Have Stroller, Will Travel

The first trip we took with our older son when he was 10 months old we had the brilliant idea that we didn’t need to bring a stroller with us. We knew that in the airport he would be in the front pack and we wanted our hands to be as free as possible. Of course, once we were in Madrid we would want a stroller but we wanted less to bring with us. It was before we were really packing light but it was the beginning of an idea.

Since I had been in Madrid for a summer semester in college I knew they had this wonderful store, El Corte Ingles, where we would be able to find ourselves a cheap umbrella stroller that would work for our purposes and if it didn’t make it home – that wouldn’t be a problem.

It was a HUGE success! We checked into our hotel (stayed there one night until the apartment was ready but that’ll be a story for another day), hooked up with our friends and set off to El Corte Ingles with the baby in the front pack. We had no problem finding ourselves a $25 umbrella stroller with a sun shade and walked out of the store with the baby riding in it, safely strapped in. He loved this stroller, it even had a little fish hanging down from the sun shade so if he was bored with us or the walk, he’d keep himself happy with the fish. The stroller did make it home and we even still use it on occasion. Talk about a GREAT investment.

So off we were to our 2nd major international trip with the little one and thought we would travel sans stroller and have the same success as Madrid. Boy were we wrong. You have to know your location. In Madrid I knew we would find a great deal and the exact store where that would happen. In Florence we didn’t know the area, wandered around to several different kids stores with the baby backpack until we finally found a store with strollers… couture strollers… not what we had in mind. After looking at all the options and asking the store personnel for help, we ended up with a stroller for $120. It had a lot more options than our umbrella stroller (it could recline, had a large sun shade and a rain guard) but it also ended up being a much bigger pain to steer, fold up and now we cared whether it made it home or not!

We learned a very valuable lesson that trip. If you don’t do the research in advance, it might be a drain on the wallet to travel that light. We did get a lot of use out of that stroller – it made it on several international trips and was just retired after having it for 5 years, so all in all not a terrible investment but at the time we would have rather have had a cheaper smaller option.

So keep that in mind when you’re traveling. Most airlines will let you gate check the stroller for no cost (check their website before you go so there are no surprises) so it’s easy enough to bring a stroller you already own. You may not get your stroller back in the condition in which you gave it to the airline and there will not be any compensation for that or you could do a little research before you go and pick one up once you’re there. Then you may not care if it gets a little bit banged up on the way home. And you never know, it might end up being a stroller that lasts.