Traveling with a Stroller
Archived Q&A and Reviews
Has anyone traveled by air with a jogging stroller? Did you have any problems taking it to the gate and having them put it under the plane? traveler
I took the jogging stroller once, they broke it!!!!! And the airline is replacing a missing item but not a broken one..... I barely got a sorry..... I now only travel with a Maclaren stroller and never had a problem.
We flew Southwest to San Diego about a year ago and had no trouble checking our Baby Jogger at the gate just before we boarded. And it was waiting for us as we came out the door in Oakland. Been There
I have and had no problem. flyin' momma
You should definitely check with the airline and airport. Many have now implemented regulations that the only kind of stroller you're allowed to bring to the gate is an umbrella stroller (or similarly small). If that were the case, they would make you check it as luggage. Jenny
I travel all of the time with a double jogger (the stroller has taken probably 50 flights). If your jogger is too large to put through the x-ray, then they will sweep it by hand. At the gate, just break it down. If you have snaps or some way to secure it in the 'closed' position, then do it. That makes it easier for the ramp folks to get it underneath. But no worries if you can't. jan
Yes, we traveled with our jogging stroller from CA to FL and back. We were able to take the stroller all the way to the entrance of the plane and it was available to us when we had landed and exited the plane. The only problem was that one of the supporting bars of the stroller broke on the way home. They handed us the stroller broken so it happened while it was stored on the plane. It was a big hassle to get them to take responsibility for this. I immediately filed a report at that airport but 4 months later I still had no response. I ended up contacting the president of the airline (hahaha, I figured I'd get a response then!) and within a week I had a check in the mail and I was able to buy another stroller. joj
I flew to Hawaii last year with the Phil & Ted stroller, which although not a true jogging stroller is around the same size and weight. We just made sure to remove the sleep sack thing (obviously not needed in Hawaii) and to use a strap to hold it closed when handing it over at the gate. No problems, I was worried that the crew would object since it is larger than many travel strollers but people were very nice about it. We were also glad to have it as it allowed us to go off-road to beaches, etc. quite a few times with our then 3 month old and have him comfortable and secure. Alternatively, you can find out if there is a rental place where you are going -- there was such a place on the Big Island for all kinds of equipment. Been there, strolled that
Wondering if any of you had a similar problem. We recently vacationed in Hawaii with some friends. Our friends flew United Airlines and they gate checked their Bugaboo stroller. When they got to Maui, the horizontal bar was damaged. They were upset but the stroller was still functional so it's not a huge deal. But they did talk to United about it since the stroller is brand new and they did not check the box on the claim ticket that said ''item has pre- existing damage''. They said they would pay for the repair. Now on their return flight back home, they gate checked the stroller again and this time, they broke the wheel! They're now furious and United is claiming no liability for it. United kept the stroller because the desk person said they needed it to get it fixed/replaced. I suppose this can happen but have never heard about it. Has anyone come across this before? Thanks in advance. Will now buy an inexpensive travel stroller
Our bugaboo frame bent during a flight to seattle on alaska airlines. We did not gate check the stroller, rather, we checked it in through the counter, in the bugaboo stroller bag. Initially we tried to have alaska airlines pay for the damage, however, they said that because strollers are so fragile, they cannot claim responsibility for damages. Then I remembered that Bugaboo offers a 2 year warranty if the product was registered. I called Bugaboo and they sent us a brand new replacement frame within 7 days - free of charge. Hassle- free. We've traveled with it since and this time we ask the airlines for fragile stickers to stick on the travelling bag. happy with our bugaboo
Good luck with United. They are by far the worst airline for customer service. There are several web sites devoted to this topic--just google it. They have more customer complaints than any other airline. One bout I had with them was when I was traveliing wiht my husband following his leg surgery at Mayo Clinic, with two toddlers, ages 2&3. My husband coudl not stand or bend his leg and one of my toddlers was quite sick. At the counter I requested a bulkhead seat for my husband, and seats with my 2 children. The United rep, in a very sarcastic and rude manner, said he would not ''guarantee'' me a seat by my children! He also would not try to get my hsuband a seat with more leg room,as these were given to their Mileage Plus passengers! My husband could not bend his leg for more than a few soeconds. The United rep seemed to take satisfactioon in denying these requests. He was -and this