The beginner's guide to buying a travel system
You only have to pop your head round the corner of the pushchair area of Mothercare to know that pushchairs are a complicated business. There's an array of types and styles and they all do slightly different things, but in simple terms a travel system is just a regular pram/pushchair/three wheeler with a clip-on car seat. Sometimes they have a carrycot and sometimes the seat can switch directions to be forward or backward facing too. The benefit of being able to clip on a car seat is that you don't have to wake your baby when transferring her from the car or pram, the downside is that they can be bulkier and heavier than some regular forward facing pushchairs.
Things to consider
It's worth really thinking about your needs and lifestyle before you hand over any cash. If you regularly use public transport or live up or down stairs, weight, portability and folding mechanisms will be vital. If you think you'll need to hop on and off a bus, think hard before investing in anything that doesn't fold and/or can't be lifted with one hand and fit into a decidedly stingy space. Something which is both light and umbrella-folding would be a good bet. If you walk a lot you'll be shopping with your pushchair, so look out for a model which scores well in the shopping basket category.
If you need a pushchair that fits easily in the boot of your car, look for one that folds up compactly. A large but unwieldy pram may be perfect for you if you never use public transport and have no steps - your baby will be in the height of comfort while you shop and you can leave her to sleep in peace on your return.
If you're an outdoor type, forever visiting countryside and beach, with a large car boot and lots of storage space, then a 3-wheeler or all-terrain pushchair will do nicely.
Look carefully to see if the travel system price includes the car seat and/or a carrycot or whether you have to buy these on top. Unless stated otherwise the price we've quoted is for the pushchair only. Add the cost of a carrycot and a car seat and you could be looking at another £300. Other extras include hoods, rain covers, cosytoes (sleeping bag-type things that attach to the pushchair straps and stay on better than blankets), matching changing bags. Extras that aren't included can push up the price considerably. In some cases you get everything - car seat, cosytoes, rucksack, seat liner and even a changing bag - included in the price.