The travel system archetype consists of a stroller and a car seat combo that makes it easy to bring your child with you wherever you go. It’s made up of an infant car seat, a car seat base for your vehicle, and a stroller. The stroller includes all of the essential components of a modern stroller such as a durable metal frame, a storage basket, an average-sized sun canopy, larger plastic wheels, and handlebars. Travel systems are usually heavier than other strollers; they can weigh up to 30 pounds. Some baby travel systems weigh more than that, but many weigh less and are therefore considered lightweight. In terms of cost, travel systems cost more than other strollers due to the infant car seat option. Most travel systems cost between $160-$300. Higher quality travel systems can cost much more than $300. However, some of cheap travel system strollers perform as well as luxury ones. It is important to keep in mind that travel systems are often bulkier, wider, and larger than other strollers due to the car seat feature, so some travel systems may have trouble navigating crowded areas or fitting through narrow doorways. Additionally, most stroller travel systems do not include adjustable handlebars, but have handlebars at comfortable heights for most parents. A baby travel system is a good way to save money from buying an infant car seat and stroller separately. Instead, it’s a stroller carseat combo!
Travel System Stroller Usage
Travel system strollers are quite popular in families that love to go on roadtrips or take vacations. They make it easy to transfer your child from a stroller into a car seat without moving him to a different seat! Most travel systems have a clicking feature that works in such a way so that you can hear when your travel system car seat feature is snapped into the base and ready to go!!! Many families who invest in a travel system are happy with their purchase since it serves as a car seat, stroller, and space for minor storage all at once! It is recommended that only children old enough to ride in regular car seats with no issue use this stroller.
Pros of Travel Systems
There are many benefits to using a travel system. Travel systems are very versatile and easy to use. To assist you in taking full advantage of the travel system’s features, stroller companies make it easy for parents to remove the car seat from the stroller, with the baby still sitting in it, and move it to the car. After securing the car seat into the car, parents can click the infant car seat into place to ensure that it won’t move around during the trip. Some of the best travel system strollers can be purchased for relatively inexpensive prices online, giving you a bang for your buck. Evidently, travel systems are the best of both worlds! You can take them anywhere, so that you can take your child anywhere with you.
Cons of Travel Systems
One of the main cons of travel system strollers is their bulkiness. Since there are more components of travel systems then there are to regular everyday strollers, they are oftentimes wider and heavier than other strollers are. This causes it to be more of a challenge for parents to squeeze this travel system through narrow doorways, or push it swiftly through crowded streets. Also, baby travel systems can be more difficult to use than regular strollers due to the added component of the car seat base. Reviewers agree that some stroller brands make the click connect system of attaching the car seat to the base more difficult than it needs to be. The weight of the travel system can make it more of a task to push this stroller along with the toys and diaper bags it may hold, but it is definitely doable. Because travel systems are designed for infant car seats, your baby will outgrow the car seat. Click here to read more about child stroller safety.
Types of Travel System Strollers
There are different types of travel systems that are suited to different families. They have many uses and all share the same ability to transform from regular stroller to car seat. Types include: budget travel systems, urban travel systems, and reclining travel systems.
Budget Travel Systems
Inexpensive stroller travel systems exist for families who would like a more low-budget stroller. These travel systems are made of cheaper material but work in the same capacity as regular-priced travel systems. The only downside to these strollers is they may not be as easy to push or connect to the car seat base as other travel systems are. However, if budget travel systems are damaged or broken, it will be less expensive for parents to replace these missing or damaged items. Budget travel systems are a popular option for parents who want to take their child with them when they travel but cannot afford more expensive travel system strollers.
Best Cheap Travel Systems:
This budget travel system stroller is affordable without sacrificing usage. This travel system stroller is just at the $100 mark, so you won’t be breaking the bank. You can feel content knowing that your infant will be safe in this stroller, as well as when they are traveling in the car. Click here to read our full review.
Graco Comfy Cruiser
This lightweight and affordable travel system stroller from Graco is a fan favorite.The Graco Comfy Cruiser is comfortable for infants and parents alike. At $150, parents get a sturdy and dependable stroller and a top rated infant car seat. There aren’t too many cheap travel systems that can beat this deal. Click here to read our full review!
