What Is a Travel Stroller?
You might be wondering what a travel stroller is, or at least how it differs from a regular stroller. In essence, travel strollers are those that are specifically designed to make getting around with them easier. These are not large and heavy pram-type strollers, and they may cast aside certain luxury features for the sake of being more compact and lightweight. They often have special mechanisms for easy folding, store away without fuss, and are easy to maneuver.
Beyond that, there are not a lot of specifications for what a travel stroller must be. They can be umbrella strollers, jogging stroller, double strollers—basically, as long as it travels well, it is a travel stroller.
How Important Is it to Own a Travel Stroller?
If you already own a stroller for your child, do you really need to purchase a special stroller just for when you go traveling? Not necessarily. But it really depends on what you are expecting from your time away from home and how well the stroller you already own facilitates this. Below are some reasons why owning one can be beneficial to your family.
Now, are there reasons not to own a travel stroller? If you do not travel and you have a larger stroller you prefer for using in your city, then perhaps that is a reason not to own one. But if you travel at all or even go places in your city not suited to larger strollers, it is best to purchase one.
Types of Travel Strollers
As you might imagine, not all travel strollers are the same. There are many ways in which they can vary, but the most important to consider is the type of travel stroller. There are three types of travel strollers, classified based on how they fold.
Umbrella strollers are a simple stroller design that most people are familiar with, even if they do not own one. They are lightweight, often very affordable, and use very little fabric, making them cool on the child. Basic models have essentially no features, while higher-end models will have things such as sun visors, adjustable arms, and storage. However, even the most luxurious umbrella strollers will lack some of the features found on larger strollers. Another downside is that these strollers require two hands to steer and to fold.
These travel strollers have a design that is similar to that of traditional strollers, collapsing in half to fold. However, they are designed to be more compact and are made from lighter materials. Due to the manner in which they fold, they do take up more room than other types of travel strollers. However, many models can be steered with just one hand and they offer significant stability, and thus security for the passenger child. They tend to come with more features that larger strollers include, such as cupholders and spacious storage baskets.
Tri-Fold strollers are the newest type of travel stroller. Rather than simply doubling over to fold, they fold in on themselves multiple times, becoming incredibly small. In fact, there are some models of tri-fold strollers that fold small enough to place inside of a standard tote bag or large handbag. They are incredibly lightweight, but due to the engineering needed to create them, they tend to be expensive. However, they often have as many features as square-fold strollers, which means that parents can take advantage of their compactness without losing out on anything.
Features to Consider When Purchasing a Travel Stroller
Anytime you make a purchase, you want to be certain that your choices are perfectly suited to your needs. To select the stroller best suited to you, there are four primary features to consider: type, weight, weight limit, and special features.
- Type: As noted above, there are three types of travel strollers—umbrella, square-fold, and tri-fold. To determine which is best for you, think about how lightweight and compact you need the stroller to be versus the extra features that make having a stroller convenient for you.
- Weight: While some types are more lightweight than others, even within a specific type, there will be strollers that weight more or less than the average model. Consider things like airline restrictions and your own comfort when settling on a weight.
- Weight Limit: You want the stroller you purchase to be safe and effective for your child, which means that the weight limit must be more than what your child weighs. Think about how long you want to rely on this stroller and plan for your child’s weight as they grow.
- Special Features: Special features can be almost anything that matters to you. Cupholders, storage baskets, foot rests, sun visors, and carrying straps are among the special features that might matter to a parent when selecting a travel stroller.
So, with these key features in mind, what strollers would we recommend?
Best Travel Strollers Top 10 Picks Comparison Chart
Best Travel Strollers Top 10 Picks Comparison Chart
UV 50+ sun canopy with canopy extension
Car seat compatible
10.8 pounds, depending on configuration
Self-standing when folded
Multiple cup holders and large storage basket
Guinness World Record Holder for smallest stroller
Adaptable for travel systems
Fits in overhead compartment on planes
Parent organizer pocket and tray
Best Travel Strollers Top 10 Picks Reviews
The City Mini has long been a popular compact stroller, but the Baby Jogger City Tour improves upon its design. In addition to being smaller, it offers tri-fold capabilities. The seat reclines well, making it easy to keep your child comfortable and facilitate naps while traveling. The stroller comes with its own carrying case, which can be worn as a backpack for convenience.
The sun canopy is the standout feature for this stroller. It offers UV 50+ protection for the child riding inside and it comes with an extension to ensure the child has all the coverage needed. And if you want more flexibility, you can purchase the City Tour Lux, which is the same stroller, but featuring a modular seat that can change direction. The bottom line is that this is a durable yet compact stroller that is suitable to most families.
The Contours brand is known for taking luxury stroller designs and recreating them at a lower cost. With the Bitsy Compact Fold Stroller, the goal was to create a tri-fold stroller that offers all the most important features one would look for in larger strollers. The end result is pretty impressive.
