Mumsnet buying guide: travel systems
The vast array of travel systems on offer can be daunting, but fear not: we're here to help.
Take a look at our checklist of five key questions to ask before you get out your credit card - and check out Mumsnetters' reviews for other parents' opinions on the best in the business.
1. What is a travel system, exactly?
Actually, it's just a regular pushchair with a detachable car seat (2-in-1), and sometimes a carry-cot, too (3-in-1).
The benefit of a travel system is that your baby can stay sleeping when being transferred between pram and car; the downside is they can be bulkier and heavier than regular pushchairs.
2. Do I need one?
Travel systems are obviously intended for people with cars - if this isn't you, check out our reviews of other types of pushchairs. But even if you do have a car, think before you buy: if you live in a city and expect to travel mainly by public transport, you may find the benefits of a pushchair outweigh those of a travel system.
It's also worth remembering that travel systems are solo options: no good if you're having twins, or if you already have children who also need to be in a pushchair.
3. What should I think about when buying?
Size and weight. If you can't get your travel system in your boot/up the stairs, forget it. Take into account the fact that heavy lifting can be very difficult postpartum. Of Mumsnetters' top five travel systems, the Bugaboo Cameleon (below; another Mumsnet Best) is lightest, at 9kg. Just because a travel system claims to be 'lightweight' doesn't mean it actually is - always check!
As with any pushchair, you'll want as much carry space as possible. If you're likely to be out and about for long periods, a 3-in-1 might be more suitable than a 2-in-1, so your baby can lie flat.
4. Are there different types?
Most travel systems are four-wheelers, but three-wheelers, designed for off-road use, are available - worth considering if you live rurally.
If you plan to use the pushchair for flat, off-road walking, or even running, a three-wheeler could be for you - but remember that for hiking you'll need a baby backpack.
5. How much should I spend?
Travel systems cost up to £2,000, but you can bag a perfectly good one for well under £500, depending on what features you're after.
Arguably, though, you get what you pay for, and when allocating your budget this is a good area in which to spend as much as you can afford - unlike clothes or toys, which your baby will grow out of quickly.
Available for less than £200, this Mothercare own-brand model is a good lower budget option.
What Mumsnetters say about travel systems
- "Personally I wouldn't spend any more than £300 max (including carry cot and car seat). My little girl is 18 months old and much prefers being in a stroller now (compared to the buggy from the travel system) so they don't really last that long. There are plenty of budget travel systems that do just as good a job as the expensive ones and look pretty good too." BabyKnowledgeuk
- "Bear in mind that babies under three months should not spend more than a couple of hours at a time in car seats. Pushchair bit alone fine if it reclines flat. Suitable models will say if they are suitable for use from birth; it's a big selling point." BikeRunSki
- "I recommend thinking about your lifestyle first and foremost, before specific models; figuring out what you do day-to-day and from that defining which features are most important to you. Then you can use that criteria to build a shortlist of things to go and see, feel, fold etc. What you love on paper isn't always what you love in person." Ihateparties