Once you’re ready to take your baby out and about, you’ll need both a stroller and a car seat. Thankfully, travel systems –composed of a car seat that slots into a matching stroller, allow you to secure both of these in one.
Travel systems have a budget-friendly appeal and since both components match, they are perfect for parents who like to look good. Perhaps the biggest advantage is that both components work together. This means that if your baby happens to fall asleep in the car seat, there’s no need to wake them up to make any unnecessary transfers. Instead, you simply need to disconnect the seat from its base and secure it onto the stroller.
Do you need a Travel System for Your Baby?
Many parents like the concept of travel system as they are often budget-friendly and save time on doing separate research on each item. However, some parents have regrets due to the often bulky designs of them and many opt for a combination of baby carrier and baby car seat instead.
You won’t be able to use the majority of strollers until your baby is at least 6 months old and is able to sit up independently and without any help. Before then, you have a few other choices available including a bassinet style stroller, or you could always use a baby carrier too. Of course, you will need to purchase a separate car seat with these too.
The alternative to a travel system is a car seat-compatible stroller, but be careful to check it’s compatible with your car seat. Typically, you will also need to acquire an adapter, which allows the car seat to fit onto the stroller.
Our Top Picks
Britax B-Agile/B-Safe 35 Travel System
Britax have a reputation for putting safety above all else and this system is no different. What sets the B-Agile apart from the competition is the combination of no compromise on safety and a lightweight design. This provides parents with peace of mind when travelling and easy manoeuvrability once car seat is attached to the stroller.
The three wheel stroller design allows for easy steering and control with a single hand through the tightest of spaces, while the handy storage compartment below is ideal for storing other essentials such as diapers, snacks and toys. It is also available in multiple colors to suit a variety of tastes.
The car seat design features a steel frame for extra strength and a base designed to compress and absorb energy in the event of an accident. The winged sides also help to protect from impact and it is lined with a thick layer of foam. Other handy characteristics of the car seat include a height-adjustable handlebar, one-hand recline and a simple one click attachment.
Graco Stylus Click Connect Travel System Stroller
If you’re on the search for a budget friendly travel system that includes everything you could possibly need, then the Graco is a good pick. With car seat, stroller and a set of features for convenient eating and drinking, it is the all-in-one solution; best of all though, you can continue to use it as your child grows as it accommodates kids up to a weight of 50 lbs and allows them to sit up in comfort.
It has height-adjustable handle that allows both moms and dads to adjust it as required, and the easy click connect feature allows for convenient transition from car to stroller. Also included is a very generous storage basket, adjustable leg rest and an adjustable seat that allows you to change the position from flat to reclining perfect for when they are sleeping or when they get older.
A standout benefit of the Graco is the lightweight car seat that is considerable lighter than many other available designs. This will make all the difference when you’re carrying your baby from the car to the stroller.
Chicco Bravo Trio Travel System
The Chicco Trio system is incredibly versatile, allowing you to strip it right down the skeleton frame that the infant car seat can be attached to, and as they grow, it can be made suitable for bigger kids thanks to the toddler seat included in the set.
This system is very easy to put together, from the simple one-hand fold of the car seat, to the self standing fold of the strollers skeleton frame. The frame folds down to a very compact configuration, making it ideal for little cars and trunks and small homes with limited space.
The Trio system also has many quirks to make the carers life easier too, including an adjustable push handle, with an accompanying tray to store and secure your phone, drinks and snacks that are at fingers reach. There is a large basket under the seat, which feels more secure and sizeable than other stroller designs. The wheels are also foam-filled, feature all wheel-suspension and make for a bump-free stroll on a range of terrains.
Baby Trend Expedition Jogger Travel System
This is a travel system that is also designed for jogging, perfect for parents who want to get out of the house, exercise and explore the outside with their infant. The three rubber wheel design with extra-durable tread and lockable front swivel wheel ensures easy manoeuvrability and control over a variety of different terrains including grass, gravel and even dirt roads.
You’ll have to wait until your baby is at least 6 months old and capable of sitting up without any assistant in the standard seat. Until then, you can reserve from jogging and use the infant car seat attached to the frame.
Other advantages include a large canopy to protect your child from the sun and harsh weather conditions. In addition, a large basket underneath provides ample storage room and child and parent trays with cup holders for convenient eating, drinking and easy access to personal accessories including cell phone. Check out more jogging stroller reviews here.
Disney Amble Quad Travel System
If you are looking for one of the best car seat stroller combo’s for tight-budgets, then the Amble by Disney is a good option. Available in multiple colors and featuring the popular Mickey Mouse design, it is a fun looking system that is bound to get thumbs up from your little one.
Although the frame doesn’t feel as robust as some of the other travel system strollers we’ve reviewed, it provides the comfort and convenience expected from all good quality strollers. It includes a lightweight infant car seat and large canopy, perfect for young infants that are easily converted to a stroller with a 3-point harness as your child grows.
For the price it’s been designed with both parents and kids in mind. It has amply storage space below in the form a sizeable storage basket as well as trays for both parent and child that can be used for eating, drinking and storing accessories. It also folds down to a very compact size, that is easy to transport and store in the smallest of spaces.
What’s normally included in a Travel System?
There are many car seat stroller combo systems available and there is a lot of variation between them in terms of style and additional features. But if you’re wondering what the typical travel system includes, here is a brief overview:
Infant car seat – This is the designed to provide protection for your baby if a collision was to occur. It is a legal requirement to use one when driving in the US. In order to ensure you are using it correctly, ensure that you always read the manufacturer’s instructions prior to use.
Toddler seat – When looking at new travel systems, many parents concentrate on the car seat alone, as this what you new born baby will be using until they at least 6 months of age. However, it’s important to also look at the accompanying toddler seat that will be used as they grow big enough to sit upright and support themselves independently. It ought to be comfy and equipped with a harness to ensure a safe and comfortable ride.
Canopy – The canopy is can usually be removed and reattached on demand, it should be able to span the entire car seat to provide adequate protection from the sun. You should also be able to adjust as your child grows.
Wheels & Suspension – Generally you will have four wheels, capable of simple manoeuvring. However, if you intend on using your stroller on more challenging terrains or you want to travel at speed and maybe go for a run, you will want to choose a system with superior wheels and suspension.
Are Used Travel Systems Safe for Baby?
It’s always preferable to use a new travel system that has a new car seat, since used ones are not typically considered safe. The reason behind this is that you can never be sure what may have happened to the seat in the past, for instance it may have been in a collision without your knowledge. Or, it may be older, and not abide by current safety standards. It is certainly prudent to check manufacturer’s websites for possible details about recalls.