Stroller vs Baby Carrier for Travel. Which is better for getting you through the airport? Do you need both when you travel or can you get away with only one? This is a big topic that people will have differing opinions on. So just know that this is MY opinion based off the travel experiences we’ve had & what my kids do best with. Take what I have to say & decide for yourself what you think will work for you!
It also depends on the baby! Every kid is different. And every mom’s preferences are different. So my biggest advice would be to see what you feel most comfortable with in your day-to-day routine before buying something brand new to use while traveling! These would be great big-ticket items to throw on your registry too if you are expecting.
For a full break down of What to Expect for Baby’s First Flight or the Do’s and Donts of Flying with an Infant, follow the links here. I will go over a few of the points below, but those go more in depth on the airport experience!
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Let’s talk about bringing a stroller traveling. What are the benefits? What are the down sides? And what kind of stroller should you take with if you do decide to?
First off, I am a stroller gal. And that’s what I think the big difference is on this topic. Some parents are baby carrier people and some parents are stroller people. I love strollers because it gives me my hands & body completely to myself 😅 I don’t have anyone’s extra weight on me, I can put a drink in my cup holder, my phone has a spot other than in my hand or back pocket, and we have room for storage underneath to bring extra snacks, blankets, or even a baby carrier in case I want it or need it.
I especially love Graco strollers because the infant car seat easily clicks into the stroller. It makes it so quick and easy to go from car to walking around. AND it is a great way to keep baby sleeping on the go. I frequently will throw the car seat cover on with a portable fan & sound machine and our baby keeps snoozing in the car seat as we carry on.
For me, having a stroller when traveling is non-negotiable. I always like having the option, so we always bring one with us.
If you have it in your budget, or you are looking for the perfect thing to add to your baby gift registry- the Doona Car Seat Stroller is mindblowing. It goes from being an infant car seat to a stroller in seconds!! It is pricey though, so we do not own one yet. I am hoping that one day we will if we have any more babies! It is SO convenient. This would make traveling incredibly easy.
Stroller At the Airport?
If you are wondering specifically about stroller vs baby carrier when traveling on an airplane & trying to get through security, then this is where the big debate comes in.
As I said, I love having my body and arms/hands completely baby free when possible. Especially when there’s a lot of other baggage and things to worry about. I hate feeling like a pack mule is what it really comes down to 😂
So when I am going to the airport with my kids, I have determined that using a cheap umbrella stroller is the way to go. As long as they are big enough to fit in one, I feel like this is the best option.
I wear my diaper bag or throw it in the storage space underneath. Then I wear a fanny pack with all my important items like my ID, passport, and cell phone. If I bring a carry-on bag then I can also easily hook that onto the handles.
If you’ve ever seen how the workers throw around your stuff, you know that they aren’t gentle.. so that’s why I figure, a cheap umbrella stroller can be thrown around & I don’t mind too much. Then, when I arrive at my destination it also is SO compact that it can easily fit in the trunk of any vehicle. Other strollers are a little more bulky and it can get tight with luggage, a stroller, car seats, etc.
I take it all the way to the gate when we board the plane and then it is there when we get off ready for me to load everything onto!
Don’t Want to Bring Your Stroller?
If you don’t want to bring your stroller from home & you don’t want to buy an umbrella stroller, you can always rent a stroller from BabyQuip. BabyQuip is a service kind of like Airbnb or Turo but for baby gear! Hosts in tons of destinations offer items from strollers & car seats to high chairs and baby swings. They will even deliver it to you for a small fee or you can elect to pick it up instead. It’s a great option if you are wanting to travel light!
Check it out HERE!
Although I prefer a stroller in most instances, I do use my baby carriers frequently. I personally don’t like using them to get through the airport, but I do always bring one on trips. And that’s because they all serve different purposes!
If you are a baby carrier person, the benefit of using it to get through the airport is that you don’t have to take it off when going through security! You just walk through with them attached to you. On the contrary, the stroller will have to be broken down & put through the conveyor belt. So this is one thing that is slightly easier about a baby carrier vs a stroller when traveling. The reason I don’t mind this is because I’d rather save my baby’s nap for the plane ride & they usually fall asleep in the carriers. And again, I don’t like feeling like a pack mule 😂
What Kind of Baby Carrier Should I Get?
