10 Critical Factors to Consider When Buying a Travel Stroller

10 Critical Factors to Consider When Buying a Travel Stroller

Whether you are a busy family on the go needing a travel stroller for short outings or preparing for your next big overseas trip, selecting the right stroller for your baby or toddler can be challenging. There are just too many options out there.

This guide will help you ask the right questions to find the stroller for your lifestyle and travel needs. Let’s start and look at the nine most essential factors to consider when looking for the right choice for your family!

#1 Size and weight:

You want something that's lightweight and easy to get around with but also sturdy enough to keep your little one secure and comfy.

Size is critical if you want to stow away your stroller into the overhead compartments on a plane. Only very few strollers match the airlines’ size criteria. Some of the most popular options in Australia are the BabyZen Yoyo2, the Redsbaby Skip 2 and the Bugaboo Butterfly.

As I was planning to take the stroller into the cabin while travelling, I bought the Redsbaby Skip2 when my son was about four months old and used it for many domestic trips and a European holiday. After a few flights, I noticed that only once were we allowed to take the stroller on board without having to check it in at the gate. Airlines want the overhead compartment space for hand luggage, not strollers.

Therefore, I didn’t pay too much attention to the folded size when buying my second stroller. I knew I wouldn’t be able to take it on board anyway. Many airlines offer good service by bringing the stroller to you upon exiting the plane (Jetstar is not included here. You have to collect your stroller together with your other checked-in luggage, so don't forget a baby carrier). Plus, checking in any sized pram or stroller is free with every airline (even with Jetstar). Just make sure that you bring a pram bag to the airport, so that your stroller doesn't get damaged while travelling from one destination to the next.

Another factor to consider is that smaller folding strollers often look less comfortable and feel flimsier. The manufacturers try to save weight and unnecessary materials when designing this stroller to make them as lightweight and compact as possible.

What balance is right for you is a very personal decision. Do you want as small and light as possible but are happy to compromise on some comfort and sturdiness (or the feeling of such), or do you want something with a bit more substance and comfort but are happy to handle a couple more kilos of weight?

#2 Manoeuvrability:

Make sure those wheels can handle various surfaces and tight spaces without making you feel like you're pushing a tank. Rule of thumb, the smaller the wheels, the trickier it becomes on soft or uneven terrain. If you’re planning to go off the beaten track, you might want to include that in your considerations (or use a carrier for these situations)!

 

#3 Foldability & Ease of Use:

Look for a stroller with a smooth fold-and-unfold mechanism. In an ideal world, you can do the whole process with one hand while carrying your little one with the other (but to be honest, I have not found a stroller that has mastered that quite yet).

The harness mechanism is another biggie for me. For example, the Maxi Cosy Lila requires you to use the top and bottom straps to close the front clasp. We rarely use shoulder straps for our son as it restricts him too much. We liked the stroller otherwise, but the harness made it unattractive for our needs.

#4 Durability:

You don't want something that will fall apart after a few uses or trips. Check the materials and build quality to ensure it can handle the road ahead. Customer reviews online are often an excellent resource for discovering quality issues with certain stroller parts.

#5 Safety features:

This is a big one! Look for a stroller with a harness, a solid frame with a wide base, a sun canopy, a safety bar and good brakes.

The harness should be easy to adjust and secure tightly. The canopy protects your child from the sun and other elements. Make sure the canopy is securely attached and can be adjusted to cover your child's head and face. If the built-in canopy doesn't provide enough shade, you can always use a sun protection awning.

Also, a stroller should have a wide base and a low centre of gravity to prevent tipping. Test the stroller by pushing it firmly from the back and sides to ensure it remains stable.

#6 Comfort:

Nobody wants an unhappy kiddo on a long trip. Check for a soft and cozy seat with different recline options and the opportunity to sit up fully. Some strollers don’t offer a full upright seating option. Even though I love the Redsbaby Skip 2, our first travel stroller, for many other reasons, our son could not fully sit up with the harness strapped on.

#7 Under-Seat Storage:

Make sure you have enough room for everything you need to carry - from diapers to snacks to sippy cups. When I was shopping for my second travel stroller, replacing our huge pram and our Redsbaby Skip2 with a new all-purpose stroller for our toddler, I was looking at the Babyzen Yoyo 2. When I checked it out, the quality convinced but the storage under the seat isn’t big and metal bars obstruct the access to the under-seat storage. That factor (together with the slightly more palatable price tag) ultimately led me to buy the Uppababy Minu stroller instead.

#8 Stroller Accessories:

Based on your preferences and needs, check out the list of accessories offered by the manufacturer or other brands. If buying from suppliers other than the original manufacturer, you likely save a lot of money but must ensure that the items you purchase are compatible with your stroller type. Who doesn’t love a nice coffee holder or stroller bag?

#9 Price:

All parents know that budget is key. Decide what you want to spend and find something that fits the bill. Facebook Marketplace is always a good option to see if you can find a used, high-quality stroller with a reasonable price tag.

#10 Customer Reviews:

You don't have to go in blind! Read up on customer reviews to hear what others love (or don't love) about the stroller you're eyeing.

 

In conclusion, finding the right stroller for your little one can seem challenging, especially if you need one suited to everyday activities and travel. I hope this blog has given you some new helpful guidance on what to consider when deciding what stroller is best for your family's needs. From size and weight to storage space and budget needs, ask yourself, “Does this meet our specific needs?” until you find the perfect match that fits your lifestyle and travel requirements.

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