has been our repeated experience with this airline-incrediblty snotty and uncaring, actually told me that someone esle might need to sit by my ill 2 year old! He was smirking. Fortunately, passengers in the plane were quite willing to switch with me when I asked them--the airline did nothing to help us. Another wonderful United trip was when I was going from CA to NYC to my dad's funeral. Take-off was delayed and the flight was going to be quite late, due to a problem with the airplane wheel they were checking out. I had no checked luggae and was goign to miss the event. I requested to deboard. They would not let me off the plane to get another flight. We were 4 hours delayed and I missed the event. The UA steward had the same condescending, smirking attidtude that is so prevalent at this airline. They treat passengers like dogs. My family will never fly this airline again. Check out the web site www.untied.com for other similar stories. anon
This exact thing JUST happened to me! How bizarre. I flew United in October and they broke the handle completely off my $300 Maclaren stroller. I was furious. They, too, took the stroller because they wanted to ''fix'' it. I got a claim number and was told that I would get the stroller back in 4 weeks. After 8 weeks, I called the United damaged baggage folks, which happen to be in India (it's all outsourced). They said, we can't get a hold of the folks at the local United desk where you filed the claim (it was in South Dakota). But they said the status read that it was out for repair. I gave United another 2 months and heard nothing. I called India again and was given the number to a place in Michigan that was supposed to be fixing my stroller. The Michigan folks had absolutely no record of my stroller! I called India AGAIN and got the local phone number for United damaged bags in South Dakota. The recorder was completely full and not taking any messages. I called a general number at the airport there and was told that I could in no way talk to a human being representing United at that airport. I called India a THIRD time and spoke with Manesh. I demanded to know where my stroller was and wanted an answer within 24 hours. He absolutely was on the case. I spoke with him on a Friday and got a phone call from United in South Dakota on Monday, ''How much was your stroller? We will reimburse you.'' So after MANY months and MANY phone calls to India, I got a check for $299. I didn't even have to provide an invoice or documentation regarding the cost of the stroller. I just got a check in the mail. After all of this, I will never fly United if I can help it (no wonder they are bankrupt) and when I fly again, I'm using a cheap stroller. I think your friend may have a difficult time getting reimbursed since Bugaboos are so expensive. I, too, had the little slip that asks you to claim any preexisting damage but I didn't need that slip at all in the long run. I suggest that your friend call the damaged bags folks, demand and just be persistent. Good luck. Beret
Its not the airline's problem. You waive their responsibility when its something like a carseat or a stroller. Personally, I think anyone who would pay that much for a stroller is insane. Its sucks that the thing broke, but they should have gotten a cheaper stroller that way if you are out $30 bucks, no problem. anon
I am going to a lot of travelling in the next several months and would like to bring my jogging stroller (BOB Revolution) for my daughter. I would like some advice on how others have done this when flying. Do you bring a box or bag to use for the stroller to check it as luggage? Do you use the big plastic bags they give you to check a car seat? Or are you able to take it to the gate with you? I am worried if it will fit in the screening/xray machine. It makes more sense for me to take the jogging stroller than my umbrella stroller because I would like to use it on the trails and on the unpaved roads where we will be staying. Any advice is much appreciated. travelling mom
I've flown with a Mountain Buggy Urban, and I could fold it and pop off one of the side wheels and it would fit through the xray. However, it is often much easier to check a big jogging stroller, and just use an umbrella stroller in the airport or carry the baby in a backpack. I'd buy a special bag to check it though, that's an expensive stroller and you don't want to risk the airlines banging it around too much. Or look into renting or borrowing a jogging stroller at your destination. Frequent Flyer
I Travelled to mexico with a jogging stroller about a year ago i was able to take it all the way past the gate and all the way to the plane entrance. just fold it as you get to enter on the plane and it's taken by one of the guys to where all the baggage is. dont worry about the check area part they take the stroller and inspect it by hand. no x-ray machine. doesnt fit... Claudia
I just returned from traveling with my jogging stroller and had no problem gate checking it (taking it all the way to the plane). I just rolled it almost to the door and then folded it up. But some airlines don't allow you to do this, and some, even if they allow you to, do not unload it if you have a connecting flight, so I would call the airline before you fly. I think gatechecking may be the safest option, as I have never had a problem with it but have some friends whose stroller has been checked as luggage it got beat up in the cargo, especially the wheels. Hope
