If you’re a family that likes one product to satisfy multiple lifestyle needs, then a travel system stroller is a must-have. While a lightweight travel stroller is great for just travel, you might find yourself needing another full-size stroller for your everyday needs — especially one that allows for a car seat to easily snap-in. A travel system stroller will work not only for travel but also for your lifestyle at home.
A travel system is a stroller and car seat combo, which you typically purchase together. This allows you to have just one set up where the two items fit perfectly together — for the most part, no adapters are needed. More simply put, just one purchase can take care of two expensive items from your baby list. Many times, purchasing a stroller system can also be less expensive than piecing the items together from separate companies.
With a stroller system, the car seat snaps on and off the stroller, which allows for easy access when getting in and out of the car. You can have the car seat snap right into a base in your home car, or you can use the regular seat belt to secure your stroller into a taxi or rental car. But just remember, the car seats that come with these strollers are commonly known as “bucket” seats, which your child will most likely grow out of between 8 to 15 months, depending on the car seat and other factors such as your child’s height and weight.
These strollers are also robust and many times can be used without a car seat at just a few months old due to their full recline feature. Having a stroller with a generous recline offers the perfect napping position for a baby or toddler on the go. With large weight limits, the stroller will then grow with your child into toddlerhood and for many years thereafter.
When traveling on an airplane, you can always check the stroller with the rest of your luggage. Or, depending on the size, you can gate-check the stroller to give you the convenience of having it to navigate a large airport.
While these systems won’t necessarily fold down to allow you to throw the stroller in your backpack or in the overhead bin — yes, those types of strollers do exist — the stroller will grow with your child and can serve as an all-encompassing package with supreme versatility and maneuverability.
Nuna Tavo Next Stroller and Pipa RX Travel System ($879.95; potterybarnkids.com)
If you have the budget, the luxurious Nuna Tavo Next Stoller and Pipa RX Travel System is one of the best options available. With a tri-fold seat, the stroller has a slimmer fold than most other travel systems on this list and will also stand on its own when folded.
The stroller offers all-wheel suspension, ventilated seats, a zip-out canopy and a magnetic buckle.
The car seat features a large canopy that is made from a breathable merino wool blend. And if you use the car seat base, there’s a steel-enforced stability leg for a safer fit. Additionally, the stroller is compatible with all of the “Pipa” line car seats if you’d prefer to combine with a different car seat option.
At less than $200, it’s hard to beat this stroller-car seat combo. The stroller weighs less than 15 pounds and offers a one-step fold. There’s also a generous sun canopy, an included snack tray with a cup holder, a parent tray with two cup holders and a large storage basket. And with a height-adjusting child leg rest, you can even access the underneath basket from the front, instead of solely from the back of the stroller.
The system includes the SnugRide 35 Lite Infant Car Seat, which is from Graco’s well-known line of car seats. The car seat can fit a child between 4 pounds and 35 pounds and up to 32 inches in height. At just 7.2 pounds itself, moving the car seat from the stroller to the car is incredibly easy.
The Graco Modes Travel System is one of Graco’s higher-end strollers and offers 10 different riding options. The stroller seat provides a four-position recline, including a lie-flat infant bassinet option. The seat is adjustable and can be positioned to be rear-facing or forward-facing. Other features include a removable tray with cup holder, a parent’s storage tray and a one-handed standing fold.
The system comes with the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35 Infant Car Seat, however, you must remove the toddler seat to snap on the car seat. While on the go, this can be a nuisance as there are times you might want to use both seats interchangeably, but you’ll have to choose which one to bring with you.
The Chicco Bravo Trio Travel System offers an easy-to-use stroller and car seat combination where the car seat snaps right into the stroller base with or without the regular seat attached. This unique option allows you to lighten the total stroller weight if you want to. Or, by keeping the regular stroller attached, you can use the canopy of both the stroller and car seat to fully keep out the sun. The fabrics are machine washable and there’s an adjustable handlebar. The stroller will also stand up on its own with a one-hand close. Even though the stroller offers plastic wheels, which won’t give you the smoothest ride, the well-known website Parents.com says that this stroller is the best overall travel system.
The included car seat base is very easy to install with a bubble indicator and a latch tightener. You will find, however, that the car seat has slightly lower height and weight limits than some other car seat options at 30 pounds or 30 inches in height.
If you like this stroller but you’re looking for a slightly upgraded model, you can instead opt for the Chicco Bravo Primo Trio Travel System. Although more expensive, the stroller upgrades include treaded rubber tires with a foam core, a four-panel extendable canopy with a pullout visor and the KeyFit 35 Zip car seat.
Evenflo Pivot Xpand Modular Travel System ($377.49; amazon.com)
Looking for a quality travel system but at a lower price point? If so, the Evenflo Pivot Xpand Modular Travel System has figured out a way to keep the price down but also offer quality features. To top it off, this car seat expands with your growing family with 22 different configurations.
The stroller features an extra-large — and easy to access — under storage basket that is up to two feet in length when expanded. You’ll also enjoy a three-position adjustable handlebar, five-position adjustable footrest and large cruiser tires.
