There is a lot to look into and find out what is right for you and your baby when you are expecting and it can quickly become overwhelming. One of the most exciting purchases for expectant parents but also one of the most daunting is choosing how to get the baby around, whether this is by pram, pushchair or buying a travel system.
Travel systems are something that has been around quite a while and something that only seems to grow in popularity, not only because they look nice but because they are easy and get you set up for a number of years straight away. But there is one key question to ask, are travel systems worth buying?
Buying a travel system is usually a more affordable solution, and everything you need for transporting the baby is in the set. The transition from the car to the stroller is easy and done with only a few clicks. But, you need to consider your lifestyle before deciding what will be more convenient.
In this article, I will focus on the baby travel systems along with their advantages and disadvantages. I will discuss their prices and for what ages these travel systems are appropriate.
Finally, I will provide some alternatives that you might find more convenient for your lifestyle and the necessities you have on a daily basis, so you could decide whether you should opt for a travel system or something else that will enable you to take your newborn to places.
What Is A Baby Travel System?
A baby travel system is a set of units that match together and serve different purposes. A travel system’s main part is a pushchair frame that includes different parts that can be attached to it. Normally, it comes with a toddler seat, car seat, and a Carrycot.
The whole baby system comes with a lot of advantages, especially when the baby is sleeping since you can transport them from a stroller to a car without disturbing them. Parents who have already passed the baby and toddler phase know how challenging it can be to put your baby to sleep and then having to transfer them from one place to another.
Therefore, the main purpose of the baby travel system is to create chances for the parents to easily and simply transport the baby, especially on delicate occasions.
Another thing by which the travel systems are generally characterized is the option to turn the seat unit forward or rearward facing depending on the necessity in a particular moment. There will be times when you will one to face your baby, while at others you would like to give them the opportunity to explore the outside world.
However, not all baby travel systems are the same. They generally have the same construction and same units that come along, but their way of use varies from brand to brand. Therefore, you will have to consider your necessities and in what manner you need to use the travel system before choosing one.
What Age Is Convenient For A Baby Travel System?
Normally, a travel system is used from the birth of the baby to six months of their baby phase. Then you have the option to switch to something bigger, i.e. a bigger car seat. However, some baby travel systems might be convenient to be used even after six months have passed since the baby’s birth.
Furthermore, how long you will use the car seat also depends on the weight of the baby. Since the travel system comes with the car seat, the seat is actually what determines the durability of use of the system.
So, there are different car seat groups that might help you choose which one you really need, but the measures might vary from brand to brand.
This is the most usual list of measurements for baby car seats:
- Group 0/0+ – Newborn to 13kg / 0 to 15 months
- Group 0+/1 – Newborn to 18kg / 0 to 4 years
- Group 0+/1/2 – Newborn to 25kg / 0 to 7 years
- Group 0+/1/2/3 – Newborn to 36kg / 0 to 12 years
- Group 1 – 9kg to 18kg / 9 months to 4 years
- Group 1/2/3 – 9kg to 36kg / 9 months to 12 years
- Group 2/3 – 15kg to 36kg / 4 years to 12 years
You need to remember that sometimes it is better to choose by weight not by age since children grow up differently, so it is difficult to determine the car seat by age.
Are Baby Travel Systems Expensive?
Baby travel systems are generally expensive, and the main reason for this is due to the fact that they come in a set, meaning they include a lot of extra stuff with the seat. Firstly, the quality is usually higher and better than the one of a regular pushchair. Normally, the travel system comes with a carrycot that enables you to transport your baby at any time, even when they are sleeping.
Considering this, you do not need to purchase a moses basket since the carrycot allows the baby to lie in an absolute flat position. What is more, the travel system includes a car seat as well, usually suitable for babies that weigh 0-13kg. Lastly, most of the travel systems include a car seat that is suitable for later, i.e. when the baby turns 6 months and up to 15kg.
Even though they are generally expensive, they still vary in price. You can find great baby travel systems for a quite affordable price, and you will have everything included in the set.
Some baby travel systems do not include a car seat so you will need to do good research and see what they have to offer, and which of those things you will really need. Only then you can start thinking about the price that you are able to afford for a travel system.
However, do not forget that high price does not always mean high quality. You should always check first whether the travel system you want to purchase meets all of the safety standards. This should be the biggest factor in your choice, along with the needs you have related to your newborn.
Also, make sure that you think in advance. If you are expecting your first baby, it is usually better to invest more money in the travel system. That way you will get all of the extras you need, such as a car seat and a carrycot, and you will not have to think about it anymore with your second or third child.
Advantages Of Buying A Baby Travel System
Easy To Use And Transport
The first and the most important advantage that you get from purchasing a baby travel system is the opportunity you get to transport your baby while sleeping. This means that you can take your baby out of the car and in the stroller without disturbing them.
This is especially helpful for newborns who struggle with sleeping, or for new parents who are still adjusting to the new member of the family.
Can Work Out More Affordable Long Term
Secondly, travel systems are in fact a more affordable solution since they come in a set, and you do not have to worry about adjusting the car seat to the stroller or vice versa. Everything you need comes in a set, so you do not have the necessity to look for more extras or parts.
We all know that this can be quite annoying since there are a lot of options, but it might still be difficult to find the right one you need.
Transition From Car To Buggy Is Quicker & Simpler
Thirdly, the transition from the car is easy and simple, so it will take you only a few seconds. Also, you do not need an additional helping hand, meaning that even when you are alone with the baby you can manage everything by yourself.
