How to Choose the Best Baby Stroller for Travel [Ultimate Guide]
Baby gear is one of the hardest to shop for, especially since there are thousands of options at any given time. The trick is to know what your child needs based on your lifestyle as a parent, and how much you are willing to spend on comfort, quality, and safety.
A stroller provides convenience for parents and comfort for children when traveling. It makes it easier to handle children while on the go, not to mention, allowing them to interact with their surroundings while remaining safe and secure in their seat. Strollers eliminate the need to carry children for long distances, which can be physically exhausting for parents and less enjoyable for kids.
For, parents who find it extremely difficult to pick a travel stroller, there is hope yet. Below is a comprehensive guide on how to choose the best baby stroller for travel, including specific types that suits specific travel needs.
Types of Strollers
This is the most generic and general type of stroller, which most covers only the essentials such as a padded seat and reliable wheels. Standard strollers have very few features, and are the cheapest you can find in the market, for obvious reasons. Sometimes this is all you need, especially for kids that are already walking. This is something you bring when taking kids to the mall and you anticipate them needing a break from walking.
- Easy to use- Standard strollers can be used by anyone as long as they can push and steer.
- No frills- No fancy functions to learn
- Lightweight- Very easy to steer due to the minimal weight
- All essential functions are included- Standard does not mean you are missing out on important safety and comfort features.
These are strollers preferred by parents who have very little space in their car and their home. Lightweight strollers are usually around 10 to 13 pounds, but are sturdy and can take a lot of beating on the road. They are also compact and easy to fold as well as store. The only slight drawback to this type is that it is not designed to be very comfortable for long distance travels, and the seat may not have too many adjustable settings. Most parents do have this as a secondary stroller, since it is light and easy to carry for those quick trips to the mall or the park.
- Perfect for travel- Light strollers make travel a lot easier due to the absence of bulk and excessive weight, which might cost extra
- Extra sturdy frame- Going for a lightweight stroller means having lighter but stronger materials.
- Compact- You can store lightweight strollers practically anywhere as they take up virtually no space at all.
- Easy steering
Perhaps the easiest type of stroller to spot is the jogging stroller, which has three wheels (two in the back and one in the front). This is the perfect gear for parents who live an active lifestyle, and prefer to keep their children close while on the go. Among the unmistakable characteristics of jogging or jogger strollers include the following:
- Heavy duty tires
- Stiff suspension
- Full coverage canopies with a peek-a-boo window
- Smooth steering
Sometimes referred to as twin strollers, this type is intended for parents who need to accommodate two young children at the same time the best double stroller's are mostly for twins, but they can be used by two kids of different ages. Contrary to somewhat popular notion, double or tandem strollers do not weigh that much more than single strollers. In fact, they are usually made of lighter but stronger materials in order to accommodate the additional weight of a second child, without getting too bulky and difficult to push.
- Twin accommodations
- Heavy duty frame
- Easy braking system
- Double wheel lock for safety
- One-step folding
- Great suspension
5. Travel System
This is a combination of a normal stroller and a car seat, which fits in the frame. As a unit, it is substantially heavier than other strollers, but if offers the most complete solution for traveling. This allows parents to easily transfer their child from the stroller to the car. Travel systems are also more expensive than traditional strollers.
- Multiple riding options- Baby can face you or the other way while riding in the stroller
- Car seat adaptable *Excellent undercarriage storage space
- Multiple pockets for baby essentials
- Extra-comfortable seat padding for maximum riding ease
- Large wheels
Things to Consider
When Shopping for a Baby Stroller
1) Purpose of the stroller
What are you going to use it for? Consider your type of lifestyle and if you are to use the stroller at the mall, outdoors, or when going on jogs in the morning. Is the stroller going to be used for traveling long distances? All these questions are relevant when choosing the proper gear.
2) Size and weight
It matters how old the child is and how heavy he/she is. Strollers have defined weight limits that need to be taken into consideration.
3) Age range/capacity
Some strollers are not meant for newborns because of the weight requirement. Always check the minimum and maximum weight capacity of the gear before purchasing.
4) How easy it folds
Convenience matters especially when you are on the go. Strollers that fold easily with just one click or push of a lever are generally better choices than fiddly ones. A one-click folding technique is very helpful when you have your hands full. The mark of a good stroller is when you do not need to fiddle with so many buttons or locks just to fold and store it.
5) Wheel size
Larger wheels means a better and more comfortable ride. Storage space on the other hand allows for convenience when you need to carry extra things/supplies for the baby.
The size of wheels determine what kind of terrain you can use the stroller on. Larger wheels are able to navigate more challenging surfaces like gravel and uneven concrete, while smaller wheels that usually come with standard and lightweight strollers tend to be more limited.
