There are three basic types of strollers that work well for travel. The differences lie in how much space these travel strollers take up when folded – and which features are being sacrificed to make them so compact and lightweight.
The first type is your basic umbrella stroller, which folds long and skinny. Umbrellas are usually lightweight and can be very cheap (cheaper than other types of strollers, at least). The downside to umbrella strollers is that many of them lack key features parents want while traveling, such as a decent storage basket, canopy, etc. Also, umbrella strollers must be steered and pushed with two hands.
Not a deal breaker, just an FYI.
The second is the regular ol’ lightweight “square-fold” stroller. These travel strollers take up the most space when folded, but generally offer better features and one-handed steering (usually).
The third and newest type is a “tri-fold” style stroller, which typically has the best of both worlds: a very small fold and decent features. This type of stroller folds into thirds instead of in half. The tri-fold travel strollers tend to be the most lightweight and compact, but also the most expensive.
You can see them folded and unfolded below to get an appreciation of the relative sizes:
Best Travel Strollers: Index
Keep reading below (or click on a link) for more details.
Umbrella Strollers for Travel
Everyone knows umbrella strollers are great for travel. They’re lightweight, fold compactly, and fit into most trunks. It’s pretty easy to find cheap umbrella strollers, though the nicer ones are surprisingly expensive. Note that as tri-fold strollers are gaining popularity, umbrella strollers seem to be slowly on their way out, so the selection is not what it used to be.
Here are our favorite umbrella strollers specifically for travel. See also: Best Umbrella Strollers (for general purposes).
Summer Infant 3DMini ~ MSRP $60, 11 lbs – “quick and dirty option”
The Summer Infant 3D Mini umbrella stroller is crazy lightweight (only 11 lbs!) and easy to fold. It comes with some features; it has two cup holders in a storage console that also holds your phone/keys, a lower storage basket, a canopy (not that large, but better than most for the price), and has a slight recline for nappers.
If you’re looking for a cheap, bare bones stroller for travel that won’t break the bank, this one’s a really great option. For kids 6 months and up.
Summer Infant 3D Lite ~ $99, 13 lbs
If you’d like to go a step up in terms of quality, Summer Infant also makes the Summer Infant 3D Lite, which is 13 lbs. It comes with more features and is slightly more “luxurious” than the Mini (but still an “economy” build quality, if ya know what I mean…).
For starters, the seat is roomier and can recline further (but not flat, so use from 6 mo+), which is better for longer trips. With an aluminum frame, this stroller should last you a little longer (up to 50 lbs) and the anti-shock wheels offer a smoother ride. The 3D Lite also has a padded 5-point harness and an expandable canopy. However, some parents complain that the seat is not ideal for taller, older children.
Here’s our quick vid:
The 3D Lite comes with plenty of storage, including a decent-size storage basket and a rear storage pocket for your cell phone and keys. The height of the handlebars is perfect for taller parents. Surprisingly, the parent organizer/cup holder on the “Mini” is better. With an easy, compact umbrella fold and a handy shoulder strap, we think the 3D Lite is perfect for travel – and won’t break the bank.
UPPAbaby G-Luxe ~ $199, 16 lbs
The high-quality G-Luxe umbrella stroller is one of the few true umbrella strollers left standing (the G-Lite has been discontinued, sadly). The G-Luxe is a high-quality stroller loaded with awesome features. It has an easy fold, a huuuuuge multi-paneled sun canopy to keep baby protected from those evil UV rays, and weighs in at 16 lbs. It has a mesh seat for ventilation purposes (great for summers and hot climates), and a full recline.
Read more about the G-Luxe here.
Regular Fold Strollers for Travel
There are other travel strollers that are very lightweight, but have a more boxy fold.
Kolcraft Cloud Plus ~ $69, 11.8 lbs
This economy stroller weighs in at just under 12 lbs, is very affordable, and gives you some bang for your buck.
