Travel can be stressful. Add in a child (or multiple!), and it can be even more stressful! That’s where we want to help! There are many products that can make traveling easier, more enjoyable, and less stressful. Let's take a look at car seats, travel bags, travel strollers and their accessories, and playards or travel cribs!
Check out our video of the top must-have travel gear for your next trip!
Car Seat (+ Travel Bag):
First of all, we always recommend using a car seat on the plane. Not only is it the safest way for your child to travel, it also makes the flight easier! They’re familiar with being in a car seat, typically get a good nap in with all that white noise, and you have your hands and lap free!
If you have an infant still using an infant car seat, that’s the easiest seat to travel with - you’ll likely miss that convenience once your child grows. First, check to make sure your car seat is FAA approved - usually there is a sticker somewhere on the seat. Then check if your infant car seat can install without the base, and if it can be sure to practice, practice, practice before leaving on how to install without the base. Next, leave the heavy base at home and go!
Now if you can’t afford to purchase a seat for your infant (or child under 2), and you’ll need a car seat at your destination, we ALWAYS recommend purchasing a travel bag to protect your car seat. Things get thrown around on airplanes, and car seats are safety items that need to be handled with care. The car seat is out of your possession and you have no way of knowing how it was handled. Not to mention, you don’t want the seat exposed to dirt and germs.
When possible, we recommend using the travel bag made for your seat. It will be padded in all the right places, and offer a snug fit. Plus, some even come with travel warranty! UPPAbaby and Nuna both have warranties included with their car seat (and stroller!) travel bags.
Now once your baby grows and is out of the infant car seat stage, traveling gets trickier! Most convertible car seats are large and heavy, and they do not attach to strollers. But don’t worry, we have two great seats to recommend once you get to this stage! The Maxi-Cosi Romi is perfect for a child under 40 pounds and can be installed rear-facing or forward-facing. It only weighs 7.8 pounds and can easily be carried over your shoulder!
Once your child is forward facing, a great option is the WAYB Pico forward-facing car seat. It only weighs 8 pounds, conveniently folds (can fit in an overhead bin), easily installs with LATCH connectors or vehicle/airplane seat belt, and offers a wearable backpack travel bag! It’s also narrow enough to fit 3-across in most vehicles.
Recommended Infant Car Seats for Travel:
- Doona+ Infant Car Seat / Stroller and Base: stroller and car seat in one!
- Nuna PIPA models: the PIPA RX, PIPA aire RX, and PIPA urbn can all be installed without a base PLUS Nuna offers a travel bag with included warranty in case any damage occurs during your travel
- UPPAbaby Aria: can be installed baseless PLUS UPPAbaby offers a travel bag with included warranty in case any damage occurs during your travel
- Any infant seat that can be installed baseless that you’re familiar with and know how to use safely!
Recommended Convertible Car Seat for Travel:
- Maxi-Cosi Romi: weighs 7.8 pounds and can be installed rear facing or forward facing
Recommended Forward Facing Only Car Seat for Travel:
- WAYB Pico: weighs 8 pounds and great for toddlers 2+ as it’s designed for forward-facing; folds compact and narrow installation
Next up is travel strollers! You can always take your regular stroller and gate check it, however, you run the risk of the airlines damaging the stroller (if you don’t have a properly padded bag), and you may not have the room for a full-size stroller on your trip. Plus easy folding strollers are a must for travel!
In 2012, Babyzen came out with the first stroller that could be folded small enough to fit in the overhead bins of an airplane - the YOYO! It’s taken a few years, but the travel stroller market has since exploded!
Travel strollers make your trip less stressful because you don’t have to worry about how to fit a stroller and luggage in ride-shares, hotel rooms, cruises, etc. You can strap your baby in the stroller thru the airport, and bring it down the jetway when boarding. Then simply fold it up and put it in the overhead bin! You don’t have to worry about the airline loosing your stroller or waiting on the jetway for your stroller wasting precious time to make a layover. Airplane strollers are also compatible with certain brand infant car seats with the use of adapters, making it even simpler to travel thru the airport!
Once you move into the convertible car seat stage, it gets a bit more complicated, so you’ll definitely appreciate a light weight car seat - like the Romi or WAYB Pico. You can throw it on your back or over your shoulder and push your child thru the airport.
