When I was pregnant with my first baby, the amount of products to buy seemed overwhelming. I had no idea so much was needed for a baby’s first year! As I began shopping and creating a registry, it became apparent that products that could serve multiple purposes was the way to go. A travel system did just that!
A travel system is a stroller and infant car seat combination. The infant car seat snaps into the stroller for portability. Once the infant outgrows the car seat and needs a convertible car seat, the stroller can be used alone. Travel systems also come with a base that installs fairly easily into most backseats. The base holds the car seat in place, ensuring a safe car ride for an infant. Additional bases can be purchased for other vehicles so the seat can be installed seamlessly between multiple cars.
There are so many travel systems to choose from that the search for the right one can get confusing. This list has some of the best travel systems available, ready to be used for your next bundle of joy!
What to Look for in A Budget Travel Stroller Car Seat Combo
- Safety and Reliability. Every parent’s first priority is their child’s safety. Especially with something that can save your baby’s life (car seat), you want to be sure you are getting a safe product that will perform well.
- Functionality and Ease of Use. A travel system should be user-friendly and work well. Otherwise, you are better off carrying your baby everywhere.
- Value. Let’s be honest–travel systems aren’t cheap. You want to get the best bang for your buck to get a great system at a reasonable price.
- Appearance. I think most people would agree that “appearance” should be the last priority on this list. However, you want a car seat stroller combo that looks good when you are pushing it.
Best Travel System
Britax B-Free Flexfit
If you want the top of the line travel system, this is it! Although it is more pricey than the others on this list, it has all the bells and whistles. The stroller boasts all-wheel suspension and no-flat rubber tires which are great in all terrain.
This jogger stroller is made of aluminum, so it’s lightweight but durable. It can recline completely and has a one-hand fold feature which allows it to fold easily.
The car seat has extra side padding for added safety. A 5-point harness with an easy release button makes it easy and fast to get baby in and out of the seat. The belt guide makes it easy to see when the car seat is installed correctly in the car even if the car seat base isn’t used.
You won’t be disappointed with this car seat stroller combination!
Good Travel Stroller Car Seat Combos Around $400
BRITAX B-Lively Travel System
Ok moms, my sister has this travel system and secretly I am jealous. I kinda want to go over in the middle of the night and take my baby over and steal it from her and use it. The car seat rates extremely well in safety and function. It clicks easily into the stroller and into the car attachment.
The stroller is really easy to maneuver whether walking or jogging on most terrains. And when it’s time to fold up the stroller, get out of town, it is so easy. One hand, and wham bam, it folds up nice and tight and fits in any vehicle.
The car seat itself is lightweight and not terribly cumbersome to carry around. It comes with an extra headrest piece for newborns that is removable as baby grows. The car seat base is easy to get in and out of the car. This is a great choice that will last.
Chicco Bravo Trio Travel System
This travel system is different than most in the fact that it has three different settings.
The first mode is just for infants. You can actually take out the fabric stroller part and just use the frame of the stroller and hook your car seat in. There may be time when you don’t actually need the seat of the actual stroller, so this is nice for when they are newborns and will be in their car seat the whole time.
The second way you can use this system is like the standard travel systems you see. You hook the car seat onto the stroller, for those times when you may need the car seat and you may need the actual stroller seat.
The third way to use this system is just the plain old stroller. There is a tray on the stroller to hold all your mommy “goods” like keys, cell phone, water bottles, etc. There is an easy fold system that makes taking down the system really easy. The handle bar moves up and down, which is a nice feature if you are tall or short. The car seat is rated high in safety and is easy to clip in and out of the stroller and the car adapter.
2 Budget Travel Systems Around $150
Baby Trend Nexton Travel System
This is a great budget-friendly travel system. It is lightweight and easy to carry around when it is folded up, and it is easy to fold. The basket underneath is large and can fit all your essentials that you might need on a stroll. The car seat clicks into the stroller easily, so you don’t have to worry about your baby waking up.
Both the stroller and car seat have 5-point harnesses to keep your baby safe. One-hand fold makes it easy to collapse the stroller when you need to put it away. The cup holders are large and the tray at the top is perfect for holding keys and wallets.
Overall, this is an great quality at an affordable price.
Saftey 1st Smooth Ride Travel System
Safety 1st offers another excellent economical travel system for you to consider. So many of its features make it simple and convenient for parents to use. First of all, the agile wheels move easily in all directions which creates a smooth pushing experience. I also love that it is also lightweight and collapses quickly; it’s so simple that you can even do it with one hand.
Your baby will be safe and comfortable in the car seat. The canopy is equipped with a visor and window while also offering shade and airflow. A 5-point adjustable harness can be moved to four heights to ensure the perfect fit. Head and body inserts to support newborns are also included. And not only is it a JPMA certified travel system, but it also exceeds ASTM safety standards.
