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Updated: 28 Mar 2022

How to choose the best travel system

Find out what a travel system is, how much you need to pay for one and whether buying a travel system is a better choice for you than a pushchair.
Lisa Galliers
Travel system pushchair pushed by a couple

A 'travel system' is essentially a pushchair that can be used with a baby car seat. Some travel systems can take a carrycot as well. 

They make it easier to transport sleeping babies without disturbing them too much. But bear in mind you shouldn't leave a very young baby in a car seat for too long at one sitting.   

Read on to find out what features to look for with your travel system and how much you should pay.

Check out our Which? Best Buys, including the best travel system pushchairs, in our expert buying guide.

Watch our travel system pushchair video

Types of travel systems

We'd always advise that you choose a car seat you're happy with before choosing your travel system, as a car seat is an essential piece of baby safety kit.  

Travel system and car seat package 

Some travel systems come with a car seat included as part of a package. 

If it does, it’s vital to check before you buy whether it’s a Don’t Buy car seat we’ve reviewed. And see how we rate it in our car seats reviews.

Apart from the car seat, your travel system will also come with some sort of seat unit to transport your baby when you don’t want to use the car seat on the chassis. 

Travel system where you buy the car seat separately

Some systems won’t come with a car seat but will say which car seats they are compatible with, so you can go and buy one.  

Buying your travel system with the car seat separately, rather than as a package, often works out more expensive, but it does mean you get time to choose a car seat you’re confident can transport your baby safely, which is key.  

We would recommend always choosing your car seat first before you buy your travel system. 

See our list of the best baby and child car seats

Travel system for twins 

This is a travel system where two car seats can be attached to the pushchair chassis at the same time. For this, you'll need to buy a double pushchair

Travel system for baby and toddler 

This is a pushchair where you can attach one baby car seat and one ordinary pushchair seat.

Compare all our travel system reviews

Pushchairs

How much do I need to pay for a good travel system?

Travel-system compatible pushchairs can be costly, but you will be pleased to know there's plenty of choice for almost every budget – from around £100 up to £1,000 for a top-of-the-range, premium travel system. 

Remember a higher price doesn't always mean quality – we've found Best Buys under £200 and Don't Buys for more than £800.

Best travel system features to look for

Travel systems can come equipped with quite a wide range of accessories. Here's a few that you'll really need: 

  • Ability to convert to a double – planning a bigger family in the future? Check if the travel system you want can convert to a double should you need to.
  • Adjustable handles – important if more than one of you is going to be pushing it and you’re different heights.
  • Reversible handles/seats – for those of you who want the choice of having your baby both parent-facing and world-facing.
  • Car seat adaptors – some car seats slot onto the pushchair chassis, others need adaptors to make the car seat fit. These adaptors aren't always included in the price, so double check before you buy. Adaptors can cost as much as £30, sometimes even more.  
  • Rain cover – an essential accessory. Try to get one specifically made for your travel system to ensure the best fit. If it doesn't come with one, you can buy one for around £30.
  • Shopping basket – vital for storing shopping or nappy bags, these can usually carry up to 2kg of everyday shopping items, or up to 5kg for the biggest versions
  • Hood – a hood should help protect your child from drizzle, bright sunlight shining in their eyes or blustery wind.

Four things to consider when choosing a travel system

1. What travel system fits in my car?

If you have a smaller car, such as a Ford Ka or Mini, you need to make sure the chassis is going to fit into the boot once your little one and the car seat are safely in the car. 

Measure the size of your boot carefully and check against the folded size of the travel system in the 'Tech Specs' of our reviews to make sure it’s going to fit.

2. How heavy is the car seat?

Baby car seats range in weight from just a few kilograms up, so make sure you’re able to move it without it feeling too heavy or cumbersome.

3. How easy is it to fit the car seat?

Car seats attach into a car either by using the car’s seatbelt or using an isofix base. 

Isofix, which typically costs more, fixes the seat in the car without using the belts. We always recommend you get your car seat professionally fitted and then practise over and over to make sure you can do it yourself.

4. Which is the easiest travel system to fold?

When we review a pushchair, one of the things we check is how easy it is to fold. You don’t want to be struggling to collapse the chair every time you get it out of the boot or take it on public transport.

Pushchair

What car seat should I buy for my travel system?

You will want to buy a Group 0 or 0+ car seat, which will take your baby from birth up to 10kg or 13kg, depending on which type you choose. You could also go for one of the new regulation i-Size car seats which usually last until your child is around 75-85cm tall (around 12-15 months).

Buying a child car seat can be confusing when you’re doing it for the first time, which is why we’ve put together the definitive guide to choosing a child car seat to explain everything you need to know. 

It’s also vital to remember that a child car seat should only be used to transport your child, it’s not a place for them to sleep in for a long time. Experts currently advise no longer than 30 minutes in an infant carrier for newborns, but this time can increase slightly as they get older.

Jump straight to our best baby car seats.

Where to buy a travel system?

Whether you choose to go for a Quinny, Graco, Chicco, iCandy, Oyster or Britax, most travel systems are available from high street stores or online from outlets including John Lewis, Argos and Mamas & Papas

We would always advise you try out a travel system before you buy so you know it's right for you. Get it fitted by a retailer to make sure it fits your car.

You can also download our essential car seat fitting checks and watch our car seat fitting videos for extra help when you get home.