Everything You Need to Know About Traveling with a Stroller
Thank you to Safety 1st for sponsoring this post! All words and opinions are my own.
Traveling with adults takes a bit of pre-planning, but traveling with kids? That’s another world entirely. The gear, the snacks, the meltdowns – it can all be a bit overwhelming. That’s why I love traveling with the Safety 1st RIVA 6-in-1 Flex Travel System! The car seat snaps into the stroller, the stroller is crazy lightweight and is easy to fold with one hand. Plus the stroller has two cup holders and a large storage space underneath, so I can easily fit everything I’ll need, whether we’re on the road or in the air.
Hitting the Road with the RIVA
Raise your hand if you are a habitual over-packer – guilty! I thought it was bad when it was just JD and I, but adding Brody and Isla to the mix really kicked things up a notch. In order to fit everything in our trunk, I need a stroller that won’t take up too much room and I love how compact the RIVA 6-in-1 Flex is when folded. Plus, the built in storage options mean I don’t need to add on an organizer or other attachments – it’s good to go as is!
Another great thing about the RIVA 6-in-1 Flex is that handy lie-flat carriage it includes. In addition to being great for carting your little one around, it can also double as a cart for transporting smaller items like pillows or toddler backpacks from the car once you reach your destination.
Up, Up + Away
Flying with kids – especially if you’re doing it solo – can be nerve wracking! However, having the right gear and knowing what to expect can make all the difference. With your car seat, stroller, and travel crib in tow, you’ll want to arrive a little earlier than normal to allow for extra time at check-in. I love that the RIVA 6-in-1 Flex is a complete travel system, which means there’s a car seat that clicks into the stroller and is easy to transport to the check-in area.
Once you’re inside and everything is accounted for, you can lighten your load by checking some of your items at the ticket counter so you don’t have to transport them through security and the airport. In order to protect your gear and keep all the attachments intact (RIP to that car seat cup-holder I lost somewhere between the West Coast and Atlanta), I definitely recommend having this car seat check bag on hand – there’s also an option for strollers. These bags are great for protection and are made from waterproof material, so you won’t have to worry about rain or other liquids damaging your gear in transit.
Checking versus Gate-Checking Your Gear
Once you arrive at your flight check-in you’ll be given the option to check or gate check your baby gear – but what’s the difference? When you check your baby gear, it’s like checking a bag. Your items will be loaded in to the storage area of the plane and you’ll be able to retrieve them from baggage claim at your final destination. If you gate check an item, you’ll take it with you to your boarding area, and then you’ll be given a tag for your item and it will be stored in an area of the plane that allows you to retrieve it when you exit the plane. If you have a layover or had to arrive extra early for your flight (and now have time to kill), I definitely recommend gate checking your stroller so you still have access to it up to your departure time.
Policies differ for each airline, but by and large, you can expect the following allowances + restrictions for your baby and toddler gear:
You can check or gate check one car or booster seat per child for no additional carry-on cost
You can check or gate check one stroller for no additional carry-on cost, however, your airline may not allow you to gate check a stroller that cannot fold up
Some airlines restrict gate checked items to travel gear only, so if you’re bringing a pack-and-play or travel crib, you may have to check that with your luggage. However, this should still be for no additional carry-on charge. (P.S., call your hotel ahead of time and see if you can request a crib for your room!)
Next up, security checkpoints!
TSA Screening for Baby + Toddler Gear
While security screening is required of everyone that travels through an airport, TSA has made modifications for kids under 12 as well as the baby gear you’ll have with you. I’ve double checked this information with TSA’s website, so keep the following in mind at the security check:
All carry-on items – the car seat, diaper bag, blankets, etc. – will need to go on the x-ray belt for screening
All strollers and car or booster seats must be screened by an x-ray
Your stroller pockets must be completely empty, so make sure you remove those items before scanning your gear
Any equipment that cannot be scanned by the x-ray machine will be physically inspected by TSA agents
If you’re traveling with an infant or a little one that can’t walk, you’ll be able to carry them through security with you and children under 12 are never separated from their parents. I love the RIVA’s “Lift-to-Fold” function because it’s easy to collapse AND expand the stroller with one hand. As soon as you’re through security, you can easy open your stroller and place your little one inside, ready to head to your gate.
Traveling can be tough, but with awesome gear like the Safety 1st RIVA 6-in-1 Flex Travel System, it doesn’t have to be!
What are your experiences flying and driving with baby + toddler gear? Any tips that I should know about? Leave me a note in the comments below!