Man baby and stroller in front of Chichen Itza

Stroller vs Baby Carrier: Should You Take a Stroller Travelling?

Every time we go away we struggle to decide on this. Should we take a baby carrier or a stroller/pushchair? Or both? Often we make the decision at the last minute, even on the way to the airport! 

In an effort to help you be better prepared than us, and to make the right decision we have pulled together this post on the things that should influence whether or not you decide to take a stroller or baby carrier travelling. 

Baby Carrier vs Stroller – Which Should You Take?

In fact, we always take a lightweight baby carrier with us and think that it is essential when travelling with a baby. There are so many situations when it comes in handy and gives you the opportunity to explore with your little one held safely close to you. You have your hands free so you can still explore, climb drink and carry your bags.

So really, it is not a baby carrier or stroller, or babywearing vs stroller, the important thing is whether to also take a stroller with you or not. 

Pros of Taking a Stroller on Holiday

  • You don’t have to carry your baby the whole time. This is huge.
  • A portable bed for them to nap in
  • Quite handy for transporting baby paraphernalia
  • Can offer shade
  • You always have a clean place for them to sit/lie

Cons of Taking a Stroller Travelling

  • They are bulky and inconvenient when using public transport.
  • They can’t go everywhere so may restrict where you go and what you can do
  • They are an expensive item that you may need to leave unattended at times.
  • Can be more hassle than they are worth if the ground is bumpy/sandy etc.

Important Factors to Help you Decide

Where are you going? What is it like there?

This is obviously an important factor. If you are going somewhere that is flat with nice wide pavements or promenades then it is probably a good idea to take a buggy with you. 

If you are heading to somewhere with hilly cobbled street or lots of steps, then the decision becomes more complicated. At times, the stroller will still be useful, but as you carry a stroller and a baby up hundreds of steps, you may wish you left it at home. It will also vary depending on what type of stroller you have. An umbrella stroller won’t cope with cobbles as well as an off-road or jogging stroller. 

Some countries are just not designed to be stroller friendly. In places like Vietnam and much of Thailand, you will find very few pavements that are actually baby buggy friendly. Where there is a pavement at all it will likely be in poor condition and blocked by motorbikes, chairs etc, making it very hard to navigate with a pram. 

Other countries can be more of a mixed bag. For example, if you are travelling around Northern Italy, you will find that Verona is great with a stroller whilst Venice is more of a challenge due to there being so many bridges with steps on. So, you need to do a bit of research and decide whether you think it is worth taking your stroller along.

How will you travel around?

This is another key consideration. If you are travelling every few days by public transport it could be annoying to have to cart around a stroller that isn’t getting much use. If you aren’t moving around, or have a rental car and can just leave the stroller in the boot then it is unlikely to bother you too much even if it turns out that you don’t use it. 

If you are renting a car it is probably best to take your pushchair along. If it sits in the back of your car all holiday you haven’t lost out. We have done this in Mexico and in Italy with a baby on fairly long trips when the pushchair just didn’t get used. But, it just stayed in the car and was no hassle.

Can you take a stroller on the plane for free?

We have never had to pay to take a stroller on an aeroplane. It is worth checking with your airline what the policy is. Ryanair and Easyjet are surprisingly good and let you take 2 baby items so you can take a pushchair and a car seat or travel cot.

If you have to pay luggage fees to take a stroller, it might not be worth taking it. Or you can get a travel stroller that meets hand luggage requirements so that you don’t have to pay the fee. The Babyzen Yoyo, Ergobaby Metro and Bugaboo Ant are all small enough to take on as hand luggage.

How hot will it be?

We use the Ergobaby 360 cool mesh baby carrier as it helps to keep the baby cool in hot climates. But, it can only do so much, and if you are somewhere very hot then keeping your baby close to your skin all the time can get uncomfortable for them and you.

In this case, you may want to take a stroller so that they have somewhere to lie down away from your body heat. The best travel strollers also have a canopy to provide shade for the hot sun (don’t cover the stroller with a muslin or blanket though as this will make it hotter for the baby).

How many children do you have?

If you are travelling with one child then you might be able to cope easily with a baby carrier. After your first child, it will become harder to get away with baby wearing alone and it could be easier to take a stroller so that you aren’t both always carrying your babies (don’t worry, if you don’t want to take a stroke, you will be fine, we travelled to Thailand with a baby and toddler and Vietnam with a baby and toddler and only took our Ergobaby carriers).

If you have three that aren’t walking well yet I don’t think you have much choice. Take the pushchair with you!

What do your children prefer?

This is a fairly simple one. There is not much point taking a stroller if your child doesn’t like to sit in it (although they still come in handy as a trolley!).

I’ve lost count of the number of times that I have ended up trying to carry a child and push the pushchair along at the same time when they refuse to sit in it. If this is likely to happen then it’s probably not worth taking your stroller with you. Although, this kind of behaviour may well change on a daily basis. 

What do you prefer?

Almost as important is how you prefer to transport your children around. Even good baby carriers will put some strain on you back and can be tiring over long periods so having a stroller with you will give you the chance to have a bit of a rest. 

Or, do you prefer to just carry your baby rather than get annoyed pushing a stroller around and struggling through crowds, and on and off buses and pavement? 

Nap times

One of the great things about having a pushchair with you is that it is a portable bed for your little one. If you get your timings right you can have a lovely meal out whilst they sleep quietly in the corner of the restaurant. This isn’t really an option without a stroller as you will have to either hold them or have them sitting in a high chair. 

Do you have a compact travel stroller?

This can certainly make the decision an easy one. If you have a nice modern travel stroller like the BabyZen Yoyo or Uppababy Minu then it takes up hardly any space and is dead easy to transport around with you (the amazing GB Pokit even fits in a bag!).

Having a good travel stroller takes away many of the negatives of taking a stroller with you and you still get all of the benefits.

Our two favourite travel strollers are the Babyzen Yoyo+ and Bugaboo Ant. You can read our reviews by clicking the links below.

Babyzen Yoyo+ Review

Bugaboo Ant Review

and our Ant vs Yoyo 2 comparison

These are both premium travel strollers and come with quite a high price tag. Almost as good and much cheaper are the Ergobaby Metro and Baby Jogger City Tour.

Final Thoughts on Stroller vs Baby Carrier when Travelling

We hope that you have enjoyed reading this blog and that we have helped you to decide whether or not to take a stroller away with you. It is quite a personal decision but if you give some thought to the factors that we have outlined above then hopefully you will come to the right decision for you and your family. 

Whatever you decide, we hope that you have a great trip!!

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