To level with you, this is the stroller you want if you don’t care that it looks cheap and crappy, and you want a deeper recline, a much larger storage basket, and even a snack tray. It also has a parent tray with two cup holders, which is much appreciated.
Who really cares that it’s not sexy – it’s just for travel anyway, right?
Zoe The Tour+ ~ $249, 11 lbs
Tri-Fold Travel Strollers
The newest generation of lightweight travel strollers are what I call “tri-fold” – that means they fold into thirds, which makes for a VERY compact fold. The Mountain Buggy Nano was the first to fold this way; since then, many others have followed.
It’s a different folded footprint than an umbrella stroller, which is long and skinny. Neither is better or worse, per se, they’re just different. That said, tri-fold strollers tend to have better access to storage and because the handlebars aren’t separated you can steer them with one hand (sort of).
Many of these tri-fold travel strollers tout they can fit into an overhead storage compartment on an airplane, which is more to illustrate how small the fold really is (I can’t think of any reason you’d actually want to put a stroller in the overhead bin – seems like overkill to me – just check it at the gate for free). 😉
GB Pockit Air All-Terrain ~ $139
A stroller that can fit in your bag – seriously!
This stroller is lightweight and has an extremely compact fold. In fact, it’s the world’s smallest folded stroller, though it won’t (obviously) give you many features.
The Pockit stroller is all of 10.4 lbs. and works from 6 months to 55 lbs.
The Pockit folds down in two steps (and about 30 seconds, once you get used to it… and you do need both hands to fold) to become 12x14x7 inches—which is well below carry-on regulations, and as the name suggests, can fit into the “pockit” of a large tote or backpack.
This stroller pushes easily on flat surfaces, and also got an “all-terrain” makeover, with four double-wheels, that makes it easier to maneuver on cobblestones and other uneven surfaces.
It has a flat overhead sun shade that will do absolutely nothing to block the sun unless it’s high noon and directly overhead (and it tends to blow up/back in the wind) – but hey, they had to cut something to get it to fit into your bag! Another issue is the lack of a reclining seat and a carry strap.
Some parents (our managing editor included) say the stroller feels a bit flimsy and wobbly. Also, make sure the stroller is fully open and do not hold on to the folding buttons that are at the tip of the handles, as some users said the stroller collapsed… while their babies were in.
At the end of the day, this is an awesome stroller to keep in your bag “just in case” your child gets tired of walking (or you get tired of lugging him around in a carrier). It is that and nothing more, which for many is exactly what they need when traveling.
Contours Itsy Stroller ~ $162
We like the Contours brand because it takes popular styles of strollers and makes them more affordable for the masses. The Itsy stroller is Contours’ latest travel stroller with a unique self-standing, one-handed fold. At 12.3 lbs, The Itsy is almost as light as the Pockit, but has more to offer: a sturdy make, dynamic dual-wheel suspension, a UPF 50+ sun canopy, a generous underseat storage basket and more.
The stroller seat, which does not recline (the one downside for little ones who tend to snooze on the go), can hold a child from 6 months up to 40lbs. Overall, parents love this stroller, especially for the price point. They say it feels sturdy, has a smooth ride and is easy to use on the daily and on the go. Plus… no assembly required when you take it out the box.
In other words, there’s nothing bad to say about this stroller. For the money, we think this is a contender for best travel stroller.
Mountain Buggy Nano ~ $219
The 13 lb Nano is the little black dress of the stroller world.
The Nano comes with a belt-style universal car seat adapter, and its accessories include a travel bag and a shoulder strap. The current model (2020) has a deeper seat recline than its predecessor, a better sun shade with a flip-out visor, and extra slim wheels.
The Nano folds in two steps into a rectangle that is 21 x 12 x 20 inches. It has a 44-lb weight capacity (so it can carry kids up to age 4).
You can buy a separate “cocoon carrycot” (aka bassinet) for your newborn. It also has a ventilated seat back (for your tropical trips) and a fabric overlay (for your wintry wanderings). If you travel a lot or just want a super lightweight, high quality stroller for bopping around town, the chic Nano should do the trick. Bon voyage!
