This article about the Best Strollers for Travel was written by baby travel expert Celine Brewer and may contain affiliate links.
Making the right buying decision when looking at the best travel strollers can feel overwhelming. There are so many options for lightweight travel strollers and in all honesty, it might be hard to find one stroller that meets all your needs. I’m sharing all my expertise in baby travel gear plus my experience traveling with babies and toddlers to help you know exactly what to look for when buying a travel stroller.
Talk to any parent and they’ll list off the different types of strollers they went through before finding what worked for them. For many, it works well to have a stroller at home with all the bells and whistles, all terrain wheels and everything else it comes with, then a second travel stroller.
This is especially true for parents who want an all-terrain or jogging stroller but don’t want to travel with a stroller that’s so bulky. While I have several posts on the best strollers for travel, in this article I will help you navigate through finding the best travel stroller for your family.
Here are 6 Questions to Answer BEFORE Purchasing a Travel Stroller
Chances are you already own a stroller for your day-to-day getting around, but if not then I first recommend deciding on whether your travel stroller needs to meet your day to day needs or if you are only looking for a lightweight stroller for travel. The next step is making a list of what’s most important to you in a travel stroller.
Is it finding the best lightweight stroller or the best stroller for air travel? Would you prefer a simple umbrella stroller for travel or one with all the features? This list of questions will help you narrow down what’s most important to you in a travel stroller.
1. How do you travel with a stroller?
Will you be flying frequently with your travel stroller? Are you looking for a compact stroller for travel that can fit in the overhead bin or will you gate check your stroller?
The best travel strollers for flying with a baby will be lightweight and have a compact fold. They won’t sacrifice in comfort or durability and still need to work outside of the airport. A long time winner in the best travel stroller list is the BABYZEN YOYO2 and it’s one of the best for flying with. It has a compact one-hand fold that will fit in the overhead bin on airplanes, plus it can be used as a travel system for travel with a newborn right through the toddler years.
Baby Can Travel Tip: Always check your airlines policies on carry-on size and flying with strollers.
If you travel more frequently by car, then getting the most lightweight travel stroller isn’t as necessary. Perhaps, one of the best umbrella strollers for travel is enough to meet your needs as a travel stroller. Gone are the days where buying an umbrella stroller means your only options are the cheap ones from Walmart. Now parents can still get a lightweight umbrella stroller under 14 pounds that has room for baby travel essentials and even reclines for naps (like the popular Summer 3DLite+ Convenience stroller).
2. Where will you travel with a stroller?
One of the main considerations for a baby or toddler travel stroller is whether it can withstand being used on cobblestone when traveling in Europe with a baby or toddler. Most of the top travel strollers should be able to hold up well on cobblestone.
Another consideration is where will you store your stroller. Many hotel rooms have very limited space, so your travel stroller should have a compact fold.
While vacation rental apartments are convenient, some don’t have an elevator, so you’ll be lugging your stroller up the stairs. A lightweight travel stroller will be key in both situations!
3. What age will your baby or toddler be when you travel?
Not all travel strollers recline fully and would not be appropriate for travel with an infant. Infants need to have a flat recline because they aren’t yet capable of holding themselves up.
Travel strollers for infants need to have either a fully reclining seat or an add-on bassinet accessory to give your baby a flat surface to lie on. Alternatively, travel strollers that are compatible with an infant car seat to convert it to a travel system also work.
The BABYZEN YOYO2 is my top pick for the best travel stroller for a newborn because it has so many options for carrying baby, an easy one-hand fold, the stroller seat has a good recline and it fits in the overhead bin on most airplanes.
If you are looking for the best toddler travel stroller, then to get the most out of the money you’ll be spending, check the carrying capacity. You’ll want to ensure you won’t have to buy another travel stroller when traveling with toddlers or preschoolers.
A fully reclining seat isn’t as important, though a multi-position recline will help with naps on-the-go. A compact stroller can be even more important, as you may choose to fold it up and carry it when you toddler wants to be on the move.
The Ergobaby Metro+ or the Inglesina Quid are both excellent choices as the best travel stroller for toddlers. Both travel strollers have a compact fold for airplane travel when flying with toddlers and are lightweight, but they also have a good a recline, a canopy and a backpack for carrying it around (this is an optional accessory for the Ergobaby Metro+).
4. What is your budget?
The affordability of the travel stroller is obviously important. The best lightweight stroller for travel can come with a hefty price tag, so make sure you’ll be using it enough to make it worthwhile spending the money on!
