Convenience is the key to stress-free parenthood. It would be more convenient to use products that simply work. For traveling with your baby, you might want to consider a stroller-car seat travel system.
- Best Overall Car Seat Stroller Combo: Chicco Bravo Trio Travel System
- Best Configurable System: Evenflo Pivot Modular Travel System
- Best For Multiple Children: UPPABaby Vista V2 Stroller
- Best For Jogging: Baby Trend Expedition Jogger Travel System
- Best For Easy Folding: Graco FastAction Fold Sport Click Connect Travel System
- Best For Budget: Safety 1st Smooth Ride Travel System
- Best For Versatility: Graco Modes Travel System
- Best Lightweight Option: BRITAX B-Lively Travel System
- Best For Splurge: UPPABaby Cruz V2 Stroller
- Best For Style And Comfort: Nuna Tavo Stroller And Pipa Lite LX Travel System
What Is A Stroller and Car Seat Combo – Travel System?
A travel system is a set of three products sold together in one package. This set is usually a combination of a stroller, an infant car seat, and a car seat base. In most models, the car seat is convertible into a toddler seat. These bundles typically contain products from one brand or manufacturer and often include free accessories.
You might be wondering why such a product exists when you can buy items separately. The short but sweet answer is “convenience.” Travel systems are sold in combinations to ensure that all parts work together without additional products. This approach will minimize or completely erase incompatibilities among the stroller or the car seat.
Why Is There A Travel System?
In exchange for a little bit of savings, first-time parents would often get affordable products. But this approach has an unintended side-effect: third-party adapters are needed to use different products together. The money saved in buying affordable products would likely go to buying adapters instead. And even with adapters, there is no 100% guarantee that the setup will work.
Some parents choose to buy products from the same manufacturer and the same brand to avoid this problem. The “same brand” method reduces or eliminates incompatibility problems, reducing many hassles. Still, this could be a tedious process because different models from the same brand might still need third-party adapters.
With this in mind, many stroller brands started to release pre-packaged travel systems with great compatibility. These products are also cheaper and will likely have some freebies attached. Features of the car seat and stroller would often complement each other, providing a more “bang for the buck” experience to customers.
Is It Better Than Buying Separate Products?
Travel systems have tons of benefits: it includes an infant car seat, plug-in-play, and guaranteed compatibility. Most car seats and stroller will add extra features such as extra cupholders or additional storage. The weight limit is usually around 40 to 55 pounds. And most manufacturers make sure it’s easy to transition into a toddler seat later on.
But because travel systems are three products combined, expect to use a heavy product. It can also take up a huge portion of seat space in the car. You might also find the car seat, the base, or the stroller a bit lacking in features. Products like stroller frames might also be a better option in some cases. A travel system is just of numerous baby traveling aids. And for most people, this option is sufficient.
Are There Other Options?
Yes, there are still other options if you can’t find the best travel system for you. You can choose between stroller frames, baby carriers, or making your own car seat-stroller combinations. Take note: lightweight strollers usually don’t work well with infant car seats.
Stroller frames can be a simple solution for people who are within a budget. It acts as a carrier where you can attach car seats, like a makeshift stroller. Because it’s only a stroller frame, it is way cheaper and more lightweight than a stroller or a travel system. The steering experience might also be better due to the light frame.
However, once the baby outgrows the infant car seat, you might eventually need to get a toddler seat or a regular stroller. The frame might not be able to support the car seat anymore. Stroller frames might be a good option only if you don’t travel a lot with your baby.
A baby carrier or a baby sling is a cloth used to strap the baby to the carrier’s body. It doesn’t need strollers and only usable when the baby is old enough to sit up. Often used as “baby carrying,” this is only advisable if the carrier’s body is strong enough to support the additional weight.
DIY Car Seat – Stroller Combination
The traditional option of matching a regular stroller and car seat is always an option. Building your system requires you to find a compatible car seat and stroller. But is worth it if you need a specific stroller feature. For general-purpose use, using a travel system is recommended because it saves time and money.
Things To Consider When Buying A Travel System
Getting the best car seat stroller combo needs a lot of consideration. Even if compatibility is out of the question, you still need to check other factors before purchasing. Knowing if there are any deal-breaking factors is always a must before spending money. Here are some things to consider before purchasing a travel system.
Car And Car Seat Size
Your car should be large enough to use the specific travel system combo that you want to buy. Since travel systems are bulky, this should be the first thing you would consider. If your car is on the smaller side, you might have to look for smaller infant car seat options or use other products like baby carriers.
Just like buying a regular stroller, knowing the terrain support of a unit is essential. Should you get an all-terrain stroller for nature travels and rough terrains? Or are you using the stroller in urban areas with flat surfaces? Choose your terrain support option based on the purpose of your travel system.
Quality Of Individual Parts
One of the disadvantages of buying a travel system is when one individual part is subpar to your standards. In this case, the customer is the judge in whether a particular flaw is a deal-breaker or not. If you’re satisfied with each part of the set, then the purchase is worth it.
Accessories And Ease Of Use
Specific features such as cupholders and additional storage can only come with accessories. You might have to bear that in mind while choosing, especially when it comes to strollers. As for the ease of use, check if the stroller is easily foldable without too much effort. The infant car seat should be easily unlatched safely in the car seat base and in the stroller seat.
Convenience And Features
Manufacturers would sometimes throw in comfort features to give more value to their products. These features include additional grip in the handle, more storage, decently-sized canopies, etc. But take note that additional comfort features will also add to the last price tag.
Budget is usually the biggest factor when buying a travel system. Since it is not the only expense in a household, parents should consider how much they want to spend on a travel system. You can expect to spend from $200 and above on a travel system. If an item is not within your budget, seeking other options is better.
Now that we know what to look out for in a travel stroller, it’s time for product hunting. But if you don’t have the time to do so, we got you covered. Without further ado, here are the ten best travel systems in the market right now.