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5 tips for buying a compact travel stroller

Choose the best travel pram or compact stroller for your holiday with our expert tips and product reviews.

two children and baby in a travel stroller waiting at airport
Last updated: 21 March 2023

A compact stroller that's lightweight and easy to fold is a must when you're heading off on holiday with your little one. Some travel strollers are even small enough to take with you on the plane (meaning you can have it ready for your tiny terror as soon as you disembark). 

But which model is best for you, and do you have to spend hundreds to get a good one?

We give expert advice on how to buy your everyday pram in our pram and stroller review, but here are some tips to help you buy the best lightweight travel stroller for your holiday.

1. Weigh it up: The lighter, the better

It's a no brainer, but when you're juggling luggage, a baby and all your other travel paraphernalia, hopping on and off trains or buses, you'll want a stroller that's light and easy to carry. 

The lightest travel strollers from our tests are:

*The Babyzen Yoyo2 is popular both for travel and everyday use due to its light weight (just 6.5kg). However, it failed our safety tests and poses a potential head entrapment and fall risk. Plus, when it's fully loaded, the wheels move when the parking brake is on. (Babyzen disagrees with our results but CHOICE stands by its findings.)

But check the cost

Compact models (such as the Phil & Teds Go V2) are often cheaper than standard prams, but some certainly don't come in cheap when you consider that a travel stroller is often a secondary buy on top of an everyday pram. 

The Babyzen Yoyo 2, which weighs 6.5kg, costs an eye-watering $720 – but it scores a poor 35% overall. 

chicco miinimo folded up stroller

Some travel strollers are so compact you can take them on the plane.

2. Check restrictions with your airline

Most strollers have to be checked in with flight attendants at the gate, but if you have a compact folding stroller, you can take it all the way to your seat (which also means you won't have to wait for it when you get off). 

You should always double check any restrictions with your airline though – some Australian domestic airlines state that carry-on sized prams count towards your carry-on luggage allowance, which won't give you a great deal leftover for your other cabin bags. 

Most airlines specify that if you're taking a travel stroller in the cabin it needs to be in a bag, and it will need to meet carry-on baggage weight and dimension criteria. 

When choosing a travel stroller, take a look at the dimensions for how small it folds up, and if it comes with accessories like a carry bag or handy strap that's a big plus as it'll be easier to lug around. 

Some strollers (such as the Baby Jogger and Edwards & Co) come with a bag, but for others (such as the GB Gold Pockit) you'll need to pay extra for a travel bag.

comparison of shade cover size between britax holiday and gb pockit

Shade coverage can differ between models.

3. Be sun smart

It's all well and good to buy a travel stroller that folds up into a tiny bundle, but with some models, this usually means you sacrifice things such as a generous canopy shade. Not great news if you're going to be out and about in the sunshine a lot on your trip. 

Regardless of the brand, bear in mind that you won't often get the same coverage as you do with a bigger, standard pram so plan ahead to make sure your little one is protected from the sun. 

4. Check if the stroller reclines

This is a biggie if on-the-go naps are an issue for your child. Compact strollers are not always suitable for newborns and can have limited recline options, which can be tricky if your bub likes to lie back when they have a nap. 

The ultra-compact foldable models usually have a hammock-like seat, such as the Childcare Jax V2, and some are more conducive to comfy snoozing than others.

5. Put safety first

Look for a five-point seatbelt harness that will keep your bub safe and secure, and check our pram and stroller reviews to ensure your model passes key safety tests. 

"When it comes to travel, many people opt for a cheap $20 stroller," says Kim Gilmour, one of CHOICE's resident pram experts.

"But past tests suggest they don't always meet our key safety requirements, have little storage or features, and may not be suitable for newborns if they don't recline. Paying a bit more can still get you a safe stroller that'll see your child from birth to toddlerhood." 

The latest CHOICE-tested compact strollers

GB Gold Pockit Air All Terrain $379 (suitable from 6 months to 17kg)

Phil & Teds Go V2 $480 (suitable from newborn to 15kg)

Mountain Buggy Nano 3.0 $599 (suitable from newborn to 20kg)

Babyzen Yoyo2 $720 (suitable from 6 months to 22kg)

Baby Jogger City Tour 2 $599 (suitable from newborn to 20.5kg)

Childcare Jax V2 $199 (suitable from newborn to 17kg)

Edwards & Co Otto $449 (suitable from newborn to 20kg)

Childcare Vogue Lite $599 (suitable from newborn to 20kg)

Bugaboo Butterfly $799 (suitable from 6 months to 22kg)

We care about accuracy. See something that's not quite right in this article? Let us know or read more about fact-checking at CHOICE.

Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.