These top-rated strollers will make your family trip safer and easier
One of our recommended travel strollers can help you enjoy a hassle-free vacation with children.
By Keith Flamer
Squirmy toddlers combined with clunky strollers can test your patience on vacation. And while you don’t get to choose your kids, you can score a handy travel stroller that helps you explore the open road stress-free.
Chances are, your daily stroller isn’t practical for travel. On vacation, you’ll want to roll light with a stroller that easily navigates all kinds of surfaces, whether it’s crowded Disney park paths, bumpy beach boardwalks, rugged national parklands, or city sidewalks. Depending on where you’re headed, the best stroller for travel can range from a 7-pound umbrella stroller to a 15-pound car seat carrier to a 23-pound double baby jogger (if you have multiple kiddos). Most can carry kids up to 50 pounds. But if you have an infant, you’ll need a car seat and a stroller that reclines for those inevitable naps.
When choosing a stroller, consider how you typically travel. Headed by plane to Disney World? An umbrella stroller might lighten your load. Visiting the beach or your big-city relatives? Pack a sturdy-wheel stroller (perhaps a lightweight jogger). Day tripping to SeaWorld? No problem—a travel system can help you cruise highways, dodge splashes, and rock-a-bye baby to sleep on the return trip. Travel systems feature a matching stroller, infant car seat, and car seat base. Models in our ratings include both a stroller performance score and a car seat performance score.
CR’s stroller ratings highlight the best (and worst) strollers, carriers, and travel systems for infants and toddlers. We rate them based on ease of use, maneuverability, and, of course, safety. We’ve tested strollers from almost 30 brands, including Chicco, Doona, Graco, Mountain Buggy, and Uppababy.
Below are a few top-rated strollers for your safe travels.
Traveling With an Infant
Graco Snugrider Elite
CR’s take: The Graco Snugrider Elite tosses a lifeline to parents who’d otherwise find themselves buckling and unbuckling a newborn into and out of seats all day. As our top-rated car seat carrier stroller, this model alleviates much of the baby-transfer hassle. Parents can just click the infant car seat onto the lightweight frame (14 pounds) and go, even if baby is sleeping. This stroller’s ease of use and safety are stellar, and it has very good maneuverability. There are some limitations, though: It lacks one-touch brakes and adjustable handles, and it doesn’t stand when folded. But it does meet Disney theme park requirements. Note that once your baby outgrows the infant car seat, you’ll need a new stroller.
Chicco KeyFit Caddy
CR’s take: One of our top-rated car seat carrier strollers, the lightweight Chicco KeyFit Caddy is compatible with two highly rated infant car seats: the Chicco KeyFit and the Chicco KeyFit 30. The seat clicks into the frame in the same way you attach a car seat to the base in your back seat. That means you can transfer a sleeping infant from car to stroller with ease. This stroller earns excellent ratings for safety and ease of use, and a very good rating for maneuverability, always a plus when you’re on the road.
Doona Car Seat & Stroller
CR’s take: The Doona Car Seat & Stroller is a one-of-a-kind hybrid cruiser, capable of transporting your infant from birth to 6 months old. Like a travel Transformer, this compact model converts from a car seat into a stroller. While traveling, just remove the car seat from the car, train, or airplane, then unfold the underside wheels, extend the adjustable handles, and you’re on your way. Our testers found it easy to use—small and light, with very good maneuverability. At 17 pounds and only 17 inches wide, it’s super-compact. One pedal operates both brakes, but the front swivel wheels don’t lock. Another drawback: It lacks trays and has no basket for that diaper bag. Once your baby outgrows the car seat, you’ll need a new stroller (so parents of larger babies may get less use from this model).
Traveling With a Toddler
CR’s take: The Britax B-Lively is a sturdy, maneuverable stroller with a very easy and self-standing compact fold. It’s travel-friendly—crafted from lightweight alloy with an all-wheel suspension, and capable of transporting infants and toddlers from 4 to 35 pounds. Top-rated in our tests, its performance is excellent, and it’s compatible with Britax infant car seats (adapters are included). It has a seatback storage pocket, but it lacks trays. Also, buckle slots and harness loops have weight requirements that are not labeled on the seat. Though this model showcases a handsome red-and-black design, the only currently available color is Eclipse Black.
Mountain Buggy Nano
CR’s take: The Nano is a great choice for travel. This compact, 13-pound stroller comes with its own carrying bag and fits in an overhead compartment for air travel. It’s compatible with car seats, too. There’s limited storage, but that might be a worth-it sacrifice for the convenience. One thing to note: The instruction manual is largely pictorial, and we found it a bit hard to decipher. We found instructional videos on Mountain Buggy’s website to be much clearer and more helpful.
Chicco Liteway Stroller
CR’s take: Every toddler parent could use a lightweight umbrella stroller. At just 18 pounds, the Chicco Liteway umbrella stroller is compact and simple to use, and it folds and unfolds easily. It’s responsive and sturdy, and it maneuvers well for its small size, even on rough terrain. Unfortunately, the basket access is limited with the seat reclined, and our diaper bag did not fit completely in the basket. The harness also requires some rethreading to adjust. However, the stroller earns a top score for safety.
Traveling With an Infant, Then a Toddler
Chicco Bravo Trio
CR’s take: The Chicco Bravo Trio transports newborns, infants, or toddlers. It’s one of only two travel systems to earn top ratings for stroller and car seat performance. The Chicco Bravo stroller weighs 23 pounds, is easy to use, is fairly easy to maneuver, and garners an excellent rating in our safety tests. The included Chicco KeyFit30 car seat earns excellent ratings across the board. It’s one of the easiest to install using a vehicle’s LATCH system or its safety belts, increasing your odds of getting a secure fit. Like all the car seats highlighted here, it earns a Better designation for crash protection (that means it provides added safety beyond models that score Basic but less than those scoring Best). The car seat maxes out when your child reaches 30 pounds or 30 inches tall.
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