Whether you’re jetting off to the sun or just planning a family staycation this summer, you’re probably wondering how to pack everything you’ll need for your baby without overloading your car or exceeding your luggage allowance.
One option is to leave your pushchair at home and invest in a lightweight compact stroller. Robust enough to cope with cobbled streets and sandy beaches, but light enough to carry up a flight of stairs, a lightweight pushchair is also more compact, so it’ll take up minimal space. Some can even fit into the overhead compartment on a plane!
Do you need one?
Lightweight travel strollers are the perfect holiday pushchair if your existing buggy feels too cumbersome to travel with. But they’re not just for holiday use – lots of parents replace their baby’s first pushchair with a lightweight stroller once their baby starts walking, when a light, manoeuvrable pushchair is a practical choice. There are compromises to be made, though, and not all are suitable from birth.
How light do you need it to be?
A pushchair is considered lightweight if it is 7kg or less, but some weigh nearly half this! A very light pushchair will inevitably be less robust, so think about just how light you need it to be – will you be lifting it on and off trains with your baby strapped in, or carrying it with your baby in your arms when boarding a plane?
How compact do you need it to be?
When folded, most lightweight pushchairs are compact enough to fit into a standard car boot without taking up all the space. Others are designed to fold even more compactly. Check that it’s freestanding when folded, too.
Are you happy that your baby faces outwards?
Most pushchairs have a forward-facing seat, which is great for inquisitive toddlers. If you’d prefer to chat face-to-face with your baby when she’s in the pushchair, then a lightweight stroller may not be for you.
How much have you got to spend?
If this isn’t your main pushchair you might not want to spend a lot. But consider value for money – a pushchair that you can imagine getting good use from for a year or two is a better buy than one that costs less, but won’t last as long.
Things to look for
Carry strap: Some lightweight pushchairs have a shoulder strap or storage bags to make them easy to carry. Think about whether this is a feature you actually need.
Folding mechanism: Folding and unfolding your pushchair should be easy and intuitive, even when you’re holding your baby. One that’s freestanding when folded will take up less space in your accommodation when it’s not in use.
Pocket: Somewhere to stash your valuables is a handy feature in a holiday stroller. Check that it’s big enough to hold your purse, phone and keys.
Wheels: Some lightweights have adjustable wheels that can handle different types of terrain. Lockable swivel wheels are ideal for manoeuvring between shiny shop floors or hotel lobbies and rougher ground. If you’re heading for the beach, choose all-terrain wheels with good suspension.
Brake: The brake should be easy to apply and release. Check that it’s flip-flop-friendly!
Hood: This protects your baby from the wind and sun – a must-have in a holiday pushchair. It should extend far enough to give full coverage of your baby’s body, not just her face, even when the seat is fully reclined.
Fabric: Sun lotion, sand and ice-cream are a sticky combination, so check that the pushchair fabric is easy to clean. Also, if you’re heading somewhere warm, a pushchair with breathable fabric will help keep your baby cool on a very hot day.
Seat recline: For babies under six months, choose a pushchair with a seat that reclines flat. For older babies, check that the seat reclines far enough for comfy naps on the go, and that the seat is easy (and quiet!) to adjust when your baby nods off in the pushchair. The upright seat position should be at the right angle for a toddler to see everything around her without straining forwards.
Harness and buckles: Look for a five-point harness that’s easy to adjust, fasten and undo, as you’re likely to be popping your child in and out of a holiday pushchair more frequently than usual. Check that inquisitive fingers won’t be able to undo it!
Shopping basket: The bigger, the better! A large storage basket should hold everything you need for a day out and more. Is there plenty of space for buckets and spades, plus beach towels and sun cream?
This pushchair ticks every box when it comes to the perfect holiday pushchair! Sleek and sporty, it’s light enough to lift without thinking twice, but robust enough to tackle any terrain, thanks to all-round suspension and lockable swivel wheels. We love the fully reclinable seat, adjustable leg rest and extra-large hood.
Suitable from birth to 25 kg.
Weighs 6 kg.
Review: "My son naps really well in this and loves the bright colours and bold pattern – we tried one with a dragon design. It’s smooth and sturdy to push, even on potholed streets. The hood offers excellent coverage. I love the large basket, valuables pouch and matching rain cover, cleverly stowed beneath the seat. Overall, it’s a little heavy, but I can forgive that for such a robust and reliable runaround."
Joie Pact Lite
If you’re a frequent flyer looking for a practical travel pushchair, this is it. Impressively light, a doddle to fold, and seriously compact. It comes with its own storage bag and has an integrated carrying strap. All-wheel suspension ensures a smooth ride for your baby on all types of terrain. We love the lie-flat seat, suitable from birth.
Suitable from birth.
Weighs 5.5 kg.
Dimensions 82 x 99 x 46.8 cm.
