The best travel strollers you can buy

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  • If you're traveling with a baby or a toddler, you're more than a little crazy if you travel without a stroller.

  • But leave behind the clunky old behemoth you use in every day life and make the trip as smooth as can be with a great travel stroller.

  • The Colugo Compact Stroller is our top pick because it folds down with one hand in about two seconds, so you never miss a moment while you and the family are on the go.

When you're away from home with your little one, a stroller is more than just a child conveyance system - It's like a mobile command post. A stroller is a tactical nap station, a baby wipe, diaper, snack, and spare clothes supply depot, a foul weather baby bivouac, and, of course, a child conveyance system. Any decent everyday stroller will meet all those metrics what with an adjustable seat, a storage basket, a reliable canopy and often an additional rain cover, and smoothly rolling, easy-to-control wheels down there at the bottom.

Finding a travel stroller that checks all those boxes while still being compact enough to bring along on planes, trains, and automobiles (and subway cars and uh... ocean liners?) is a trickier proposition. Far too many compact, collapsible strollers sacrifice quality and convenience in the name of reduced weight and size. But when you're miles from home, you don't need a stroller that's less effective and reliable than your larger everyday unit. In fact, if anything you need to trust your travel stroller even more than its workaday counterpart, because all the rest of your baby hardware might be across the city, state, or even back across an ocean.

After experiencing a stroller all but fail on my family while we were in Europe on a vacation, I can tell you personally how important it is to have a great travel stroller. Thus I've put together this list of five options, each of which boasts its own specific merits and any of which will likely serve your on-the-go gang just fine.

When choosing the best travel stroller for your baby or toddler, consider the child's size and age, the amount of weight you feel comfortable carrying when the stroller is folded, and the places you'll visit and the ways you'll get there. While all of the strollers on this list fold up easily, roll along smoothly, and enjoy excellent safety ratings, not all are suitable for the same uses and the same ages. But hey, that's why we feature options, right?

Here are the best travel strollers you can buy:

Read on in the slides below to check out our top picks.

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The best travel stroller overall

The best travel stroller overall
Why you'll love it: The Colugo Compact Stroller folds down with one hand in about two seconds, and it tucks away into a backpack.

Colugo is a newcomer to the baby gear marketplace, but mark my words: Some day, it'll be considered a legacy brand. I say that for three reasons. First, the Colugo Compact Stroller is genuinely one of the most compact folding strollers I've ever used. How compact is it? It folds down small enough to fit into a backpack that comes included with the stroller. Yet when deployed, it's even larger than the average umbrella stroller, approximating the feel and function of a full-sized option.

Second, given its amazingly small size when folded and its ease of control and solid when in use, the Colugo Compact is a great price at just $285. It costs less than half as much as many comparable strollers I've tested out over the years with no appreciable drawbacks or missing features. There's a basket for storage, the seat reclines, the wheels lock reliably, and so on.

And third, the company's commitment to customer service makes the overall Colugo shopping experience a pleasure. Colugo calls itself the "Warby Parker of strollers." The founder and CEO Ted Lobst wanted to make the stroller shopping experience "less overwhelming for parents." Thus Colugo offers an almost unheard of 100-day trial. You can use your Colugo Compact for more than three months and, if you don't like it, you can send it back for a full refund.

Owning one myself, however, I can tell you the chances you sending it back are pretty low. The chances of you popping your Colugo Compact in its backpack, strapping your kid in a car seat, and heading out for an adventure? Pretty high.

And if you want to take it from a few other parents, consider a review left by a mom named Elizabeth who called her family's Colugo "super sturdy and... very easy to use" or a dad named Daniel who said it's "the best compact stroller" he has ever used, loving how it's "compact when folded" and so easy to collapse.

Pros: Folds with one hand, fits into a backpack, excellent customer service

Cons: Not suitable for newborns

Buy the Colugo Compact Stroller for $285

The best multi-age travel stroller

The best multi-age travel stroller
Why you'll love it: The Joolz Hub Stroller folds down small enough for travel, yet it's capable enough to serve as the only stroller your kid ever needs.

Let's lead with the only two issues to be found with the Joolz Hub, and I say this as a satisfied owner of this exact stroller. One, it's pretty heavy at about 25 pounds. And two, it's pretty pricey at nearly $700.

That said, it folds down smaller than many strollers and you will certainly get your money's worth. That latter point is true as you can use the Joolz Hub from the very first days of your baby's life through the time when he or she weighs 45 pounds.

The Joolz Hub can be outfitted with a bassinet for newborns, a seat insert adding extra support for babies, and then as a standard stroller with a reclining backrest and adjustable footrest for kids well into their toddler years. It can accommodate multiple brands of car seat, too, when outfitted with connection hardware.

Say, that sounds like many standard-sized strollers out there, doesn't it? Well, when in use, the Hub is the same size as full-sized options. But when folded up, it is small enough to fit in any car's trunk, into an overhead bin on a plane or luggage rack on a train, or to sling over your shoulder using the included carrying strap.

