We travel with a stroller, what consideration do I make when setting out on a holiday, below I take you through my thinking on the subject. Enjoy this article highlighting my reason to and NOT to travel with a stroller
Should you Travel with a Stroller on Vacation?
There are many opinions flying around to justify leaving your stroller at home while on vacation:
“Give the child some freedom!”
“The events and attraction may not be able to accommodate it comfortably.”
“They can be so bulky to transport.”
What some fail to acknowledge are all the valid reasons one needs a stroller to travel with kids (sometimes). We have been pushing a stroller for the past 5.5 years with about one year left before its official retirement. Of course every trip we still ask the question:
Do we really need a stroller this time or can it stay home?
Reasons to bring a Stroller on Vacation
We always like to think we have it all figured out. However, ever holiday trip no matter how similar or straightforward turns out different.
Seating: This is a guaranteed seat for tired little travellers. Be it at a parade, waiting in line to enter the museum, or on a crowded train. Commonly referred to as the best seat in the house/train/museum, you get the idea. This way our travelling kids can rest their little legs without bringing the whole families vacation adventure to a halt. We all like to chill on a park bench but with that seat available we can make it to the beach without excessive delay.
Storage: Who doesn’t like a glorified shopping cart for all their vacation souvenirs. Also, when the kids’ fail to carry their backpacks we need somewhere to store the picnic basket a stroller and a mommy hook will save you arms from harm. It will even leave all of us fitness conscious parents asking “Do we even lift?
Weather Protection: Just like a rolling chair for the little ones, a stroller is a travelling sun shade, rain cover, and snowsuit, all in one. Our growing little ones can’t always manage to walk and hold an umbrella upright at the same time, leading to the requirement for weather protection for the kids. This also means waterproof shoes, well beneficial for parents and older children, can be a little on the heavier side (and a lot on the pricier side) since their feet are so small and will never touch the wet ground.
Stroller Rentals: Renting a stroller can be a bit of a gamble. Not only are they expensive, you also have no idea how clean they truly are or the quality of the stroller. Was it in an accident? Is the unit damaged in any way that can compromise it’s safety features? If you must rent a stroller find a reputable stroller rental company that provides free delivery and pick from popular travel destinations.
Nap Time: When it comes to your little ones, you can never really predict when they will want a nap. Generally, it is not usually at the most convenient times. Having your stroller handy can save everyone’s day. If timed efficiently, nap time can also be the time to visit that museum you have always wanted to see but can’t because your baby hates museums (I have only managed 2 hours in a non-kid centered museum before it was time to move on, and that was with the baby sleeping and our older child walking around.
Sanity: There are days, when “shut up and sit down” just want to spill out of your mouth. A stroller is a great way to focus the little ones (and sometimes big ones, depending on the mood of the today), for both their safety and your sanity. Once heads are cooler, they can be set free to continue the days’ adventures.
Interested in different types of strollers, for different types of terrain, then be sure to check out our travel stroller guide
Reasons Not to Bring a Stroller on Vacation
Also, consider …
When deciding if you are going to bring the stroller on the vacation, there are a few things to consider. Try to take a step back from all the AMAZING reasons why you need a stroller to travel and really think about the destination and the child. Is a stroller a practical idea or will it just take up valuable room in the car?
Where are you going?
Do a little research into the accessibility to public transport & various buildings of interest and the quality of the sidewalks. Review or blog for great tips, and destination guides. Find for example our first-hand accounts at Disneyland Paris.
Much of European cities are covered in cobblestone, so little umbrella strollers really don’t stand a chance. Their metro stations are starting to be upgraded in that their trains and subways have a stroller compartment, but it is difficult to actually bring the stroller to the train itself, as many stations don’t have an elevator (have fun taking a loaded stroller up and down an escalator; been there, done that, been scolded by the police, not really much choose though). Attractions that are in older buildings also tend to not be very accessible, or like our adventures in Heidelberg, lifts are reserved for those in wheelchairs only.
What kind of travel are you planning?
The type of adventure you are going on greatly influences a strollers effectiveness. For example, if you’re going on a Road trip – pack it! You will find it useful at most if not all of your destinations.
If your visiting family at their house maybe you can borrow one from friends or family members at your destination.
My mom has a spare stroller in her garage for when my kids and my sister’s kids visit making it unnecessary for us to fill up the car with a stroller this is extra important during the Christmas holidays. Unless of course, you are living in Germany during a family Christmas. Fortunately, we had a spare stroller in the basement.
