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21 October 2020

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
Travel system pushchair pushed by a couple
LG
Lisa Galliers


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, how much you should pay and to see our round-up of the top ten travel systems.

Alternatively, head straight to our travel system reviews to find out which model you should buy. 

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 on the list of Don’t Buy car seats 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. 

Travel system for baby and toddler 

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

Find out more in our guide on how to buy the best double pushchair.

Compare all our travel system reviews

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 that there's plenty of choice for almost everyone's budget – from around £100 up to around £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 to each other.
  • Reversible handles/seats – for those of you that want the choice of having your baby both non-parent-facing and world-facing.
  • Car seat adaptors – some car seats slot onto the pushchair chassis, other 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 or more.  
  • Raincover – 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 – up to 5kg for the biggest versions
  • Hoods – a hood should help protect your child from drizzle, bright sunlight shining in their eyes or blustery wind.

Top ten best travel systems

Best travel systems for less than £250

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84%
Best Buy
£249.00
Reviewed

An enduring favourite, the Mamas & Papas Armadillo has been around since 2013, and it’s a popular choice for parents looking for a lightweight, travel-system-compatible pushchair. The seat unit isn’t reversible though, and the handlebar isn’t adjustable. Are those the only issues we found while testing? Read our review to get the full rundown.

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82%
Best Buy
£250.00
Reviewed

This high-scoring pushchair gets a lot right, making it a reliable Best Buy for buyers on a budget. It's easy to use, compatible with a Best Buy car seat, can be used parent-facing with a carrycot, and is really easy to fold. But it's worth noting that the seat on this pushchair only faces forward. If you're looking for a reversible model, consult the rest of our expert pushchair reviews.

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Best travel systems for less than £500

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82%
Best Buy
£426.00
Reviewed

This versatile and very reasonably priced from-birth pushchair ticks almost every box - it's smooth to push, easy to use and it provides a comfortable ride for baby. It's nippy to manoeuvre and it has a spacious shopping basket. Plus it comes with cup holder and rain cover included.

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81%
Best Buy
£459.00
Reviewed

This Best Buy travel system is easy to fold and it has a compact fold, which means it fits easily into your car boot. Attaching a car seat or carrycot is straightforward, it's smooth to push and copes well with uneven ground, plus it offers a comfy seat with room to grow.

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Best lightweight travel systems

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85%
Best Buy
£500.00
Reviewed

The Nuna Triv is a compact travel system stroller that’s claimed to have an easy one-hand fold and a reversible seat unit. The lie-flat seat is suitable from birth, or it can be used with a carrycot or Nuna Pipa car seat. Our parent testers took this stroller around our specially designed obstacle course and assessed how easy it is to fold and use. Read our review to find out what we found and if we recommend buying it.

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83%
Best Buy
£650.00
Reviewed

This high-scoring travel system is comfortable for a little one to sit in and for a parent to push. It's quick to swap the seat direction or to change the seat for a carrycot or car seat. It's easy to steer and it copes well with a wide range of terrain. It's also quick to fold and it has a carry handle to move it easily when not in use.

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83%
Best Buy
£175.00
Reviewed

You’ll be nipping around public transport and boarding aeroplanes with this Best Buy stroller, as it has an excellent one-hand fold and its compact enough to be taken on some flights as cabin luggage. It’s small, light and it can be used with a baby car seat, making it suitable to use from birth. It can also handle a wide range of surfaces with ease thanks to the all-wheel suspension.

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Best all-terrain travel systems

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86%
Best Buy
£580.00
Reviewed

This travel system pushchair is more compact and it has increased weight capacity compared to it's predecessor. It's filled with great features, including a large shopping basket, flip-flop friendly brake, and it handles well on all surfaces thanks to its large all-terrain wheels with all-wheel suspension. It's a clear Best Buy.

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82%
Best Buy
£649.00
Reviewed

This Best Buy travel system combines easy-to-use features with good manoeuvrability, especially on rougher ground. The seat unit is reversible and it’s suitable from birth. It has a one-hand fold and recline, adjustable handlebars and it also folds down quite compactly. One retailer is offering it as a four-piece starter bundle for £749, which includes a carrycot, car-seat adaptors and a cup holder. The package is worth £886, meaning you save you £137. It also has six and eight-piece bundles available that offer even bigger discounts.

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Best travel systems for twins

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74%
Best Buy
£1,078.00
Reviewed

This single-to-double convertible pushchair is well-designed, easy to manoeuvre and smooth to push, even on rough ground. It's pretty adaptable as it can be used as a double for twins, a tandem double for a newborn and an older child, or you could buy it as a single and convert it at a later date. also folds down pretty easily, no carrycot adaptors are needed and it's compatible with a number of Best Buy car seats.

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73%
Best Buy
£503.77
Reviewed

This double is a fairly compact all-terrain pushchair you can use with an optional carrycot. Because it has two seats, it lacks the one-handed folding mechanism that has made this brand of pushchair a playground favourite. Is it the best double pushchair a mum can get? Read the review to find out.

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Table updated October 2020.

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 our reviews to make sure it’s going to fit.

2. How heavy is the car seat?

Child car seats range in weight from just a few kg into double figures, so make sure you’re able to move it without causing yourself pain.

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

Car seats attach to a car in a number of different ways – either by using the car’s seatbelt or using a 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.

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, or you could go for one of the new regulation i-Size car seats.

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 him or her to sleep in for a long time. Experts currently advise no longer than 90 minutes in an infant carrier.

Jump straight to our top 10 best baby car seat reviews

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 Mothercare, Kiddicare and Mamas & Papas. 

We would always advise you try out a travel system before you buy so you know it's right for you and 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.

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