11 Best Travel Systems of 2021
Best Travel Systems of 2021
July 20, 2021

Best Travel Systems of 2021

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Best Travel Systems of 2021.
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Until your baby’s about six-months old, they won’t be ready to sit up in a stroller. A car seat-stroller combo (AKA travel system) lets you snap your car seat into the stroller and go. Genius!Best Travel Systems of 2021

When you’re ready to roll with your little one, a car seat and a stroller are key. Thanks to the smarty who designed the first travel system―a car seat that clips onto a matching stroller―you can make one purchase and get both essentials.

In this article:

What Is a Travel System?

A travel system is a car seat and a stroller that attach to each other. Since they’re sold as a pair and are both the same brand, travel systems are guaranteed to work together. Just unclip the car seat from its base in the backseat, snap it into the stroller and you’re off.

A travel system can be purchased in two ways:

  • As a package deal from the same brand (the type of travel systems we’re reviewing here), or
  • As a “make your own” set that combines a stroller and a car seat from different brands using adapters.

Package deals tend to be more economical than the DIY version and are guaranteed to work together—no adapters required. If you’re eyeing up a stroller and a car seat from different brands, however, don’t stress. Just keep in mind that not all brands work together and you’ll often need to buy separate adapters. Check out Babylist’s Infant Car Seat and Stroller Compatibility guide to learn more.

Do You Need a Travel System?

Unless your stroller comes with a bassinet attachment or fully reclines and is approved for newborn use, it’s not suitable for your little one until they can sit up unassisted—which usually happens around six months of age. And even if that is the case, you’ll still need to move your infant every time you want to transfer them from the car seat to the stroller (and back again).

Here’s where a travel system comes in. A travel system solves for strolling with your newborn before they’re able to sit up independently. It also means you won’t have to disturb your little one every time you need to make the switch between your car seat and your stroller.

When Do You Need a Travel System?

You’ll need a travel system right at birth if you plan on using your car to transport your little one. Most parents choose to research travel systems prior to baby’s arrival and have one ready to go before birth so they’re prepared.

Around six to nine months, your baby will be sitting up and will likely want a better view of the world—and then you can use the full-size stroller on its own. And because you can use the stroller from infancy through toddlerhood, it’s the only stroller you’ll need to purchase.

How We Chose Our Best Travel System Picks

We asked thousands of real Babylist families about the baby products they love the most now that their little one has arrived, then took the top products they shared with us and added our own research and insight. Here are the travel systems we think are the best of the best.

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Babylist Parent Favorite Travel System

The Scoop
  • Great combo of features, price + performance
  • Stroller can be used as a frame carrier
  • Includes parent-favorite car seat
What Our Experts Say

The Bravo travel system is a parent favorite for good reason. The car seat is easy to install (bubble levels on the car seat show if it’s properly positioned) and the stroller has a removable seat so it can go from a lightweight, skeleton frame that carries an infant car seat to a full-featured stroller for bigger kids when you put the seat on. It also comes with parent cup holders and a tray to hold your phone and keys and it stands when folded.

What’s Worth Considering

The stroller isn’t super high-end, so you won’t get five-star maneuverability or great shock absorption from its plastic wheels. Parents also complain that the materials aren’t very durable.

What Babylist Parents Say

“It’s easy to use, somewhat lightweight and versatile because it goes from car to stroller super easy without having to wake up baby.” -Claudia

Additional Specs
Car Seat Weight 9.6 lbs
Car Seat Age Range 4 to 30 lbs
Stroller Weight 23 lbs
Stroller Age Range 6 months to 50 lbs

Best Value Travel System

The Scoop
  • Higher-end features at affordable price
  • Six different stroller seating configurations
  • Car seat exceeds industry safety standards
What Our Experts Say

Parents rave about this travel system that offers so much for so little. The Pivot has features we’ve come to expect from much pricier strollers, like the option to turn the regular seat into a newborn bassinet, a large canopy, a seat that can face forward or toward you and a removable child tray. The Safemax infant car seat that’s included far exceeds industry standards. The base is made of impact-absorbing materials and has a roll bar to deflect the force of a crash, along with lots more impressive safety features.

