Other Travel Strollers We Tried
- Colugo The Compact Stroller: This $295 compact stroller is super easy to carry for long periods of time thanks to the comfortable padded strap. It fits nicely in an overhead bin, and it isn’t difficult to fold up, either. It has multiple recline options with an adjustable footrest, which is great for napping on the go. It also comes with a backpack storage bag, so once folded, you can put the stroller in the bag and carry it like a backpack, which makes for an incredibly portable experience. However, the latch system on the stroller is challenging and cumbersome, and we found that it got increasingly more annoying the more we tested it.
- Bugaboo Dragonfly Seat Stroller: During our testing, we found that this $900 stroller maneuvered nicely over carpet and hardwood but was really bumping when pushing it over gravel. Ultimately, we found that it was particularly difficult to fold. The process was complicated and cumbersome, and it didn’t make for an easy experience when traveling with little kids. It doesn’t fold one-handed, and it requires multiple steps — like adjusting the seat back, folding the footrest, pushing the handlebar and a slider button down — all before it can fold up successfully. It also comes at a really expensive price point, so we didn’t find it to be a great value for the money.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Travel Stroller
Size and Weight
Since travel strollers are designed to be compact and portable, size and weight are two of the biggest factors to consider when shopping. “Portability is the first thing I would look for when shopping,” said Huff. “Being able to pack up strollers into a small, manageable package is the main reason parents opt for fewer features than a standard stroller,” she added. Before investing in one, consider what type of travel you’ll partake in most often. Will you be traveling by plane? Make sure your travel stroller will fit in an overhead bin. If you plan to stow it in an overhead bin, it should be light enough to lift above your head. At just over 13 pounds, the Joolz Aer+ Lightweight Stroller, our best overall pick, is easy to store in an overhead bin. “Travel strollers should be light, easy to maneuver, and easy to fold,” added Huff.”
In addition to the size of the stroller, you will also need to examine the size of the seat itself — a child under one year of age may be fine in an 8-inch seat, but an older child may need more room. Different strollers can accommodate different maximum child weights, so consider your child’s weight and how many years you want to get out of your travel stroller before investing in one.
Traveling with a child means doing a lot of things on the go, including napping. If naptime is capable of making or breaking your entire day, you’ll want to invest in a travel stroller that is comfortable enough for your child to nap in. A deep recline, calf rest, and padded seats will make children more comfortable and, therefore, more likely to fall asleep in the stroller, no matter where you are.
“When you’re traveling, you often have a million things to carry, kids on one arm, and 10 seconds to get everyone seated and situated,” said Huff, which means having a dedicated parent storage area can be extremely helpful. Huff says that having a storage area for snacks, parent items, and other necessities like diapers or water bottles can make traveling with a toddler or infant considerably easier. The Nuna TRVL Lightweight Stroller, our splurge pick, has a convenient, roomy basket under the seat. Freeing up your hands is essential while traveling through an airport or train station, so other features like a cup holder or removable snack tray are helpful as well.
Ease of Folding
Especially if you’re the only adult traveling with your kid, an easy, one-handed fold will make your life a lot easier. Though standard strollers are easy enough to fold with two hands, many of them have buttons and latches that help keep the stroller compact while folded. If you’ve got a million things in your hands and you’re chasing down a wild toddler, a one-handed fold, like our best for air travel pick, Zoe The Traveler, can make all the difference. “The last thing you want to worry about is getting a bulky and complicated stroller to close or disassemble,” said Huff. Before selecting the best travel stroller for you, consider how easy it is to open and fold and whether or not that process can be done one-handed.
How We Tested Travel Strollers
In search of the best travel strollers available, our team at PEOPLE Tested tried out 19 of the leading models to determine which ones were the easiest to use. Our testers used weighted sandbag “kids” of various sizes to see how the stroller was to push over hardwood floor, tile, carpet, grass, and gravel, as well as through a mini obstacle course. We buckled in the sandbag “kids” multiple times to evaluate the mechanisms in the buckle, then took them out and practiced folding and unfolding each stroller at least four times.
While folded, we carried the stroller around to assess how heavy or lightweight it felt and how comfortable any included straps or handles felt on our shoulders and wrists. We then put each stroller on a baker’s rack designed to simulate an airplane’s overhead bin, both to see how easy it was to lift each stroller over our heads and to see if it fit.
Lastly, we dropped the stroller from waist height and pushed it off a table to test its durability. We then examined and recorded any damage done to the strollers during our durability testing. We rated each stroller based on its features and performance, and the top-scoring travel strollers made this list.
Why Trust PEOPLE?
This article was originally written by Sara Gaynes Levy and later updated by Laura Denby. Laura is a food, home, and lifestyle writer who specializes in creating thorough and analytical product reviews to help shoppers make more informed purchasing decisions. She is also a mom who travels often. Her work has appeared in leading food and lifestyle publications like PEOPLE, Food & Wine, Real Simple, Martha Stewart Living, Verywell Family, Southern Living, and more.
For this piece, she thoroughly researched and reviewed each travel stroller and the insights provided by the PEOPLE Tested team. We also consulted Sarah Huff, Senior Manager of Customer and Community at BabyQuip, a baby gear rental company, for insight into selecting the best travel strollers.
What Is PEOPLE Tested?
We created the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval to help you find the very best products for your life. We use our unique methodology to test products in three labs across the country and with our network of home testers to determine their effectiveness, durability, ease of use, and so much more. Based on the results, we rate and recommend products so you can find the right one for your needs.
But we don’t stop there: We also regularly re-review the categories in which we’ve awarded the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval — because the best product of today might not be the best of tomorrow. And by the way, companies can never buy our recommendation: Their products must earn it, fair and square.
In short, PEOPLE Tested provides recommendations you can trust — every day, every purchase.