6) Storage space
The undercarriage often serves as the main storage in strollers. How much room there is in the undercarriage will dictate how much stuff you can put underneath while you are traveling with the baby. More space means more convenience since you do not need to carry a heavy bag.
How easy is it to push the stroller? Is it difficult to haul into the backseat of a car? Can you carry it with one hand while not in use?
8) Ability to recline
The angles of recline matters greatly in terms of the child's comfort. Younger children who cannot support their weight just yet need to be able to recline fully. On the other hand, babies older than 3 months need to be upright most of the time
9) Car seat compatibility
You have to consider what type of car/s you own and drive with your kids, if you are looking to get a travel system stroller. Always check the specifications of the stroller, as they will likely indicate the type of latch is compatible, as well as the weight limit for the seat. It has to fit a standard car seat, otherwise you might not be able to use it when traveling.
10) Adjustable seats
The more adjustment options is better, especially since children sometimes need to change their orientation while in the stroller.
11) Canopy shades
Full coverage (head to toe) is highly recommended in order to protect your child from harmful UV rays. Peek-a-boo feature is also good so you can check on him/her while the canopy is in place.
A five point harness with padding is something to look for in a great stroller. Brakes should also be accessible, and front wheel locking mechanisms must be in place.
Sometimes it boils down to how much money you can spend. That said, you can always find great deals online, especially if you know where to look.
14) Travel system
This type of stroller is highly recommended because it provides the most value for your money. It is an adaptable solution that can be used whether you are traveling long distance or just looking for a good stroll in your neighborhood.
15) Adjustable Handles
The height and of adjustment of stroller handle bars matter because parents (moms and dads) tend to have varying heights. A stroller that can be adjusted (longer or shorter) tend to be more user-friendly because it can accommodate short as well as tall parents. Parents' comfort and confidence level matter just as much as the comfort and safety of the child on board.
16) Parent Tray
This is not necessarily a deal breaker if a stroller you are looking to buy is not equipped with a parent tray. However, one that has a parent tray included in the package is a real keeper, because you can store your essentials (phone, tablet, glasses, a cup of coffee) in it while strolling with baby. It provides convenience that every parent would appreciate especially while on the go.
17) Child Tray
Children do like to eat while you are on the go and this is a great way to allow them finger foods without having to feed them by yourself. It keeps them from dropping things as well, which is a great way to keep them from getting frustrated.
Children over the age of 3 months do appreciate colors as much as they do sounds. A colorful stroller would entice your kid's vision as well as curiosity. It does not always have to be gender-specific when choosing colors, as long as the combination is entertaining and interesting. You should also consider color in terms of how easy it is to clean up. Darker colors are usually more resistant to stains, while lighter colors tend to attract grime and dirt faster.
19) Airplane Fit
Most airlines allow strollers into the main cabin, but certain weight and dimension limits are strictly imposed. It is always best to check if the stroller fits the guidelines/limits of most airplanes, otherwise you may have to leave it in the baggage cabin.
Granted, there are more than a few manufacturers of great strollers. However, there are only few that set the standards against which all strollers in the market are measured. Brand choice matters because some stroller makers use better materials and have better design language than others. While some companies excel in design and aesthetics, others are industry leaders when it comes to child safety. Brand has a lot to do with product quality, which is why parents tend to look for products that bears a name they recognize and trust.
Some companies are faster when it comes to implementing new innovations, while others can only follow suit. Sometimes brands do try new features in their strollers, while others copy and perfect the same features in their line.
With any child gear, it is important to know what the warranty covers, in case the stroller falls apart for whatever reason. One year is pretty standard, and the coverage is usually limited to parts and factory defect.
Some parents choose their child's stroller based on how long they can use the product. That is, some strollers can be used by newborns up until they reach toddler years. This is quite rare, but there are benefits to choosing this type of stroller. It is best to keep in mind that while there is an age limit indicated for each stroller type and brand, kids could outgrow it right away. It would be smart not to put too much stock on getting just one stroller for more than one or two years.
While it is always tempting to save money, in most cases, purchasing cheap strollers do tend to cost more in the long run. High quality strollers cost more because they are made of materials that can withstand the test of time. If you are looking to save money, try looking for sales or promotions online or in department stores instead of skimping on quality.
Finding the perfect balance between how much you can afford to spend on a stroller and getting the best possible travel solution is crucial. Comprehensive product comparison, regardless of which brand you are previously loyal to, will allow you to find the best stroller that would address all your needs and that of your child. Consider it as an investment in your child's comfort and safety, even if you have to spend a bit more than what you originally intended. After all, you can never put a price tag on proper child care.