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The Best Stroller For Travel: Compact and Lightweight Models 2023

We review the best compact stroller for travel in 2023 to compare size, accessories, weight, and style to help you plan your travels.

Woman pushing the best travel stroller along oceanside cliffs in Portugal

Lightweight, compact, and durable, the new generation of compact travel strollers continues to expand their offerings for travel-loving families. The growth of families that are looking to expand their adventures beyond local exploration has given rise to innovative designs. It seems that finding the best compact travel stroller in 2023 comes down to lifestyle choice more than which model is simply the best.

Travel strollers have become an essential item for families looking for international family vacations. Standard strollers are often too bulky and heavy for convenient family travel, whether that be by airplane or road trip. Heck, we’ve had strollers that took up most of our trunk space. So finding small strollers for travel opened up a lot of luggage space when packing for our family adventures.

Modern travel strollers have the minimalist at heart. Many offer the modern luxuries of high-end strollers but are engineered to be compact, lightweight, and easy to pack away for family vacations. Some can fit in overhead storage on an airplane. Others can be tucked right under your seat.

If you want to jump to our favorite overall travel stroller, you can find that here.

For families on the go, a lightweight travel stroller isn’t just a luxury item, it’s a necessity. Until you have one, it’s really tough to conceptualize just how much freedom they can offer.

There are plenty of cheap strollers for travel, but choosing lightweight strollers based solely on price alone often leads to a frustrating experience due to poor durability, clunky operation, or an uncomfortable ride for your child.

Whenever we do our gear reviews we extensively test and compare products to ensure that we aren’t recommending gear that doesn’t live up to the needs and lifestyle of active families.

Our Top Compact Travel Strollers For 2023

Overall WinnerOverall Runner UpEasiest To UseSmallest and Lightest
Uppababy Minu V2 gb Qbit+ All CityJoolz AER Premium GB Pockit
2023 Uppababy Minu V2 Lightweight Travel Strollers2023 gb Orbit Stroller for Travel2023 Joolz AER easy-to-use travel stroller2023 gb Pockit Lightweight Travel Stroller
Weight: 16 lbs Weight: 14 lbs Weight: 14.1 lbs Weight: 9.5 lbs
Folded Dimensions: 11.5″ x 20.25″x 23″Folded Dimensions: 10.5″ x 23″ x 16.5″Folded Dimensions: 9.25″ x 20.25″ x 16.25″Folded Dimensions: 12″ x 7″ x 14″
Weight Limit: 50 lbs Weight Limit: 50 lbs Weight Limit: 50 lbs Weight Limit: 55 lbs
Durability: 5/5 Durability: 4/5 Durability: 4/5 Durability: 5/5
Ease of Use: 5/5 Ease of Use: 3/5 Ease of Use: 5/5 Ease of Use: 5/5
Fits in overhead storage
Smooth ride
Folds with one hand
Bassinet option
Car seat compatible
One-handed folding
Large canopy
Rubberized wheels
Smallest travel stroller
No-frills design
Very easy to use
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Woman holding a baby while pushing a compact stroller in Quebec City
Exploring the boardwalk in Quebec City

We analyzed the best travel system strollers, the best compact strollers, the best lightweight strollers, and the strollers that fold up the smallest to find the models that offer the most convenient, durable, and safe models for families who travel with young kids. We’ll take a close look at what features make for the best travel strollers to

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What Features Make Good Lightweight Travel Strollers?

Choosing the best lightweight travel stroller can seem very complicated at first. There are many factors that go into determining a high-quality product that will fit your needs and perform, even under the strains and stresses of family travel.

A good travel stroller should be something that is easy to pack. It either needs to fit snugly inside the trunk of your vehicle or be able to tuck under the seat or in the overhead bin of an airplane to avoid the damage that could come with stowing it as baggage.

The best travel strollers are easy to use. You don’t want to be in an airport or train station and have to spend ten minutes fiddling with your equipment trying to set up or stow away your stroller.

And importantly, strollers for travel should be comfortable. Often, when we travel, our children spend more time on the go than when we are at home. You’ll want to make sure that your little one is comfortable enough that long hours of exploring are as pleasant as possible.

With these things in mind, the categories that we rate strollers for travel are as follows:

  • Weight: How much does the stroller weigh?
  • Easy of use: How complicated is the setup and takedown of the stroller?
  • Folded dimensions: How small does the stroller collapse for stowing?
  • Features: All strollers are different. What are the special features such as cupholders, folding canopies, rubberized wheels, snack trays, etc?
  • Weight limit: How large can your child be before they outgrow the stroller?
  • Portability: Does the stroller come with a carrying case or strap?

The Best Overall Stroller For For Travel – Uppababy Minu V2

Uppababy Minu Lightweight Travel Stroller

The Uppababy Minu V2 took the features of its previous model (which sat at the top of our list last year) and made some significant changes. The V2 model of the top-of-the-line Uppababy Minu stroller is significantly upgraded in terms of the weight limit, collapsibility, and overall look and feel.

If you’re looking for the best travel stroller that meets all of the needs of the modern parent and guardian, the Uppababy Minu is for you. This lightweight and compact stroller for travel ticks almost every button that a lightweight travel system should.

The Uppababy Minu is compact, durable, easy to use, excellent on most terrain, has a fantastic canopy system, and it’s one of the most comfortable travel strollers for kids. However, this does come at a cost. The Uppababy Minu is fantastic, but it’s also the most expensive travel stroller on our list. The Uppababy even has a large storage basket which makes urban exploring a breeze.

