One of the most common questions from travelling families is “what is the best stroller for travel?” There are so many strollers on the market, each with their own redeeming features, that picking out the best travel stroller can be a difficult task. But there are a few things that you should definitely bear in mind when choosing a stroller for travel.
What to look for in a travel stroller
With babies, its important to find a stroller that you can attach a car seat to – also known as a travel system. This way you can lift the baby out of the car or taxi and clip them straight onto the stroller with ease. It also means you have the peace of mind of travelling with a car seat when you are travelling to and from the airport or while you are in a taxi or car away from home.
You can buy this as an entire travel system, or you can buy for example a Maxi-cosi car seat with the appropriate adaptors to add to your stroller (we did this with our Bugaboo Bee).
When kids are older, the focus for finding the best stroller for travel becomes more about how easy it is to fold up and how heavy it is to carry, as well as other factors such as maneuverability, ability to recline for naps on the go, storage space in the basket and ease of use of sun/rain covers.
Our experience with strollers for travel
Like most travelling families, we have tried out several strollers for travelling over the years. We started off with a Peg Perego Switch travel system, which unfortunately had its wheel broken on our third flight, when my daughter was just 3 months old. (All credit to British Airways, who replaced it immediately with a Bugaboo Bee.) We did get the wheel fixed on the Peg Perego once we returned home, but I never really liked it – I found it clunky to maneuver, although it was easy to fold and put in and out of the car.
So our second travel stroller was our Bugaboo Bee, courtesy of British Airways. I loved the Bugaboo Bee for urban travel – it is so easy to maneuver, is lightweight, can be fully reclined and you can easily connect a car seat to it with the use of the special adaptors. But – it doesn’t fold up very small, which is annoying if you have lots of luggage to fit in the boot of the car or taxi. It is also very much an urban buggy and so no good for off-road conditions or cobbles. I even struggled to get it down the path to our room when we stayed at the W Hotel in Bali and ended up having to carry my daughter while my husband carried the buggy.
When number 2 came along, we realized we would need a double buggy that was also going to be good for travel. Enter the Phil & Ted’s Vibe. I totally loved my Phil & Ted’s Vibe. It is a sturdy stroller that can easily be taken off-road and is comfy for two kids at once –even from newborn. I also loved that it is only the width of a single stroller, meaning you could still squeeze through spaces as normal. It is so easy to maneuver with one hand too. The biggest downside – it is still pretty big, even when folded up, and heavy too for loading in and out of taxis.
A friend of mine once said to me “It doesn’t matter what stroller you buy; everyone always ends up with a Maclaren eventually”. Well, in my case she was right. Once the kids got a bit older, all I needed was an easy to use, easy to fold, easy to carry, easy to steer stroller – the perfect travel stroller really, and so we sold all the others and bought a Maclaren Quest, which definitely served its purpose.
So in the end I found a few travel strollers that worked well – but there are so many travel strollers to choose from, and also several new strollers have come on the market since I started travelling with my kids. And so I decided to ask around and see what other people think of as the best stroller for travel. And who better to ask than a group of very seasoned travellers – my fellow family travel bloggers!
So here I share with you family travel bloggers’ picks of what they think is the best stroller for travel.
BabyZen YOYO Plus
This stroller is renowned for its compact size and ease of use and is the perfect carry on for flights. I haven’t been disappointed as it truly lives up to the hype. At the aircraft steps I can remove my daughter from the stroller and fold it up really quickly, sling it over my shoulder and march up the steps with her in my arms. It easily slots in with the other bags in the overhead lockers too.
Arriving into Faro was when the stroller REALLY came into its own for me. As per normal, Matilda had fallen asleep on our final approach, but this time, I simply whipped the pushchair from the stowage, walked a few steps off the plane, used one hand to unfold the pram, and transported her into the YOYO. I even had a fellow Mummy ask me on the way to baggage reclaim, where I had picked up my stroller.
I did need two hands to initially start the folding up process -the two white buttons near the hood need to be pressed at the same time, but the next stage of actually folding up mechanism can be done with one hand.
On holiday, the BabyZen YOYO was really put to the test with steep inclines and descents (the brake definitely works!). It easily reclines by releasing a strap at the back if you want your little one to have a nap. The canopy comes with a UPF 50+ sun protection, giving extra peace of mind.
Our favourite stroller for international travel is the Maclaren Quest. We got it when my son was 6 months old for daily use and since then, it has accompanied us on all of our adventures, from sightseeing in Europe to camping in Canada.
