Deciding whether to bring a baby carrier or stroller on a trip can be a tough decision, especially if it’s your first time traveling with your baby.
Each has its benefits and drawbacks and you want to make sure you bring the right gear without over-packing.
That’s why I’ve put together this guide to help you determine which one is right for you and your little one.
Pros and cons of baby carriers and strollers
Bringing both a carrier and a stroller offers the most flexibility, but that isn’t always practical.
Your specific travel plans, your baby’s age and size, and which one keeps your baby happiest are all important considerations when determining which one is right for you.
In the next few sections we look at a few of the key factors that you should consider before deciding to bring your stroller or front pack.
1. How old is your baby
Baby carriers are awesome for infants, but as your baby gets older, you may find it difficult to wear your little one for long periods of time.
- 0-6 months – Since babies this little love being held close to their parents and are at their lightest during this stage, a carrier is likely your best bet. While there are structured carriers for newborns, wrap-style carriers could be appropriate and they’re great for napping and feeding on the go.
- 6-24 months – Baby carriers and strollers are both great options for this age range, and this is when you may find you want to bring both along for added flexibility. If you can’t make that work, consider the terrain at your destination, how far you’ll be walking, and what else you’ll need to carry with you when deciding which one to bring.
- 24 months and up – At this stage, carrying your toddler for long periods of time may start to get pretty tough. They may also want to spend some of the time out of the confines of a carrier or stroller. If you have to choose, a stroller may be your best bet when traveling with a kid over two.
2. Does your baby sleep better in a carrier or stroller
Some babies can nap in a stroller with no problem; others not so much.
If your little one tends to have trouble sleeping in their regular stroller, you might consider investing in a reclining stroller. Being able to lean back in their stroller might help your baby fall asleep, especially if they’re used to napping in a crib or bassinet.
If you’re investing in a travel stroller, keep this in mind as not all umbrella strollers can recline.
Although some babies do better with strollers, carriers are great for infants and babies who like to be held during naps.
If you’re planning on trying to get your baby to nap on the go, or if the day’s activities will take you over rough or uneven terrain, snuggling them up in a carrier may be the best way to get them to sleep.
3. What will work best for your feeding situation
Front carriers, slings, and wraps are great for breast- and bottle feeding on the go. If your little one is older and eating solid food, strollers are generally a better option for meals out and about.
Consider getting a stroller with an attachable snack tray. This is a great tip from babycantravel.com:
As our daughter got older, we made better use of our limited time by feeding her snacks in her stroller. We found having a stroller with a snack tray makes this much easier.
This also helps keep the food off your little one’s lap and allows them to snack while you walk around and explore your destination.
4. What kind of sightseeing do you plan on doing
Where you are traveling is an important consideration. Stairs, cobblestones, and other uneven surfaces can make pushing a stroller pretty difficult.
Strollers are great for walking through a city park, but if you plan on doing any hiking or exploring on rough terrain during your trip, you’ll definitely want to bring along a baby carrier.
Debbie from Delicious Baby has a great suggestion to check the “wheelchair accessibility” section of a guidebook to get an idea for how stroller-friendly your destination is likely to be.
5. Are you travelling in a hot or cold climate
If you’re visiting a warm destination, you’ll probably want to bring a stroller, since babies and parents can both overheat with a carrier in hot weather.
Having a hot baby strapped to your chest is not fun when hiking through a humid, hot city.
Stroller canopies are also great for keeping the sun off your little one’s face while you explore.
In mild to cold climates, baby carriers can help keep both of you warm, since you’ll be snuggled up next to each other. However, in frigid climates (especially those with wind chills), you may want to consider bringing a stroller so you can wrap your baby in multiple blankets and keep them protected from the wind.
6. Getting through the airport and on the flight
Baby carriers are lifesavers when it comes to navigating airport security with a baby, since they allow you to have both hands free. You also won’t have to worry about lugging a stroller up and down escalators.
Opting for a carrier over a stroller during your flight also means you won’t have to worry about luggage limitations. If you know you’ll need a stroller at your destination, you can always check one with your bags. Alternatively rent one when you arrive.
7. Will you be doing a lot of driving
If you’re traveling by car, consider investing in a stroller/travel system hybrid.
The seat of the stroller detaches from the frame and doubles as a safe and secure car seat, making the transition from car to stroller super easy.
Not only will this save time and prevent you from having to wake up your sleeping baby, but it also saves valuable trunk space! Stroller/travel systems are not just great for long road trips either. You may find you like them for everyday use.
8. Will you be using public transportation
Some buses and trains have some storage space where you can stow your baby’s stroller. On shorter rides, you may prefer to leave your little one in the stroller, provided there’s enough floor space.
However, if you’re planning on getting on and off multiple buses and trains or navigating busy subway stations during rush hour, you’ll definitely want a carrier instead.
By thinking about these 8 factors you should be able to decide if a stroller or baby carrier is right for your next trip.
The best baby carrier for traveling
When you’re looking for a good travel carrier, you’ll want something versatile, comfortable, and lightweight. Our favorite carrier for traveling is the Ergobaby 360 All Positions Baby Carrier. Here’s what we love about it:
- Wide, adjustable waistband
- Multiple carrying positions (front, back, hip, etc.)
- Tuckaway hood for sun protection
- Machine washable
The best stroller for traveling
The best travel strollers are foldable/collapsible, lightweight, and durable. Our pick is the Summer Infant 3D Lite Convenience Stroller. Some of our favorite features include:
- Lots of storage
- Compact and lightweight, yet durable
- 50 pound weight capacity
- Anti-shock front wheels
- Foldable, with built-in carrying strap
- Reclining seat (great for naps)
There’s a lot to think about when deciding between a baby carrier and stroller. You’ll want to consider your baby’s age, size, and weight, how well they nap in a stroller, your destination’s terrain and weather, and your mode of transportation.
We hope you found this post helpful in determining which one is right for you and your little one. Feel free to leave any comments down below and share this article if you enjoyed it!