One of the big perks of the Uppababy Minu is that it is one of the few models on this list that remains lightweight while still having an onboard suspension system. This means that the ride stays comfortable even on rough terrain.

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Overall Runner Up Stroller For Travel – gb Qbit+ All City

2023 gb Orbit Stroller for Travel

gb’s QBit+ All-City stroller is new to our list of the best strollers for travel this year. This fully-featured model comes in slightly lighter and more compact than our overall winner, the Uppababy Minu V2. While we loved the dimensions, it was slightly underperforming in terms of maneuverability and ease of use.

I appreciate the built-in rain canopy that includes a peekaboo window, although I wish that it provided more coverage. I also would like to see an update where the stroller includes a carrying strap to make portability easier.

The gb QBit+ All City is also one of the few lightweight travel strollers that can be purchased with an optional bassinet. This means that the QBit+ is suitable for babies, which is rare in these lightweight strollers.

The gb QBit+ All City performed very well though and is a great choice for families who take the occasional trip or want a lightweight, easy-to-use stroller for trips into the city. It might not be the perfect “everyday” stroller, but it will do well under most conditions.

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The Easiest To Use Travel Stroller – Joolz AER

2023 Joolz AER easy-to-use travel stroller

The Joolz Aer easily could have been our overall winner for the best travel stroller. The ease of use and overall weight is actually better than the Uppababy Minu V2. The only thing that kept this from being our top pick is a lack of accessories.

The AER by Joolz is stylish, comfortable, and rolls incredibly well. What won us over, however, is the compact nature of the fold-up design. It’s very compact and is designed to be both folded and carried easily with one hand.

Along with being very easy to use, the Jool AER features a large canopy that provides good coverage for the child. The canopy includes a peekaboo window as well, so the child won’t feel isolated from the world around them. The canopy slips nicely into a zippered pocket.

There’s also a storage basket beneath the sea that can hold a small backpack, purse, or other items. The AER also has a nice padded handlebar that was a pleasure to push.

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The Smallest and Lightest Folding Travel Stroller – GB Pockit

GB Pockit Compact Travel Stroller

If a compact travel stroller is your mission, look no further than the GB Pockit. Although this product is a no-frills unit, its compact design and durability make the GB Pockit my favorite stroller for travel. You can find out more about it here.

The GB Pockit isn’t the lightest stroller on the list. That award goes to the Maclaren Mark II. But, it is close. And when it comes to a compact design, this travel stroller beats all others. In fact, this unit is so small that it’s a stroller you can fit in your carry-on bag.

Frequent flyers and those with tiny car trunks will love this model. And while it doesn’t come with its own travel bag, it is so small that it can easily fit into a shopping bag or large diaper bag.

The GB Pockit is durable, lightweight, and easy to use. And, to top it all off, it is not nearly as expensive as some of the other travel strollers on this list.

Some cons to consider when choosing the GB Pockit as your traveling stroller would be that the storage basket is not very large. The sun/rain canopy is even smaller. If you are heading to a destination with a lot of sun or rain, you may need to keep that in mind.

The GB Pockit is very easy to use, although its design is not completely intuitive. It takes a few times to master it completely.

If you’re looking for a super lightweight and compact travel stroller, consider the GB Pockit. If you’re looking for something with a few more bells and whistles, you may want to consider the GB Pockit+.

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Tips For Flying With A Stroller

Many adults avoid air travel. One of the big drivers for avoiding traveling with kids is that parents and guardians don’t want to have to deal with the stresses of strollers at airports. And while traveling with a stroller can introduce its own unique complications, it can also make things much easier.

Can You Check In A Stroller For Travel?

Flying with a travel stroller offers many options for family travelers. A stroller does not generally count toward your baggage allowance. This means that parents can either check their travel stroller in with their luggage OR check it at the gate for those who feel more comfortable keeping their child secure while they navigate the airport.

  • Checking your stroller in with baggage means unloading your stroller during your regular check-in. Many parents might switch to a baby or toddler carrier at this point or carry, or even have older toddlers walk on their own if they’re able. Some adults may not like to have a stroller with them in the airport as it free’s up their hands for carry-on luggage as you will not usually have access to luggage carts past the check-in gate.
  • Gate-checking your stroller allows you to navigate the airport with your stroller. The stroller can then either be carried on the plane as carry-on luggage (if it fits the dimensions for the overhead bin or under-seat stowage) or checked in at the gate. Checking in at the gate involves getting a luggage tag at check-in and then leaving your stroller on the gangway just before boarding the plane. The stroller is then loaded into stowage and then removed when the plane lands. It is usually brought to the de-boarding gangway for you to pick up when you get off the plane (sometimes this means having to wait a few minutes). But this is not always the case. It’s best to ask the flight attendants prior to deboarding.

Tips For Travelling With A Stroller

There are a few things to keep in mind when traveling with a stroller. Keep these tips in mind when you are planning your trip:

  • You can choose to gate check or check in your stroller with your baggage. If you have a compact stroller for travel, you may be able to keep it as carry-on baggage.
  • Checking in a stroller (either at the gate or with baggage) runs the risk of damage. Using a stroller carrying case can help limit stresses, bends, scratches, and dents. If your stroller doesn’t include a traveling case, consider something like this one.
  • If you are gate-checking or carrying on your stroller it will need to be folded prior to going through the x-ray machine. Children are not allowed through security while in a stroller.
  • If your stroller doesn’t come out on the normal luggage belt, it may be in the oversize luggage area. Sometimes you may need to check a large stroller separately as oversized luggage.

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Woman pushing a stroller by the edge of the ocean
Collection of various lightweight travel strollers
Woman pushing a compact stroller on a Quebec City boardwalk