We are travelling this summer as well and have a BOB. If you want to spend the money they have a bag for $99 that fits the BOB and then my understanding is you would check it. Perhaps using a sling to carrier your child to and from gate. Our flights are direct so this should work fine, not sure about yours. Here is a link: http://www.bobtrailers.com/accessories/strollertravelbag.php travelling mom 2
We used to pack up our BOB stroller in a huge duffle bag (which was fine), but only because it never crossed our mind to take it to the airport and check it at the gate. I can't travel without the BOB, because it's the only way I can guarantee both a nap for my daughter and some exercise for me (she's pretty clingy, but will willingly climb into the stroller to go running with me), plus in warm environments, it's so much better than an umbrella stroller because it's so shady in there! We went to Hawaii a few months ago, and checked the jog stroller at the gate. It's NO problem. We checked with the airline before, and maybe we even checked with airport security. When you go through the security gate, they'll do a visual/hand check of the stroller. When we got to the gate, we folded it up for them. janet
I have to take a trip with my 4 month old in another month and cannot imagine doing it without his stroller however I am concerned about checking the stroller - namely that it will get damaged. I haven't had the best of luck with checked baggage (I've had things lost, stollen and damaged) and our stroller is a gift that we couldn't easily afford to replace (I assume airlines don't take responsibility for such items). Is this something silly to worry about? Any advice? Thank you! Vanessa
I have flown three different times with my 5 1/2 month old and would not have survived without our Snap N' Go stroller. It's basically just a stroller base that you can put the carseat on. It's great for traveling because you can open it easily with one hand, it's lightweight and it's got a pretty decent storage basket underneath. The other good thing is that it's only around $50...so not too expensive to buy or, if there was damage or loss from traveling (which I have never run into), it's not to your more expensive stroller. We keep our Snap N' Go in the back of the car so that we have something easy and lightweight when we are out and about. Most airlines allow you to take your stroller and carseat up to the gate and check them there when you board. This makes the airport shuffle so much easier. Good luck!! Nicola
We've taken a few air trips with the stroller without any problem. You get to keep the stroller all the way up to the gate. Airline personnel check it then, and you get it back at the gate when you arrive. Sine you don't check the stroller with your other checked baggage, it does not get thrown into the regular baggage handling system (conveyer belts, etc.). Based on our experience it's nothing to worry about.
I definitely recommend travelling with a sturdy stroller that can carry a lot of stuff. It makes it much easier to get through the airport, stroll right up to the plane, and have it waiting when you get off. We made dozens of flights, including international ones, with our Graco stroller without mishap. Then recently it got really banged up on one flight, including the one-handle release mechanism getting completely broken. And you are right, the airlines will not take any responsibility as long as the stroller is still ''functional'' (I think it is similar to their luggage policy). So I don't know what to tell you. Maybe get a less expensive stroller for travel? Good luck! --mom with well-travelled stroller
I recommend you get a sit-n-stroll. It's a car seat and stroller in one and also fits onto most airline seats so you just take it on with you. Then you don't have a seperate stroller and car seat to carry. Ours doesn't actually fit down the airplane aisle and so we had to pick it up to carry it to the seat but other than that, it was great. We got ours used from someone on the BPN which was great. Kim
Hello, We've travelled several times with our two children, now ages 4 and 1. We have been able to use our stroller (sometimes an umbrella stroller and other times a baby jogger) until we boarded the plane. As you actually board the plane, the stewardess can take your stroller, which by then is properly tagged, and the luggage carrier takes your stroller directly into the luggage area of the plane. When you exit the plane at your destination, your stroller will be waiting for you steps away from the plane. Very nice, and you don't have to count your stroller as a checked baggage item. Our strollers have never been damaged in the process. As we became more experienced doing this, my husband learned that it helped to bring along a roll of packing tape to wrap the stroller together securely. This was most important with our baby jogger which had a detachable wheel. Now, we have only done this on direct flights, so if you are needing to change planes, I would inquire if this will still work out for you. Have fun! Jennifer