While the Joolz Hub is indeed much heavier than most travel strollers, the fact that it packs down small enough for travel and that it offers the full range of capability of larger strollers you would never travel mitigates the weight to some extent. As noted, the years of potential service make that price easier to digest, too.

A writer from BabyVillage called the Joolz Hub ideal for people who "use a combination of public transport and [their] own car" as it fits in luggage racks or trunks so well, and went on to note the stroller's deft maneuverability.

Pros: Works from newborn through toddler, good storage basket, smooth and stable even on varied terrain

Cons: Heavy, expensive

Buy the Joolz Hub Stroller at Buy Buy Baby for $679

The best ultra lightweight travel stroller

The best ultra lightweight travel stroller
Why you'll love it: Weighing in at just 14 pounds, the Maxi-Cosi Lara Stroller won't weigh you down as you log the miles during a vacation, holiday travel, or just an epic journey across town.

In case you're not 100% up to speed on stroller weight ratios, let's just get one thing clear: A stroller that weighs 14 pounds yet can safely support kids weighing up to 50 pounds is crazy impressive. The Maxi-Cosi Lara Ultra Compact Stroller is the lightest weight stroller on our list, yet it also has the highest maximum weight limit rating among the hardware reviewed here.

Now, the Lara isn't the most versatile stroller out there. This is much more of a traditional umbrella stroller than, say, the highly versatile Joolz Hub. It has smaller wheels that won't do well on anything but hard surfaces (though a suspension system will absorb some of the jolts and jostles that come with cracks in the sidewalk or the errant twig or pebble) and it's not suitable for use with newborns, but for the family with a child aged six months through the toddler years, it's an overall capable option that's yours for a fair price.

But again, what's the real selling point here? It's that 14-pound weight. The fact that the stroller collapses small enough to be slung over the shoulder doesn't hurt, either. The included parent cup holder and dual storage baskets? Now we're just adding icing to the cake.

A mom named Renee left a review on Bed, Bath & Beyond's website calling the Maxi-Cosi Lara a "traveling family's dream stroller" thanks to how easily it "can fold and unfold," the shoulder carry strap, and "canopy that extends far enough down" to provide full shade.

The product testers from PishPoshBaby noted how the Lara "takes just one hand" to fold down and highlighted the "two baskets for all your stuff."

Pros: Amazingly lightweight, folds down small, dual storage spots

Cons: Not great on varied terrain

Buy the Maxi-Cosi Lara Ultra Compact Stroller at Bed Bath & Beyond for $187

The best stroller/car seat combo

The best stroller/car seat combo
Why you'll love it: With the Doona + Infant Car Seat/Stroller, you don't even need a stroller at all, because the car seat doubles as the stroller itself.

As I like to do in most cases, let's lead with the issues when talking about the Doona + Infant Car Seat/Stroller. If your baby (or babies) are anything like mine, then spending all day strapped into a car seat isn't her idea of fun. As necessitated by safety standards, car seats are much more restrictive and confining than stroller seats what with the impact zones and all. And with the Doona, the car seat itself converts into a stroller, so getting out of the car and on the move on foot doesn't offer respite from the confines of the car seat.

That said, many babies don't seem to much care whether they're in a car seat or stroller. So let's move to the second issue, the $500 price tag. This is the second most expensive option on our list, and yet you can only use it until your child reaches 35 pounds, with many kids outgrowing it before that weight due to their height. It's rated for a maximum user height of 32-inches.

There, the drawbacks have been dispensed with. And what we are left with is a unique, clever design that is perfect for the family that travels, the family that lives in the city, or, of course, for the urban dwelling family that travels. By combining the car seat and stroller into one unit, the Doona + Infant Car Seat/Stroller precludes the need to travel with two large pieces of hardware. It also means less to store at home, which is ideal for apartment dwellers or for anyone with limited storage space.

The Doona + Infant Car Seat/Stroller comes with a LATCH system compatible base that can be left in the car permanently, with the car seat/stroller clicking in and out with ease. Deploying the stroller's wheels takes just a few seconds, and of course there's no need for that laborious process of transferring your baby from the car seat to the stroller, a priceless touch, especially if the child is sleeping.

A dad named Alex said he loves the Doona + Infant Car Seat/Stroller because it's "so easy to convert [the car seat] into a stroller when you are in a rush," while a mom named Dina called it a "genius car seat" that "is so easy to use [it's a] lifesaver."

Pros: Converts from car seat to stroller, excellent safety rating, easy to use

Cons: Expensive, quickly outgrown

Buy the Doona + Infant Car Seat/Stroller at Buy Buy Baby for $500

The best luggage style rolling stroller

The best luggage style rolling stroller
Why you'll love it: The Baby Trend Jetaway Plus Compact Stroller features a telescoping handle, so you can roll it along just like roll aboard luggage when it's folded down.

