Until you have kids, it’s impossible to imagine that deciding which stroller to purchase could come with as much hemming and hawing as shopping for a car. And when you factor in the need for a stroller that travels well — be it in the airport, on a train, pushing through Manhattan crowds or over those cobbled streets in a quaint European village — there are even more things to consider.
Sign-up for the TPG daily newsletter to get points and miles coverage like this delivered to your inbox!
Is the stroller easy to fold and unfold when you’ve got a feisty toddler to contend with at a busy airport departure gate at the same time? Is there ample storage space and easy access for your diaper bag? Is it lightweight enough to qualify for gate check with the airlines (check out 20 airline stroller policies around the world)? Does it have lots of dangling bits and bobs that will make it more likely to break in transit? Those questions and many more came into play when we researched the best strollers for families that travel around the world. Read on for our top picks.
It debuted a few years back now, but the UPPAbaby Minu (about $400) continues to rise to the top of the travel stroller pack thanks to its ease of opening and fold-down, compact design and all-around simplicity of operation. I’ve pushed my kids in this thing everywhere from the uneven, dusty streets of Cuba, where their grandmother lives, to my local Florida supermarket (it’s become my go-to for errands and outings at home, and fits easily in the overhead bin of most airplanes, too).
There are so many things to like about this stroller, which weighs just under 15 pounds and has multi-position recline so you can situate your little rider just so. With just a single swift motion using one hand, you can pop it open or break it down. And the storage area under the seat is easy to access and can fit a backpack packed to the brim with kids’ stuff. The UPF 50-plus sunshade has a section that gives it extra extension, lending sun protection on a walk or if you want to nap your kid at the beach. And the magnetic closures on the peek-a-boo window let you peek at a sleeping kid without making a scratchy Velcro-induced sound.
Do note that without the bassinet add-on or infant car seat adapter, the MINU doesn’t accommodate most newborns and is suitable for babies from 14 pounds (roughly 3 months old) to 50 pounds only.
Setting a new standard in luxury travel strollers, the Silver Cross Jet (about $350) might be just the super-compact travel stroller you’re looking for. It’s cabin-approved for most airlines and fits neatly in the overhead bin. Weighing just under 14 pounds, it has a handy feature that, once folded down, lets you pull it along behind you like a piece of luggage through the airport or any time your child wants to walk or is in a carrier.
Suitable from birth (with car seat adapters), the newest version of the stroller, which launched in 2021, is approved for kids up to 55 pounds, so you can get a lot of years out of this one. The handle you use to pull the stroller behind you when folded down doubles as a toddler bar when it’s in use, adding an extra layer of safety there. This is a particularly easy stroller to push along uneven street surfaces, too, with wide front wheels that improve suspension and make for a comfortable ride for babies on board.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen this stroller out and about and marveled at just how tiny it is. And when you see it in action, the Doona Infant Car Seat Stroller (about $500) looks like one of those transformer toys. Talk about a game-changer when you’re traveling with an infant. It has an ingenious design with wheels that can be easily tucked away to let you transform the stroller into a car seat with the push of a button, the pull of a lever and an easy closing motion. It takes a few tries to get used to the knack of switching between modes, but once you have it down, it couldn’t be easier to go from pushing your baby on the street to hopping in a cab and having him or her securely strapped into the stroller.
The stroller weighs around 16 pounds and the car seat portion can be used with a base or alone with the car’s seat belt. Note that while the company claims babies up to 35 pounds and 32 inches in length can be accommodated, when your baby reaches those limits, it might be a tight squeeze. Also, the sunshade could be more ample (but you can buy an extension to fix that).
Chicco did away with its umbrella stroller offerings in favor of this ideal-for-travel entry in the compact stroller category. A handle hidden away under the stroller’s seat cushion lets you fold down the Chicco Mini Bravo Plus (about $180) with one hand. The fact that the stroller can stand on its own in the folded position makes it that much easier to just leave at the gate and go. The stroller weighs in at 19.6 pounds, so it’s not the lightest. But it’s sturdy and the stroller to take along if you don’t want to worry if it gets a few bumps and scratches in transit.
The user-friendly recline knob (no pesky ties to pull) lets you lean your baby back with ease in three different positions, including a nearly lie-flat angle. This stroller also has one of the biggest and most easily accessible under-seat storage areas, so you can tote a lot of things along with you.
One of the more affordable of the luxe Baby Jogger offerings, the City Tour 2 stroller (about $230) weighs 14 pounds and can be folded up and stashed in an overhead bin if you choose. Accessing your diaper bag and other carry-ons on the go is easy thanks to a wide-open basket under the seat that’s extra roomy and a cinch to reach into. The backpack-style carrying bag that comes with the stroller makes it a breeze to fold up and carry along when your baby prefers to ride on you. And other highlights include the UPF-plus extendable sunshade to keep your baby protected from punishing rays when you’re off, say, touring Athens in the summer. Did we mention the comfy, padded seat that reclines nearly to flat to help induce naps and the adjustable calf support to help bring on the sleep as you roll along?
Looking for a different jogging stroller? TPG contributor Jill Krause says the Joovy Zoom 360 Ultralight Jogging Stroller is a best bet.
Leave it to the French to dream up such a petite and pretty stroller. If ever travel stroller-envy was a thing, the Babyzen YOYO² (about $500) is the one that induces it.
This super tiny stroller folds down into a tidy little package that can be stashed in an overhead bin or under a restaurant table with ease. And it’s so narrow, you can even roll it down an airplane aisle right to your seat (a particularly handy feature if you’re traveling alone with two kids, and wearing one in a carrier on your body).
The stroller weighs around 13 pounds yet has luxe amenities like tires with four-wheel suspension, a soft faux-leather handle and a lightweight aluminum frame that’s surprisingly sturdy.
The under-the-seat basket is easy to access and can hold up to 11 pounds of extra gear. There’s a padded carrying strap, too, for when you need to fold up the stroller and tote it in a cramped attraction or a place where strollers aren’t allowed.
A stroller that made the Guinness Book of World Records for being the most compact on the planet is certainly deserving of a traveler’s attention. The sleek gb Pockit Stroller (about $180) weighs under 12 pounds but can accommodate kids up to 55 pounds — and with an additional 11 pounds of baby gear stowed in the under-the-seat basket, too.
Watch the flight attendants be wowed when you roll this thing down the airplane aisle with plenty of room to spare and proceed to fold it up and stash it under your seat in two easy steps and with seconds. A tiny but mighty marvel, indeed.
For affordability, durability and compact size, you get the trifecta in the Zoe Traveler Stroller ($159), made from high-grade aluminum to keep things extra light at just 11 pounds. With a single hand, you can fold and unfold The Traveler and stash it into the overhead bin of an airplane. It fits easily into a backpack, too, to tote on the go, and can even be carried as a backpack on its own, too. Features that make this stroller a solid nap-inducing pick include the full recline, adjustable footrest and expandable canopy with UPF 50+ lining. And while the wheels are a bit on the small side, you’ll be surprised how easily they roll over uneven and cobblestone streets on the go.
Relatively new to the baby gear market, the Colugo brand has a steady contender in the travel stroller niche in the Colugo Compact ($285). It feels quite similar to the UPPAbaby Minu in a lot of ways— with a full seat recline, easy and ample storage and no-puncture tires—albeit at a friendlier price point. The stroller weighs 16 pounds and can accommodate kids up to 55 pounds. As a bonus, a rain cover and backpack that are perfect for travel are included.
Featured image by Alija/Getty Images