We’re planning to take a family vacation this summer and are already debating whether to bring a stroller or a carrier. Does one tend to be a better option than the other?
A: Babies require a lot of gear, and it can be tempting to pack everything “just in case.” We typically recommend traveling as light as possible, but when it comes to a stroller or carrier bringing both may give you the ultimate flexibility. Here are the main considerations:
Your baby’s preference
Some kiddos have very strong opinions on strollers and carriers. If your little one is not a fan of the stroller, she likely won’t change her mind on vacation. Similarly, if your babe sleeps well in the carrier, then bring it to ensure she’s still getting those much-needed naps.
Carriers are a must for air travel. You’ll appreciate having your hands free going through security, boarding the plane and throughout your flight.
If you’ve purchased a separate seat on the plane for your little one and plan to bring a car seat, you’ll want a stroller to help you transport it.
Your baby’s developmental stage
Infants are constantly changing. As your tot becomes more aware of her surroundings, she may prefer a stroller to sit up and watch the world around her. If she’s on solid foods, taking time to feed her three meals a day plus snacks can use up a lot of precious sightseeing time. Having a stroller with a snack tray will give you a convenient place to feed your munchkin on the go.
Not all destinations or attractions are stroller- friendly, so it’s important to do a little research. If an attraction’s website doesn’t give details on stroller accessibility, looking into wheelchair accessibility will be a good proxy for how easy it will be to get around with a stroller.
The climate at your destination is another important consideration. In high temperatures, a carrier will result in both parent and child being uncomfortable and sweaty. In addi- tion, it’s easier to keep your wee one out of the sun using a stroller with a good canopy.
Our final tips: Before you leave on your trip, ensure you have used your carrier multiple times and that your kiddo enjoys being in it. If you plan to have your baby sleep in the carrier or stroller, do some practice runs ahead of time. In our experience, if she doesn’t sleep in the stroller easily at home, the likelihood of that happening on your trip is low as well.
—Celine and Dan Brewer, travel bloggers and authors of the Baby Can Travel guides