Air Travel and Stroller
Air Travel with children is stressful and preparation is KEY!
Air Travel and stroller is a must when traveling with an infant. Airports are HUGE and it is crazy how much stuff a child requires. Even if baby refuses to ride in the stroller you can still use it to schlep all your stuff to the gate. Look carefully because each stroller has different options and uses. Chose the right stroller for your needs when traveling with an infant!
Air Travel and Stroller – What if Baby Hates the Stroller?
I remember hearing, when my first baby was tiny, and really even before she was born, how ALL babies love the stroller. I heard how friends lost their baby weight by taking baby for long walks because baby just loved the stroller. HA! My first clue should have been ‘all babies’. Firstly, let me be the one to tell you ‘All’ and ‘babies’ are two words that don’t go in the same sentence.
My first baby HATED the stroller. My husband and I had ended each evening since we met with a long walk. We’d take the dog and walk a mile or so in the neighborhood catching up on the day. We loved walking. It was peaceful, relaxing and good for us! We looked forward to putting our baby in a stroller and bringing her along on our evening walk. We even thought baby might fall asleep in the stroller and then gently be transferred to the crib at home…oh, our evenings were going to be so peaceful.
(I know parents are snickering now, but what can I say. I was naive.)
We poured over stroller information on line. We read all the reviews. We interviewed our friends for their opinions. We went to the baby store to look at each stroller in person. We even chose more than one – a jogging stroller with big wheels for hiking trials, a regular stroller for day to day stuff, and an umbrella stroller for when weight was an issue.
We were, like most new parents think they are, ready. LOL! Then, baby arrived and we were stunned and shocked that not only did she not do what ‘all babies’ did but she had super strong opinions in that tiny body.
All babies love apple sauce! All babies love the stroller! All babies sleep a LOT!
NOT true. Pretty much….the phrase”all babies” just doesn’t make any sense. ALL people don’t do anything but breathe I guess, and babies are really just tiny people. So, if your baby isn’t following the ‘all babies’ rule don’t feel bad.
It isn’t you.
I ended up carrying our first child for ever. She loved being carried and I carried her on those walks in the evenings and through airports and on hiking trails. She didn’t even walk till she was 13 months old!! LOL!
But, we usually brought a stroller anyway and you should, too. When baby finally does sleep, it is great to have a place to put them and you can keep on going. If baby needs a diaper change the stroller is a clean spot for that. If you can put baby down for a feeding then again, stroller to the rescue. If nothing else….have the stroller carry the diaper bag and your purse and all the other ‘stuff’ you need for you. I highly recommend a stroller – especially when traveling. EVEN if baby hates it.
Air Travel and Stroller – Weight
When it comes to a stroller, in general, lighter is better. You’ll be carrying the stupid thing more than you think you will when you travel. Depending upon where your travels take you, you might encounter these ‘carry the stroller’ situations:
*stairs in subways (You can wait for the elevator but sometimes that is a LONG wait.)
*stairs in old buildings that don’t have lift or elevator
*curbs in non-handicapped accessible places (more common abroad than you might expect)
*in and out of transportation – cabs/taxis/rental cars/busses/trains etc…..all require taking baby out of the stroller, folding the stroller, carrying the stroller – lots of moving around
*security – airport/building/train station – In the airport the stroller will need to be examined.
BEWARE!! Sometimes to get a stroller to be lightweight the manufacturer will just remove all the bells and whistles and leave you with a light stroller….that doesn’t do all you need it to do.
For example…..what good is a stroller for an infant that doesn’t recline??? Isn’t part of the reason a stroller is awesome is that baby can nap in there while you are out exploring? So, if the stroller seat doesn’t recline and baby can’t nap…what good is it? So, I took those things into consideration when I researched to make this list.
Parents are super busy! You don’t have time to research so I did it for you. Enjoy this list!
GREAT lightweight stroller ideas for infants:
The name is boring but I love the colorful choices you have for the sunshade. Your stroller will stick out as a bright colorful spot of happiness in the sea of black strollers. This bright color makes it easy to pick out, too, if you have to park the stroller somewhere like you do at Disney. I particularly like the Tropical Green.
*only 13 pounds
*sunshade in lovely colors
*large storage basket underneath
*reclines on 4 positions
*includes carrying strap
*Carries infants and kids up to 50 pounds
*made of easy to clean polyester
*It gets GREAT reviews.
*****This company does make a lighter one – the GOLite Convenience Stroller (only 12 pounds) but the wheels are smaller and it DOES NOT recline flat which is why it didn’t make the list.****
This brand is pricey but worth the money. Go ahead, buy it now and save yourself the pain and agony of spend that amount of money anyway in multiple strollers over time. This stroller is so sturdy that many reviews say it can be used with more than one child. Really it is an investment.