Here's a long answer to your short question. (The short answer is ''relax!'') Over the last five years, we have taken at least 30 trips by airplane with a stroller and have had almost no damage, and what we experienced was minor and fixable. Here are the strategies that we (and others) have followed:
1) Gate check your stroller. You want to do this in any case, because you will want to push your kid around in the stroller in the airport. (Or, you'll carry the kid and push your carry-on luggage and car seat...) Just don't check your stroller with the rest of the luggage. Instead, take it through security, push it up to the gate agent at your departure gate, and tell him/her you would like to gate-check your stroller. They will give you a tag to put on the stroller. You will fold it up and leave it just outside the door of the airplane when you board, at the end of the jetway. The luggage guys will pick it up, put it on TOP of the other luggage inside the plane, and return it to the airplane door when you deplane. This avoids most of the wear-and- tear, because your stroller will not end up at the bottom of a pile of luggage going to/from the terminal. By the way: make sure the gate agent knows it is a stroller you are gate- checking, otherwise you will not be able to pick it up at the end of the jetway. Instead, the stroller will go to the baggage claim with the rest of your luggage. Our only damage occurred when we forgot this point...
2) Get an umbrella stroller. We successfully took a bunch of trips with a Peg Perego ''Cadillac''-type stroller, and it emerged completely unscathed, but it's more of a pain when you're also juggling diaper bags and car seats. With a four-month-old, you might not have a choice here.
People diverge on the next strategy, so here's what we've seen, and what we've done: 3a) Buy a cheap umbrella stroller for travel. In that case, you don't care about any damage. We did not do this. 3b) Buy an expensive stroller because they are more robust and can also be fixed easily. Our Peg Perego was built like a truck and never had a problem. Our Combi umbrella stroller weighs maybe 4 pounds, and must be able to take a beating, because it has almost never had a problem either. But it's metal, not plastic. This stroller got a bent wheel when we forgot to specify picking it up at the gate. But a quick call to Combi, and we had a new replacement wheel... (And it went fine on the bent one, anyway.)
In our experience, the airlines have been super helpful when traveling with a baby, and a stroller. We've had baggage handlers, flight attendants, and even pilots help us juggle bags and unfold strollers... --My stroller's grown wings
I have never had any problems in checking in strollers. Once I bought a box to check in a new stroller. In 1992, I bought an inexpensive lightweight umbrella stroller -- the only one I could find with a back rest which could be released about 10 inches down for the baby to sleep more comfortably(not sure of the brand - Graco or other starting with a G). It had a sun shade and I bought a crochet bag to hang in the back for the baby's things. I made a bag for airplane travel with a handle to slip over my shoulders. We were traveling by train in Europe and this worked out fine. This stroller was a convenience after we returned home too and was really worth it.
You should take your stroller to the gate and gate check it. They put it on the plane right after you get on and then you wait for it at the gate when you deplane and they bring it up to you right away. It is much less likely to get lost because it is right by the cargo door. We have had very minimal damage to our strollers and carseats when they are gate checked and have not lost one yet. Good luck. seasoned traveler with 3 kids
Take your child, in their stroller to the gate. The gate agent will give you a ''gate check'' for your stroller. You fold up the stroller at the end of the ramp before entering the airplane, and leave it by the door. What happens from there, I am not exactly sure, but apparently the stroller gnomes pick it up and put it back by the ramp door when you exit the airplane at your destination. If you are changing flights, repeat the process, do not check it through to your final destination. I THINK the stroller is put on top of the rest of the baggage, so less risk of damage, and if it is not there when you exit the plane, you can ask where it is. I personally have had no problems with this process, and have flown many times with my daughter. I should mention that going through security is a little rough if you are by yourself. They make you take the child all the way out of the stroller, fold the stroller, and run it through the exray. I am not able to hold my daughter and fold up her current stroller with one hand, so I have had to rely on the kindness of strangers to hold my daughter while I fold up the stroller. I guess assisting parents with small children is not in TSA's job description. Good luck, and happy flying! Linda
I recently travelled overseas, and needed to take our double stroleller (my kids were 15 months old and almost 3). I checked the stroller on the way out, and it came damaged, which I didn't figure until I opened it. So, yes, it can get damaged. BUT, I couldn't have been able to commute in the airport or enjoy my visit (I was travelling alone with the kids).