The Bitsy is lightweight and folds up small enough to tote around with ease. The dual-wheel suspension makes it easy to steer, and when folded, it can stand on its own, taking up even less space as a result. However, the attention-grabbing feature of this stroller is that it can accommodate infant car seats. For many new parents, there is no feature more important than that. As such, it is a great choice for parents looking to travel with a newborn.
When it comes to travel strollers, it is common to need to sacrifice some of the things you want in order to have a compact stroller. However, the Maclaren Triumph manages to include everything that matters, despite its weight coming in at under 11 pounds. The storage basket is large, the strap convenient, and there is even a leg support cushion for your child’s comfort.
The most notable feature of this stroller is that the seat reclines to a nearly flat position, ideal for children needing naps on the go. It folds and unfolds easily and the newest version of the stroller has better wheels and offers a smoother ride. With a high seat and significant legroom, this stroller accommodates the needs of both parents and growing children alike.
A problem with many travel strollers is that they tend to be designed for shorter parents. The handles are lower, and they are often not adjustable. But the Inglesina Net Stroller is actually designed withtaller mothers and fathers in mind. Due to its height, it is recommended only for those who stand 5’5” or taller.
Beyond being excellent for taller parents, its most special feature is that it can stand on its own when folded. This makes it easy to store out of the way in public places or anywhere that space is a concern. It also features a decent recline, cup holder, storage pocket, sizeable canopy, storage basket, and a removable seat pad for washing. Overall, it offers a lot more than your average umbrella stroller.
If you are like most parents, you tend to have your hands full. Kolcraft understands this and has designed their stroller to address this issue. Their Cloud Plus can fold and unfold using just one hand, preventing you from needing to let go of your child while you work with the stroller.
The Cloud Plus also helps to keep your hands free by offering plenty of storage—easily its most notable feature. It comes with an extra-large storage basket, a tray on the handle bar, two parent cupholders, plus a child’s tray with a cup and juice box holder. When you are spending a day out exploring, this stroller will ensure you have room for all the things you need.
If what you want is a small, lightweight stroller, why not go for the smallest one on the market? The gb Pockit Lightweight Stroller has been certified as the most compact stroller in the world by Guineness World Records. When folded, it is as small as a standard airline carry-on and is allowed in the overhead bins.
Obviously, the biggest draw of such a stroller is its size. However, the Pockit offers more than that. Despite its size, it accommodates children up to 55 pounds and it can still take on an extra 11 pounds of gear placed in the storage basket. It has an adjustable seat to grow as children do, and the paddled handle is ergonomic. It may not have the most features, but if space is your primary concern, there is no better choice.
For parents looking for a balance between features and space, a good alternative to the Pockit is the Mountain Buggy Nano Stroller. It folds easily in a tri-fold style and fits in the overhead bins of most airlines. It comes with a shoulder strap for easy carrying.
The most unusual feature of this stroller is that is it compatible with any infant car seat, making it ideal for use with newborns. However, its weight distribution is also notable, as it is designed so as to make it easier to hop curbs and other height obstacles. As a result, it is well-suited to traveling in cities that are not so accommodating to strollers and other wheeled objects.
This stroller from UPPAbaby isn’t the fanciest travel stroller on the market, but it is a solid choice, balancing quality with value. It is easy to fold, although it does require two hands, and it becomes quite compact. While not small enough for overhead storage, it can be gate checked.Its standout feature is its suspension, which is designed to absorb shock and make even rough strolls easier on your child. The aluminum frame makes it easy on the parent steering and it comes with an easy-to-operate brake. Throw in the height-adjustable canopy and 55 pound weight limit and you have a stroller that will take your through many years of travel.
While all the strollers on this list can work for those traveling by plane, this is the only one specifically designed for such travel. The Besrey Airplane Stroller folds and unfolds with just one hand, requiring little more than a single motion. Its fully rotating wheels make navigation easy, as does its single-hand steering.
Like a few other choices on our list, this stroller folds and is stored in overhead bins on airplanes. It comes with a carrying case to make transportation easier on you. And to ensure the safety and comfort of your child, it also has a five-point harness and a large sun canopy. If you travel by air, it is an excellent buy.
Finally, we have the Baby Trend Rocket Lightweight Stroller. This is one of the most affordable options on our list. While that is great for your pocketbook, it will come with some sacrifices.
The parent tray and cup holders are easily the highlight of this purchase, second only to the price. The stroller is solid and rolls well. However, the seat does not recline and the storage basket is quite small. If neither of these are a concern, however, this is an ideal budget stroller for travel.
The Right Choice for You
Now that you know what to look for in a travel stroller, as well as our top 10 picks, it is time for you to decide which is best for you. Make your purchase and then let us know what you think of it.