Should I Bring a Stroller on Vacation?

That question is probably the most significant dilemma when planning to travel. When you are single, packing for a travel vacation is easy, but it’s a different ball game once you have children. You need to consider many things; you worry over everything. But when traveling with a baby, toddler, or preschooler, the main thing parents want to know is, “should I bring a stroller on vacation?”

In this article, we will cover the initial questions about the age of your child and your travel plans. Then we will look at the pros and cons of bringing a stroller on vacation, as well as bringing a stroller to the airport and on the plane. We will discuss whether you should bring a stroller to Disney World, on a cruise, or to the beach and whether or not you need a travel stroller.

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Should I bring a stroller on vacation?

Should I bring a stroller?

Deciding whether you need to bring one depends on so many factors. Determine first what you should consider when traveling with a baby, toddler, or preschool-age child before asking yourself, “should I bring a stroller?”

Infants

Age is the primary consideration when planning to travel with your children. Although pediatricians believe a 4 to 6-week-old healthy baby can handle flying in an airplane, you still need to check airline policies regarding traveling with newborn babies.

It is easy to travel with infants. Infants are aged from zero to one year. Children at this age are easy to please as long as they are comfortable and regularly fed. Infants have two favorite pastimes – to nap and to eat. They need to be cuddled and carried often. You can use a baby carrier until they reach five to six months when they are ready to use a stroller. 

Toddlers

Toddler age is the most challenging age to travel. Toddlers are between ages 1 to 3 years old. They move a lot (walking, jumping, running, and crawling) and are curious about their environment. They run non-stop because their environment is their playground. Since they can already walk, keeping them in one place will be difficult. An easy way to keep them still is by placing them in a stroller.

You also need to consider their weight. Toddlers would be heavier, so carrying them would be more challenging. You might consider using a baby carrier if you plan to walk a lot during your vacation. A buckle type or hiking (backpack type) baby carrier will be ideal if you plan to walk a lot.

Pre-schoolers

Pre-schoolers are just as curious as toddlers but are easier to entertain and control. A promise of reward for good behavior usually works to settle them. Should I bring a stroller? The answer is a resounding no. A stroller is no longer appropriate for kids at that age. 

Pre-schoolers can already do many things on their own. Carrying them is also not an option. Your best option is to use a hiking carrier. Most hiking carriers have built-in frames that allow them to sit upright. Ensure that your child and the carriers weigh no more than 21 kilos.

Your Travel Plans

The next thing to consider is where you plan to go. You must understand that traveling alone differs from traveling with your family. The travel arrangements differ depending on the type of family travel and your children’s age. 

Determine your destination. Are you traveling locally or overseas? What type of family travel are you planning? Are you planning to go on a cruise, have a beach vacation, go on a road trip, or a theme park vacation? Is your destination child-friendly? Can you rent or borrow a stroller at your destination? 

You need to answer these questions before deciding whether you should bring a stroller on your vacation.

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Pros and Cons of bringing a stroller on vacation

Pros of bringing a stroller on vacation

A family vacation is supposed to be fun and relaxing. Still, with little kids around, it can turn problematic and exhausting. Having a stroller ready could bring you many benefits.

  • Convenience. Bringing a stroller is helpful during your kids’ nap time. You don’t have to return to your hotel and disrupt the day’s activities.
  • Handy. Having your stroller vs. the risk of renting one ensures you have one available anytime you need it. Rental strollers may not be available at your destination. With the ongoing global pandemic, there is no assurance that rental strollers are clean.
  • Safety and security. A stroller gives protection from the weather. It is also one way of keeping the child safe. Umbrella strollers help shade your kids against the harsh effects of the elements.
  • Storage. Most strollers have storage space where you can put baby items like bottles, a diaper bag, etc. Some even have cup holders, which are convenient for carrying your drink.
  • Support and comfort. Seating is often a problem with kids in tow. Whether in a restaurant, park, or waiting in line, a stroller is a guaranteed seat for your child, allowing support and comfort for them.
  • Flexibility. A stroller will enable you to do outdoor activities without the mental stress of worrying about leaving your child alone. It will save your sanity in the long run.

