Twin Travel Tips: Equipment / Twins Travel Tips

How to Choose the Best Double Stroller for Travel with Twins

They love taking a nap in the stroller

They love taking a nap in the stroller

A couple of amazing friends, parents of twins 2 years older than ours, gave us an embarrassing trove of goodies before our girls were born. Among the plunder was a contraption that looked somewhat like a medieval, grey colored catapult. On further inspection (coupled with a 2 hour tutoring session on setup and use) we were amazed to discover it was actually a Graco front/back twin stroller. This particular model was one into which you could snap both infant carriers. It sounded perfect. Off it went into the garage with the rest of our newfound treasures to be forgotten until our girls’ arrival. In many ways, choosing a stroller is like shopping for a car. There are compact no frills models. There are luxury models with lots of extras- large sunshade, sporty colors, reclining seats, large wheels and even cup holders (for parents and kiddos). There are even all terrain vehicles with large, inflatable tires for those infants with a yearning to go off-roading. Expect the prices to climb along with the bells and whistles. Even among twin strollers there are a dizzying array of designs and styles- front/back, side/side, high/low. How on earth do you choose which one is best for you and your twins?

Grandma with twins at Washington DC

Grandma with twins at Washington DC

This is, of course, a trick question. There may not be one stroller that will perfectly fit all your needs. Different models serve different roles. A better question is what are you planning on doing with your kids? Frequent walks in the park as opposed to jogs on bumpy gravel roads require different strollers. Will one parent be taking the kids out regularly? Will you be using it for travel? Everyday strollers with large sunshades and loads of storage are great for most situations but can be big and bulky- not much fun to get in and out of the car and even worse when ‘packing light’ for a trip. Considering how pricey these little critter movers can be, think carefully about your needs before buying (and don’t be afraid to return the stroller if it doesn’t meet them!). ‘Catapult’ was a great name for that first double stroller. It was almost as heavy and handled nearly as well. In keeping with the car theme, perhaps ‘Winnebago’ is more appropriate. Either way, our friends had warned us in advance that they used 2 small, cheap umbrella strollers when traveling rather than lug the catapult along. I can’t blame them! It weighed over 40 pounds with our newborn girls in it and was exceptionally difficult to steer. Worst of all it was big and bulky even when collapsed. We needed a better travel option.

The twins at Prague Castle

The twins at Prague Castle

Our girls were 4 months old and it was time for their first airplane trip. To Prague (This was our air travel ‘test run’ ?!?). We had taken our friends’ advice and bought 2 umbrella strollers for the trip (with a few added bells and whistles). While they worked fine, we never seemed to have enough hands. Going through airports or transferring luggage compounded the issue. Airport security was a huge pain. One parent held the 2 little wrigglers while the other scurried to get both strollers collapsed and on the belt. People waiting in line behind us had expressions ranging from moderately irritated to abject horror as we orchestrated a dance more complex than honey bees just to get through the security check point. Old cities without handicapped/stroller access presented another problem we hadn’t anticipated. Taking the strollers individually (with twins inside) up and down stairs (and there were lots of them) in old city areas without ramps was too close to an adventure sport for our taste. Added to that, these strollers were of little use at home unless both parents were going out. We needed a better stroller solution. We have used a double stroller for home and travel ever since. These minivans of the stroller world are simply more versatile for twin travel than umbrella strollers. One parent can manage the twins freeing up the other to manage luggage, doors or whatever else is needed. We prefer lighter, more compact, cheaper strollers with only a few extras. Travel strollers ideally are small enough to fit through airport security scanners and into the trunk of rental cars (along with luggage!) We prefer side by side strollers that are narrow enough to fit through doorways. They are maneuverable and the girls can both take in their surroundings when awake. Two parents can easily carry belted kiddos up and down stairways when needed without having to leave anyone behind. There’s no reason to throw your travel stroller in the closet when you get home. If you find one that fits most of your needs, you can use it both at home and abroad. We had finally figured out what worked best for our lifestyle.

Sweet dreams

Sweet dreams

Portability is our top priority for a travel stroller, but reclining seats is a close second. Our girls are now 4 1/2 years old and still regularly sleep together in the stroller with the seats reclined. This has allowed us to incorporate their naps into our travels trip after trip (and also our daily routine). We stay out sight-seeing all day rather than go back to the rental for naps. Nap time is mom and dad’s favorite time to stop for coffee and dessert while traveling (and at home!). We recline the seats back, throw a blanket over the top, and the girls drift off to sleep. We recharge our batteries while the girls recharge theirs. Our goal is to explore as much as possible and our girls have readily adapted to this.

Twin stroller in the ferry

Our twin stroller had made it to most public transportations

Our Combi Twin Sport Double Stroller is now on its last legs. I was initially concerned by its cheap plastic feel but it had received good reviews. It met most of our top criteria (side by side, portable, lightweight, well-padded reclining seats, sun shades, storage). It has held up well to the needs of 2 demanding parents and 2 rambunctious kiddos. Today there is hardly any ‘rubber left on the tires.’ While it has earned a few battle scars along the way, we are still using it after 3 1/2 years of daily use and multiple trips including 6 continents. Retirement is coming soon and will have been well-earned. Have a plan when searching for the right travel stroller. We took a few wrong turns because we didn’t fully understand some of the unique challenges posed by travel. Through trial and error we realized which stroller features would better facilitate travel. Learn from our mistakes. Consider how you travel and the challenges involved in choosing the stroller that’s right for you. Don’t be intimidated by the multitude of stroller styles and options out there. Much like cars, there is something for everyone. Find the shiny new model (or models) that fits your family best.

THESE ARE 10 IMPORTANT THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE BUYING A TWIN STROLLER FOR TRAVEL. 
1. Side by side double stroller. We strongly recommend side by side strollers over other twin stroller styles.
2. Individual, fully-reclining seats. This will better facilitate nap time (cake and coffee break in our case). Opt for individual reclining seats as twin sleep schedules may differ slightly.
3. Lightweight. You will be getting this in and out of the house, car, airplane, train, bus… The lighter the better. In fact, some airlines will even force you to check your stroller with your bags rather than at the gate if it is over 20 pounds (Damn you, American Airlines!!).
The twins took a nap while we had coffee and cake

The twins took a nap and we enjoyed coffee and cake

4. Must fit through a standard 30″ door. You can’t be getting your twins out of the stroller to collapse it every time you go through a doorway. This is an extremely important feature.

5. Storage. If you plan to stay out all day, you will need to bring a few things with you. