Travel System Buying Guide: How to Choose The Best Travel System

travel system

Are you looking to welcome your little one into the world, and trying to get everything ready for them? As you prepare for the arrival of your little one, one of the essential items you'll likely be considering is a travel system. A travel system combines a pushchair, car seat, and sometimes a carrycot, offering versatility and convenience for parents on the move. But with so many options available, how do you choose the best travel system for your family's needs? We've got you covered with this travel system buying guide.

What is a Travel System?

A travel system is a multi-functional pushchair that typically includes a pushchair, car seat, and often a carrycot, designed to adapt to your growing baby's needs. Essentially, it’s a buggy with a detachable car seat and often a detachable carrycot as well. These systems make it much easier to switch between car travel and pram pushing, making them an excellent investment for busy parents who are often out and about.

Read More: Bababing Raffi Travel System Review

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Types of Travel Systems

  • Three-in-One Systems: These travel systems include a pushchair, car seat, and carrycot, offering versatility from birth right through toddlerhood. They're ideal for parents who want a complete solution from day one.
  • Two-in-One Systems: These systems come with a pushchair and car seat, omitting the carrycot. They're perfect for parents who may not need the carrycot function.
  • Modular Systems: Modular travel systems allow you to mix and match components and create your own travel system, such as swapping out the pushchair for a compatible car seat or bassinet. This flexibility can be beneficial if you already have certain components or want to customise your system to suit your lifestyle.

Read More: Best Newborn Car Seats of 2024

Do I Need a Carrycot for My Travel System?

While a carrycot isn't essential for every travel system, it can be a valuable addition, especially for newborns. Carrycots provide a lie-flat position, which is recommended for infants to promote healthy spinal development and optimal breathing. 

The two-hour car seat rule is safety recommendation endorsed by all manufacturers, and states that you shouldn't have a child sitting in a car seat for more than two hours at a time. This includes time spent in a car as well as when they're in a travel system using the car set component. So, if you’re looking to be out and about with your little one for more than a quick trip, a carrycot or bassinet is a good idea. They also offer a cosy and comfortable space for your baby to nap while you're out and about.

Head here for The Ultimate Guide to Car Seat Safety

Can All Pushchairs Become Travel Systems?

Not all buggies are compatible with travel systems, so it's important to check the specifications before making a purchase. Some brands only make pushchairs, and some only make car seats, so there are no options to build a travel system. 

But, you’ll find that most of the pushchair brands out there offer all components, and give you the option to mix and match to build the perfect travel system.

If you have your heart set on a particular car seat from a different brand, there are plenty of adapters out there that allow you to attach compatible car seats or carrycots to a separate frame, transforming your regular buggy into a travel system. If you already have a pushchair that you love, research whether it's compatible with travel system components to save yourself the expense of buying a new system altogether.

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Travel System Safety Features To Consider

When choosing the perfect travel system for your baby, safety should be your top priority. With travel systems incorporating car seats, pushchairs, and often carrycots for sleeping, there’s a lot to consider safety-wise. 

Look for the following safety features:

  • Five-Point Harness: Ensure that the pushchair and car seat come equipped with a secure five-point harness to keep your baby safely restrained while traveling.
  • Sturdy Construction: Opt for a travel system with a durable frame and sturdy materials that can withstand everyday use and provide stability on various terrains, thinking about your lifestyle. 
  • Brakes: Check that the pushchair has reliable brakes that are easy to engage and disengage. Consider things like one-touch brakes.
  • Adjustable Handlebars: Adjustable handlebars allow parents of different heights to push the stroller comfortably. This is crucial for some couples where there is a big height difference.
  • Sun Canopy: A large, extendable sun canopy provides essential protection for your little one from harmful UV rays, ensuring your baby stays safe and comfortable in all weather conditions.

Will The Travel System Fit in Your Car?

Before making your final decision, make sure to consider whether the travel system will fit easily in your car. Here are some tips to help you determine compatibility:

  • Measure Your Boot Space: Before going to look at any potential travel systems or making the purchase, take measurements of your car's boot space to ensure it can accommodate the travel system, especially when folded. Consider whether you'll have enough room for shopping, changing bags, or other items alongside the pushchair.
  • Foldability: Look for a travel system that folds compactly for easy storage and transportation. Test the folding mechanism in person to ensure it's user-friendly and doesn't require excessive force.
  • Removable Wheels: Some travel systems feature removable wheels, which can help save space when storing it in your car. Consider whether this feature would be beneficial for your needs or if it’s something you won’t really need.
  • Try Before You Buy: If possible, bring your car to a shop that stocks the travel system and test-fit the travel system to ensure a proper fit. Alternatively, ask the retailer for detailed dimensions and compare them to your car's specifications. You can always buy it online if you have found a better offer from a reliable retailer, but trying it out in person always helps.
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Additional Travel System Features to Consider

As well as the all-important safety features compatibility, here are some extra features to consider when choosing a travel system. None of these things are essential, but depending on your preferences and lifestyle they might be must-haves for you:

  • Adjustable Seat Positions: Look for a pushchair with multiple recline positions, including a fully flat position for newborns and upright positions for older babies and toddlers.
  • Storage Basket: A spacious storage basket underneath the pushchair provides convenient storage for baby essentials, shopping bags, and other items during outings.
  • Travel System Accessories: Check if the travel system comes with any additional accessories, such as a rain cover, foot warmer, or cup holder, for added comfort for your little one and convenience for you.

Read More: The 8 Best Pushchair Accessories

How Much Does a Travel System Cost?

The cost of a travel system can vary depending on factors such as brand, features, and included accessories. Generally, you can expect to pay anywhere from £400 to £1000 or more for a quality travel system. While it may be tempting to opt for a budget-friendly option, keep in mind that investing in a higher-quality system can offer better durability, safety features, and long-term value.

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