Whether it’s a road trip to grandma’s house or overseas to a bucket-list destination, it takes planning ahead and having a few pieces of kid gear that make life on the road easier. So we have narrowed down the best travel strollers in 2020. Here you’ll find compact and lightweight models designed to take off the hassle of traveling with a baby.
A good getaway sounds like a lot of fun. But when you are bringing small kids along, you will have to plan ahead and be prepared with the right kids’ gear. We get asked the same questions all the time about traveling with a baby: type of stroller to get for travel, whether you actually need a travel stroller vs a full size, and what makes a good travel stroller.
This post breaks down not only some of the best travel strollers in different budgets, but also some considerations to think about before purchasing or registering for one.
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Travel Stroller vs. Baby Carrier
The biggest question many parents have when going on vacation with their baby is whether to take a carrier or a stroller.
Bringing both a carrier and a stroller offers the most flexibility, but that isn’t always practical.
There are many key factors that you should consider when determining whether you should bring a travel stroller or a baby carrier.
1. Age of Your Child
Baby carriers are awesome for infants, but as your baby gets older, you may find it difficult to wear your little one for long periods of time.
- 0-6 months – Since babies this young love being close to their parents and are at their lightest during these months, a carrier is likely your best bet.
- 6-24 months – Baby carriers and strollers are both great options for this age range, and if possible, you could bring both along for added flexibility. If you really have to choose between the two, consider the terrain at your destination, what activities you’ll be doing, and what your child prefers.
- 24 months and up – At this stage, carrying your toddler for long periods of time may start to get pretty tough. Unless you’re
- planning on doing activities that will take you over rough or uneven terrain, a stroller may be your best bet when traveling with a kid over two.
2. Sightseeing Plans
When choosing between a stroller and carrier you should also factor in your sightseeing plans. Stairs, cobblestones, and other uneven surfaces can make pushing a stroller pretty difficult.
Strollers are great for walking through an amusement park or a shopping mall, but if you plan on doing any hiking or exploring on rough terrain during your trip, a carrier may be a better option.
- Car – If you’re traveling by car, consider investing in a stroller/travel system hybrid where the seat of the stroller detaches from the frame and doubles as a safe and secure car seat, making the transition from car to stroller super easy. Not only will this save time and prevent you from having to wake up your sleeping baby, but it also saves valuable trunk space.
- Bus/Train – If you’ll be traveling a lot by bus or train, you may prefer to keep your baby in the stroller, provided there’s enough floor space. However, if you’re planning on getting on and off multiple buses and trains or navigating busy subway stations during rush hour, you’ll definitely want a carrier instead.
- Airplane – Baby carriers are lifesavers when it comes to navigating airport security with a baby since they allow you to have both hands free. You also won’t have to worry about luggage limitations if you choose to travel with a carrier. If you know you’ll need a stroller at your destination, you can always check one with your bags or rent one when you arrive.
If you’re visiting a warm destination, a carrier will most likely make both baby and parent overheat. A stroller with a canopy will be a better choice and the canopy is also great for keeping the sun off your little one’s face while you explore.
In colder climates, baby carriers can help keep both of you warm but if you’re traveling somewhere with very frigid climates and chilly winds, you may want to consider bringing a stroller so you can wrap your baby in multiple blankets and keep them protected from the wind.
5. Your Baby’s Preferences
Some babies can nap in a stroller with no problem while others find it difficult.
Keep In Mind!
Not all travel strollers can recline so if your baby is used to napping in a crib or bassinet they may find it difficult to fall asleep while sitting up.
Carriers are great for infants and babies who like to be held during naps and for breast- and bottle feeding on the go. But if your child is older and eating solid food, strollers, especially those with an attachable snack tray, are generally a better option for meals out and about.
Different Types of Travel Strollers
1. Travel Systems
These are an easy-to-connect travel system pairs together the infant car seat and stroller. A travel system allows you to snap in the car seat with an adapter (usually built in) when traveling with an infant and you can move your sleeping baby from the car to the stroller without waking her up.
You can still use the stroller when your baby gets old enough to sit up and have outgrown the infant car seat.