Travel Systems for Cities
Many baby travel systems are suitable for urban life. These travel systems are made with smaller frames in order to navigate the crowded streets easier and fit through narrow doorways with slightly more ease. They are also more lightweight, so it is easier to push along the streets of the city! Additionally, these travel system strollers have storage space that makes it easy to spend the whole day out and about in the city while having all of your bare essentials with you. A large canopy is also a component of some of these more urban-oriented travel systems. This large canopy is perfect for blocking out the sun at all angles on hot city days. Urban travel systems are useful for families that like to take car trips to different boroughs of the city or take trips out of the city.
Best City Travel System:
Doona Car Seat Stroller
The Doona Car Seat Stroller is truly unique. It is a car seat that magically transforms into a stroller with a click of a button. It eliminates the need to carry around two pieces of equipment. The Doona is a fantastic option for newborns and parents who live in the city. If you have a lot of stairs to climb, the Doona makes your life exponentially easier. Click here to read our full review!
Reclining Travel Systems
Travel system strollers that recline are highly sought after in this market. Most travel systems that do not have recline are only suitable for toddlers, not for infants, because of the car seat feature. However, travel systems that have a full recline feature are suited for infants! Not every travel system has full recline, but many travel systems have an almost-full recline. Stroller travel systems with recline provide a very comfortable ride for any young passengers. Recline is not a necessity when it comes to travel systems due to the fact that your car may have a recline feature on its seat, but it definitely holds promise in terms of making the stroller part aspect of the journey much more comfortable for your child! After all, baby comfort is one of the most important thing to consider! Check out our blog post about the Best City Strollers for Urban Families here!
Britax B-Agile + B-Safe
The Britax B-Agile stroller is compatible with the Britax B-Safe car seat. This stroller carseat combo is great for parents from all walks of life. The B-Agile is great for parents in cities, or parents in suburbs. It’s rather compact, so you’ll have no trouble fitting the stroller into your car. It’s easy to maneuver and comfortable for your baby. With the B-Safe car seat, you can feel confident that your baby is protected in this travel stroller. Click here to read our full review.
UPPAbaby Cruz and UPPAbaby Vista + Mesa Car Seat
The UPPAbaby Cruz and UPPAbaby Vista are top-of-the-line strollers that parents love. It is extraordinarily easy to use and provides great convenience. Your baby will enjoy the smooth ride and the comfort of the Mesa car seat.The UPPAbaby Cruz is fantastic for parents with only one child, while the UPPAbaby Vista can accommodate more than one baby. Whatever stroller frame you decide on, this travel system is universally loved. Click here to read about the UPPAbaby Cruz. For a review of the UPPAbaby Vista, click here.
Three Wheeled Travel Systems
Some travel systems mimic the look of a jogging stroller. The three wheel design allows for greater maneuverability and agility. Though they may be a bit bulky, they have quite a bit of storage and are easy to use. On some three-wheeled travel systems, the front wheel is able to lock in a forward position. This allows for the stroller to glide over bumps and ridges more easily. It also makes the stroller easier to push for longer distances.
Best 3-Wheeled travel system strollers:
Graco FastAction Sport Click Connect Stroller
Graco is a household name within the stroller community. Their products are known for being high quality and easy to use. The Graco FastAction Sport Click Connect Stroller is no exception. This three-wheel stroller is a universal favorite. It maneuvers exceptionally well, and is relatively lightweight travel system stroller at 22 pounds. The Graco Car seat snaps in and you’re ready to roll off to your next adventure! Click here to read our full review.
Baby Trend Expedition Jogger Travel System
The Baby Trend Expedition Jogger Travel System is great for active families. While it’s not the best for the avid runner, it’s perfect for those who enjoy lengthy walks. This stroller rolls with easy and is incredibly easy to push around. The car seat clicks in and within seconds you can go from the car to the park. The included child tray is a great accessory, too! Read our full review here.
The Graco Aire3 is a lightweight travel stroller that has an extremely smooth ride. The three-wheel design allows parents to maneuver in and out of tight spaces and swivel through crowds. The infant car seat clicks directly into the stroller for convenience. This is another great budget option for any parent. Click here to read our full review of the Graco Aire3.
Features to consider when buying a Travel System
Before you decide on what stroller combo to purchase, there are 28 pieces of criteria that can impact your decision. Some features may not matter to you, while others are extremely important. Customizing these features is how you ultimately choose the best travel system stroller. To get a better understanding of what each of these criteria mean, our guide on How to Pick the Perfect Stroller should help out! Or go directly to select your own filters to find the best stroller. Or you can browse through our other stroller posts on the site.