*only 13 pounds
*tested for infants and children with weights from 5 pounds up to 45 pounds
*reclines almost flat
*SUPER feature…the one handed close. That alone makes this stroller worth the price in my book!
*EXCELLENT reviews from moms in cities with lots of walking and cobblestones and mass transportation like New York City, Rome and Amsterdam
*under carriage storage
*fun color choices – Which is important to me as a mom since you look at this thing every single day FOR YEARS
Holy cow what a stroller! This is the stroller I would chose if I had a baby now. It has the usual bells and whistles but look at that sun visor! HUGE and it swivels so you can adjust as you move around. I’m in love.
*Good for infants and kids – weight 5 pounds to 55 pounds making this stroller one you’ll get a lot of use out of
*reclines completely AND has an extendable leg rest for when baby grows
*CRAZY awesome and HUGE sun visor that is also water proof
*the seat is removable and washable!! ( A mom clearly designed this buggy.)
*It even ships fully assembled.
*Reviews from parents all over the globe give this stroller rock star ratings.
****Maclaren in the Maserati of strollers!! They do have many, many to chose from but this one is my pick for traveling.
Lightweight Strollers that did NOT make the list and why:
Chicco C6 Stroller – Horrible reviews. People complained that the straps are too short and they kept kicking the rear tires. Only suitable for shorter adults. Even moms of 5’3″ were complaining of not being able to walk a full stride without kicking the tires. Does not recline flat (though the flattest at 15 degrees is not bad).
Cheap Umbrella Strollers – no matter the maker. If you have not tried these yet you don’t know how flimsy they are. They are lightweight, true, but the can barely carry your purse and diaper bag when you are carrying baby – never mind precious cargo like baby!! They have flimsy wheels, tear easily, do not ‘drive’ true and straight which is critical when you are on uneven surfaces throughout the world during travels. NOT. WORTH. your time and effort. Trust me on this one. You’ll hate this stroller.
Kolcraft Cloud Plus – This one almost made the list. It is 12 pounds and has pretty good reviews. However; one problem kept being mentioned over and over again and that is that the back rest was not fully straightened which caused baby to slouch. (Often described as a ‘piece of cardboard covered in cloth’) This was uncomfortable enough to be mentioned as a problem over and over. Also, will not recline flat so can not be used for infants under 6 months.
Air Travel and Stroller – Size
Be sure you can carry your stroller choice. You’ll have to carry it up stairs. Also, you’ll need to pick it up high enough to get on a train, or get it into the car trunk. Also, if a stroller will fit, you’ll have to fold it up to put it through the airport security x-ray.
Air Travel and Stroller – Ease of folding
The easier you can fold a stroller the better. Don’t be fooled into thinking you’ll always have help or always have two hands. Moms are ALWAYS burdened and loaded down with stuff…lots and lots of stuff. If there is such a thing as a one handed fold (and there IS – check the reviews above) it will be worth it’s weight in gold.
Over the years you’ll be using a stroller you’ll save tons of time and aggravation with an easy to fold stroller.
Air Travel and Stroller – Baggage Check or Gate Check
When you check you stroller like luggage at baggage check you give it to the airline with your suitcase and you do not see it again until you pick up your luggage at your final destination. Needless to say that is a LONG time to go without a stroller.
The easiest way to check a stroller is to use gate check. You get to take your stroller all the way up to the door of the airplane before folding it and leaving it there. It is then put LAST onto the airplane. When you arrive, they take it off FIRST and you’ll find it right as you walk off the plane. Super easy.
To use gate check you’ll need to talk to the gate agents before you board. They’ll give you a special tag to put on your stroller. This tag lets the people who will put it on the plane know to put it on LAST and get it off FIRST when you arrive.
Air Travel and Stroller – Protect the Stroller
You can buy special bags for your stroller. In theory, you fold up your stroller and then put it in the bag so it stays clean and tidy during airplane travel.
Questions: Where is baby during this time you are folding and putting the stroller in the bag? Where is all the stuff that was in the storage area under the stroller while you are neatly putting the stroller in the bag? How are you handling all the huffing and puffing of people around you who are waiting to get on the flight?
Don’t bother with fancy – or plain bags. Fold the stroller up and go on about your business. Buy a sturdy stroller than can take a beating and use clorox wipes to clean it off. You have too much to do to concern yourself with keeping the stroller neat and tidy.
Air Travel and Stroller – Getting through Security with stroller
Traveling with the kids takes a little more planning but it is SOOO worth it to share the world with them. Raise global citizens and create family memories to last a lifetime on your family vacations.
Don’t leave home without your travel guide books for kids.
Written by former teacher, The Educational Tourist, travel guide books have activities and information to keep kids engaged and enjoying the vacation MORE!
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Traveling with the kids is wonderful! Enjoy your family vacations.
Happy family vacations,
Natalie, The Educational Tourist