However, if you can only take one stroller and manage, then you can carry an umbrella stroller and you'll be able to check it as hand held baggage. That's also a great option if you have a long commute at the airport. Have a good trip, EP
We take the cheapo umbrella stroller - $20 at toysrus or many other places. Jen
First of all, do you know about gate-checking your stroller? You check all your luggage (including your carseat, if applicable) but you keep the baby in the stroller all the way up to the door of the plane. You'll have to take him out for the security scan but other than that he stays in. When you are checking in, the airline people will give you a tag for the stroller (if they don't, you tell them you want to gate check the stroller and then they will)..
Second, you need a stroller that can withstand a bit of manhandling (or womanhandling, whatever). I highly recommend a MacLaren, any style. I got a mid-priced MacLaren umbrella stroller when my baby was born and used it for over 3 years, including 3 trips to Europe and 5 or 6 other airplane trips.
Never had a problem with anything falling off. Finally the wheels wore out after the ''baby'' got to be 50 pounds and too hard to push anyways.
Yes, you do want to take the stroller, but you want a lightweight stroller for things like carrying it, with the baby in it, up and down the stairs of the London tube stations. Have fun! Ginger
I have travelled 4 times with my stroller on airplanes and have had no damage at all to it. The first time I was lucky enough for them to stow it on board for me and that was perfect because it was right there waiting for me when I got off the plane. The strollers normally go in the over sized baggage compartment and therefore are seperate from the other bags and then you pick them up from the oversized pick-up area. All my flights have been trans-atlantic, so I'm not sure if domestic are different. Tell them how important the stroller is or even call ahead and ask for room on aboard, it can't hurt and I'm sure airline have had more unusual requests. Good luck. helen
We just travelled to and from Hawaii on United with our 6 month old and checked his stroller at the gate, thinking we'd avoid damage that way. The flight there the stroller emerged unscathed but the flight home the stroller came out with a broken bonnet hinge and some liquid had spilled over it. Nothing too major, but still noteworthy. United made us sign something that said they were not responsible for damage but they WERE responsible if it became lost. Tracey
I always bring my stroller, for the past 8 years and counting of travel with my kids (now 8 and 4). It is a lifesaver in the airport itself, among other things. I always hang onto it until the very last second and check it at the gate. Typically I roll it right down the jetway and fold it up 2 feet from the door to the actual airplane. The airport guys deal with it, and it is always there waiting right outside the door of the plane upon arrival. Nothing bad has ever happened to it--I think it is one of the last things stowed, and maybe it rests on top of all the other stuff or something. Never shows any wear. The only times this has not worked super terrific was during some international flights that involved many stairs and no jetway thingey. Otherwise, it is almost always smooth as silk. Best of luck. meg
hi- i will be traveling to italy in may with my husband and 6 month old daughter. i would like advice on traveling with a stroller in italy. i am torn between bringing sling, front carrier, car seat and stroller.we will be in rome, then train to florence, another train to verona and fly out of milan. all this in 12 dys! it will be alot to travel with!! and i am not sure what the museum rules are around strollers...what sidewalks are like..etc..i would ultimatley like to travel with as little as possible...if that is possible!! any advice from trvaeling parents would be appreciated! thanks... shawn
From my own experience I say take a stroller, and bring a sling (this is the best for hauling the baby down the aisle of the plane while you are boarding -worth the price of the sling in my opinion/and it can help you walk the baby to sleep if need be). This way you can have the sling tucked in the stroller at museums, and if they won't let the stroller in leave it outside.
I would say leave the front carrier, unless you can use it for long periods of time without it killing your lower back. By the time my baby wa 6 months 'Bjorn' had become a curse word in my house. Plus the sling is smaller so you can tuck it into the stroller or a bag easier. And it doubles as a shopping bag in a pinch!