Recommended Travel Strollers:
- Joolz Aer+: only 13.2 pounds, generous storage basket, and quick easy fold
- Bugaboo Butterfly: offers the largest seat of any travel stroller, generous storage basket, included leg rest, and quick easy fold
- Babyzen YOYO2: the original travel stroller, only 13.6 pounds, and smallest fold
- UPPAbaby Minu V2: feels like a full feature stroller in a smaller size, has a compatible full size bassinet (great for baby’s bed while traveling!), and roomy under basket
- Nuna TRVL: self folding, only 13.6 pounds, magnetic straps, and a generous storage basket
Note that some of these will not fit in all overhead bins. If size is a concern, the smallest are going to be the YOYO2 and Aer+/Aer, and Bugaboo Butterfly (in that order).
Travel Stroller Accessories:
Don’t forget stroller accessories to make travel easier, like a cup holder, parent organizer, and ride along board for an older child! Something to consider when purchasing a compact travel stroller is what accessories you may want because none of them have everything. For example, the UPPAbaby Minu V2 is the only travel stroller (of the ones above) that offer a child snack tray, and the TRVL does not offer a ride along board for an older child.
Another big consideration is that UPPAbaby and Nuna offer a travel bag with included travel warranty - this is super important if you plan to gate check your stroller! The UPPAbaby TravelSafe program covers any damage incurred to your Minu during air travel. The program is valid up to 4 years from your gear purchase (original warranty + 2 years for travel coverage). UPPAbaby also has a warranty included bag for their Vista V2 and Cruz V2.
The Nuna TRVL transport bag includes the Nuna Boarding Pass, an extended one-year warranty that covers the Nuna TRVL stroller you have packed inside. Nuna also has a travel bag for their other strollers. If an airline mishandles your stroller, you have the piece of mind knowing your stroller is covered! Simply contact the manufacturer to start the warranty process.
Recommended Travel Stroller Accessories:
- Joolz Aer+ / Aer: parent cup holder, bumper bar, leg rest, bassinet, footboard, car seat adapters
- Bugaboo Butterfly: parent cup holder, bumper bar, comfort wheeled board, parent organizer, changing backpack/bag/clutch, car seat adapters
- Babyzen YOYO2: parent cup holder, backpack travel bag, insect shield, rain cover, leg rest, parasol, footmuff, bassinet, newborn pack, mini board, car seat adapters
- UPPAbaby Minu V2: parent cup holder, snack tray, rain shield, PiggyBack board, basket cover, carry all parent organizer, UPPAbaby bassinet (with the bassinet adapters), car seat adapters, footmuff, travel bag with warranty
- Nuna TRVL: parent cup holder, travel bag with warranty, no adapters necessary for Nuna PIPA model car seats
Playards / Travel Cribs:
Next up, where does you baby/toddler sleep when traveling? Something to consider is if you need to bring a playard or travel crib with you on your travels. If you’re traveling by plane, some (but not all) airlines allow you to check your travel crib for free. We would definitely advise checking with your airline before flying so you can be prepared!
The most important factor when choosing a travel crib is to decide what features you want or need. Do you want a bassinet topper for a young baby or do you want a zipper opening to be able to lie next to your child as they fall asleep or are you needing it to be lightweight and small when folded?
Recommended Playards / Travel Cribs:
- UPPAbaby Remi Playard: has a side zipper for lying next to your child, bassinet attachment included; 20 pounds
- Bugaboo Stardust: quick unfold and fold, bassinet attachment included, compact size; 14.8 pounds
- BABYBJORN Travel Crib Light: easy one movement set up, includes a practical carry bag for travel and storage, machine washable fabrics and mattress cover; 13 pounds
- Nuna SENA Aire Playard: seconds to set up and fold, included travel bag, all mesh sides, floor, and mattress; 20.8 pounds
- SilverCross Slumber Travel Crib: included travel bag, shoulder strap, included bassinet; 15.4 pounds
One last essential travel item that goes with your travel crib is the SlumberPod Playard Privacy Cover. The SlumberPod is the first portable, privacy sleep nook that allows babies to sleep in their playard, mini crib, or toddler cot with room to sit up or stand up inside, solving the problem of getting a good night’s sleep while sharing a room with your little one! It creates privacy and darkens any space so your child can sleep comfortably. It’s perfect for hotel rooms so you don’t have to turn off all the lights when it’s your baby’s nap or bedtime! It’s made from breathable yet blackout-dark fabric, and has a fan pouch for additional airflow, plus a monitor pouch so you can have eyes on your sleeping tot at all times!
Recommended when sharing rooms or when it's too bright:
- SlumberPod Playard Privacy Cover - perfect for sharing a room with your child or if the room doesn't have proper window coverings
Traveling can be very stressful with a young child, but certain products like portable strollers and travel cribs can make your life so much easier! We're here for all your travel needs, just let us know if you have any questions!
Strolleria is dedicated to making the baby gear buying experience less overwhelming for parents. If you have more questions about travel necessities, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.