See the demo of the Nano, taken at the ABC Baby Show, below:
Colugo ~ $295 (Editor’s Choice)
The Colugo is an awesome, newer stroller that we like very much. It’s also a great all-around city stroller. Here, we are in the 16-lb territory, which is no longer uber-lightweight, but this stroller is solidly built with great all-around features, and one that you would be happy to use in your day to day as well.
Please read more about it in this separate review.
UPPAbaby Minu V2 ~ $399
We’re in love with the UPPAbaby Minu tri-fold stroller, which just got an update. The MINU V2 is lightweight (though heavier than its predecessor), has a compact fold, and an amazing canopy. It can carry kids up to 50 lbs and, unlike umbrella strollers.. Note that if you already have a VISTA, the bassinet is compatible with the V2.
Following the steps of its big sisters (the Vista and the Cruz), the Minu boasts a basket that is nicely sized (for a compact stroller…), plus it has an extendable canopy with tons of sun coverage, all-wheel suspension, and a seat pocket for keys/phone, etc. Yes, people who are already loyal to the UPPAbaby brand and own the larger Vista or Cruz are very happy with this new compact offering.
As 16.9 lbs, the MINU V2 is not only heavier than the original (14.8 lbs), it’s also the heaviest travel stroller on the market. The extra pounds are due to some pretty awesome seat updates, like an adjustable calf support.
It’s also now compatible with a Piggyback ride-along board that allows you and your standing child to be next to each other while you push the stroller, creating better leg room and visibility (a plus from the BabyZen’s stroller board).
Attention short people: many under 5’4″ have complained the handlebar is too high (and it does not adjust). Also note that there is no cup holder, though you can buy one separately. This stroller is easier to fold than its competitor, the BabyZen Yoyo+, though larger and heavier.
New/Upcoming Travel Strollers
While umbrella strollers seem to slowly become obsolete, trifold strollers seem to be dominating the 2022 market. We’re specifically keeping an eye out for the following strollers by two of our faves:
Nuna TRVL ~ $500, 13.6 lbs
If you know us, you also know that we are big fans of all things Nuna. It’s just a solid baby brand, whether you’re after a car seat, a stroller or a high chair. We’re most excited about Nuna’s new compact addition: the TRVL, which we foresee will be the Minu’s closest competition. This stroller will especially appeal to parents who opt for the Nuna PIPA car seat, which is compatible with the TRVL (no adapter needed!).
The fold is easy and one-handed, which is a definite advantage from the YOYO2. The TRVL also self-stands and self-locks with a self-guiding magnetic buckle.
So far the reviews are really promising!
Bugaboo Butterfly ~ $449, 16.1 lbs
Bugaboo is joining the trifold club, and it’s doing it with a bang (and with the brand’s usual class). The Butterfly stroller folds and unfolds with one hand in one second and has an expendable canopy, four-wheel suspension and more. At just around 16 lbs, it is most comparable to the Minu and the Colugo in terms of air. This stroller is compatible with the Bugaboo Turtle Air and One car seats by Nuna, as well as many popular car seat brands using Bugaboo Butterfly adapters (sold separately).
Babyzen YOYO2 ~$424
Babyzen is a neat company out of France – and you know how I feel about France… 😍. The stroller was named the Yoyo because it goes up and down so easily (like a yoyo… get it?).
The lightweight and compact BabyZen YoYo2 folds up soooooo tiny (20.5 x 17.3 x 7.1 — small enough to carry on most airlines), but doesn’t skimp on other features in the name of convenience. Yes, this stroller was designed specifically for luxe travel and city living. Yes, it’s the priciest of all the travel strollers reviewed here, but totally worth it if you have a travel/urban lifestyle (IYKYK!).