I would also suggest bringing more than an umbrella stroller, I personally feel if I have to push a cart around I want it to hold my, as well as my baby's stuff, and most umbrella strollers don't. I have a J. Mason skedaddle??? it is not as small as an umbrella when folded down, but it folds VERY easily, is light, and it has a few of the bells and whistles, like snack tray, partial recline, roomy basket, and decent sun shade. Plus I bought it for $25 (on sale). I can not tell you how wonderful it is to have a stroller in airports, it hauls the baby, their stuff, your purse, and your carry on if you balance it on top, and they check them right at the gate.
Some may suggest bringing one of those seats that clip onto a table, but I think for 12 days you can use the stroller to feed the baby in restaurants. (Or hold him in your lap). aprill
We took our daughter to Italy for two weeks when she was about 21 months old. We brought a car seat and our combi travel stroller. We really didn't have a problem taking the stroller anywhere. There may have been a few museums where we had to leave it and then carry her. If you are going to any hill towns with a lot of steps having the stroller can be tricky. I think we just carried ours. One option to consider is getting one of those combination backpack/strollers, which would allow a lot of versatility. The other thing to think about is how you will be getting around. If you are going to be in taxis frequently, you might want to consider the car seat seat that is also a stroller. I don't remember the name but I've seen it frequently in catalogs. In Italy we rented a car, but on another international trip we took where I relied on taxis, it was a challenge because I was not about to lug the car seat around with us all day. Have fun on your trip! We had a wonderful time traveling in Italy with our young daughter. We met people everywhere we went because children are so highly valued in Italian culture. Hannah
We took a stroller to Italy (Venice, Florence, Amalfi Coast) and found it to be of very little use! The cobbled side walks, steps and crowded touristy areas made it virtually impossible to use. And yes, there were times when we were asked to leave it outside a museum. Our kid was only 3 months old and spent most of the time in the Baby Bjorn, which worked out well. Christine
I have travelled twice to Italy with my daughter - once alone, and once with husband. She was 9 months and 15 months. The first time I took a sling and a backpack and borrowed a stroller from neighbors while en route. Used the backpack almost exclusively in airport for handsfree, and also on some day trips. Stroller worked OK on city trips but yes, certain pavements (ie cobblestone) are pretty turbulent, but kind of fun. I mostly carried her in arms or sling. If with your partner it is easier because you get to take turns and don't get too tired. Second trip she was walking/running already and I didn't bring anything, borrowing stroller again. Stroller never got used. Wished I had brought the backpack for easier travel in cities which have narrow streets not good for toddlers vs.cars.
In summary: I recommend bringing back pack and sling - each suits different situations. Stroller ends up being clumsy and not used as much. Hands free is better in my book. Bon voyage! moondeva
We are taking our 22-month-old to Europe, and we'd like to have a stroller suitable for both lugging around with us and for extended use on the streets of Paris, etc. We have a Peg Perego carriage/stroller, but it seems awful heavy for traveling. An umbrella stroller would be nice and light, but would it be too light for extended use on the road? Any experience or suggestions on this (or any other travel ideas with a toddler) would be welcome. Thanks! Jerome
Having just returned from a trip to France with an 11-month-old, there is one piece of information you might want to factor in to this decision. French cities in general and Paris in particular are far less stroller-friendly than this area. Not only are sidewalks narrower and curb cuts unheard of, but taking a stroller in the Metro is extremely impractical. There are no escalators into the stations, there are often stairs between various platforms as well, and the fare gates are too narrow to accomodate a stroller. Your child is at an age where s/he could conceivably get out and walk, but navigating the metro with (say) a sleeping kid seems like it would be pretty difficult. We used a backpack during our trip and were very happy with it, although this may not be a practical option with an older child.