Travel system strollers can fold down into a more compact size. Since travel systems are notorious for being bulky, heavy, and wider than most other strollers, the folding feature is very sought after. It makes it so that the frame, canopy, and other parts of the travel system stroller besides the seat (car seat) can fold up easily into the back of your car. It is an essential element of the travel system that allows it to be somewhat more compact despite its larger size. You cannot travel with a travel system without this feature!
Some stroller travel systems only need one hand to fold and unfold them. Unfortunately, most baby travel systems do not allow for this due to the car seat feature and due to the extra components of travel systems that other strollers do not have.
Ease of Use
Travel systems can be relatively easy to use depending on their brand. In order to find a travel system that is very easy to use, you should look at certain aspects of the stroller. Is it too heavy to push around with the added car seat feature? Does it recline easily? Will it handle rougher terrain well? Is the handlebar at a comfortable height for you and your spouse? Does the infant car seat click easily into the base? These are all important aspects of travel systems that you should look into when buying a stroller. Travel systems are meant to make life easier for you, not harder on you.
Travel systems that can be maneuvered easily are your best bet when it comes to purchasing strollers. Due to the added weight that travel systems carry compared to other strollers, and the extra width and height they sometimes occupy, it can be hard to navigate this stroller efficiently. Making sharp turns with this stroller can be quite difficult if the travel system has a low degree of maneuverability. If you find a travel system with a higher degree of maneuverability, it will make your life much easier for you and your significant other due to its wider array of capabilities.
Travel systems are known for being the least compact stroller. This is because most of the time, they take up more space due to the infant car seat features that they boast that other types of strollers do not have. However, there are definitely some travel systems that are more compact than others. These travel systems are able to fold up into a more compact size that can fit into a trunk, storage locker, and other storage areas. This makes it easier to bring these travel strollers with you when you are on-the-go. It also makes it easier to push your child around in urban areas where there might not be as much room to roam freely without taking up too much space.
Durability is an important feature when it comes to travel systems. Travel system strollers need to be able to last a long time since they double as a stroller and as a car seat for your child. Features to take into consideration when looking at durability include: long-lasting wheels, a sturdy car seat, waterproof and washable fabric, a thick canopy, a shatterproof frame, and a good suspension.
Travel systems are not the lightest strollers out there. Their ability to turn into a car seat means that instead of just having a regular seat for your child to sit in, the stroller carries the extra weight of a normal infant car seat along with a car seat base. This weight, combined with other aspects of the stroller such as the wheels, extra accessories, and whatever may be stored on it, can make your baby travel system quite heavy. Try to find travel systems that are more on the lightweight side to make your life easier. We have a guide to lightweight strollers to help you find a lightweight stroller.
It is important to look for a powerful and reliable braking system when searching for the right stroller travel system for you. This is because more power is needed to make this heavyset stroller come to a complete stop. Travel systems can come equipped with a variety of brakes, but the two most common are foot brakes and hand brakes.
It is essential to have adequate storage space in your travel system. This is because you will be out and about a lot with this travel system, taking day trips, road trips, and maybe cross-country trips. It is important that the storage space on your travel system is roomy enough to fit all of your bare essentials and then some.
Many features of various travel systems can make your child’s experience much cozier and more comfortable. This is very important when it comes to preventing your child from becoming restless and rowdy on long trips. Features that will help to maximize child comfort on travel systems include recline, stroller seat cushioning, a harness, and a smooth and efficient suspension system. A suspension system will help to even out bumps on the road while traveling on rough or rocky terrain. Extra padding on the child seat is a must for travel systems since usually the same seat is used for both the stroller and the car. Having an extra comfortable seat will ensure that your child is happy during these longer car trips and daytime excursions.
Full recline is essential for families that want to travel with their baby. Infant car seats on travel systems can only accommodate babies/very small children if they have a recline feature. Most travel systems have some sort of recline ability if not full recline, and this feature makes traveling more comfortable for sleepy children.
Sun canopies will protect your child from getting a sunburn or hurting their eyes on extremely sunny days. It is better to find a travel system that has a larger sun canopy so that your child will be fully protected. Some canopies have viewing windows so that you can see your child while pushing the stroller.
Some travel systems will offer a smoother ride than others. The more expensive travel system strollers come equipped with a high-end travel system that will make the ride for your child feel like you are traveling on smooth, even pavement for the entire duration of the trip. They will also have a larger wheel size that will handle rougher terrain much easier than other strollers will.
