When I was pregnant with my first child, I wasn't 100% sure if I needed a stroller or not. Honestly, I was leaning toward not since our house and car are very small (no storage for a large stroller even if it was collapsible), we live in a rural neighborhood with no sidewalks or trails for walking, and everywhere we go has shopping baskets. A stroller really felt like an extra that we didn't need. Then, I started thinking. We knew that we'd be traveling a lot in the first few years of her life and that involved long, multi-leg plane rides… and that meant we really should invest in a stroller to make it through airport terminals. And you know what? I am SO GLAD we made that decision! Trying to travel or vacation with a baby or a toddler (those little buggers can RUN) without a stroller is like trying to make a hole in a brick wall using just your head – it's really, really hard and you're making things more difficult than they need to be. Don't believe me? Here's my 5 reasons a stroller is a must when you travel with babies or toddlers!
- No Runaway Toddlers. Listen, my kid's a runner. FULL ON RUNNER. Like, we have a leash for her and everything. And an airport is NOT the place where you want your toddler running away. TSA has NO sense of humor when that little asshole sneaks past security (please trust me on this one) and other people at the terminal have limited patience for an active, running, screaming 2 year old. Also, if you have to check bags – it's a PAIN while trying to hang on to a bored toddler. And don't even get me started on trying to wait in the security line and get out all the proper paperwork/IDs. Just strap that kid in. They may be shrieking but, hey, then you'll know exactly where they are!
- Instant Baggage Cart. We can do short trips with just carry-ons but for those long hauls (or trips that last more than a few days), we need to pack extra bags and check them. And that's when a stroller is SUPER awesome! When we traveled with just a baby, I would put her in her carrier and then load up our luggage into the stroller. That way, I could have my hands free to care for her and deal with all the paperwork while my husband was in charge of pack muling everything else. It was awesome and easy. Now that I have a toddler, we still load up our stroller with our bags but I also strap Melanie into her car seat and attach it to this mini carrier so we can stroll and go!
- Built-In Rest Stops. It seems like every time we travel and have to switch planes, we always have to walk a million miles from one terminal to another (we're never near our next gate – NEVER) and it's exhausting. Enter the stroller! Not only is it a convenient way to “store” the baby or toddler so they can rest anywhere but it's also a nice way to make walking easier. I've always found that when I'm pushing a stroller, even if it has kids in it, my back is more relaxed and my stride is lighter. Maybe pushing it changes my posture? No clue, but I do know I feel less tense when I have to haul ass through SEATAC. Also, a stroller makes a great foot rest while waiting at a gate.
- Personal Space. You know how sometimes, when you're at the airport, it can feel like a cattle pen? Yeah… I have serious personal space issues so that's a big deal for me. But with a stroller? People HAVE to get out of your way! You can use that sucker as a buffer in lines or while waiting at the gate. My favorite trick is to find chairs out of the way and then block myself in with a stroller. Just try to talk to me, total strangers!
- Cup Holders. Um, okay. I know that this one seems so stupid but seriously, how many times have you wanted some Starbucks or a sip of your water bottle and then you have to shift all your bags or reach for paperwork and OMG, I DON'T HAVE ENOUGH HANDS!!!! That's not a concern with a stroller – not only do most come with at least 2 built-in cup holders for the grown-ups but many also include 2-3 cup holders for the little (perfect for bottles, sippy cups, and dumping snacks into). You can even buy extra cup holders that attach to your stroller (if yours doesn't come with enough). FYI, the cup holders in strollers are also excellent for holding cell phones!
Any of you in the market for a new stroller?