As a new parent, there’s a lot of information you need to keep track of. Naturally, you want to ensure you’re making the best choices for your baby. But finding the best lightweight travel system strollers can be tricky.
That’s why we’ve compiled this guide to help you figure out what factors you need to consider and the top options currently available on the market. So let’s get started!
What is a travel system stroller?
These days a lot of parents are opting for travel system strollers because of the convenience and ease they offer. These multi-purpose systems combine the functions of a baby car seat (infant carrier), seat base, and stroller. This has a lot of benefits.
The best feature of using a travel system stroller is that when your baby falls asleep in the car seat, you don’t have to wake them when you reach your destination. They can continue sleeping in the car seat, and you can easily remove it from the base in the car. Then you can take the infant carrier where ever you are going or clip it into the stroller system. You never have to wake up your baby by unstrapping and disturbing them when transferring into the stroller. That’s definitely a win-win for parents!
Secondly, you don’t have to carry around multiple bulky contraptions. Simply strap your infant into their car seat and once you reach your destination, snap the seat into a stroller. This is great for people who don’t have a lot of trunk space.
You may also be interested to know that the car seat sits on top of the stroller, so your baby faces you as you push them along. Many parents prefer using such rear-facing infant carriers because it allows your child to look at you instead of strangers, keeping them calm.
Plus, once your baby is older and doesn’t need the infant car seat, you can continue using just the stroller.
Do you have to check a stroller when flying?
For parents that spend a considerable amount of time flying, it’s important to note that you will need to check in your stroller before boarding a plane, either at the ticket counter or gate. However, since children’s seats and strollers do not fall under the standard baggage category, you do not have to pay a fee.
What to do with a stroller when flying?
Air travel can be quite challenging with a newborn. But having your stroller on hand makes it a lot easier. If you want to stroll through the airport check-ins like a pro, then you need to be prepared. There are a few things you need to be aware of so you’re suitably prepared and know how to bring a stroller on a plane.
1. Gate check policies
As of 2011, all American airlines allow parents to carry collapsable strollers under 20 pounds through the airport. However, the individual restrictions may vary from airline to airline. So you’ll want to contact customer service and make sure you have all the details on hand.
2. Pack smart
When you reach the airport, you’ll need to check in your stroller at the gate, as we’ve already discussed. You’ll be able to reclaim it at the end of the ramp or at baggage claim when you reach your destination. In order to manage this transition with the minimum amount of fuss, you need to pack two bags.
Firstly, you’ll need a diaper bag for travel to use on the plane and while you’re waiting for your stroller at the airport. This will hold essential baby items like formula, bottles, pacifiers, diapers, baby wipes, clothes, baby travel toys, etc.
Secondly, you’ll need a gate check bag for your stroller. We recommend using the J.L. Childress Gate Check Bag for Single Umbrella Strollers or the J.L. Childress Gate Check Bag for Standard and Double Strollers. Both of these items are airline certified and come in a bright red color that’s easily identifiable at baggage claim. The material is durable yet lightweight and water-resistant, while the seams are double stitched to prevent easy tearing.
If you want to read more about our experience of flying with an infant carrier and stroller travel system when our daughter was a baby, then head over to our blog, where we share everything we’ve learned from our experiences traveling with infants.
3. Declare liquids
As you move through the various TSA checkpoints, you’ll need to remove your infant from the stroller and place it in the X-ray machine, along with all bags, toys, or blankets. It’s helpful to bring a baby carrier for travel so you can wear your baby and still have your hands free while going through security checks.
Also, make sure you remember to declare any liquids you’re carrying like formula or breast milk (see also, ‘How to Travel with Frozen Breast Milk‘). While you are allowed to carry infant-related liquids in large amounts, you do need to declare them.
Once you’ve made it through the various checks, set up your stroller. Put your baby in, and make your way to the gate.
Best lightweight travel system
As you’ve probably guessed, traveling with an infant can get quite complicated, especially if it’s your first time doing it or if you’re traveling alone. You’ll need to fold your stroller so it can go through the X-ray machine. Then you’ll need to set it up again after you make your way past the metal detector, all while carrying a baby. Hence, the lighter your travel system, the better it is for you.
Read these articles to learn more about how to travel with an infant car seat or what to consider before you travel with a car seat.
Infant Travel System Reviews
That’s why we’ve compiled this list of the best lightweight travel system strollers to help you pick the perfect system. Check out our infant travel system reviews.
At 15 pounds, the Graco NimbleLite Travel System falls well within the airport travel restrictions. It can hold anywhere between 4 to 35 lb and is rear-facing. Additionally, the belly bar helps keep your baby snug in place while you zip through the airport. There are also cup holders and ample storage space for all your infant’s essentials. The one-step compact fold feature makes this model incredibly convenient to use. You can fold or unfold it with one hand without having to put your little one down.
It is a complete travel system so you can attach the infant car seat to the stroller with a single clasp. On its own, the car seat weighs just 7.2 lb, making it incredibly lightweight, a plus when you’re transporting your baby from the car to the stroller. Overall, this is one of the best lightweight travel system strollers, and we can’t recommend this model enough.
As far as the basics go, the Graco NimbleLite Travel System has everything you need for the affordable price of $200. The system is quick and easy to assemble and delivers what it promises. The only con is that this stroller doesn’t come with built-in neck support for your infant, so you’ll need to spend extra on additional support.
Although slightly higher priced at $700, the BOB Gear Rambler Travel System is made using a durable steel alloy that will last you several years through various stages of your child’s growth. The system comes complete with the Rambler Jogging Stroller, Britax B-Safe Generation 2 infant car seat, seat base, and adapters. It can hold anywhere between 4 to 35 lb and is leagues ahead of other cheaper travel systems.