Earlier, we talked about a super lightweight stroller that tips the scales at a mere 14 pounds. The Baby Trend Jetaway Plus Compact Stroller isn't much heavier, coming in at just a few ounces shy of 15 pounds. That 14 pounder is impressive, to be sure, but try carrying it around slung over a shoulder for more than an hour or two, and most people are going to end up pretty sore. However, almost any healthy adult could go all day pulling a piece of rolling luggage that weighed 15 pounds.

Why do I mention that? Because thanks to a telescoping handle, the Baby Trend Jetaway Plus Compact Stroller acts exactly like a piece of roll aboard luggage when it's folded down. Whether you're navigating the airport, the train station, or the city streets, when your baby isn't in this compact, affordable stroller, the stroller won't weigh you down a bit.

When in use, the Baby Trend Jetaway Plus Compact Stroller has an adjustable seat back and footrest. It is safe with babies as small as five or six pounds yet can also accommodate kids up to 45 pounds. It's large canopy and roll-up air flow panel make it great for use on hot, sunny days, while its compact size and lightweight make it a truly fine choice for use wherever your travels take you and junior.

A writer from RedTri said that "thanks to [the Baby Trend Jetaway's] telescoping handle, you can roll the folded stroller as easily as you would your luggage."

Pros: Features telescoping handle for rolling, very lightweight, good price point

Cons: Collapsing requires two hands

Buy the Baby Trend Jetaway Plus Compact Stroller at Target for $150

Check out our other great baby gear guides

Check out our other great baby gear guides
The best baby bottles you can buy

A baby's bottle delivers the nutrition a child needs to thrive while offering the caregiver a chance to connect with the infant. But not all babies will like all bottles, so get ready to shop around, caregivers.

Try one bottle for a few feedings and, if the baby is rejecting it, try another. Then another. It might take some time and some money, but you will eventually find one the kid will accept. And quite likely, it will be one of the excellent baby bottles on this list.

Here are the best baby bottles you can buy:

The best baby carriers you can buy

A baby carrier lets you and your little one explore the world together. You'll be glad to have your hands free and your child nestled close, while babies love feeling warm and secure.

Here are our top picks for the best baby carriers:

The best strollers you can buy

With the right stroller, you and your young one are ready for anything, from a quick trip to the stores to a week-long overseas vacation.

Here are our top picks for the best stroller you can buy:

The best breast pumps you can buy

If you're a nursing mom who plans to spend more than a couple hours away from your baby, pumping is a necessary evil: It keeps your milk supply up and ensures your kiddo has enough to eat. The Medela Pump In Style Advanced is a great option for moms who want to get their pumping done quickly and easily.

You should also consider the Spectra Baby USA S1, the Freemie Freedom, the Medela Swing, and the Philips Avent Manual Comfort Breast Pump.

The best cribs and cradles

A good crib or cradle can buy you some much needed time to yourself while your baby takes a nap or snoozes the night away. Of all the cribs and cradles we've researched, the DaVinci Kalani is our top pick. This crib is attractive, sturdy, versatile, and inexpensive enough to free up your budget for other baby essentials.

You should also consider the Babyletto Hudson, the Stokke Sleepi, the BabyBjorn Cradle, and the Guava Family Lotus Travel Crib.

The best diaper bags

It's no secret that babies require a lot of stuff for a successful outing, so a good diaper bag is one of the most important purchases a parent-to-be can make. Based on personal testing and research, the Skip Hop Duo Signature is the best diaper bag for most parents, with a reasonable price tag, loads of pockets, several stylish patterns, and easy-to-wipe fabric that can take a beating.

You should also consider the Ju-Ju-Be B.F.F. Backpack, the Storksak Elizabeth Leather Bag, the Skip Hop Grand Central Bag, and the Diaper Dude Messenger Bag.

The best nursing pillows

Breastfeeding is natural and amazing for your baby, but that doesn't mean it always comes easy. We've tested and researched many nursing pillows, and the My Brest Friend is the best one for keeping your baby in the right spot during feeding, and it gives you great back and arm support.

You should also consider the Dr. Brown's Gia Nursing Pillow, the Boppy Nursing Pillow, the Blessed Nest Nesting Pillow, and the Twin Z Pillow.

The best baby bouncers

You may have a baby now, but you still need a little time to yourself. A baby bouncer can be a real lifesaver when you need a break. In our experience, the Fisher-Price My Little Snugabunny Deluxe Bounceris the best bouncer for providing a safe, comfy, reasonably priced place for your baby to stay contained, entertained, and — if you're lucky — drift off to dreamland.

You should also consider the BabyBjorn Bouncer Balance Soft, the 4moms mamaRoo Baby Bouncer, the Fisher-Price Infant to Toddler Rocker, and the Ingenuity ConvertMe Swing-2-Seat.

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