What exactly is a travel system?
As the name suggests, it is a type of buggy that’s specifically designed for traveling. Going to the mall, doing groceries, or if you simply need to go from one place to another — all of these tasks can become less of a hassle if you have a travel system. A really good and reliable travel system is a must!
The best travel system strollers make transferring your baby from the car to the stroller and vice versa, a lot easier.
You wouldn’t want to wake your dozing baby as you transfer him to a stroller, right? This is essentially the biggest convenience afforded by travel systems.
A travel system is mainly composed of the following:
- Infant Car Seat – the piece that attaches to the stroller, which you can use as a child carrier.
- Car Seat Base – installed to your car to strap the seat on while you are travelling.
- Stroller – this is the buggy where the car seat is attached to. Your child will outgrow the car seat but the stroller can still carry older babies.
|My Top Picks|
|Chicco Bravo Trio Travel System|
|Baby Trend Expedition Jogger Travel System|
|Graco Stylus Click Connect Travel System|
|Britax B-Agile 3/B-Safe 35 Travel System|
|Uppa Baby Cruz Stroller w Mesa Infant Car Seat|
You might ask, “Why would I need a travel system instead of a conventional stroller?”. If you’re always on the go, a travel system is a must-have. And even if you stay at home most of the time, it’s still a nice investment since the stroller can prove useful even when your child has outgrown the car seat.
Talk about hitting two birds with one stone!
Now that you know what a travel system is, let me quickly go through the pros and cons of having one.
- It’s a one-time investment
- Travel systems are are best suited for long trips by road or air, since they provide a complete solution.
- Since it’s a single system, it satisfies your needs for a stroller and a car seat at the same time.
- The stroller stays useful even after your child has grown beyond car seats.
- Travel systems are usually bulky, and some of them are a little difficult to maneuver.
- Locking and unlocking the car seat to the stroller is sometimes challenging.
- They are not ideal if you drive a small car.
- You have to be careful to always check compatibility if you decide to use a different car seat for the stroller.
When choosing the right travel system for you and your baby, always consider the following:
- The travel system’s car seat needs to sit tightly and securely on the seat of your car. Remember, an exact fit is necessary.
- Check for the harness. Some travel systems come with rear adjust harness which requires you to reach to the bottom or back of the car seat when you need to loosen or tighten them. This can be an inconvenience to both you and your baby.
- Consider your child’s age first. You can only use the car seat until your child fits in it.
The following are must-have features of a travel system:
Infant Car Seat
- Should fit your car tightly
- 5-point harness
- Storage basket
- Reversible handle
- Compact fold for convenient storage
- Reclining seat
- Front wheel brakes or all-wheel brakes
- Front wheel swivel
On the other hand, the following features are nice to have, though not really required:
- Ease of installation without car seat base
- Bumper bars/armrest
- Water-resistant fabric
- Washable covers and pads
- One-hand fold
- Cup holder
- Toy attachments
- Adjustable canopy
So, without further ado, let’s talk about the top travel systems today. Remember that the list is based on my experience, and you’re free to pick one that’s not listed here.
The reason I chose this as my top pick is plain and simple: it gives the best bang for your buck!
You get everything you’ll ever need for a travel system at a very reasonable price. It comes with the Chicco Key Fit 30 Infant car seat, considered as one of the best in its category. And yes, the Chicco travel system folds with one hand while you’re doing something else with the other. Convenient, isn’t it?
Another cool thing about this jogger is the removable seat and padding. Travel systems, in general, are usually on the heavy side. It’s nice to know that you can lighten the load by removing the seat and padding.
As your baby grows, you can simply put the seat and padding back on so you can use the stroller alone. Don’t worry, you will still have the option to click the car seat on if your baby’s already dozing off when you’re ready to roll.
The handlebar is also adjustable, something that most strollers don’t offer. Aside from the added convenience, you don’t have to worry about looking silly if you’re too short or too tall for the handlebar.
Finding a flaw on the Chicco Bravo Trio was tough. If anything, you may see the absence of a child snack tray or cup holder as a deal-breaker. But for its price, I’m willing to let this minor shortcoming slip.
- Car seat weight – 10 lbs
- Car seat age range – 4 months or up to 30 lbs
- Stroller weight – 23 lbs
- Stroller age range – 6 months up to 50 lbs
- And don’t forget the honorable mentions, by the way.
You’re reading it right! Aside from being a travel system, the Baby Trend Expedition doubles as a jogger too. What more can you ask for?
It’s worth every penny but don’t get me wrong. This fellah here comes with a price tag that will leave your wallet smiling. It puts the stroller itself and the car seat into one neat package. The Expedition takes pride in its ability to make quick and sharp turns due to its bicycle wheels.
To top it all, this jogger comes with a massive storage basket. Just pull the triggers behind the handlebars for effortless folding when you’re done for the day.
The only con that this cost-effective travel system has is that you cannot use it for jogging unless you’re using the standard seat.
- Car seat age range – 5 months to 30 lbs
- Stroller age range – birth to 50 lbs
- Combined weight – 41 lbs
Parent and child cup holder? Check!
Snack Tray? Check!
Storage Tray? Check!
These features don’t really come as a surprise since Graco has been known for their strollers with lots of amenities. You get a reliable travel system packed with features to make feeding the baby, eating, and drinking a breeze.
But even better:
The car seat is also on the lighter side compared to the other ones on this list.
Unfortunately, all the good stuff inside makes the Expedition a little cumbersome to fold and fit.
- Car seat weight – 7.5 lbs
- Car seat age range – 4 months to 35 lbs
- Stroller weight – 26 lbs
- Stroller age range – from sitting up unassisted up to 50 lbs
Safety is a speciality of the B-Agile 3 travel system. It’s incredibly light for a full sized stroller with a three-wheel design that makes maneuvering a breeze.
Britax cares not only after your baby but also takes the parents into consideration.
For one, it has an adjustable handlebar and a quick fold system. Lastly, reclining your child’s seat is so easy that you can do it with just one hand.
The only con that this jogger had (I know, it’s in the past) is the car seat adapter. Unfortunately, when newer batches of this travel system came out, along with it were defective seat adapter. Worry not though, Britax already replaced new batches with non-defective adapters.
Tip: if you already have this travel system with the defective seat adapter, just contact Britax so they can replace it right away.
Almost all strollers come with the same features but it’s rare to have a lot. In fact, lots of features is an understatement when it comes to the Uppa Baby Cruz Stroller with the Mesa Infant Car Seat. It’s got a slim and compact design, perfect for narrow doorways or aisles.
Here’s what you’ll get:
- Reversible seat (front facing or parent facing)
- Multiple reclining positions including fully flat
- Gigantic UPF 50+ canopy
- Mesh bug net
- Rain cover
- Huge storage basket
- Telescopic handle bar
To top it all, it has a really cool red-to-green light indicator on the car seat base. This indicator lets you know if the seat’s base is properly secured.
The only con? Price.
Is this surprising? Not really when you consider all the goodies you get.
You just finished this quick guide about travel systems with the best models to choose from.
But here are a few parting reminders:
Evaluating all your options prior to buying a travel system for your baby is a must. Aside from the price and features, consider the size of the car that you’re driving as well.
After all, buying expensive travel system that doesn’t fit in your car is the last thing you want to do!
While it’s true that you will not use the car seat for long, the stroller can provide value for years. So be sure to get the best combo that makes sense for you and your family.
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