I bought a second-hand McLaren stroller to take with us when we moved to Moscow. I had to call around to find it--they're not that plentiful on the used market plus they cost a bit more ($40 used)--but came up with one after a couple of weeks of looking. Why I held out for the McLaren: my daughter is quite big for her age--then 15 months. Although the stroller itself was a light as could be--I think just 9 pounds or so--the McLaren had a significantly higher weight-carrying rating than the otherwise comparable Kolcraft stroller. I think that was an important consideration, because not only is my daughter pretty heavy, we use the stroller as an overall pack-horse, to carry groceries, tote-bags, diaper bag, extra sweater, etc. Also, the McLaren has a higher back than the other brands--my daughter's head extended above the top of the back of the other strollers we tried, which seemed unattractive because my daughter often falls asleep in the stroller, but that looked uncomfortable in the smaller ones. For the same reason, I chose the McLaren because it reclines pretty well, while the totally inexpensive ones do not.
I was happy with my choice for the first month overseas, until one of the front wheels unexpectedly snapped right off while traversing a slushy sidewalk. So that was a clear downside. But, I think these things happen to strollers, especially when the kids get a little bigger, like nearing two years old. For example a friend of mine with a 2-year old took a no-frills generic umbrella stroller to Sweden, and one of its wheels fell off at the airport. Moral: when strollering on slushy streets, if you hit an obstacle or a pot-hole, don't just push harder. Also, keeping the front wheels locked in the non-swivel position helps get over rough terrain. If the terrain gets really rough, I turn around and drag the stroller behind me, which is always much easier than pushing.
Our replacement stroller is also an umbrella type, but it is full sized--weighs only about 9 pounds, but doesn't fold into a very tiny bundle. It's a Chicco brand one--Italian, which is relatively common here, but I don't recall seeing it in Berkeley. I like it a lot, but one of the shock-absorbers is already broken, after only 7 months of use. Like I say, these things seem to happen to strollers.
A lot of people like the Savvy Traveller because it is very narrow and feather light--I think about 7 pounds. However, the ones I've seen recline OK, but never seem to get really upright, which doesn't suit my daughter at all. Also, I'm not sure they are sturdy enough to carry a larger child.
I would strongly recommend bringing your child along when you shop for the stroller so you get a reasonable fit. And ask to see the official specifications of the stroller if at all possible.
If you are bringing a lot of luggage, I would recommend checking with your airline in advance to find out their policies about whether they count the stroller as luggage or not. I have found that some airlines (e.g. United) do, and some (e.g. Delta) do not . I would also recommend planning to check the stroller at the gate, not at the counter. That way you have it to help you get your child (and/or some of your carry-ons) through the airport, plus you are less likely to get charged an excess baggage fee by the gate agent than by the counter agent. Also, at your destination, the airline people will bring the stroller to you on the jet-way, immediately after landing, so you have the benefit of wheels right away--good if, for example, your child has fallen asleep on the plane and is still too drowsy to walk.
For the plane ride itself, I have had good luck with packing a bunch of never-seen-before non-rolling (so they don't escape immediately into the neighbor's seat) small toys, and introducing a new one whenever boredom or crankiness strikes. I bring plenty of snacks and drinks for the plane ride--for me and my daughter. I once happened to have a candy bar with me, which I used to good effect when I had to ask a fellow traveller for a favor--to swith to a less desirable seat so that I could sit with my family. I usually forget to carry thank-you gifts for the plane, but they can really come in handy. If you're still breastfeeding, nurse during take-off and especially landing. Otherwise, arrange to have your child drinking or eating during these times so that the swallowing action will keep the ears clear. I do not buckle my daughter's seatbelt until the very last moments before takeoff, and about five minutes before touchdown, because she gets tired of it very quickly, and I do want it on her at the critical times. I often buckle up a favorite doll too, to make it seem fun. Ask the flight attendant her/his policy about diaper changes--I have found that each crew seems to have its own protocols, and we were badly chewed out for following the wrong one once. I take off my daugher's shoes right away, because she seems unable to refarin from kicking the seat in front of her and at least the impact is less when she's barefoot. Another idea for that is to offer her a substitute punching/kicking bag, which sometimes works. I once dosed my daughter with children's Benedryl on the advice of my sibling's pediatrician, so that she would be drowsy and sleep on the plane. It worked so-so for me--she only really fell asleep at her normal time anyway, plus maybe it made adjusting to jetlag take longer. I've never done it again on our many subsequent flights. My advice re jetlag: sleep when the baby sleeps. I can adjust to jetlag much faster than my child can, but that does me no good at all when she's wide awake at three in the morning and I'm already feeling like it's the middle of the night. Hope this helps. Bon Voyage! Meg
I want to update my recent lengthy review of various travel strollers. At the time, I thought my Chicco full-size, yet umbrella-style stroller was pretty good. Since then, however, it has become a useless piece of junk: the rear wheel fell off. Plus, it had the nerve to do so in a torrential downpour, while my daughter was sleeping in it, getting sopped (so I couldn't take the time to go hunting for the lost wheel). Now I have to go buy a whole new stroller, after just 8 months of use. I hate it. I don't recommend it after all.