For anyone who doesn’t want to spend a lot on a travel stroller, there are plenty of cheap travel strollers that can be considered. Of the travel strollers under $100, the Summer 3DLite Convenience stroller makes an excellent travel stroller.
5. Are you traveling with a baby and toddler or twins?
If you are traveling with twins or a baby and toddler, then you might want to consider a lightweight double stroller for travel. Double strollers should still be lightweight, easy to travel with and fit through standard doorways.
For travel with a baby and a toddler, there are several good options as well that give alternatives to two side by side seats, like the popular Sit N Stand strollers.
For travel with twins, especially newborn twins, finding the best double stroller for travel can be a little more complicated. There are few strollers that are lightweight for travel yet still accommodate two infant car seats for travel with twins. However, a double stroller with fully reclining seats or a carrycot accessory can also work.
6. Other considerations when purchasing a lightweight stroller for travel.
Once you’ve determined how compact of a travel stroller you need and your budget, it’s time to start comparing the details to find the best travel stroller for your family.
Other things that won’t apply to everyone, but you might want to consider:
- How tall are you or your partner? Will the lightweight travel stroller you buy be comfortable for both of you to use? Would you prefer one with an extendable handle (the Ergobaby Metro+ is one of the few travel strollers with an adjustable handle).
- How often will you travel with the stroller? If you plan to travel with your baby or toddler frequently AND often use a stroller instead of baby carrier when traveling, then a compact stroller for traveling will be worth the expense.
- Do you want the most compact and lightweight travel stroller or would you prefer an extra comfy travel stroller with all the bells and whistles?
- Do you plan on carrying the stroller at times? Look for a compact stroller for travel that comes with a carrying case or a strap. If your toddler likes to walk more and more frequently, you can carry an ultra-compact travel stroller in a backpack for when those little legs get tired.
Top 10 Features of the Best Travel Strollers
It would be nice to buy only one stroller, but who are we kidding. Most parents go through several strollers, because no stroller meets all our needs especially for anyone looking at a jogging stroller or bike trailer.
Now that you have a good idea on how you will travel with a stroller, here’s a checklist of the top features to look for when shopping for a travel stroller.
1. Well Rated and Reviewed by Parents
Choose travel strollers that have been reviewed by other parents and have high ratings.
2. Recline Positions
A reclining stroller is crucial if you plan to have your baby or toddler nap on-the-go. Look for a fully reclining stroller if you plan to use your travel stroller with a newborn.
3. Compatible with Car Seats
Find a travel stroller that can be converted into a travel system if you plan to travel with a car seat.
4. Easy Fold
A stroller with an easy one-hand fold will make life much easier when you have to fold up the stroller and hold your baby or toddler at the same time.
5. Large Extendable Canopy
A large sunshade will protect your baby or toddler from the harsh sunlight. Your baby will be most comfortable in a stroller with good sun protection.
6. Compact and Lightweight
The size and weight of the stroller is probably one of the most important parts. You want a stroller that’s lightweight for the times you have to lift it up stairs or into a car. Folded size is also important, so your travel stroller isn’t taking up too much room.
7. Fits in Overhead Bin
If you would rather have your stroller with you at all times, rather than gate checking, choose a travel stroller with an ultra-compact fold that will fit in the overhead bin on airplanes.
You don’t want one that flimsy or that breaks after only a few uses. Find a compact travel stroller that will last throughout your travels.
Not all strollers are created equal. Choose a lightweight stroller for travel that’s easy to get around with even with a heavy toddler in it.
10. Safety Features
Finally, your travel stroller should still have all the same features you’d look for in a regular stroller. Look for a travel stroller that is well built, has a 5-point harness and locking wheels.
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This post was written & edited by:
Celine Brewer is the owner of Baby Can Travel. Not only does she have years of experience traveling with babies & toddlers, but she's helped millions of new parents travel with their babies and toddlers for over a decade. In addition to writing on her baby travel blog, she has shared her expertise on traveling with a baby or toddler by contributing to articles about traveling with a baby with the Washington Post, USA Today, the Lonely Planet magazine and Pregnancy & Newborn magazine.
Celine also writes about family travel on the site FamilyCanTravel.com, which she co-owns with her husband. Being from the Canadian Rockies, she shares her passion about her home and travel to Banff National Park and area on their site TravelBanffCanada.com.