One of the questions that I receive more often, from readers who love to travel with kids, is a recommendation for the best stroller for travel.
Picking the best lightweight stroller for your first family trip is almost a rite of passage for travelling families and it is a harder task than it may seem: the market is full of travel strollers, all flaunting different characteristics and advantages. But how to choose the best one, with all these options?
What should you look for, when purchasing a compact stroller for travel, how much does a travel stroller cost and what are the best brands for lightweight strollers for travel?
Strollers have been our faithful companion on many trips. From our very first gateway as a family with Quinny, when Mr M was only 8 weeks old, to our first transatlantic adventure with MacLaren Quest, we have worked our strollers very hard. They have come with us to beaches, cities and archaeological sites and of course have traveled with us on planes.
If you are looking for the best travel stroller to keep your little one comfortable and your back safe, this is our roundup of the best lightweight strollers for travel and everyday use.
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Do you need a lightweight stroller for travel?
As it is the case for many other family travel items, the answer to this question is: it depends. When I had my first child, I spent ages looking for the best stroller to buy and was under the impression I would be able to buy just one stroller and use it until my kids were old enough to walk without complaining too much.
After all, this is what I kept hearing from my parents: memories about my stroller (singular), cot (singular as well) and even my pacifier (!). So, surely one would be more than adequate. Right?
An inordinate amount of pacifiers later and more strollers that I am comfortable admitting to own, I realized a good stroller for a baby is often not the same thing as a good stroller for a toddler and even a good stroller may not work well when travelling.
A good lightweight travel stroller must have some very specific characteristics and your baby travel system is unlikely to be the best travel stroller, especially for flying.
Should your everyday stroller be heavy, fiddly or hard to carry, I believe a lightweight stroller for travel will be worth investing in.
Best lightweight strollers for travel top picks 2019
What makes the best travel stroller?
Strollers recommended for travel are usually referred to as either lightweight stroller or umbrella strollers. The two terms are not identical (umbrella strollers are usually less feature rich) but for the purpose of this post similar enough for me to bundle them up together.
When looking for the most convenient stroller for travel, take into account.
How heavy is it? Make sure the travel stroller is lightweight enough that you can easily lift it when needed (security checks, stairs etc)
A travel stroller needs to be able for cobbled streets and long days out. The quality of the wheels is among the most important things to check as spare parts may be hard to find away from home
Especially for babies and young toddlers, this is an important feature for comfortable naps and dinners out.
With a large enough basket
lightweight strollers don’t often come with large baskets but there is quite a variety out there and it is worth checking especially if, like me, you consider the stroller and extension of your bag
Easy to fold
This is exceptionally important when passing security in airports (read our guide to flying with kids here). Fighting against a non cooperative strollers, while your toddlers runs across the security checks without you and an angry line of passengers stare at you, it’s a stress you can sure do without!
Large canopy / proper rain protection accessory
To protect from the sun/rain during long days sightseeing
Ideally 5 point so you know your child is secure no matter what
Many travel strollers compromise the quality of the seat padding in an effort to keep the size small and this can quickly become a problem as your child is likely to find them too hard to sleep or properly relax. keep your child comfort in min when evaluating the material of the seat: the best travel stroller, in my book, has a comfortable seat made of breathable fabric
Lightweight Travel Stroller Airline Policy
Airlines don’t have consistent policies when it comes to strollers. In the vast majority of cases and unless otherwise stated, strollers are not allowed passed the boarding gate: they will be able to pass security with them and get to your gate but they will then be taken for check in and returned to you either outside the aircraft or at luggage reclaim (this depends on the airport, not the airline).
You can get an overview of airline stroller policies here but always check with your airline as rules and allowances change often.
If planning on bringing your stroller on a plane, make sure yo protect it: find here a selection of gate check bags to keep them safe
Best travel strollers 2019
These are our top pick for lightweight strollers in 2019.
GB Pocking lightweight travel stroller
GB Pocket is the world’s smallest foldong stroller and as such is excellent for travel as it means you can carry it easily pretty much no matter where you are going.
It has a two-step folding design, folds down to 11.8” x 7” x 13.8” and has a weight of 9.5 pounds. Despite its size, it is a strong and durable stroller built with good materials. A generous storage basket makes it perfect for days out and extended family travels.
According to manufactures’ specs, the GB Pock-it:
- is suitable for a child from 6 months up to 55 pounds
- has a generous basket to hold all your essentials
- Stows away easily in any plane overhead bin
- Has a secure, adjustable harness system
- Works with one-hand pushing and steering
- has sliding back panel with adjustable torso length, lockable front swivel wheels, overhead canopy, rear wheel parking brake and padded handlebars
Best travel stroller for durability: Maclaren quest
As mentioned above, this was our lightweight travel stroller of choice and we loved it for versatility, sturdiness and ability to operate both as a travel stroller and a light pushchair from home.
An excellent lightweight stroller in terms of comfort and features, our kids used it from baby age to toddler years. This has been our go-to stroller for all our trips and quickly became an everyday favourite at home too. We recommend it as the best travel stroller in the mid-budget range.
Maclaren quest main selling points are:
- Easy to fold and with a generous basket and large canopy.
- Sturdy wheels
- Suitable for newborns and children up to 55lbs
- Basic weight of 5.7kg / 12.6lb
- Fully recline multi-position seat
- Extendable waterproof + sun canopy and built-in sun visor
- Good size hood and shopping basket
- Lockable front swivel wheels
I discovered the Uppababy G-luxe stroller thanks to a friend who raved about it. Light and very easy to fold, it has the added advantage of standing on its own when folded, which I find handy in restaurants and hotels.
Parents particularly love its large seat and easy recline option.
- For children 3 months to 55lbs.
- 5-point harness, 3 recline positions, adjustable footrest
- Lightweight aluminum frame, 1-step brake, lockable front wheels
- Easy to clean removable seat pad
- Sun canopy
- Hand-level folding triggers, Stands when folded
- 5-point harness
- Large, easy-access basket
Lightweight travel stroller: Mountain Buggy Nano
This stroller comes up regularly in family travel forum as a recommended option often compared with the city mini select (below). The main selling points for the Mountain Buggy Nano are its exceptional lightweight and the fact that is it so compact it is easy to transport when travelling.
- Car seat ready, something most travel strollers don’t offer
- Compact size and fold that meets current regulations for airline carry-on luggage
- Shoulder carry strap.
- Multi point safety harness
- Good size seat despite the compact size when folded
- Good size sun canopy
- 2 step folding system
- Need to know: some parents find the folding system hard to learn at first. Others complained of heavy duty velcro straps catching on clothes
Best travel stroller for city travel: Baby Jogger City Mini
Travelling parents forums buzz with the name ‘baby jogger city mini‘.
It always comes up as the best travel stroller of all especially for its small size when folded which makes it handy on planes and road trips: if fits nicely even in a smaller car. Often compared with the nano above, these are its main characteristics. Please note that despite the name this stroller is not intended for jogging!
It is marketed for city parents and urban travel.
- Suitable from birth
- Exceptionally easy to fold
- Reclines fully
- Large canopy with pick-a-boo windows
- Great front-wheel suspension
- The foot muff is machine washable
- Need to know: some parents find it unstable when used as a base for car seat (attachments sold separately)
Best lightweight stroller for plane travel: BabyZen Yoyo
Baby Zen Yoyo caught the attention of travelling parents as one of the first (possible the first!) stroller to fit in the plane overhead bins. It gets exceptional reviews especially for city travel since the wheels hold very well on cobble streets, something that our travels to Rome have often shown as quite a test for lightweight strollers!
- Fits current airline regulations for carry on luggage
- Suitable from 6 months
- Large basket
- Includes: Chassis, Carrying strap, Rain cover, Under-seat storage basket, Travel bag, and Color pack
Summer infant 3D lite convenience stroller
The Summer Infant 3D lite is a good value for money options parents love for its compact size and lightweight, which make it handy for everyday errands and car journeys in particular. This is the best travel stroller if you don’t want to blow the budget.
- Aluminum frame (13 pounds) with large seat area
- 4 position recline with 5 point safety harness
- Anti-shock front wheels
- Adjustable and removable canopy with flip out sun visor
- Storage basket and rear storage pocket
- Compact fold, it comes with a shoulder strap for easy carrying
- Need to know: parents often notice the buggy will tilt when empty if you have a heave bag attached to the handles.
I hope you enjoyed our overview about lightweight strollers for travel and it helped you pick the best travel stroller for travel. Safe family travel!
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This post was originally published in 2017 and has now been fully updated.