Feeling overwhelmed? Exhausted? Wondering how you’ll get through this difficult part of parenthood?
We feel you: It’s tough to choose a travel stroller.
Should you bring one that fits easily into an overhead compartment or one with big wheels that can tackle bumpy streets? Is it worth paying up for a fancy model, or is a cheaper stroller the way to go? And how to choose among all the different brands and models, all claiming to be the best?
Some of the answers come down to budget and personal preference, but there are strollers that are notably better than others for traveling. We talked to globetrotting parents to recommend the very best for 2021. The list includes old favorites as well as models you may not have considered yet, and is ranked from most expensive to least expensive.
The Car-Friendly One: Doona Car Seat & Stroller
Pros: This stroller eliminates the need to carry a separate car seat or a two-piece stroller. Doona’s model completely folds down into a rear-facing infant car seat that can be secured with a regular seat belt.
Cons: The Doona weighs almost 17 pounds, a bit more than other options. it also doesn’t have any built-in storage, though you can add on an accessory bag. It’s only suitable for babies up to 32 inches long or 35 pounds, and is a bit of an investment.
Expert Opinion: Tampa-based Kelly Starkey used the Doona to explore the U.S. when her child was less a year old. “I loved how easily it converts from car seat to stroller and the ability to use it in a rental or a relative’s car.”
The Jet-Setting One: Babyzen Yoyo2
Pros: The Yoyo was created several years ago by a group of French engineers and designers—and it shows. The newest model, the Yoyo2, has faux-leather touches on the handle and an easier-to-use harness. It also now handles kids up to 40 pounds. Frequent flyers love that it clocks in at under 14 pounds, fits down airplane aisles and through turnstiles, and smoothly collapses to fit into a tote bag or airplane’s overhead bin.
Cons: The Ferrari of travel strollers doesn’t come cheap. It also has limited under-carriage space.
Expert Opinion: Austin-based travel writer Stirling Kelso is a fan—used her Yoyo around the world with her two kids. “Anything that makes you feel less frumpy as a parent and requires zero time is always welcome,” she says.
The Home-and-Travel One: UPPAbaby MINU
Pros: The Minu is one of UPPABaby’s more compact options, but manages to fit in lots of features. The large canopy is great for sunny destinations, and the seat folds almost flat for naps-on-the-go. The all-wheel suspension ensures as smooth a ride as possible on bumpy sidewalks, and the stroller can be folded down with one hand. The Minu is a great everyday and travel stroller in one.
Cons: The UPPABaby Minu is larger than the Babyzen Yoyo2. It won’t fit down an airplane aisle, and though it folds up pretty small—11” x 20” x 23”—it will have to be gate-checked on most airlines. A travel bag is recommended to avoid rips to the fabric.
Expert Opinion: When my kids were three months to three years old, this was our go-to stroller at home, as well as on travels. (Yes, it’s me, Terry—the one who wrote this article.) It’s been everywhere from Legoland to Finnish Lapland—and some bumpy alleys in Morocco, too.
The High-Style One: Silver Cross Jet
Pros: This super-compact stroller may be relatively new, but the brand is not—British maker Silver Cross was founded by the man who invented the baby carriage. The Jet is a real looker, with its matte frame and tailored seat. It can be used from birth (with car seat adapters) through 55 pounds, weighs under 14 pounds, and folds down with one hand to the size of a very small rollaboard. A travel bag is (very sensibly) included instead of being an extra. We really love the toddler bar, which can be used as a handle for pulling the stroller luggage-style behind you when there’s no baby aboard.
Cons: The sunshade is on the smaller side.
Expert Opinion: “My Silver Cross Jet saved me a lot of headache while traveling in the airport and out and about which is already stressful with two kiddos,” says Michelle Marcinowski of @fiftytwothursdays. “It’s compact and lightweight yet durable.”
The Reversible One: Bugaboo Ant
Pros: For little passengers who can’t decide if they want to face you or face the world, the Bugaboo Ant offers a solution: Its reversible seat adjusts from back- to front-facing with a single motion. We love how flat and compact this one folds down (with lots of room to spare in an overhead bin). And the extra suspension and shock absorbers make for a super smooth ride. Another perk—when folded, you can pull it by the handle and roll the stroller along on its wheels.
Cons: The stroller’s canopy is on the skimpy side
Expert opinion: “The design of the stroller is amazing. It looks sleek and compact and I love that it rolls when folded,” said a California reviewer.
The Comfy One: Ergobaby Metro+
Pros: The brand behind one of our favorite baby carriers created this certified ergonomic stroller that can easily be carried aboard planes and stashed away in your car for at-home use. The Ergobaby Metro+ has extra-comfy seat padding and reclines nearly flat to induce sleep. A perk for parents is the extendable/adjustable handle that is easy to tweak for the height of whoever is pushing.
Cons: At 15 pounds, it’s not the lightest stroller out there.
Expert Opinion: “It looks and feels bigger than it actually is,” says one well-traveled mom. “We fit it in overhead compartments on most flights!
The Tiny One: gb Pockit
Pros: Guinness World Records has declared the Pockit is the world’s smallest folding stroller. At 12 pounds, it’s the lightest one on our list, and folds up small enough to fit under an airplane seat or into a large handbag—which means you don’t have to spend time checking it in for a flight. The front wheels can be locked forward or left to swivel.
Cons: It’s not the most durable option. The seat doesn’t recline.
Expert Opinion: Kat Steely, a Tampa-based parent of one, likes that the Pockit is “so small and unobtrusive.” She also finds it easy to open and close, which is a plus when you’re in transit.
The Budget-Friendly One: Contours Bitsy Elite Stroller
Pros: The Contours Bitsy Elite Stroller is a solid option at an attractive price point. It pops open in a flash and secures in its folded position just as easily, with no latch needed to stand up on its own and stay put gateside. The high handlebars are great for taller parents. The extra extendable canopy provides an impressive amount of protection from the elements.
Cons: Lacks a mesh pocket or other spot to stash your phone within reach.
Expert Opinion: Tal Ditye from Mommyhood101 likes the Bitsy’s blend of form and function. “The Bitsy doesn’t compromise style in achieving a lightweight and easily maneuverable stroller,” she says. “Perfect for the jet-setting family who wants to save some cash for lattes and gelato while still looking great!”