Designed to provide a smooth and safe ride with a suspension model based on a mountain bike system, you can use this travel system stroller on any type of terrain without issue. So if you want to take your infant out jogging, this is definitely the model you’ll want. There’s also a lot of extra storage space with its 6 pockets and spacious cargo basket. There’s even a cell phone pocket next to the handlebar so you can keep your belongings within easy reach.
The Britax safety system offers a top-of-the-line, high-strength, reinforced base with a protective shell foam that provides head-to-toe safety. The travel system is easy to install in 3 simple steps. You just need to connect the lower anchors, tighten the straps, and click the carrier into the seat base. One negative aspect of this travel system, however, is that despite the high price, you’ll have to purchase accessories like snack trays to cup holders separately.
For parents looking for a mid-range travel system, the Evenflo Pivot Modular Travel System definitely fits the bill. With its versatile features, including a modular frame and 6 modes, you can place your infant facing inwards or outwards. Additionally, you can transform the stroller into a car seat or carriage mode whenever you want.
This is one of the best lightweight infant travel systems. Since it’s so lightweight, carrying the car seat is no issue at all. Unlike other models, the car seat model is incredibly parent-friendly because of the stay-in-car base that helps establish a quick and easy connection. The large canopy and re-attachable armbar will make putting your infant into the car seat easier than ever before. Additionally, the large cruiser tires allow the stroller to navigate all types of terrain while still offering a smooth ride.
All the accessories are child-friendly, and the car seat base comes with an anti-rebound bar as well. When it comes to storage space, the Evenflo Pivot Modular Travel System has a large storage basket that will more than cater to your needs. However, keep in mind that the stroller will not push as smoothly as the more expensive models. Additionally, other parents have complained about not being able to replace just the car seat base because getting a replacement from the manufacturer was a long and tedious process.
Another top-of-the-line yet slightly expensive stroller and car seat combination are the Britax B-Lively and B-Safe Generation 2 Travel System. At $450, the set has a solid steel alloy frame, a lightweight design, and many great features. It’s a rear-facing system and can hold a child between 4 and 35 pounds. You can fold it single-handedly, and the all-wheel suspension offers a smooth ride, making it one of the best lightweight travel system strollers.
Additionally, the Britax safety system includes a protective foam shell on top of the high-strength steel frame. The travel system is easy to install in 3 simple steps. You just need to connect the lower anchors, tighten the straps, and click the carrier into the seat base. One negative aspect to keep in mind is that this seat is not listed with NHTSA.
Another similar setup you might like is the Chicco Bravo Trio Travel System, priced at $400. The smart fold design is easy to handle single-handedly when you’re carrying a child. Additionally, the canopy is UPF rated for sun protection and has a mesh window you can look through. The large wheels on the tread tires offer easy movement, while the 2 pockets give you ample storage space. The item weighs 24.9 pounds.
The infant carrier car seat has the easiest-to-install KeyFit 30, featuring premium LATCH connectors, a SuperCinch force-multiplying tightener, EPS energy-absorbing foam, and removable newborn head & body support.
These are some of the best lightweight infant travel system strollers you can find on the market.
Best travel system strollers for newborns
At the end of the day, you have to pick the stroller that best fits your needs and budget. But if we had to pick out our favorite, then it would have to be the BOB Revolution Flex 3.0 Travel System. There is simply no other model that offers the same smoothness of drive for both the parent and child. The Britax Safecell Technology protects your child from danger by absorbing crash energy, while the Britax SafeCenter Latch helps you secure and tighten the car seat base.
The stroller also offers a 360-degree swiveling front wheel that gives you complete movement control, while the adjustable handlebar makes for a perfect fit and grip. And if all that wasn’t enough, there are also additional protective features like the XL UPF 50+ Canopy to protect your child from the harmful rays of the sun.
The BOB Revolution Flex 3.0 Travel System may seem a little too expensive at first glance, but it’s actually pretty cost-effective in the long run. Thanks to the No-Rethread Harness, you can adjust the fit to suit your growing child’s needs over the years. Meanwhile, the machine-washable Safewash Cover is easy to maintain and incredibly durable. Trust us when we say this isn’t a purchase you’ll regret.
Overview of the Best Lightweight Travel System Strollers
There are a lot of options when it comes to the best lightweight travel system strollers for your growing child. But if you can’t find a ready-made set that meets all your requirements, then you can always create your own custom set. Choose a separate car seat and stroller that you like the most.
When you’re exploring travel systems, you’ll find full-size, lightweight, and jogging stroller system types. Generally, full-sized strollers are the ideal long-term option. They will support your child for several years and often max out on helpful features.
Lightweight strollers are the best for parents on the go, especially when traveling with a baby. They generally weigh less than 15 pounds and are ideal for parents who need to travel by bus, plane, or train. While they still have useful features like a partial recline, snack tray, and storage basket, the list isn’t as extensive as that of a full-sized stroller.
Jogging strollers are designed for the fitness-oriented parent and come with superior suspension systems and larger wheels that can handle alternate terrains. They’re wider than other types of systems and don’t function well in tight spaces.
So the best travel system for you depends entirely on what you’re looking for! In any case, happy shopping!
For more about family travel, check out these posts:
When Can You Travel With A Newborn?
How To Fly with Infant Car Seat
Most Popular Infant Car Seat For Travel
Best Travel Car Seat for Toddler
Travel with a Baby Stress-Free this Holiday