The best travel strollers are lightweight and compact enough to squeeze into an overhead bin with your carry-on luggage. These strollers help families roll up to the gate (and sometimes right onto the plane) with fewer complications.
I spoke with parents and parenting experts to find the best travel strollers depending on your needs, from the most compact travel strollers to travel stroller systems that take infants from the car seat through security and into their airplane seat with the least amount of fuss.
“Even when you travel with another adult who can help, traveling [with children] always feels hectic,” says Chelsea Stivers, mom, postpartum and motherhood expert and founder of The Balance After Baby. She opts to travel with a travel stroller because, as she says: “I need something lightweight that can fold up in one or two quick motions. You don’t realize how often you have to do this when traveling, but it’s a lifesaver.”
In general, you’ll want a lighter, more compact stroller than your everyday wheels or more rugged jogging stroller. Read more about how to select the best travel strollers in our buying guide at the end of this article.
Best Travel Stroller Overall
The Most Lightweight And Compact Of Them All
Best Compact Travel Stroller
Most Likely To Fit In The Overhead Bin
Best Budget Travel Stroller
Cost-Efficient And Easy To Use
Best Travel System Stroller
A Compact Stroller That Works From Infancy to Preschool
Best Toddler Travel Stroller
Lightweight But Sturdy Enough For Big Kids
Best Lightweight Travel Stroller
Umbrella Travel Stroller With An Extendable Canopy
Best Double Travel Stroller
Lighter Than It Looks And Able To Stroll Two Kids
How To Choose The Best Travel Stroller For You
Katie Long, director of strategy at The Mom Complex and mom of two under 5 (the equivalent of a parental PhD), explains that when it comes to purchasing a travel stroller, there are several key factors to keep in mind: “Look for one that packs down really small. Can it go in another bag or be worn by a strap? This is crucial for when a child needs to be carried. Parents often need both hands.”
What Are The Top Travel Stroller Features?
Long says it’s especially helpful if the travel stroller fits in the overhead compartment to ease the transition from airport to airplane and back again. A travel stroller that reclines is a boon for kids who might just nap on the go.
Stivers recommends a travel stroller with storage space underneath. “It’s always a huge plus to not have to have a diaper bag or carry-on strapped to you constantly,” she says. “It’s worth the investment, and your back will thank you later.”
Do Travel Strollers Work Well Enough For Daily Use?
Yes and no. While most travel strollers are optimal for travel, which means not everyday use, there are a few (like the Nuna TRVL) that work for errands and daily use. For the most part, however, the allure of travel strollers is that they’re lightweight and compact, which doesn’t always suit parents’ needs on a daily basis.
Frequently Asked Questions On Stroller Travel
How Do You Go Through TSA With A Stroller?
Per the TSA’s rules: You should place your carry-on items, as well as your child’s items, on the X-ray belt to be screened. Your stroller, travel system, baby carrier, booster and car seats must go through the X-ray machine, too. If you can place it on the belt, great, but if not, they will direct you to stroll through with it. Place any items from your stroller onto the X-ray belt to avoid complications.
You’ll also need to remove your child from the stroller and carry them through the walk-through X-ray machine, so be sure to prepare for that. Some airports will allow parents and young children through a separate machine.
Are Strollers A Carry-On Item?
Many travel strollers are carry-on approved but are not classified as your carry-on, which means you can still bring your diaper bag. Before planning your trip, check with your airline to ensure your travel stroller is carry-on approved.
Can You Check Strollers For Free?
Again, ask the airline that your family is flying, but for the most part, airlines recognize children’s strollers and car seats as essential and not part of the standard baggage fees, so you are often able to check these child travel items for free at the gate, ticket counter or curbside. Some strollers outlined above are even small enough to stroll right onto the plane.