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Which compact stroller for a 4.5-year-old and plane travels (Europe-located parents)?

LeFox • 02 Aug 2021

Hello! I love this site!

I am looking for a travel stroller for a tall kid (113cm; 19 kg). We don't have an unlimited budget, so the highest-end, super cool strollers might be out of reach. (But, we'll take any recommendations!) I'd love to spend less than 300 euros, but that might be laughable!

I'll be traveling alone, so some things that would be ideal:
1. easy to fold AND STAY folded.
2. lightweight enough in case I need to navigate stairs. (ie., think Airstairs leading up to the plane, with backpack/s, and a 4-year-old to navigate. I will HAPPILY check it at the gate if I'm allowed- but there's always the unexpected airstair, bus to/ from the airplane, random stairs en route...)
3. a basket that's large enough to be useful (but not a deal-breaker if I have to let this go)
4. one-handed navigation (ie., one handlebar) is ideal.
5. a decent recline is useful.

It's most likely that we'll only use this for travel (ie., airports) So all-terrain isn't super necessary. However, if we go ahead and bite the bullet and spend a lot on it, it would be good if its also super versatile for everyday use around Europe (ie., cobblestones.)

Additionally, we are located in Europe, so some of the US brands are unavailable here.

In the US, we loved our BOB for everyday use and for travel, we've loved the Britax (although sadly, we already got rid of it.) We hated the Summer Infant 3D Lite, but it did its job longer than expected before finally breaking. ;)

The Hauck has done its job while living in Europe to navigate all over uneven surfaces and long walks and is about as sturdy as I'd expect at the price point. It's just too big to travel with.

Of course, the Babyzen Yoyo looks pretty amazing, but the price point seems so high for something I'm not sure how much we'll use. Chicco Goody Plus might be good, but it says it's recommended up to age 3? (He's 4.5 and will only get taller!)

I've also been looking at the Mountain Buggy Nano, Maxi Cosi Jaya / Lara, Baby Jogger City Tour 2 / City Mini 2 (not sure if it would be suitable to gate check though.)

Zoe isn't available here.

Lost in the world of strollers - hope this won't be like trying to find a unicorn of strollers! Hope I was specific enough to be useful.

Thanks for any guidance!

Eli • 02 Aug 2021

Hey there!

You were as specific as it gets and I am glad you were, thank you for that! Rarely. I get such a specific question.

From what you write, you want a budget-doable stroller that will accommodate a 4.5yo while, ideally, can be gate-checked. I have to say this is DIFFICULT, the small - ultra compact gate-checkable travel strollers usually have a short backrest and overall a limited space. My BEST BET and an in-Europe-available little bug pushchair would be a Joolz Aer, and yeah, it's not a low-end buggy. It's pricy but it truly has a tall backrest - and it pushes smoothly for such a small ultracompact that can be taken on-board as a carry-on.

The Chicco Goody Plus does have the weight capacity and sturdiness for the use you describe BUT the backrest is shorter. If your son won't sleep every day, many hours in the stroller, he SHOULD be able to use it rather comfortably. On the other hand, the Babyzen Yoyo's really short seat back would not fit in my opinion, so I actually wouldn't go for this one with a four-year-old. Read the Chicco Goody stroller review here if that could help.

I will also mention the Cybex Eezy S+2 which's seatback is actually rather nice and it should be OK to use. Still, I would much rather go for the above-mentioned Aer, tbh.

Lastly, I will go back to the Baby Jogger City Mini 2 and other mid-size ones (also the Oyster Zero from Babystyle would work - you CAN take this up to the gate and after that, they'll take it to store it in the back. Space-wise, it would be a better option, but a larger one as well. Both mentioned models would work weight-wise as well, mainly the Oyster Zero is really lightweight...

So there are the choices I would go for! The other compacts you mentioned have, to me, too short backrests or too slanted seat backs to consider them in your and your little one's size. Hope I helped - if anything, just write ;-)

Your -very berry- Eli.

Now, this is your place to ask. I'm listening.