If your family is ready to travel again, it might also mean it’s time to upgrade your travel gear, from suitcases and carry-on luggage to neck pillows. But families with young kids are likely shopping for the best travel strollers to get them to the gate with ease.
Traveling with kids can be complicated. That’s why there’s that depressing family travel adage: It’s a ‘vacation’ when traveling without kids, but it’s a ‘trip’ with them. But traveling with children is also an incredible opportunity to make memories and introduce them to new experiences. There are many tools these days to help ease the complications of family travel, and item No. 1 is the modern, lightweight travel stroller.
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.
And remember that your travel stroller requirements will be different than what you need in an everyday stroller or more rugged jogging stroller. Check out the buying guide at the end of this article for more details, but in general, look for a lightweight stroller that folds down in a snap, possibly small enough to be carried onto the plane to avoid waiting upon arrival with a cranky, squirmy tot for gate-checked items.
“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.”
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.”
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.”