Easy To Store
Furthermore, baby travel systems are great because they do not take up a lot of space, meaning that you will be able to store them once you do not need them. That way you can keep the travel system safe for your next baby without causing any damages to it.
No Need For Adapters
Lastly, you will not have to carry any adapters with you all the time because everything is already adjusted, or the adapters are already on the stroller and the car seat. Therefore, your baby bag will not be extra heavy when you take it with you.
Less Stress Long Term
This is very much a personal viewpoint from myself and my Wife Cora as we found buying a travel system easier and less stressful. Buying a travel system meant we had a pushchair/pram that would suit our growing baby from birth up to 3-4 years old.
This was perfect as the last thing we wanted to do after 6 months (when the baby can no longer fit in the carrycot) was to go out and buy another pram/pushchair. So buying the travel system and knowing we had it ready when we wanted it meant it was less stress for us, less financial stress and meant we were better prepared to transition into the pushchair phase when it happened.
Disadvantages Of Buying A Baby Travel System
While there are plenty of advantages to buying a travel system there are also some disadvantages. I decided to list these below so you can see if these are deal-breakers or just areas to look into further when buying your own travel system.
Can Be Bulky
One of the biggest disadvantages of the baby travel systems is that they are bulky and if you have to go through stairs or uphill roads, carrying them can be quite difficult. That is why taking into consideration your whole lifestyle before purchasing a travel system is of crucial importance.
You do not want to end up pushing a car seat and a stroller at all times if that is quite unmanageable due to surrounding factors.
Also, sometimes, the stroller and the car seat that go together in the travel system do not share the same quality. For example, there are a lot of travel systems that offer an amazing car seat, while the stroller is quite poorly made. It can be difficult to push them around, so you need to choose carefully.
Furthermore, you do not have a lot of options. Some baby travel systems are outdated, so they will not work as you expect. This means that you will have to do very thorough research before finding and purchasing one that really fits.
Larger Upfront Cost
What is more, even though you will have everything in one set, you will still have to spend a lot of money at once. The travel system will be a good investment for the next child, but at the moment of purchase, you still have to pay a lot more.
Also, you might have some difficulty storing them until the next baby if you do not have a proper storage place.
Are There Alternatives To Buying Baby Travel Systems?
If you are not up to buying a whole baby travel system, then there are always some alternatives you can consider. It might be easier for you that way, and you may save some money as well.
Buy A Car Seat And A Stroller Separately From The Same Manufacturer
You can always choose this option, and it is quite a wise one. If the stroller and the car seat come from the same manufacturer, the possibilities that they match are greater than when you buy from different brands.
This way, you can opt for cheaper choices, and still have ease when adjusting the seat in the car or in the stroller.
Purchase Only A Stroller
If you do not drive your car regularly, then you do not need to buy a car seat for the first six months of the newborn.
Since the travel systems are in most cases suitable for newborns to six months, you can manage without the car seat for some time. And when you have to transport the baby in the car you can use a sling, which is a good option that many parents choose.
How To Save Money On Buying Baby Travel Systems?
While buying a second-hand travel system is a good option, it is not a very safe one. It is clear that you might save some money, but you are risking the safety of your baby. For instance, you do not know whether the car seat has been in an accident or not and whether it is in absolutely safe and good condition.
Therefore, if you want to save some money, choose to buy the travel system in an outlet store. There might be some older models there, but it is still a safer option than the one I mentioned above.
Buy Second Hand
It is advised that you do not buy a car seat second hand but that doesn’t mean you can’t buy the rest of the pram and travel system second hand. Many people will sell their travel systems on places such as eBay, Gumtree, Facebook marketplace and more.
This is because many people no longer need them and will want to be able to recuperate some of the outlay from buying the pram in the first place. You can often find travel systems in good condition for a small fraction of the original price.
That way you can then go on to buy the car seat brand new which fits the travel system and save a lot of money.
Buy On Discount
Many brands, stores and suppliers of travel systems will have sales throughout the year so if you are looking at buying a brand new travel system you can look at buying on sale days. Make sure you are aware of the full price before buying at discount to make sure you really are getting a good deal.
This way you can get exactly what you would like at a cheaper price and don’t have to worry about buying second hand or tracking down the pram you want on the second-hand market.
Are Baby Travel Systems Worth Buying?
It can be said without doubt that baby travel systems can be very beneficial, however, that does not refer to all parents. You will need to take your lifestyle into consideration before buying one.
Travel systems are also great if you are looking to be able to buy the majority of things you need for the child’s first year of life, as many babies will only be in the carrycot stage for 6 months, you would find yourself having to go out and buy another pram quite quickly. Having the pushchair part ready and waiting is much less stressful both for yourself and financially.
Buying a travel system can really help you feel like you are set up and ready to go for a long period of time and not having to worry about the thought of reading more reviews on new pushchairs and wondering when you should buy it etc.
You may find you don’t need a travel system as you don’t plan to use a carrycot for your baby in the first 6 months and then will be transitioned into a pushchair. In this instance, you may find it better to go ahead and simply buy a pushchair when you are ready.
You may also worry about the overall cost of a travel system and worry it won’t be well used. If this is the case work out how much you think realistically you would use it (going shopping, walks etc) and if you will want the baby in a pram or strapped to you.