2. Umbrella Strollers
Umbrella strollers are usually lightweight and can be cheaper than other types of strollers. The downside to umbrella strollers is that you might lose a few of the features you can find in a full-sized stroller, such as a decent storage basket, canopy, etc. But an umbrella stroller makes up for it by being easy on-the-go.
These strollers fold compactly which makes them easy to fit in the trunk or taking it on an airplane.
3. Lightweight Strollers
A lightweight stroller strikes a balance between traditional and umbrella stroller styles. It’s lighter than the standard stroller, easy to fold and compact in size when collapsed while still having some big-stroller features like large sun canopies and a storage basket.
Some lightweight strollers even have extras like cup holders and trays and several lightweight strollers are also compatible with infant car seats.
Do I Need a Travel Stroller?
You can get by just fine without a travel stroller and some families use a traditional stroller for everything, even traveling. However, there are several benefits to a travel stroller:
1. Effortless Travel
Having a really compact stroller means that you can literally land, pop baby into the stroller and walk down the aisle and off the plane towards baggage reclaim.
When you have a bad back or your child is particularly heavy, a stroller will help you get them around with ease and allowing them to rest in a safe place.
3. They’re Lightweight
Because of their lighter weight and compact fold, travel strollers are more convenient than others for toting up stairs, riding on public transportation and stowing out of the way in small hotel rooms and hole-in-the-wall eateries. Many also come with their own carrying case or carrying strap.
Travel Stroller Safety
When it comes to hitting the pavement with baby, safety comes first. Almost all stroller models these days meet basic safety standards, but there are a few safety features to consider when you’re stroller shopping.
Before you start using your new stroller, read the stroller’s manual, especially the care and warnings section, to ensure your child’s safety and the longevity of the stroller.
Here are some important stroller safety rules that will help prevent accidents:
1. Five-point Safety Harness
Five-point harnesses are relatively standard these days, but some strollers may skimp with a three-point harness. Always buckle your baby’s harness when you take them for a ride. Especially as they start to get older and wiggle around, they could wiggle their way out.
2. Stay Close
This should go without saying, but don’t ever leave your baby unattended in their stroller. They aren’t luggage at the airport!
3. Keep it Out of the Sun
During hot weather, don’t let your baby’s stroller sit in the sun for long periods of time. Babies can quickly overheat in direct sunlight because they cannot regulate their body temperature, as well as adults can, and they are also prone to sunburns because their skin is very delicate. The sun can also cause plastic and metal pieces to become hot enough to burn your baby. If you leave the stroller in the sun, check the stroller’s surface temperature before placing your baby in the stroller.
4. Look The Wheels
Be sure to test how easy the brakes are to use. Do you find yourself hitting the brakes when you don’t intend to? And make sure to always engage your stroller brakes whenever you stop the stroller.
5. Check for Recalls
Return the stroller warranty card so that you’ll be notified in case of a recall. If you’re considering a used stroller, make sure the stroller hasn’t been recalled by checking online or contacting the manufacturer.
Safekids.org has an email list you can sign up for to alert you whenever a baby product is recalled, ensuring your knowledge base is up-to-date at all times.
When Can I Start Using a Travel Stroller?
There are various designs of travel strollers. While some may be suitable for slightly younger babies, others are better suited for toddlers and bigger babies.
If the travel stroller reclines fully, it is safe for a newborn. Younger babies haven’t developed the supportive neck and back muscles that will allow them to remain in a seated position throughout their stroller journey, therefore the recline feature would be highly useful.
Babies that have developed their required neck and back muscles would best benefit from the umbrella strollers that allow them the ability to sit up as opposed to laying down.
Most travel strollers do not fully recline or have suspension features, so to make sure your baby is in the appropriate age range for these strollers, it is best to wait until the baby is at least 4 to 6 months old.
Are Travel Strollers Safe for Infants?
If you’re looking for a travel stroller for your newborn baby, ensure that there is optimal padding and cushioning around the seat. Since infants’ supportive neck and back muscles are yet to be developed, extra cushioning will be required.
Not only will the padding provide support for your baby’s neck and back, but it will also ensure that the baby’s stroller experience is a comfortable one. Most travel strollers have extremely thin fabric and aren’t recommended for infants due to the lack of support that is provided.
Once your baby is capable of sitting upright on their own (usually from 4 to 7 months of age) then it is safer to use a travel stroller with less padding.
