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Monday, November 8, 2021

2021 Travel Stroller Review

I spent 3 days down a deep deep rabbit hole of travel stroller research. 

A deep hole isn't even accurate, it was like Marianna's Trench of googling, videos, reviews, and spec sheets. My husband never wants to hear the word "stroller" again and he thinks I have some sort of problem, but hear me out. There are so many baby products out there, begging for your money and I refuse to just give my hard earned cash to the highest bidder. I wanted to do my research, to see what even makes the perfect travel stroller. Safe to say I sort of feel like an expert and what I came back with is this: no one travel stroller is perfect - you need to figure out what your priorities are and pick accordingly. I learned there are a lot of features to consider and the key to the best purchase is to find what is most important to you. Thanks to this guide, the trench feels more like a large pothole and I'm confident that within 20 minutes, you can pick the "perfect for you" travel stroller. 

Features To Consider

Like I said, the key to finding the best product is to understand the features that make a travel stroller work for your lifestyle. Remember: these strollers are all designed to be relatively lightweight and to have a pretty compact fold. You will not find all the beloved features that your every day larger stroller has. You will have to make some sacrifices on size and storage. 

  • SIZE: How small does the stroller get when folded? Do you need fits-into-overhead-compartment small or just compact, fits in your trunk and easier to carry small?
  • FOLDING: Do you want a one-hand simple fold or you are okay with a multi-step process?
  • WEIGHT: How light do you need the stroller to be?
  • CARRYING: Do you want it to wheel? Do you want it to have a strap? Do you need a carrying case?
  • STORAGE: Do you need a large bottom storage compartment? Do you need it to have a storage option higher up (handlebar area?) 
  • SUNSHADE: How big of a sunshade do you need?
  • HANDLEBAR: Do you need an adjustable handlebar for taller parents? Do you need a one-handed stroller?
  • TERRAIN: Do you need something durable enough for cobblestone streets and sandy beaches or just your typical roads and sidewalks?
  • RECLINE: Do you need an almost flat recline for naps on the go?
  • PEEK-A-BOO WINDOW: Do you need the cheater peek-a-boo window?
  • WEIGHT/HEIGHT LIMITS: If you are investing in a stroller, you want it to last as long as possible. Do you want something that will work for the longest amount of time for your growing kiddo?
  • PRICE: Are you willing to spend $300 to $400 or do you need something $200 and under?
  • INFANT: Do you need it to be infant-friendly (lay completely flat or have adapters?)
  • ACCESSORIES: Do you want it to come with accessories (bug net, cup holder, etc) or are you willing to pay extra for those?

Overwhelming, right? 

Once I had an idea of the features that were important to me, I spent hours researching strollers and went back and forth and around and around. I watched videos on individual strollers. I watched videos comparing a lineup of strollers. I read bloggers and techies and stroller reps comparing and testing out their favorites. I read extensive reviews and went through ratings. Once I got an idea of what I wanted, I would do a bit more research and change my mind, back into the black hole.

My Priorities

All my research helped me narrow down what my priorities were for my lifestyle (on the go, a future of planes, trains, and automobiles with a babe). Here's what I decided my priorities were: 

  • Size/Compact fold: I don't have the patience for baggage claim so if I can get this thing in an overhead compartment, it's a big sell) With that being said, I know that when a stroller advertised "overhead cabin friendly" this is likely not the case for international flights. European carry-on requirements are smaller than US ones. That aside, we are going to be putting this in our tiny rental car and lugging it around Portugal - I need it to be easy to bring around. If it fits in a bag and can easily be wheeled around tight spaces and packed up for small restaurants... its a #1 selling point
  • Recline: This is essential for our trip to Portugal and I know we are going to be relying on naps on the go. I wanted something that reclined comfortably. 
  • Sun Shade: I needed some kind of a sunshade, preferably something I didn't have to add on - keeping him out of the sun is a big priority for me and I didn't want to have to get an extra attachment.
  • Price: I knew I didn't want anything super cheap, I needed this to last through the trip and hopefully many more. I also needed it to be higher quality to endure cobblestone streets in Europe. On the other side, I also didn't want to invest in the $400 range as it was just a lot for a stroller after purchasing our very expensive Uppababy.
Nice To Have's
  • Suspension for rockier terrain
  • Storage
  • Accessories - second seat, belly bar, etc  
  • Larger weight limits to extend the life of the stroller for tired tots while traveling 
  • Easy fold 

Top Two

After all the videos and reviews, I narrowed my choices down to two strollers with the intention of ordering both and sending back the less superior model (Full Review Coming Soon). I picked these two because they folded relatively small, had a nice sunshade, did recline, and were in the middle range when it came to cost. *I was originally sold on the mountain buggy but the reviews about the sunshade covering the handlebar really irked me. 

Cybex Libelle: PROs: Very small fold, a german company so trusting these strollers are meant for European roadways. Found a coupon that brought it to the low $200 range. Has shocks/suspension. CONS: Seat doesn't have a full recline, no carrying add ons (strap, bag, etc), no peek-a-boo window. 

Baby Jogger City Tour 2: PROS: American company. Great price point with a coupon ($180). Awesome recline and the seat looks really comfortable. Love that you can access the storage compartment from the front and back. Does come with a carrying bag. CONS: Doesn't fold as small as some of the tri-fold strollers, no shocks.

Here's a quick glimpse of each stroller before we get into the nitty gritty.  

Buy/Check Prices Here 

Travel Stroller Review
Travel Stroller Review
Travel Stroller Review
Travel Stroller Review
Travel Stroller Review

Stay Tuned

They are both on their way to my house now and I am hoping one of these is the answer to my travel stroller trivia. But here's the thing - I know your list of priorities isn't the same as mine and these strollers may not be the best option for you. So I'm sharing this extensive guide that was the start of my stroller research, that I finished and really committed to just for you. **Every travel stroller is not on this list, I stuck with the 13 most popular options. 

So now the reason you are here, the full list. I compared it all in a giant spreadsheet. 

If you use my guide to purchase a travel stroller, please tell me where you landed. 
Happy shopping wanderers. 

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