You can’t go wrong with this travel system from Safety 1st which will make both parents and baby happy!
3 Good Budget Travel Systems Under $250
Baby Trend Expedition LX Travel System
This travel system is a jogging system. Simply put, it is meant to be able to go jogging with. You can lock the front wheel or unlock to allow for a swivel.
There is a jogging strap for when you are jogging downhill.
There is a tray to hold your mom stuff and the shade canopy gives good coverage. When you are using just the stroller there is a tray for the toddler to hold snacks and bottles. This stroller is easy to fold, but it tends to be more bulky and harder to put in smaller cars due to the larger front wheel.
There is an extra large basket. The one struggle with joggers is that the front tire can easily pop and has to be repaired, which can be annoying. The car seat itself is great, but some moms aren’t loving the way it is fitting into the car adapting base or the stroller. But if you are looking for a jogging travel system on a budget, this is a great option.
Graco Modes 3 Essentials LX Travel System
This stylish travel system by Graco offers a three-wheel design that makes maneuvering or taking a jog with your baby a pleasant experience. With seven different ways to configure the stroller, this travel system will last through your child’s toddler years and then some! This system also comes with a Graco SnugRide SnugLock 30 infant car seat and base. Holding infants up to thirty pounds, the car seat is highly rated for safety and it attaches directly to the stroller frame.
I own this same travel system and love it! It folds to a standing position with one hand and the stroller has a surprising amount of storage for such a lightweight design. The seat also folds completely flat for when your baby decides it’s time for a nap on the go!
Graco Modes Element LX
For an affordable car seat stroller combo with some great features, look no further than Graco Modes Element LX. This system is a good choice that will serve your child from infant through toddler years. The included Graco SnugRide 35 Lite LX car seat keeps little ones safe with its 5-point harness. Parents love that this system allows the car seat to ride rear facing or forward facing.
You don’t have to worry about trying to fold up this stroller. It has a one-hand folding system so you can hold baby with one hand and fold the stroller with the other. There’s good storage under the stroller as well as cup holders.
2 Travel Systems Around $350
Graco Modes Nest Travel System
This system has some fantastic features you will love. The stroller moves to 3 different heights so you can adjust it to what is comfortable for whoever is pushing the stroller. A reversible stroller seat means the baby can face either forward or rearward. An extra large storage basket makes it easy to haul all your gear. The self standing fold makes it easy to fold the stroller and put it away.
Included in this system is the stroller and the SnugRide 35 Lite Elite car seat with base. The car seat accommodates infants and toddlers from 4-35 pounds and up to 32″ long. You can be sure the stroller will accommodate your child for several years.
Evenflo Pivot Xpand Modular Travel System
The Evenflo Pivot Xpand is a unique travel system that converts into 22 different configurations. This is one of the few travel systems I have seen that can accommodate two children. With no tools needed, the infant seat can be attached one direction with the stroller seat facing another, creating space for an infant and an older baby or toddler. Choose to have a regular stroller or a double stroller.
The system comes with an infant car seat and base that connects seamlessly from car to stroller. With three adjustable handle heights the stroller is perfect for parents and caregivers of varying heights. A large canopy with see-through panel keeps your baby in the shade while offering easy viewing for parents. The stroller also features a five-point harness for ultimate safety and an easy to operate brake as well. This travel system offers versatility and great features that will ensure years of use for growing families.
Hopefully as you have looked through these travel systems you have found one that works with your needs and your budget. And now you can mark two different items off that baby list you have been creating. What a great feeling. Congratulations on your little bundle of joy!
Safety Tips on Choosing a Stroller
Choosing a stroller can be a very important child safety choice. The Mayo Clinic has recommendations and safety tips on choosing a stroller.
Are there advantages of a travel system over a separate stroller and car seat?
Although a separate stroller and car seat set works will in certain circumstances, a travel system offers significant advantages. For example, with a travel system parents can easily transfer a child sleeping in their car seat into a stroller without disturbing them. This setup eliminates the need to buckle and unbuckle infants when going from the car to a stroller.
What safety features are important in a travel system?
Important safety features in a travel system include effective brakes and wide bases. Strollers on which two wheels lock are ideal and a wide base is a must so it won’t tip over easily. If the travel system will be used for a newborn, ensure that you can adjust the incline to best support their heads.
Does a stroller car seat combo need to be expensive to be worth buying?
After browsing stroller car seat combos it becomes clear that a wide range of prices exists. While the expensive options are certainly high-quality, there are also affordable products which will meet all of your expectations. Just make sure to conduct research and read reviews to ensure that an inexpensive car seat combo is worth buying.