Cons of bringing a stroller on vacation

While there are many benefits to bringing a stroller on vacation, there are also downsides.

  • Navigation problems. Yes, strollers have wheels, but there are areas where you may find it hard to navigate, like narrow sidewalks, stairs with lots of steps, cobblestone streets, rocky paths, and sand.
  • Takes too much space. Strollers are bulky and inconvenient if using public transportation or have limited space.
  • Additional cost. If you have two kids who use a baby trolley, you would need to bring two of them or use a double stroller. You might end up checking them in, adding to your travel expenses.  
  • Limits your movement. You are on vacation, but there are places you wish to see that are not stroller accessible. If part of your vacation is hiking, consider bringing a carrier instead of a stroller. You also need to avoid areas with uneven pathways.

Can you bring a stroller on a plane?

If you are flying to your vacation destination with kids, can you bring a stroller on a plane? The answer is yes, you can.

Airlines have different policies when it comes to bringing strollers. Generally, most airlines allow you to check in a stroller for free with your baggage, either at the counter or at the gate. Some airlines permit compact strollers as a carry-on if it fits the size requirements. The best thing to do is check with the airline when booking your trip and read this article about what to consider before traveling with a car seat or stroller.

When should I take a stroller to the airport?

This is the more important question than “Can I bring a stroller on a plane.”

Even the light strollers are heavy. If you are just taking a short trip, it is easier to use a carrier. Most airports and vacation destinations have rental strollers available. Taking a stroller is advisable if you travel with more than one child or plan to do extensive walking.

Do you have to check a stroller when flying? That is a matter of preference and airline policies. Some airlines like American Airlines and Southwest require strollers to be checked in. I preferred to use the stroller through the airport and then gate-check the stroller before boarding the airplane.

dad with baby on vacation

Should I bring a stroller to Disney World?

Theme parks are popular vacation destinations for families, and nothing beats Disney World when it comes to theme parks. The only problem with theme parks is you do a lot of walking. Something that can strain your kids’ legs, so you are left pondering, should I take a stroller to Disney World?

Strollers are the most convenient and popular mode of transport for kids. The decision to bring a stroller is easy if you plan to go to Disney World by car. However, if you are using a different mode of transport like flying, you would probably think twice and ask, “Should I bring a stroller to Disney World or just rent one?”

Rental Strollers and Size Limitations

Before you decide, bear this in mind. Rental strollers are available at Disney World. However, they are better suited for kids who can already sit upright. Also, rental strollers are not allowed in the resorts and water parks.

Check out these Tips and Tricks for Disney World with Kids to help simplify your family vacation and make your life easier inside the Disney parks.

In the spring of 2019, Disney World announced its new policy on the size limitation of strollers entering the parks. Stroller wagons have also been added to the wheels category not allowed inside the park premises. 

The new size limit is 31 x 52 inches. You can check if your stroller is within the required size by using the check locations placed outside each park.

Whether you bring a stroller or not is a matter of preference. If you have infants, getting a baby carrier or a combination of both stroller and carrier is advisable. A stroller is also advisable if you have toddlers. It is worth it considering the amount you would spend on the rentals. If your kids are already pre-schoolers, they have more stamina and would rather walk around than sit strapped in a stroller. You can always rent if your child gets tired, takes a break to rest, or use a hiking carrier.

Use The Disney World Planning Guide with Printable Worksheets to help your family plan a fun, easy, magical – and most importantly, stress-free – vacation to Disney World.

Should I bring a stroller on a cruise?

You can bring one, but it is not advisable. Choose a carrier or a travel system stroller (more on this later) instead of a regular stroller. A stroller would take too much space in the stateroom and leave you little room for movement. 