Not every travel system has a suspension system, but the ones that do are highly sought after in this market due to their ability to make children feel at the utmost of comfort when traveling. Strollers with a suspension system are also a lot easier to push, and this comes in handy with travel systems since they are heavier than most other types of stroller.
Car Seat Compatibility
Baby Travel system strollers are the most reliable type of stroller when it comes to car seat compatibility. They come with both a seat that can transfer into a car easily and a car seat base that the car seat can snap into easily. This makes traveling with this stroller effortless. There are some strollers that can become travel systems with the use of a car seat adapter. An adapter will allow you to attach a car seat to the stroller, even if the stroller does not have built in connection features. Take a peek at our blog post about the Best Lightweight Stroller with Convertible Car Seat Combo here!
Most travel systems do not have adjustable handlebars. Therefore, it is very important to make sure that the stroller you are purchasing has handlebars that are set at a comfortable angle and height for you and your partner.
Since it is rare that you will find a travel system that has adjustable handlebars, handlebar height is an important thing to consider. If the handlebars on your travel system are too low or too high for your height it will be hard to push.
Most travel systems come equipped with a classic continuous bar when it comes to handles. It is possible to push a travel system using only one hand, but most parents are not able to do this due to the extra weight that most travel systems bear compared to other strollers.
Accessories that different baby travel systems come with depend on the brand. Ideally, your travel system will come with a cup holder, a durable sun canopy, and a child tray. However, sometimes you will have to purchase these accessories separately. Fortunately, since these strollers are 100% car seat compatible, you do not necessarily need to look for a travel system that comes with a cup holder since your car will have enough cup holders for you and your child.
Ease of Assembling
Travel systems can be difficult to assemble compared to other strollers, such as umbrella strollers that usually come fully assembled. You will need to take note of how the car seat attaches and detaches from the body of the stroller when assembling your baby travel system.
Ease of Cleaning
Travel systems can be tricky to clean because in addition to worrying about cleaning your stroller when a mess happens while you are pushing your child, you will have to worry about cleaning your child’s car seat if a mess happens in the car. However, most travel systems are made up of durable, waterproof fabric that you will be able to wipe down easily using a wet washcloth.
Your child’s age is an important factor when looking at travel systems. Most companies do not recommend having a newborn baby in your travel system because many are not old enough to ride in car seats comfortably at this age. However, this may be possible if you purchase a travel system that has a seat with full recline that is easily transferrable to your vehicle.
Bassinets are a great option for families with newborn babies who they want to travel with them. However, most travel systems do not come with a fully functional bassinet. It is still possible for newborns to be comfortable in a travel system if the seat has full recline.
Travel systems can only accommodate one child since only one child can fit into a car seat, and most travel systems would not be able to bear the weight of two children since they are heavy enough on their own already. If you need a stroller to accommodate two children, look into getting a double stroller.
Forward or Rear Facing
Some strollers have the option to have your child face both forwards and backwards towards you while you are pushing them. Most travel systems do not have this feature because it would be hard to change the direction of the seat since there are extra components to it compared to other seats.
You cannot jog using a travel system due to its heavy weight and plastic wheels. Only strollers that are specifically made for jogging purposes (strollers with high-tread, large wheels and high maneuverability) should be used for jogging. This jogging stroller guide will help you determine what stroller and car seat combo you need for jogging.
Many travel systems will perform well on rough terrain as long as they have an effective suspension system. Travel systems that do not have a suspension system will perform moderately well on rough terrain if they have large wheels.
Large wheels on a baby travel system stroller make it much easier to push. This comes in handy for travel systems that bear a lot of extra weight. Smaller wheels make it harder to traverse rough terrain and navigate in areas where you might need to perform sharper turns.
How We Rate Strollers
There are hundreds and hundreds of jogging strollers on the market. When reviewing the best travel system strollers, we begin by going through and identifying the criteria that parents truly care about. We have identified 28 pieces of criteria, as listed above. From there, we read through thousands of stroller reviews by users. User’s opinion is the most valuable since they have used the stroller outside of a lab. They know what it is good at, what it is okay at, and what the stroller is bad at. Their opinion of top rated travel system strollers is based on real life experience. Once we’ve synthesized what users are saying, we supplement the information from expert reviews. Experts have the technical knowledge to evaluate baby stroller performance. Once we gather the information, we talk to family and friends to get their insight into the best travel system strollers. And finally, we compile all this information to give you authentic reviews that you can’t get anywhere else.
Also published on Medium.