The system comes with the Evenflo SafeMax Infant Car Seat, which can be used in the single or double mode, although the stroller will not fit two car seats at once.
The Safety 1st Smooth Ride is another great value stroller at less than $200 for the entire system. Although the stroller is pretty basic, the car seat easily snaps in and out of the stroller — and right into the car — making it quite easy to use. There’s a large storage basket, a child tray and a parent tray. As expected, however, at this price point, the stroller features plastic wheels. This means you won’t get the smoothest ride if you’re traveling somewhere with uneven sidewalks.
The Safety 1st OnBoard 35 LT Infant Car Seat also fits a baby from 4 pounds to 35 pounds and includes a head and body insert, offering extra support for your newborn.
Britax B-Free and B-Safe Gen2 Flexfit Travel System ($589.99; amazon.com)
The Britax B-Free is one of those strollers that will last forever, as it can fit a child up to 50 pounds. While this weight limit far exceeds when most children outgrow a stroller, even elementary-age children sometimes don’t mind being pushed around during a trip to a large city or even Disney World. And for younger children, this means a roomier seat to move around.
The stroller also features an incredibly large sun canopy, seven storage pockets and six different handlebar positions. The stroller is also easy to close with the one-handed fold.
The system comes with the B-Safe Gen2 Flexfit Car Seat, which offers a steel-reinforced frame, side-impact protection and energy-absorbing foam.
The City Mini GT2 is Baby Jogger’s high-end stroller, featuring a stylish and easy-to-maneuver frame, with air all-terrain rubber tires. The stroller is built to last, which is ideal since it has a generous weight limit of 65 pounds. The stroller features a comfortable seat with adjustable calf support, an incredibly large canopy with two peek-a-boo windows and a one-handed fold. Unfortunately, though, you’ll have to order the add-ons separately, such as a child and parent tray.
The stroller travel system comes with the Baby Jogger City GO 2 Car Seat, which is relatively new to the car seat market. The car seat features a one-hand adjustable headrest with no re-thread harness, a quiet canopy and even a taxi guide loop for easy installation without the base. Additionally, the car seat base uses the easy-to-install RAPIDLOCK technology and an anti-rebound bar to provide extra safety.
However, to connect the car seat to the stroller, adapters are needed, but they can be kept on the stroller at all times without getting in the way — even when the car seat isn’t being used.
The Maxi-Cosi Zelia 5-in-1 Modular Travel System can fit your child from infancy either with the click-in car seat option or the lie-flat pram configuration. The stroller seat also offers versatility with its forward- or rear-facing design. The handlebars are height-adjustable, which works well for all caregivers strolling the child.
The one downside is that this is a two-step and two-hand fold, which may be difficult if you’re juggling many other bags or a child with your other hand.
Included in this travel system is the Maxi Cosi Mico 30 Infant Car Seat, which has become extremely popular due to its energy-absorbing foam, side impact protection and no added fire-retardant treatment.
The Uppababy Vista V2 Stroller is one of the most popular travel strollers on the market, offering a sleek and sturdy frame and many desirable features. Although a large investment, this travel system includes not only the stroller and Uppababy Mesa Car Seat, but also a separate bassinet. The bassinet is also safe for overnight sleeping, which means you don’t need a separate bassinet at home — although you’ll need to purchase the bassinet stand separately.
The stroller features a gigantic canopy, one of the largest storage baskets compared to the other stroller systems and a reversible seat. Unfortunately, though, you’ll need to remove the toddler seat to attach the car seat or bassinet.
One of the more unique features of this stroller is that you can move the seat around and fit two children. With many configuration options, it can hold two car seats, two bassinets, one car seat and one toddler seat or two toddler seats. This means the stroller can even be used for twins.
The Graco Ready2Grow Click Connect LX 2.0 Stroller is an ideal tandem stroller for two children — including twins. With multiple riding options, you can easily snap two Graco infant car seats on the stroller. Or, as your child grows, you can even have one of the seats set up as a bench or ride-on board.
However, unlike the rest of the stroller options listed here, the Grace SnugRide Click Connect Infant Car Seats are sold separately, so this isn’t a true package.
The Graco DuoGlider Click Connect Double Stroller travel system is also perfect for twins or kids of varying ages. Similar to the Ready2Grow stroller, you have to purchase the Graco car seats separately, but they easily snap into the stroller with no attachments needed.
Unlike the Ready2Grow Stroller, the Duo Click Connect doesn’t offer as many configurations, but still provides an easy-to-use solution for strolling two children with adaptable car seats. The one downside, however, is that the toddler seats only support children up to 40 pounds, which your child could potentially outgrow quickly.
If you’re looking for a basic jogging stroller travel system without needing all of the bells and whistles, the Baby Trend Expedition Jogger Travel System is a great choice, especially since it comes with an easy-to-attach car seat. The stroller offers a multi-position recline with a large canopy and storage basket, a parent tray with two cup holders and a foam padded push handle. The stroller features a 12-inch front and 16-inch rear all-terrain bicycle tire, where the front can lock for easy jogging.
The travel system comes with the EZ Flex-Loc Infant Car Seat, which can fit a child between 4 pounds and 30 pounds and up to 30 inches tall.
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