Or if you are travelling off the beaten path – leave it behind. Chances are, your destination won’t have paved sidewalks or they are very narrow. Either way, your stroller will either piss everyone off (locals and yourself included) or spend so much time in your car/hotel that you are willing to sell it just to free the space for souvenirs (this was my reality in Switzerland).
Do they need one at home?
If they don’t need a stroller to cross town, there is a good chance they don’t need one on vacation, but it still should be considered. What are they doing at home? Do they have ample opportunity to show off their endurance? Would a sit and stand stroller or even a buggy board do the trick, or do they need to rest their eyes at the same time.
How long are they able to walk?
Can they walk that 10km needed per day to cover all of Epcot or will their little legs tire between the room and the hotel front door? What about days on end, are they able to keep up during the whole 2-week vacation or will they need to rest, days in between?
Are they comfortable in a Carrier?
The question of do you need a stroller to travel is moot if the child can’t stand the alternative form of (
immobilization lol.) transportation. Borrow one from a friend, see if the hospital or library has a baby-item rental program or buy one from the local Facebook Flea Market. Test out the carrier and see if the child responds. They don’t like this one, try another.
My babies loved the Baby Bjorn while they were carried on my front, but Baby Girl couldn’t stand it while I wore her on my back. I had the pleasure of working with Rose and Rebellion during our trip to Italy and the carrier they sent me was AMAZING (Disclaimer: My experiences are my own it was genuinely a comfortable product during our trip). She would snuggle up and hug me from high on my back. There are days when I take her brother to school and she refuses to sit in the stroller – demands I “carry”.
Do they habitually runoff?
If your kid has a nasty habit of running off into a crowd or refusing to hold your hand, then a stroller is probably in your future. Not only is this extremely dangerous, it is embarrassing for the parents and annoying for the rest of the party that has to wait until the runner is captured, contained and given a stern talking to.
Do they nap during the day?
Just because your littles need a nap during the day doesn’t mean you require a stroller. There are plenty of options available to you. A carrier is a great way to keep going while the monsters sleep, or someone returns to the hotel and watches them sleep (aka nap with them). I’m sure within a few days, mum and dad will be fighting about which one gets to bring the baby back and catch up on those few extra zzz’s.
Can you carry them if need be?
If your child passes all of the above tests, and you are adamant that a stroller is not needed, just ask yourself one last question… can someone carry them if they get tired, sore or fall asleep during dinner? They will need to either be carried long enough in someone’s arms to get them to the next rest stop or until you decide to wake them. During our second trip to Disneyland Paris, we only brought the stroller (and without a carrier) for the baby.
Shortly after the fireworks (at 9 pm), Munchkin decided he was just too tired to go on. I held him for 5 minutes before he fell asleep in my arms. Thankfully we had a stroller with us so I just held the baby and he was able to sleep in the stroller until we got to the hotel and she was much easier to carry than he was, but what if he was an only child or the youngest child? Someone would have had to carry this great big 40 lb sleeping 4-year-old all the way from the park exit to our hotel entrance some 2 km away.
My Experience Traveling with Strollers
I bring my stroller EVERYWHERE, even if I know I won’t use it. I have this fear that I will need it just the once, and it won’t be there. My youngest is 2.5 years old at the moment so she still requires naps, breaks from walking, and I just plain don’t trust her to stay with the group – she hates holding hands, which doesn’t help with the running away part.
We have a small car and a jogging stroller that doesn’t exactly fold flat. We end up packing the toddler travel bed on the floor, by Munchkin’s feet, and the emergency roadside kit is at Baby Girls feet (thankfully both are still too short to even reach these, yet). This leaves us with plenty of room in the trunk for two rucksacks and the stroller. We have much more room when we are able to borrow the hotel playpen but this is not always an option, so we make sure not to have too many bags in the trunk, just in case the travel crib needs to come along.
I also pack a soft carrier. Why have one when you can have both? The carrier is for when Munchkin starts to get tired, or the area is too busy for me to feel comfortable with him walking (happens a few times, surprisingly. Cities are known for people not caring about who they bump into or if they are separating a child from a parent in their rush).
On the days when we know we are visiting somewhere that is not stroller friendly, we tend to bundle them all up in one morning (or in one day if there are many places) and leave the stroller in the hotel/car. I paid too much for my jogging stroller to have it taken from coat check because someone wasn’t paying attention. I wear her, she walks, I wear her some more. She also tends to nap longer, better and more frequently, while in the carrier, as there are fewer bumps.
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