideline for carry-on bags (9 inches x 14 inches x 22 inches or 9 inches x 10 inches x 17 inches). If you need something a bit more durable, consider that it should still be small enough to fold and carry if needed.
Accessories/Features - Here I am talking infant car seat attachments, tires, storage, drink holders, sun shade, seat recline, etc. What is important for you to have included with the stroller?
Cost - Depending on how often you travel or if you are using your main stroller as your travel stroller, you might not want to invest as much into a travel stroller as you would your main one. Additionally, anything that goes into the cargo of a plane has the strong potential to get damaged. Luggage handlers are notorious for throwing things in and breaking them (strollers, wheelchairs, etc.). So are you going to be devastated or just slightly inconvenienced if you have a stroller that goes into cargo and is broken in the process? Or should you get a stroller that is small enough and can be taken onto the plane.
What do we use?
Infancy (0 < 1 year) Expedition® Travel System by BabyTrend Dimensions: 44 x 46 x 22 inches
Weight: 25 lbs (11.34 kg)
When Stella was still small enough, we used both the jogger stroller and the infant car seat. Now that she has grown out of the infant car seat, we use just the stroller and bring along a lightweight convertible car seat.
There are a few reasons why I really like this stroller, first and foremost, it was free 😆. We were given both the car seat and stroller by a friend after they no longer needed it, which is honestly the best way to acquire a travel stroller. If the airline breaks our stroller during moving and handling… we aren’t going to be devastated.
However, if you don’t have a very kind and generous friend then you could always look to buy second-hand from stores like Once Upon a Time or Facebook Marketplace. Even brand new, the car seat AND the stroller will only put you back about $220 + tax.
Reasons why I enjoy this car seat other than the price:
It is durable. It is a well-built travel stroller for the price and definitely feels that it would withstand a rough plane cargo hold because unfortunately, it isn’t small enough to take as a carry-on.
It is light. The car seat is SUPER light even with Baby in it and the stroller isn't terrible itself.
The tires! I am actually quite partial to true tires on a stroller instead of plastic wheels. It feels nicer to push around on different terrain and takes some of the impact off of Baby. The tires on this particular stroller are also big creating an even smoother ride.
The infant car seat is easy to take on and off the stroller quickly. It can also be installed safely in a car even without its base… one less thing to carry or worry about.
With the infant seat attached, it creates a nice little cocoon when both the stroller canopy and the car seat canopy are opened.
As you transition out of the infant seat, the stroller has a good size sun shade that can be positioned in multiple ways to keep shade on baby's face.
The stroller seat reclines to an almost lie flat position which helps with on the go naps.
Things I don't love:
There is a semi-small storage basket but BabyTrend has actually come out with a new version that does include a larger basket.
The drink holders attached are convenient. No need to buy an accessory or bag attachment just to get a drink holder however the size is a bit weird and they are not particularly deep. So not all cups fit and if they do, drinks may be too small and fall out easily.
The velcro on the viewing window to see baby from the back is quite loud so I don't like opening it to check if she's sleeping.
After Infancy (10 mo+)
Ergobaby Metro+ (Use code: TWB10 at checkout for 10% off)
Dimensions: 87 x 44 x 96 cm Upright - 25 x 44 x 54 cm Folded Weight: 16.9 lbs / 7.8 kg
This stroller is a really great option for a lightweight, compact travel stroller once baby grows out of the infant car seat.
At $300 its very middle of the road in terms of price for a travel stroller.
One of the biggest benefits of this stroller is that it is compact and folds small enough to be stowed in the overhead bin on the airplane. This means you eliminate the risk damage during transit on the airplane because it never leaves your side.
Reasons why I love this as a travel stroller option:
A lot of padding and comfortable for baby
Extendable handle and very large sunshade (although see some additional issues with these below)
Fantastic lie flat recline on the seat itself which is also very easy to adjust.
Compact! As mentioned above you can store it in the overhead bin for most airlines.
5 point harness that seems safe and easily adjusted to fit baby's size
Magnetic closure for the peep hole to see baby through the sunshade while its open. Opening and closing it to see baby would be quiet which is a plus.
Mesh back with good ventilation and airflow
For my complete review of the Metro+, you can read my blog post here.
Overall, to find what would work best for your family then you need to think about the type of traveler you are and prioritize those things that meet your needs.
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