We bought Combi Savvy Z stroller when we travelled to London with our 6 months old. Since then it has become the only stroller that we ever use (except for the baby jogger for those off road excurtions). Savvy Z is light, folds easily and comes with a very convenient shoulder strap for carrying hands-free. These were crucial and well appreciated characteristics as wheelchair/stroller access remains a problem on public transport and in city access generally.Ours is an older model which has a limited seat reclining capability but it has not stopped our daughter from napping in reasonable comfort. The latest model allows the seat to be reclined flat and it has better seat padding. However it seemed to have a little more bulk overall. Another stroller to look out for may be an Aprica model, which I cannot recall the specific product name but which I understand has one-hand folding mechanism and which can be wheeled along in folded position. It also has an optional shoulder strap.
An additional recommendation regarding travel with children: British Airways has began providing child flight seats by Britax, the car seat manufacturer, from August. We are flying with them to UK and were told that age appropriate seats will be available on request, providing the child has its own seat. A very good news for parents indeed. John
My wife, daughter, and I traveled for 8+ months in Asia and Europe with a Combi Savvy Z and then lived in Paris for 3 months with the same stroller a year later. It is a very durable stroller (we loaded it down with camera bag and diaper bag as well as a 6 month-who-became-two years-old girl) and I recall it was narrow enough to fit through the Paris Metro gates, although carrying it up and down the stairs was a workout. Mostly because my daughter was typically sleeping in it at the time. Wheels are small, but it did OK on rough/cobblestone streets. However, do not get same wheels jammed under the lip on the side of the Metro esclators as it can be the end of that wheel -- alas, it was for ours. The only reason we didn't get another one was because (1) you can't find Combis in France, and (2) now we need a double. John
My dad got my daughter a Graco umbrella stroller when she was one for about 30 dollars. It took her on 6 trips across the country (loaded with carry on baby etc.), two trips to Spain, 1 trip to England, two trips to Mexico, and everything in between (cobblestones, in and out of the metro, planes, trains, shopping trips loaded with groceries) plus daily use at home. She is now four and she walks most of the time so we retired it. The one extra feature I appreciated was the fold over sunshade...but I think we got our money's worth!! Cristina
We took our daughter to Paris when she was 2 years old and used a sturdy metal umbrella stroller from Britain (Mothercare -- you can't buy them here, but they are similar to the most inexpensive McLarens, in fact they are basically cheaper chain-store equivalents). We have found that stroller very reliable under the roughest treatment. It is true that Paris is very stroller-unfriendly, but we managed fine with that stroller -- we would just bump it up and down the steps in the metro stations. To deal with the turnstile problem, one of us would go through the turnstile with a ticket and then go round to the adjacent exit door for passengers leaving the platforms and open it so the other could push the stroller through. I would definitely recommend such a stroller. They are built for those sorts of conditions. Hannah
I'd like to put in a vote for the Sit N Stroll (see Sit N Stroll for full review.) --Kris
I'd recommend a backpack (for up to age 3) or sling (for infants-age2) for travelling. You never have to fold it up to get through the public transit system or up+down stairs, and it's perfect for letting them wake or sleep at will. Granted, I have a twenty-year habit of carrying heavy bookpacks everywhere, so maybe the load was not as much of an issue as it would be for someone who would be starting without that habit. Joyce
I would also recommend the Combi Savvy stroller.. another advice/recommendation that has been going around. It weathered well through airports, underground subways, lots of strolling on cobble stone streets and general wear in tear in being placed in the luggage bins, or being checked in. It was also a comfortable place for my son to hang out in. A little bit of home when he was insecure with his environment.