If you’re about to set off on a family holiday, here’s what you should be looking for in a travel-friendly, holiday-ready buggy
When travelling, one way to minimise the stress and baggage is to leave your regular buggy at home and look for a lightweight, cheaper option. You can then throw it on plane or train and not be bothered by any heavy-handed baggage handlers!
Lightweight ‘holiday’ buggies are not a replacement for your feature-packed, sturdy everyday buggy so do expect to compromise. In order to cut down on weight cuts are made, so don’t extra padding, huge shopping baskets and lots of accessories won’t be standard features.
Holding up the queue whilst you try and collapse your buggy will make you unpopular in any country. So a buggy with a quick folding mechanism (that you have practiced using at home) is a sound bet for slinging on a bus, train or in the back of a taxi. Many models have one-hand fold systems that collapse in seconds and allow you to hold onto your baby in the other arm - essential if you’re in a rush to catch your flight or if you’re late for your train.
Once folded, you ideally need a buggy that takes up minimal space and one that doesn’t need taking apart in order to get flat. The most compact models will fit on luggage racks and some will even go in the overhead lockers on planes. But make sure that once folded, there is a locking mechanism to stop the frame from springing open.
There will be times when you need to carry the folded buggy – think long flights of stairs and airport terminals – so a carry handle, or even a shoulder strap, is a good idea. Team this with a lightweight frame (the lightest are just over 5kg) and a model that is easy to push and you’re laughing.
If your baby is under 6 months look for a model that can accommodate this. Some – but not all - lightweight buggies have a lie-flat seat that makes them suitable from birth or from 3 months.
One further consideration is your destination. If you’re city bound, where the pavements are smooth, a standard lightweight buggy will do you just fine. If you’re headed for ancient cobbled streets, you may need a sturdier model with better suspension and durable tyres. And if you intend to hit the great outdoors, an ATP (all-terrain pushchair) with pneumatic tyres and good suspension that will soak up the bumps, is a better choice. The lightest weight ATPs are around 7kg.
You will probably need to accessorise your buggy with a raincover and sunshade, just in case. Make sure you know how to fit them before you set off and perhaps pack them in your hand luggage rather than leaving them in the shopping basket of the buggy – finding a replacement abroad could be a hard task.
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