The seat reclines (about 140 degrees, which is generous), and its wheels roll easily over uneven terrain. In fact, the stroller uses Hytrel, a high-tech polymer to make its suspension resilient and durable, and to provide smoother rides (even on cobblestones) than its predecessor. This technology is new to the Yoyo2.
The stroller is sleek and luxe, especially with its new elegant leather handlebar.
This video is from 2017 and demonstrates the original Yoyo+:
The plush, padded YoYo2 seat carries kids up to 40 lbs. It has a decently-sized storage basket (good for a small diaper bag) and another storage pouch behind the canopy. The canopy rivals that of the Minu and the stroller comes with a very comfortable carry strap and a rain cover.
The stroller is compatible with the European car seats: Nuna Pipa, Cybex and Maxi-Cosi Mico (adapters sold separately).
If you want to use this stroller with a newborn, you should take a look at the BabyZen YoYo2 Complete ($629), which includes the stroller plus a newborn bassinet. You can also add a Newborn Pack separately. As the overall design and size of the stroller frame hasn’t changed with the YOYO2, all existing accessories that fit the YOYO+ also fit the new model.
*Some reviewers note that they tend to kick the back of this stroller if they have a longer stride.
For older siblings, the YOYO2 offers a riding board: the Yoyo+ Board. This is a great addition for families with two or more children, but note that the riding board gets in the way of your pushing. You’ll have to walk on the side.
BabyZen launched YOYO Connect, which hooks to the back of your YOYO2 to turn it into a… drumroll… a double (tandem) stroller! Once a double stroller, the YOYO2 has 5 different setups (2 that are suitable for twins and 3 that are suitable for siblings of different ages).
UPPAbaby Minu V2 vs. Babyzen YOYO2
If you’re trying to decide between the two of them…
- Size: The YOYO2’s fold (20.5” x 17.3” x 7.1”) is definitely more compact than the Minu V2 and can fit in most airplanes’ overhead compartments. The Minu’s fold is slightly larger (20.5″ x 23″ x 11.5″), though still very compact. The YOYO is also significantly (3 pounds) lighter.
- Weight Limit: 50 lbs for the Minu V2, 40 lbs for the YOYO2.
- Wheels: The Minu has slightly larger back wheels (7” as compared to the YOYO’s 6”).
- Folding: Folding the Yoyo2 takes two hands and some practice (folds from a lever on the bottom); the Minu V2 is easier and more intuitive to fold.
- Basket: The Minu’s basket is slightly more generous than the Babyzen’s.
- Handlebar: The Minu’s handlebar is 42.5 inches high, to the YOYO’s 43″. Neither adjust and they are both better for tall people.
- Canopy: Both strollers have flip-out visors attached to the sun canopy for extra coverage; the canopies are comparable.
- Infants: Both can handle infants 0-6 months with the purchase of a bassinet; the Minu V2 has a “From Birth” kit for $199 (or you can use the Vista Bassinet if you have one), the Yoyo2 has the Newborn Pack for $225. Both offer car seat adapters for Euro seats.
A Great Alternative to a Foldable Airplane Stroller
Wait – we have one more cool thing to show you!
Lugabug ~ $41
If you’re a “carry-on” person (you know who you are!), definitely check out the Lugabug. As you know, it’s very difficult to push a stroller and a suitcase at the same time (but not impossible! I’ve done it many times – HA).
The Lugabug is a seat that attaches to your suitcase – your kiddo simply hops on and you can wheel them all around the airport (since it attaches to your suitcase, it’s only really helpful if you’re not planning to check your bag).
I get soooooo many questions and comments when I travel with my Lugabug, I feel like a walking advertisement. I love it for my short weekend flights when I’m traveling light and don’t want to check luggage. Highly recommend. Note: It’s better to use it with higher quality luggage (for cheap luggage, you risk breaking the wheels).
Seriously, this thing is way cool — I’ve enjoyed it very much! Max weight is 60 lbs.
There you have it – our top picks for travel strollers. Happy trails, bon voyage, and safe travels, parents!