It really depends on the activities you will be doing. So let’s break it down—
Baby Wrap Carrier
This type of baby carrier is great for when you have a newborn who loves to snuggle, take contact naps, and be close to you. Granted it is rated to be able to hold children up to 35lbs… it isn’t supportive enough for it to be comfortable doing that in my opinion. I wore our 1 year old daughter in this on a short hike in Hawaii and my back felt it by the end.
Again, I don’t typically recommend baby-wearing in the airport because I like to leave all the sleeping until the flight. But if you are traveling with a very young baby who sleeps the majority of the day, I’d wear them in one of these through the airport. Once you’ve boarded the lane & are preparing for take off, you will have to unwrap baby. This is why I don’t love this option.
Having to take it on and off with probably disturb your baby’s sleep. So instead what I recommend is waiting until after take-off. You then can stand up, put it on & use it as an aid to get them to sleep on the flight.
This type of wrap can also be used for casual outings and walks around town. But it doesn’t offer the best support for longer walks or hikes. So it’s a good one to have for getting out with baby when they are 4 months or younger, but just know it is a process putting it on 😅
Ergo Baby Carrier
If you only decide to get ONE type of baby carrier, I would suggest getting this one. The Ergo Baby carrier is the most versatile carrier in my opinion. I wear mine around the house while doing chores, going on hikes with my baby, AND casually out and about, on the go.
If you purchase the infant insert like us, you can use it safely with your baby from day one all the way until they are 45 lbs! Which depending on the kid, is a very long time 😂
Once they get big enough you can flip them from facing you to outward facing. Which they love! Our babies have enjoyed hikes even more once we put them forward facing because they were able to see so much better.
The material is a nice breathable mesh so it keeps both of you cool. It’s easy to put on yourself, plus it’s machine washable. We have seriously taken our ergo baby all over!
Ring Sling Carrier
I love having a ring sing carrier because it is SO easy to slip on and off. Plus it’s cute😂 If I am going somewhere with my baby that I can’t use a stroller, but I still want to look cute, the ring sling is what I’m taking. It doesn’t have any bulky buckles and straps, so it’s super simple & flattering. It’s a good way to still be fashionable while wearing him.
It isn’t comfortable for long-term wearing (like hiking), but it’s great to have with you when you want to walk somewhere with baby and the stroller isn’t an option. I wore ours to carry our baby from the car to the beach so I could also carry other items. I’ll also bring it along for grocery shopping when I have my baby and toddler with me because it’s so convenient.
Ring sling carriers are super lightweight material so it won’t take up much room in your luggage. If you are tight on space or don’t plan on doing any hiking, then this is the baby carrier to bring along! You will love the ease of this carrier.
Hiking Backpack Carrier
This one might be kind of obvious. If you are going to be doing strenuous hiking or your child is a toddler rather than a baby, then you’ll want to have a hiking backpack when traveling. Because this is a bulky item that is hard to pack, I’d suggest wearing it through the airport as your personal item.
These backpacks are not cheap. But if you are an avid hiker, it’s worth the investment.
The cheaper ones will strictly be for wearing your child, but the slightly more costly ones include pack space too. If you ever want to do solo hiking with your child you probably want the pack so you can easily bring snacks and water.
I also think it’s worth getting one that has a shade & supportive headrest for baby. Ours doesn’t have one and that’s been the hardest part about using it. When our daughter has fallen asleep in it, her head isn’t supported and I worry about her getting sunburnt the entire hike. So this is the one we will definitely be upgrading to soon!
Stroller vs Baby Carrier for Travel
So the decision is now yours! Do you want your hands & body to yourself as you go through the airport? Or do you want minimal breakdown as you get through security with baby? Hopefully, my tips and insights on each of these products have been helpful in getting you prepared for your upcoming trip. Keep up the preparation by checking out my other posts with packing lists and to do lists included!