There’s the destination, there are the dates, there’s choosing where you’re going to stay and what you’re going to do. But parents of small kids have to make another big travel decision: What stroller to bring.
Your choice of stroller might not quite make our break your vacation, but it can make it more or less stressful. Struggling to fold a stroller in the rain, getting stuck on cobblestone streets or finding your kids’ ride won’t fit into the trunk of your rental car are generally not happy travel moments.
Choosing can be tough, with all the options out there, from no-frills umbrella models to luxury prams. But a few strollers consistently float to the top. We consulted parents who push them for the kind of insight you’d get from a (well-traveled) friend.
The Posh One: Babyzen YOYO+ Travel Stroller
Pros: Created by a team of French engineers and designers, the Yoyo was built to go from city street to airport runway. It weighs just 13 pounds, the narrow frame fits down airplane aisles, and each wheel has its own suspension for a smooth ride on the bumpiest of surfaces. Other strollers claim to be easy to fold, but the aptly-named Yoyo can be single-handedly flicked open or collapsed small enough to fit in an overhead bin or compact carrying case.
Cons: The Ferrari of travel strollers doesn’t come cheap. It also has skimpy under-carriage space.
Expert Opinion: “Anything that makes you feel less frumpy as a parent and requires zero time is always welcome,” says Stirling Kelso, an Austin-based travel writer who has toted it around the world with her two kids. “And my kids have always been comfortable in it for short stints and long hauls.”
The Rugged One: UPPABaby Minu
Pros: The Minu is one of UPPABaby’s more compact options, but doesn’t skimp on comfort. The large canopy provides privacy and shade, there’s all-wheel suspension for a smooth ride, and the storage area beneath the seat is easy to reach and roomy enough for a diaper bag—and more. You can fold the Minu down with one hand and the nap-friendly seat reclines almost totally flat. It looks good, too.
Cons: The UPPABaby Minu is bigger than the Babyzen YOYO—you won’t be pushing it down an airplane aisle. When the canopy is folded there’s a lot of loose fabric that flops around, so if you’re checking it, you might want to pack it into a bag.
Expert Opinion: When my kids were three months to three years old, this was our go-to stroller at home as well as on all of our travels. (Yes, it’s me, Terry—the one who wrote this article.) It’s been everywhere from Legoland to Finnish Lapland—and the bumpy alleys of Fes, Morocco, too.
The All-in-One: Doona Car Seat and Stroller
Pros: You don’t have to carry a separate car seat and stroller—or even a car seat and click-in frame. Doona’s infant stroller actually folds down into a car seat that locks in with a regular seat belt.
Cons: At almost 17 pounds, it weighs a little more than our other options—and certainly more than regular car seats. There are no built-in storage areas or compartments, though accessory bags are available. It’s also the most expensive option on the list, and only works for babies up to 32 inches long.
Expert Opinion: “The fact that it isn’t bulky made travel so much easier,” said Tampa-based Kelly Starkey, who used the Doona to explore the U.S. when her child was under 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 Tiny One: gb Pockit
Pros: The Pockit is literally the world’s smallest folding stroller, according to Guinness World Records. Clocking in a t just under 10 pounds, when collapsed it can fit under a plane seat or into a large handbag. You can lock the front wheels or unlock them to push swivel-style.
Cons: Some users have complained that it isn’t durable, and the small wheels can make for a rough ride if you’re not on a smooth surface.
Expert Opinion: “It’s so small and unobtrusive,” said Kat Steely, a Tampa-based parent of one. “I really enjoy how easy it is to open and close the Pockit, especially when doing it one-handed, whether you’re trying to put it in the trunk of your car or check it at the gate of a busy, boarding plane.”
The Practical One: Mountain Buggy Nano
Pros: The Nano is an all-around solid choice: compact and sturdy, with good maneuverability, a recline feature and an adjustable leg rest. It’s in the middle of the weight range. It’s also more affordable than almost any other option on this list.
Cons: The stroller’s canopy is small and hard to pull out all the way.
Expert Opinion: “I like how small it is when it folds down,” said Amanda Coen, a parent of two in Boston who took it all over the U.S. and New Zealand, even pushing it over gravel and grass. “The stroller’s fabric is very easy to clean, so you can keep it looking new.”