The main thing I love about it is that it strikes a good balance between being portable and sturdy. For the journey, I like how easy it is to fold and how compact it gets: it also comes with a handy shoulder strap that makes it easy to transport when closed.
In use, I find it reclines nicely and there is a good size basket: this is a great help when travelling as it contains not just baby gear but also jackets, maps, snacks and pretty much anything you may need on a long day out.
Britax B Motion 3
We are huge fans of Britax pushchairs as they are so sturdy and well made. We had the Britax B-Ready pushchair for five years; it was used for three years with my eldest son and then for a couple of years with my youngest. It accompanied us on many flights (I lost count after the first 18 flights we took during my eldest sons first year of travel) and survived many trips around conveyor belts at airports around the world!
We were recently asked to review the Britax B Motion 3, a smaller more compact version of the B Ready. We have been using it for several months now and I love how easy it is to put up, the fairly good sized basket underneath (which is a must when travelling with kids) and the large cover to block the sun from my sons eyes.
It’s also great for older kids. My son who is nearly three is tall for his age and yet he still finds this pushchair comfortable enough to stretch out and have a good nap (another ESSENTIAL capability for a pushchair for when travelling with kids!)
One of the first things that struck me about the Baby Jogger City Tour was how light it was – nothing like the aged and sturdy stroller we had been using before. This makes it maneuverable and perfect for travel.
One of the best features has to be that it quickly folds down to hand luggage size and comes with its own rucksack. This is not only useful for plane travel but also road trips and visits to restaurants when space is at a premium. The rucksack also allows you to have two free hands for handling other bags and the kids.
A minor niggle we have encountered with the City Tour is that the handle bar is not adjustable. So if you are taller than 5ft 6in – my height – you may find it less comfortable to push.
The Chicco Capri stroller is a light, slim stroller that folds compactly and works in a city environment… and costs under $100!
This affordable stroller is extremely lightweight at only 11 pounds, and comes with a nylon carrying cases and built-in shoulder strap to allow you to carry it easily. This nylon carrying case also protects the stroller when you check it at the gate, which is another bonus.
It maneuvers easily on paved surfaces and its slim design lets you get through narrow spaces. We also like that the handles are higher than most umbrella strollers, so there is no hunching over while you push it. It is also extremely durable – it has lasted 7 years for us, and will be passed on as travel stroller for my niece.
The main downside of this stroller is that it does not work well on unpaved surfaces – so great for a city break, but no good for off-roading. The other main downside is that it does not fully recline – there are only two positions for the back: upright and slightly reclined. Other minor niggles are that there is no cup holder and the basket under the seat is small. We also found that the sun canopy pops off easily, especially when you fold the stroller.
The ‘Bob’ has been with us for 5 years now and he still has plenty of life left in him. We had originally purchased a “normal” stroller from Walmart but found we couldn’t jog, take the shortcut through the woods to the grocery store or pack it up nice and tight into our tiny new car.
‘Bob’ was a great alternative; not only am I able to push it with one hand (coffee break or hand holding), the shocks mean my child will have a smooth ride – very important especially during nap time. The swivel front wheel means I can practically turn on a dime, the solid frame allows me to take this jogging stroller off-roading while traveling in new countries, and the air filled tires means I can easily replace an inner tube when I get a flat tire – just like my bike.
There are an endless number of accessories available to customize the Bob Revolution stroller, from Handlebar console (cup storage) with tire pump, to car seat adapter and snack tray. There is custom fit wind/rain cover, as well as sun shield. Inner tubes and tires are easily purchased online and just as easily swapped or repaired at home.
Mountain Buggy Nano
The Nano is an incredibly versatile and brilliant entrant to the ultra compact travel stroller market. It is good-looking, sturdy and hard-working, as you’d expect from the NZ Mountain Buggy brand, but with that all-important edge of being small enough to fit in the overhead locker of a plane.
You definitely need to practice the folding mechanism, but once you have it down pat it’s very easy to fold in three – no need to remove the wheels, just slip over the travel bag.
With a tall back it still easily and comfortably fits my 4 year old, yet you can use it from newborn with attachments, meaning it’s a great investment that will last your family for years.
It steers easily, but the real negative is the small wheels, which means it doesn’t like rough surfaces. However, there are few compact strollers that have this aspect solved; it’s just what you compromise on for the compact size. All up, it’s now our go-to stroller any time we travel.
Do you have a favourite travel stroller? Share what you think is the best stroller for travel with us!
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