What’s Worth Considering

Users note that attaching the car seat to the stroller may take a bit of finesse.

Looking for a similarly affordable travel system that also converts from a single to a double stroller? Check out the Evenflo Pivot Xpand Modular Travel System.

What Babylist Parents Say

“I like the flexibility—it can easily change from holding the car seat to a bassinet to a “big kid” seat.” -Marie

Additional Specs
Car Seat Weight 7.6 lbs
Car Seat Age Range 4 to 35 lbs
Stroller Weight 20 lbs
Stroller Age Range Birth to 50 lbs

Best Luxury Travel System

The Scoop
  • Luxury features
  • Ultra-light, ultra-safe car seat
  • Stroller has great maneuverability and suspension
What Our Experts Say

This beautiful travel system isn’t just all chrome wheels and leather-like finishes—it’s also super functional. It combines the Tavo Next stroller—loved for its one-handed, compact fold, XL dream drape canopy, generous storage basket, magnetic seat buckle and all-wheel suspension—with the Pipa Lite LX car seat, one of the lightest (and safest) infant seats on the market. (It also includes the Relx Base, Nuna’s anti-rebound base that features a fold-down stability leg to absorb collision forces and four latch positions for a better fit against your vehicle’s seat.) The stroller fully reclines and boasts excellent maneuverability and the car seat is a breeze to snap in and out at only a little over seven pounds. This travel system is pricey, but well worth it if you’re looking for a luxury car seat + stroller combo that combines safety, durability and performance features.

What’s Worth Considering

The Tavo Next + Pipa Rx combo is expensive. The Tavo stroller is on the heavier side, and the car seat’s seat pad is machine washable but the rest is spot-clean only.

Additional Specs
Car Seat Weight 7.5 lbs
Car Seat Age Range 4 to 32 lbs
Stroller Weight 23.2 lbs
Stroller Age Range Birth to 50 lbs

Most Versatile Travel System

The Scoop
  • Three different modes and adjustable height feature
  • One-step, self-standing fold
  • Good value
What Our Experts Say

This travel system combines one of Graco’s most popular strollers, the Modes, with their popular SnugRide 35 Lite Elite infant car seat, and the result is one pretty awesome travel system. The 3-in-1 Modes stroller is exactly what its name implies: three strollers in one. It works as an infant car seat carrier (you can click the car seat directly onto the stroller frame), a built-in bassinet and a toddler stroller with the ability to flip the seat parent- or forward-facing. You can also adjust the height on the seat in any mode, a feature parents really like. The car seat is easy to install and to adjust and features a rotating canopy for extra shade and sun protection.

What’s Worth Considering

The stroller wheels are plastic, so it’s not ideal for rougher terrain or traversing over curbs.

Looking for a similar stroller but don’t want to spend quite as much? Check out the Graco Modes. You’ll get a different car seat (it’s a bit heavier) and a stroller with a few less bells and whistles, but the functionality is essentially the same.

What Babylist Parents Say

“I know my way around a stroller. I am currently expecting baby #4 and have had my fair share of bad and amazing strollers. This Graco Modes Nest Travel System is so great, I love that I can switch baby forward-facing, rear-facing, and even scoot her closer to me. It is so easy and convenient to move my babies from the car seat adapter to the stroller and back again. I would just like to say, thank you Graco, for making my life a little easier!” -MB

Additional Specs
Car Seat Weight 9.6 lbs
Car Seat Age Range 4 to 35 lbs
Stroller Weight 23 lbs
Stroller Age Range Birth to 50 lbs

Best All-Terrain Travel System

The Scoop
  • Super affordable jogging stroller
  • XL wheels for any terrain
  • Oversized storage basket
What Our Experts Say

It’s surprising that a travel system with a car seat and a jogging stroller that handles like a dream could cost so little. The Expedition boasts the ability to make quick, sharp turns and has bicycle wheels to coast over gravel, grass and uneven pavement. (The front wheel also locks for jogging.) It also features a jumbo storage basket and an effortless fold that engages by pulling the triggers beside the handlebar.

