On our first flight with our 3-month-old, we brought along our full-size Uppababy Cruz stroller without the normal stroller seat or the bassinet (which we never bought), but with the compatible Uppababy Mesa infant car seat, because our baby was still too small for the regular stroller seat or any other travel stroller I researched at the time. We gate-checked both items, while I carried the baby in a carrier on the plane. Later, I learned about the infant SnugSeat, which you can attach to the regular stroller seat before your baby can fully sit upright… but for convenience’s sake, I recommend bringing along as few items as possible.
When we went to Hawaii at 6-months, our son was able to sit upright, so I purchased the Ergobaby stroller (since we loved the carrier so much), and it claimed to be one-hand fold and 180-reversible via just the handle. It seemed a lot more convenient to operate than our full-sized stroller. After the Hawaii trip, I returned that stroller, because our son seemed to slouch awkwardly in the giant seat, and it just didn’t seem like the right fit for his age. We knew we still wanted a more compact stroller with one-hand-fold for daily daycare dropoff/pickup use, so we bought the Baby Jogger City Mini, which we love and still use today as our primary stroller.
Traveling changed completely when I learned about the Doona—a car seat that can be attached to the car without the bulky base and has wheels for wheeling around like a stroller. I no longer had to bring a car seat, a car seat base, and a stroller for short trips—I just had to bring one piece. With the Doona, we also stopped driving ourselves to places where parking can be an issue and started Ubering with the kid and his transforming car seat stroller.
Our New Orleans trip was the last time we got to use the Doona, as it has a height limit of 32 inches. Now that our son has outgrown his infant car seat as well, we’ve upgraded to the Nuna Rava car seat for regular use and the lightweight Cosco Scenera for travel use. I’ve also purchased the Silver Cross Jet travel stroller as it folds down to a super compact size that fits in the overhead compartment, but we still prefer our City Mini for daily use. Some other ultra-compact strollers I seriously considered after extensive research include the popular Mountain Buggy Nano and the Babyzen Yoyo.
So there you have it. All you really need to travel with a baby (other than all the general stuff that goes in the checked luggage) is a car seat, stroller (or car seat-stroller), carrier, and a backpack to fit all of the feeding, changing, and entertaining essentials!
Got travel gear or products you can’t live without? Let me know!