Is My Child Ready for a Travel Stroller?
Travel strollers come in several styles, each offering unique features that are suitable for babies and toddlers during their various stages of growth.
Regardless of how young your baby is, there are travel strollers on the market that will comfortably suit your child and put your parental worries at ease. Take into consideration all of your child’s needs and choose your travel stroller wisely.
The Best Travel Strollers of 2020
Which travel stroller you should choose depends on where you’re traveling and what types of activities you will do as you get there. But no matter where you’re going, you’ll want a stroller that keeps your baby safe and that will make your travel easier.
To help you find the best travel stroller for your trip, we’ve gathered the top 10 travel strollers we’ve found along with a review and their pros and cons.
It doesn’t get any smaller or more lightweight than the gb Pockit Lightweight Stroller, which has won the title of Smallest Folded Stroller in the Guinness Book of World’s Records.
It weighs a mere 9.5 lbs and folds down to 11.8 inches x 13.8 inches and can fit in a backpack, in the overhead compartment on a plane, or ever under your seat. Despite its small size, it can safely hold kids aged 6 months to 55 pounds and can be steered with one hand.
The five-point safety harness is also adjustable and features padded straps so your little one stays comfortable. There is a small storage bag at the bottom for small items.
This uber-lightweight stroller is perfect for plane travel, due to its compact size. It is definitely a good contender for the best stroller for airplane travel as it meets cabin baggage sizes. You won’t find some features of larger strollers, such as a large canopy or a reclining seat, which makes the Pockit rather useless as an everyday stroller, but for travel, it has some clear advantages.
- Easy to lift
- Fits in small spaces
- Machine-washable seat fabric
- Easy to navigate and steer
- Storage basket is easy to access
- Hard to push and turn
- Tiny canopy
- Awkward fold
- No recline
- Canopy doesn’t cover the baby from the sun
The Bersey foldable stroller is one of the best portable strollers for babies. It is ideal for those families who are frequent fliers since it can fit easily in any plane or train overhead bin.
Its unique two-step folding design allows it to pack up into itself, collapsing down to 22” x 12” x 11”. Once folded, it sits upright on its wheels and is sturdy enough to sit on, which really comes in handy when waiting in a crowded airport.
The stroller can hold up an infant of 6 months and up to the baby of 36 months too and features a five-point safety belt and protective comfort pads that can be re-adjusted for a secure fit as your child grows.
The Besrey Airplane Stroller weighs in at just 10.8 pounds but, unlike some other lightweight strollers, it offers one-hand push steering, a pedal brake, and an overhead canopy.
- Large canopy
- Back rest is not reclinable
If stroller storage is one of your top priorities, you can’t go wrong with the very affordable Kolcraft Cloud Plus Lightweight Stroller. Weighing just under 12 lbs, this umbrella stroller is made for travel, picnics, one-day outings as well as short trips around the house.
In addition to a compact fold, this stroller also packs a host of features to make the ride safe and enjoyable. This sturdy stroller features an easy one-hand fold and plenty of roomy storage, including an extra-large storage basket, a removable child snack tray, and a parent tray with two cup holders and extra storage pocket.
The three-tier, extended canopy protects your little one from damaging UV rays, but its peek-a-boo window still lets you keep an eye on him.
With a reclining seat and a 5-point safety harness system, this budget-friendly stroller is suitable for kids up to 50 pounds. This stroller has all mom’s favorite full-size stroller features, including a removable child tray with dual cup and juice box holde in a compact, travel-friendly lightweight stroller.
- Easy to assemble
- Easy to fold
- Excellent cup holders and trays
- Very affordable
- Canopy gives full UV coverage
- Doesn’t work well on uneven terrain
- Plastic wheels
- The cover can’t be removed for machine washing
If you plan on using your travel stroller getting a lot, you might want to invest a little more in one that’s more sturdy and can be used every day but still is easy to load into the car.
The Babyzen Yoyo is a top-pick in travel strollers because it pretty much has everything you need. It weighs only 12.8 pounds and can hold children from 6 months till 40 pounds but you can buy a newborn pack as an additional feature.
Besides being compact this travel stroller has a generous storage basket and comes with a storage bag and a shoulder strap so you can easily carry the BabyZen on board a plane and fit it into the hat rack.
