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Until you have kids, it’s impossible to imagine that deciding which stroller to purchase could come with as much hemming and hawing as shopping for a car. And when you factor in the need for a stroller that travels well — be it in the airport, on a train, pushing through Manhattan crowds or over those cobbled streets in a quaint European village — there are even more things to consider. Just ask members of the TPG Family Facebook Group that discuss this topic quite often.
Is the stroller easy to fold and unfold when you’ve got a feisty toddler to contend with at the same time? Is there ample storage space and easy access for your diaper bag? Is it lightweight enough to qualify for gate check with the airlines (check out 20 airline stroller policies around the world)? Does it have lots of dangling bits and bobs that will make it more likely to break in transit? Those questions and many more came into play when we researched the best strollers for families that travel around the world. Read on for our top picks.
New in the compact stroller category from cult favorite stroller innovator, UPPAbaby, is the sleek MINU (about $400) that is made for traveling families. It couldn’t be easier to pop it open or fold it down with one, swift motion and using just one hand. Things like an extra-extendable UPF 50-plus sunshade and spring-action tires for a smoother ride are a few of the features we appreciate. We also like the magnetic closures on the peek-a-boo window that let you have a quiet look at your baby without that scratching Velcro noise to wake him or her up from a snooze.
Do note that without the bassinet add-on, the MINU doesn’t accommodate most newborns and is suitable for babies from 14 pounds (roughly 3 months old) to 50 pounds only.
Talk about a game changer when you’re traveling with an infant. The Doona Infant Car Seat Stroller (about $500) has an ingenious design with wheels that can be easily tucked away to let you transform the stroller into a car seat with the push of a button, the pull of a lever and an easy closing motion. It takes a few tries to get used to the knack of switching between modes, but once you have it down, it couldn’t be easier to go from pushing your baby on the street to hopping in a cab and having her securely strapped into her stroller. The stroller weighs 16 pounds and the car seat portion can be used with a base or alone with the car’s seat belt. Note that while the company claims babies up to 35 pounds and 32 inches in length can be accommodated, when your baby reaches those limits, it might be a tight squeeze.
Frequent travelers will love the luggage-like feel of the extended telescopic handle on this travel stroller from Seattle-based brand, Diono. The Diono Traverze (about $200) weighs around 12 pounds and can fit in most overhead bins if you prefer not to gate check. The extra roomy storage basket under the stroller is ample enough to accommodate any under-the-seat bag you’re bringing on the plane. And the stroller has a backrest that can be reclined to a near-flat position, which makes it a suitable option even for infants. Add to the fact that the stroller can be folded down with just one hand, and it’s quite handy for families on the go.
That said, there are some reviews that children are uncomfortable in this stroller and that it has an awkward seating design, so be sure to try it out with your kid before committing to a permanent purchase.
Chicco did away with its umbrella stroller offerings in favor of this ideal-for-travel entry in the compact stroller category. A handle hidden away under the stroller’s seat cushion lets you fold down the Chicco Mini Bravo (about $150) with one hand. The fact that the stroller can stand on its own in the folded position makes it that much easier to just leave at the gate and go. The stroller weighs in at 18.5 pounds and has a particularly user-friendly recline knob (no pesky ties to pull) that lets you lean your baby back in three different positions, including at a nearly lie-flat angle.
One of the more affordable of the luxe Baby Jogger offerings, the City Tour stroller (about $200) weighs 14 pounds and can be folded up and stashed in an overhead bin, if you choose. Accessing your diaper bag and other carry-ons on the go is easy thanks to a wide-open basket under the seat that’s extra roomy and a cinch to reach into. The backpack-style carrying bag that comes with the stroller makes it a breeze to fold up and carry along when your baby prefers to ride on you. And other highlights include the UPF-plus extendable sunshade to keep your baby protected from punishing rays when you’re off, say, touring Rome in the summer. Did we mention the comfy, padded seat that reclines nearly to flat to help induce naps?
Looking for a different jogging stroller? TPG Family contributor Jill Krause says the Joovy Zoom 360 Ultralight Jogging Stroller is a best bet.
Leave it to the French to create such a petite and pretty stroller. The Babyzen YOYO+ (about $450) folds down into a tiny package that can be stashed in an overhead bin or under a restaurant table with ease. It weighs around 13 pounds yet has luxe amenities like tires with four-wheel suspension and a lightweight aluminum frame that’s surprisingly sturdy.
The under-the-seat basket has been upgraded with more space and is easy to access. And there’s a handy carrying strap, too, for when you need to fold up the stroller and tote it in a cramped attraction or a place where strollers aren’t allowed.
A stroller that made the Guinness Book of World Records for being the most compact on the planet is certainly deserving of a traveler’s attention. The sleek gb Pockit Stroller (about $180) weighs in at just 9.5 pounds but can accommodate kids up to 55 pounds — and with an additional 11 pounds of baby gear stowed in the under-the-seat basket, too.
Watch the flight attendants be wowed when you roll this thing down the airplane aisle with plenty of room to spare and proceed to fold it up and stash it under your seat within seconds. A tiny but mighty marvel, indeed.
The best strollers often cost $200 and up, which is one of the reasons we love this budget travel stroller made by the car manufacturer of the same name. The J is for Jeep Stroller by North Star weighs just under 10 pounds and can hold kids up to 40 pounds with features like dual rear brakes and an optional open-air mesh back (just remove the seat cushion) that adapt to different travel temperatures and conditions. Easy-grip, umbrella-style handles make this stroller comfortable to push and an extended sun canopy offers good protection for your passenger. For its light weight, the stroller is surprisingly sturdy and rolls with ease across surfaces of most types, but it’s the price — around $50 — that’s really going to sell you here.
You’ll notice that these best stroller suggestions are slightly different than our recommendations for full-time traveling families, as the needs of that type of traveler is a little different. There are many quality strollers on the market that can make sense for your family. Of course, some of these options don’t come cheap so be sure to maximize your purchase by using a shopping portal to rack up those miles and/or points. You might even want to factor in purchasing the stroller with a credit card that offers above-average purchase protections.
What’s your favorite stroller when traveling? We’d love to hear about your experiences on the road.
Featured image by Alija/Getty Images
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