Review: "I love this, it’s our favourite pushchair by far: the perfect choice for travelling by plane with a baby, and ideal if you have limited space to store it. I love that it’s so compact when folded, and the travel bag offers extra peace of mind and protection if you’re checking it in as luggage. It’s stylish but sturdy, and I can imagine using it regularly, not just on holiday."
It’s hard to believe a pushchair that feels this sturdy and substantial could fold so compactly, but it does! As well as being a dream to open and fold (even with your baby in your arms), this has a fully-reclinable seat, so it’s ideal for use from birth. We love the extra-large hood and the optional travel bag.
Suitable from birth+
Dimensions 57 x 46 x 25 cm
Review: "I fell in love with this instantly! The rose-gold frame is incredibly chic and stylish. It’s seriously compact, yet so sturdy that it doesn’t feel like a holiday option – I’d happily use this as our main pushchair. It’s simple with one handed fold. One of my favourite features is the huge hood that offers exceptional protection – the extra zipped mesh panel is a lovely feature. Excellent value too!"
Slim and freestanding when folded, this is a brilliant-value buy if you need a lightweight pushchair suitable from six months. The price reflects the fact that this pushchair has slightly less functionality than more pricey models. It handles well, thanks to front wheel suspension, and the mesh seat panels will help keep your baby cool on a hot day.
Suitable from 6m+
Review: "An excellent lightweight holiday stroller. It’s easy to open and fold (with practice) but the hood offers limited coverage. The frame feels robust and it’s easy to push, although the swivel front wheels aren’t lockable. The seat seems comfy, albeit very upright, and it doesn’t recline – not ideal for younger babies for lengthy periods. Excellent value and the basket is amazing – so spacious!"
A combination of a continuous handlebar and eight wheels with all-round suspension make it really manoeuvrable. We love that the front swivel wheels are lockable so you can tackle any type of terrain with confidence.
Suitable from six months.
Review: "By far the easiest to fold with my daughter in my arms, so it’s perfect for travelling with. It’s also really compact, with clips to hold it closed. It’s stylish and very sturdy, but I was disappointed that the seat doesn’t recline much. The manoeuvrability is superb, but the basket is too small to be practical on holiday and the hood offers limited coverage."
Cosatto Woosh 2
if you like to stand out from the crowd, you’ll love the Woosh 2. Available in an array of fun fabrics, this portable stroller with its sturdy chassis is suitable from birth right up to 25kg. The free-standing fold allows for easy transportation, and you and your baby will be prepared for any weather, with the included raincover, UPF100+ hood, and double-length sun visor to protect his precious peepers.
Suitable from birth to 25kg.
Weighs 7.2 kg.
Review: "Absolutely in love. The colour of this pram is gorgeous and so bright. I got it for my little girl because I didn't like the "girly" designs and I'm so glad I did. The seat is plenty roomy enough for my 8 month old with plenty of room to grow. I love the fact there's actually somewhere for the rain apron to go rather than just being in the basket taking up space. Really easy to fold. Can do it with one hand whilst holding the baby."
With a width of just 44cm, the lightweight Joolz Aer can be taken straight onto the plane and popped into the overhead locker. The pushchair is available in three colours, including refined Black, which is made using recycled plastic bottles rescued from our oceans. The large, extended hood offers UpF 50 sun protection to keep your baby safe, while the carry strap will come in handy if she decides she’d rather walk.
Suitable from six months to 18kg.
Review: "We bought this buggy when I was 8 months pregnant for our 2.5 year old and I just wish we had got it sooner. It’s so lightweight yet feels sturdy. It collapses small enough so it can be stored easily and is also great restaurants as it again goes down so easily so you have more room. We can’t recommend this buggy enough, worth every penny."
Winner of the Motheru0026Baby Awards 2020 Best Lightweight Buggy or Stroller, the Metro will keep your precious cargo
comfy, whether you’re in Barcelona or Bromley, thanks to smooth suspension and puncture-proof tyres. The seat has plush padding, as well as an adjustable leg rest. Easily fitting on buses, Tubes, trains and planes, it weighs just 6.3kg.
Suitable from newborn with the metro Newborn Kit.
Review: "After a lot of research, we picked the metro based on sturdiness, weight, large sun canopy and tyre size. We brought on holidays and are really happy with the product. The stroller feels much heavier than 6kg - more towards 7kg but does fold up pretty compact."
Suitable from birth, with a flat reclining seat, this tiny traveller is proof that big things can come in small packages, with three different modes to choose from. Weighing just under 6kg, the Tourist offers easy hands-free folding, as well as a multi-position recline so she can sleep soundly. There’s also a roomy basket for days-out essentials.
Suitable from birth.
Weighs just under 6kg.
Reviews: "I purchased Joie Tourist for my one year old baby girl. I switched from massive and heavy pushchair for a light one, it's so easy to use, can be folded and unfolded with one hand. It fits everywhere and the design is lovely. I would recommend it."