This compact travel stroller feels sturdy and is often used as a daily stroller because of all its features; a sun canopy, rain cover, generous under seat storage and a seat that can recline to multiple positions for your baby’s comfort and five-pointe point harness as well.
- Very compact
- Travel friendly
- Good for small spaces
- Quick fold/unfold
- Easy to steer one-handed
- Handlebar isn’t adjustable
- Small shopping basket
The Summer Infant 3D Lite Convenience Stroller is a lightweight, stylish and durable umbrella stroller that your baby will be able to use from the age of six months, through until he or she weighs 50 pounds.
At just under 13 pounds, the 3D Lite Umbrella Stroller is quite easy to lift and cart around. It’s one of the lightest and most feature-packed umbrella strollers you will find, it is also one of the most practical.
The seat is fitted with a 5-point harness with three height options, for optimal safety and multi-position recline ensures maximum comfort. The canopy is removable and adjustable and can be angled to suit the situation.
With a 3D Lite Stroller you will be able to navigate around crowds or through confined spaces quite easily. It is also quick and easy to fold and unfold with one hand, and a handy carry strap makes this the ideal stroller for busy moms and dads on-the-go. The stroller folds quite flat, so you will have no trouble sliding it into your car’s trunk or backseat when going out, or into a closet to store.
- Hands-only fold
- Fully reclining seat
- Large storage basket
- Comfortable handles
- Included removable cup holder
- Poor sun protection
- Wobbly wheels
- Seat doesn’t sit fully upright
- Canopy lacks peek-a-boo window
This little stroller is one of the lightest options we’ve found. It’s an easy-to-maneuver, fast-fold umbrella stroller that’s got the basics down with a little added bit of flair that even this second-time mom can’t refuse.
It is equipped with a compact umbrella that you easily fold, a carry bag and a shoulder carry strap to make travel a breeze and a canopy that is very flexible.
This Chicco Stroller also brings about comfort and security through its 2-position reclining seat and 5-point safety harness.
This really is just a bare-bones travel stroller for getting from point A to point B. However, if you’re willing to pay more money, there are other options available that can give you a better recline, more storage, other accessories, and better quality.
- Easy and quick fold
- Carrying strap attached to stroller
- Very lightweight
- Removable canopy
- No adjustable handle
- Two hands are needed for optimum maneuverability
The Mountain Buggy Nano stroller is the best of both worlds — a travel stroller that can also act as a travel system.
Unlike most travel strollers, with few additional attachments, you can make this lightweight stroller ready for a newborn baby. It can be easily turned it into a travel system and you don’t need to purchase any additional adapters for it. This stroller is already equipped with an on-board adapter for car seats.
The main seat in Mountain Buggy Nano is suitable for toddler, from 6 months to 44 lbs. The seat is pretty large, especially for such a compact stroller and can accommodate even a 4-year-old child!
It’s also lightweight and compact enough to easily fit into many carry-on luggage units on planes and trains or in a trunk, and the travel bag has a handle and strap for portability. The narrow width and front-wheel swivel makes it good for using on city streets or other tight spaces.
- Nice maneuverability
- Compact fold
- Easy brakes
- Includes travel bag
- It can be used since day one (with addon) till toddlerhood
- Main seat has adjustable leg rest
- Limited napping recline
- Shoulder strap safety concern
- Rather small canopy
If comfort and ease-of-use are your top priorities, the UPPAbaby G-Luxe Stroller is a great choice. At 15 pounds, it’s a bit heavier than some of the other options and it doesn’t meet airline carry-on requirements. But this small stroller still has a lot to offer your family
This stroller is suitable from 3 months, features near-flat recline and the shock-absorbing, four-wheel suspension make it a smoother ride than other lightweight strollers. When it’s closed, the stroller stands on its own, so you can conveniently stash it behind your chair in a crowded restaurant or in the corner of a small hotel room.
With roomy under-seat storage and a built-in cup holder, this stroller also has some nice perks for parents. It takes little space at home and in the car trunk which makes it super easy to store. It’s also the perfect companion for road trips or just running errands around town.
While it’s a bit pricier than others, this high-quality stroller is suitable for kids aged 3 months to 55 pounds and will last through multiple children.
- Color-coded brakes
- Easy to use
- Extendable canopy with SPF 50+
- Cup holder included
- Convenient to transport and storage
- Poor storage access
- No peek-a-boo window on a canopy
- Unadjustable handles height
Going on trips just became easier if you want a versatile travel stroller. The Graco Breaze is exceptionally easy to transport and is not a burden to carry around thanks to their extremely light frames.
Although not as durable as heavier models, the lightweight strollers undoubtedly come with some advantages. It has a one-hand fold mechanism meaning you will be able to store it compactly when you are short on space in the trunk.
This stroller also makes it easy for you to take the youngest member of your family on long trips by attaching a car seat to the seat. And if your baby is over six months old, they will enjoy the view from the high seat all the way up to 50lbs.
Along with its lightweight design, this buggy also features a decently sized canopy, viewing window, 5-point harness, footrest which is entirely adjustable, large storage basket, hard rubber wheels, as well as the parking brake. Graco equipped this model with everything they could think of and decided to sell it at a genuinely reasonable price – you simply can’t go wrong with this stroller.
- Reasonable price
- Lightweight but sturdy design
- One-hand lever recline
- Sizeable canopy
- One-hand fold
- Roomy seat
- Large storage basket
- Footrest not suitable for older toddlers
- Difficult to tighten harness
- Hard to push on rough terrain
If you don’t want a little bad weather to ruin your good time, the Maclaren Volo Stroller has you covered. Literally. The UPF 50 canopy is waterproof, and the stroller comes with a rain shield.
The stroller is especially great for parents of various heights and fits taller kids up to 55 pounds too and the adjustable five-point safety harness keeps children safe and grows with your child.
The Maclaren Volo has a breathable mesh seat for keeping kids cool during summer outings. The seats are removable and machine washable – no need to worry about your child making a mess – a feature every parent appreciates
Due to its simple design, it makes a great stroller for children and parents always on the go. The Maclaren Volo stroller is incredibly lightweight with its basic weight of 13.91lbs.
- Fits easily in car trunks
- Removable machine washable seat
- Extendable suncanopy with built-in sun visor
- Replaceable wheels
- No assembly required
- Plastic wheels
Some Considerations Before You Buy
With so many styles and options available today, choosing the perfect travel strollers for your baby can be a daunting task. The highest priority should be how safe it will be for your child to use but there are many other features that you may be important to you as well.
Here are some of the features you’ll want to look for:
1. Size and Weight of the Stroller
If you are looking forward to traveling light, a small-sized stroller which folds compactly will do the trick. This way, it can fit in the trunk of your car or on the overhead compartment on an airplane.
Light and compact strollers are also easy to maneuver since they are easy to check in as luggage on flights and even go through doors.
How easy will it be to fold down the stroller? You may fold a stroller multiple times on a trip, and if it is not straightforward, it can work your nerves each time. The convenience of quick folding is important when you are traveling alone or have to watch several kids.
3. Wheels and Shocks
Depending on where you are traveling, you may want to have an idea of the roads and places you’ll be visiting.
Pneumatic wheels that are filled with air or foam-filled wheels are robust and can handle rough terrain.
Shocks/suspension systems provide a less bumpy ride and make navigation in rural areas easier so you won’t be lifting the stroller every few meters.
4. Age of Your Child
Check the stroller’s specifications and make sure that the stroller is suited to your baby’s age. You don’t want to use a model that does not have adequate support for your 2-year old since it has a maximum load for a 1-year old kid.
Another thing to bear in mind is that if you are traveling with a newborn or infant, the stroller will need to accommodate a small baby. This goes for such strollers that can adapt a car seat like the Baby Trend Snap and Go or Evenflo Vive Travel System.
5. Additional features
Some travel strollers can recline the seat while others cannot. A reclining stroller will come in handy during nap time as they offer a comfortable sleeping position but can be bulkier than strollers that don’t recline.
Other features include adjustable footrests, larger canopies which are essential in sunny climates, and even a storage basket for keeping essentials at hand.
Having a good travel stroller takes away the anxiety of traveling with a baby. Even the mother who loves using carriers will appreciate the convenience brought about by being able to rest the baby in a much more comfortable position other than their arms.