What’s Worth Considering

You can’t jog with the stroller until your little one can sit up and has strong head and neck control, usually around eight months old.

What Babylist Parents Say

“I am tall so this stroller was great for my height. The price was right and the car seat was very lightweight. It did not take up a lot of space in my small car and was easy to attach to the stroller. I love how smooth the jogging stroller was to push.” -Ashley

Additional Specs
Car Seat Weight 10 lbs
Car Seat Age Range 4 to 30 lbs
Stroller Weight 27 lbs
Stroller Age Range Birth to 50 lbs

Best Long-Term Travel System

The Scoop
  • Highest weight limit of all travel system strollers on our list
  • Easy to push and turn
  • Extendable canopy
What Our Experts Say

You’ll use this stroller forever. (Okay maybe not quite forever, but it sure feels like it.) The tall, roomy seat on the B-Free stroller keeps kids up to 65 pounds comfy, far beyond the 50-pound weight limit of most strollers. It has a gigantic SPF 50 canopy that keeps your kiddo almost fully in the shade (and protected from wind and rain) when fully extended as well as a one-hand fold that locks the stroller into a self-stand position, a storage basket you can access from the back or the front and seven storage pockets to stash necessities like your keys and phone when you’re out walking. The ability to use this with the B-Safe car seat and the stroller’s higher weight limit means you’ll be loving this stroller set from day one and for years to come.

What’s Worth Considering

The seats—which you know will get dirty at some point—are hand wash only. And, although the handlebar has six different positions, it doesn’t telescope up.

What Babylist Parents Say

“Wheels work on all sorts of terrain, but aren’t cumbersome like a jogging stroller. Just enough storage without being over-engineered. Folds quickly and easily.” -Jessica

Additional Specs
Car Seat Weight 11.6 lbs
Car Seat Age Range 4 to 35 lbs
Stroller Weight 22 lbs
Stroller Age Range Birth to 65 lbs

Best Travel System for a Growing Family

The Scoop
  • Grows with your family
  • Tons of configurations
  • Luxury features
What Our Experts Say

When this travel system hits the sidewalks, other strollers give it the jealous side-eye. The Vista grows right along with your family. It can accommodate two infant car seats, two bassinets and countless other combinations. It has an amazing amount of high-end features and is a true delight to push—it easily steers with one hand, turns on a dime and can effortlessly take on rougher surfaces like cracked sidewalks and gravel. The Mesa infant car seat is reversible (parent-facing or front-facing) as is the toddler seating and there’s shade galore with an enormous SPF 50 canopy, a huge storage basket, a telescoping handlebar and a red-to-green light indicator on the car seat base so you know when it’s been properly secured.

What’s Worth Considering

The Vista V2 travel system is expensive. It’s a large, bulky stroller and isn’t the easiest to break down. It can also be tough to push when it’s fully loaded with two kiddos.

What Babylist Parents Say

“The flexibility!!! It was wonderful with one child and a lifesaver now that we have two under two. It has incredible storage capacity, many configuration options and so easy to use!!!” -Nicole

Additional Specs
Car Seat Weight 9.9 lbs
Car Seat Age Range 4 to 35 lbs
Stroller Weight 26.6 lbs
Stroller Age Range Birth to 50 lbs per seat

Ready to Add a Travel System to Your Registry?

With Babylist, you can add any item from any store onto ONE registry. Start your registry today and get a Hello Baby Box full of free (amazing!) goodies.

Easiest to Fold Travel System

The Scoop
  • Includes bestselling stroller
  • Quick and easy one-handed fold
  • Great for urban and suburban families
What Our Experts Say

The City Mini GT2 stroller is a parent favorite and a Babylist bestseller thanks to its agility and its unparalleled one-handed fold. Combine that with a versatile, ultrasafe car seat and you get a travel system that’s tough to top. The GT2’s slim profile and ability to quickly turn corners makes it perfect for crowded city streets as well as suburban sidewalks. With one hand you can quickly whip it closed and carry it up stairs or onto a commuter train no problem—it’s lighter than most full-size strollers. And because of its tight fold, it fits in smaller trunks.