Since you cannot take jogging strollers, it would be useless if your cruise destination were the beach. An umbrella stroller is not suitable for the beach.

Strollers are also fire-hazards, so you cannot leave them along passageways. You must bring them wherever you go unless you are inside your stateroom.

It is required by law to use a car seat when riding a car. Can you imagine the nightmare of taking both with you? Using a baby carrier would be best. You can use the bus or train for vehicular excursions or choose tours that provide car seats.

Check out this article about The Ultimate Guide To Going On A Family Disney Cruise.

stroller on the beach

Should I bring a stroller to the beach?

“Can I take a baby stroller to the beach?” This is a common question parents ask when planning a family trip to the beach. Yes, you can, but you need to consider a few things. 

Stroller Navigation

Navigating a stroller is not easy on the sand. An excellent trolley on the beach would be one that can handle any type of terrain and will not leave you stuck. The wheel size is critical in choosing a stroller for use on the beach. Opt for wider wheels because it provides a more extensive surface area on an uneven surface.

Will a jogging stroller work on the beach?

Yes, jogging strollers are suited for the beach. Most jogging strollers often have three large stationary wheels that you can lock in position. They are also designed specifically for uneven surfaces like tracks and trails. Jogging strollers generally have large wheels that are excellent for outdoor use.

Did you know thin wheels do not work well for jogging?

Generally, bigger wheels are more secure than smaller ones and easier to push. This is why jogging strollers are typically fitted with 20-inch wheels. Currently, you can find jogging strollers with 16-inch wheels, but nothing smaller than that.

Protection and Ventilation

Choose a stroller with a UV-safe canopy to protect your child against the sun. It can also get sweltering, so you must ensure the materials used on your stroller allow airflow. Look for an all-terrain umbrella-type stroller because they handle different weather conditions. It will also be nice if it has a mesh panel for ventilation.

Should I bring a stroller to the beach?

Now comes your next question, “Should I bring a stroller to the beach?”

Taking a stroller to the beach is a good idea. However, it requires planning and preparation. You need to find out a few things before you make your decision.

  • How much is the foot traffic? Is the beach too crowded?
  • Is there a parking area where you can park the stroller? 
  • Can you keep an eye on it? Is there someone who can keep an eye on it?
  • Is there a boardwalk?

If you can park and lock the stroller up or keep an eye on it, it is worth taking it with you on the sand. A stroller would be perfect for strolling or running if the beach has a boardwalk. However, if the beach is too crowded and you are parked too far from the shore, it would be better to leave the stroller.

traveling with a baby

Do you need a Travel Stroller?

A travel stroller or lightweight stroller combines the features of an umbrella-type and traditional-type stroller. They are light and easy to fold, and when collapsed, they are compact. They have a large sun canopy and storage basket, and some even include cup holders. 

You can choose a travel system that serves as a car seat, stroller, and carrier in one. A travel system would solve most of your headaches when traveling with kids.

Do you need it? It is not a necessity, but it is preferable.

How do you travel with a stroller?

Traveling with your stroller need not be a daunting task. You can do any of the following:

  • If passing security, ensure the stroller is folded before reaching security check.
  • Consider your stroller as another piece of check-in baggage. 
  • Check it at the gate before you board the plane. Ensure you arrive before pre-boarding time.
  • If your stroller is within the carry-on size limit, you can store it overhead as carry-on baggage.
  • If you have a connecting flight, it will help to write your next flight on the gate check-in tag.

Conclusion

Taking a stroller when you travel is a matter of personal preference. No rule says you should or should not take one. Consider what is important to you and what would make your life easier.

For more about family travel, check out these posts:
Best Toddler Carrier for Travel or Hiking
Navigating Airport Security with Children
Best Lightweight Travel System Strollers for a Baby
Lightweight Travel Stroller for Toddler

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Should I travel with a stroller?
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The BE Family Travel Team writes articles to help parents travel with children.