The compatible City GO 2 car seat is just as great. You can safely secure it in a vehicle with or without a base (perfect for taxis or ride shares) and it pops right into the stroller.

What’s Worth Considering

The storage basket on the stroller is small and tough to reach.

What Babylist Parents Say

“My baby loves this stroller the most and we take it everywhere. Love the light weight, easy to fold feature and comfort.” -Lee

Additional Specs
Car Seat Weight 10.2 lbs
Car Seat Age Range 4 to 35 lbs
Stroller Weight 21.4 lbs
Stroller Age Range Birth to 40 lbs

Most Affordable Travel System

The Scoop
  • Great value
  • Easy to fold
  • Good storage + accessories
What Our Experts Say

Almost 3,700 positive reviews (and counting) on Amazon plus a price point of under $150 means this travel system is definitely worth a look. The stroller is fairly basic but has everything you’ll need for an outing with your little one including a large storage basket, a child and parent tray and an easy lift-to-fold strap that collapses the stroller in seconds. (It’s also fairly lightweight.) The car seat exceeds federal safety standards and features side impact protection as well as LATCH compatibility.

What’s Worth Considering

As you’d expect at this price point, the wheels are plastic, so don’t count an extremely cushy ride.

What Babylist Parents Say

“What I love most about this stroller/travel system, is how simple it is to fold, unfold, navigate, and store away. It came equipped with up-to-date stroller, car seat, and car seat base that screams baby is safe and stylish.” -Lydia

Additional Specs
Car Seat Weight 14.9 lbs
Car Seat Age Range 4 to 35 lbs
Stroller Weight 24 lbs
Stroller Age Range Birth to 50 lbs

Lightweight + Easy to Fold

The Scoop
  • Three-wheel design for easy turns
  • One-second fold
  • Good value
What Our Experts Say

The second Graco travel system on our list, this one stands out for its one-second fold and its great maneuverability. (The price isn’t bad either, coming in at well under $300.) The FastAction system is a great choice if you’re looking for a safe, popular car seat and a stroller that’s easy to navigate. The three-wheel design makes for effortless turns and there’s a large storage basket underneath that easily fits a diaper bag and everything else you’ll need for a day away from home. The quick fold is a nice perk for when you need to collapse the stroller on the go and don’t have the time (or the energy) to figure out a complicated breakdown.

What’s Worth Considering

Let’s add even one more popular Graco travel system to the best-of list: the Graco Verb. It’s even more affordable and comes in two fun color + pattern combos that helps it to stand out from the crowd.

What Babylist Parents Say

“I love the ease of the click connect! So easy to snap car seat into stroller and also other products of graco such as car seat base!” -Krista

Additional Specs
Car Seat Weight 14.8 lbs
Car Seat Age Range 4 to 35 lbs
Stroller Weight 22 lbs
Stroller Age Range Birth to 50 lbs

Value + Features

The Scoop
  • Great value
  • Six different configurations
  • Lightweight car seat
What Our Experts Say

Most travel systems that feature a reversible seat that can both parent- and forward-face start around $300 and up. (Way, way up in some cases!) But the Walmart-exclusive brand Urbini is under $200 and boasts this feature—and lots more. With six different configurations, even including a built-in bassinet, this travel system is an incredible value. It also includes the Urbini Sonti, a lightweight infant car seat that clocks in at only about eight pounds

What’s Worth Considering

The Sonti is on the narrower side, so larger babies might outgrow it fairly quickly. It also doesn’t feature a European belt path so you can’t use it without the base.

What Babylist Parents Say

“It’s so easy and convenient to be able to just hook the car seat onto my stroller and also have the bassinet option if my baby is sleeping and we are out for a while.” -Kaylee

Additional Specs
Car Seat Weight 8.7 lbs
Car Seat Age Range 4 to 35 lbs
Stroller Weight 24 lbs
Stroller Age Range Birth to 50 lbs

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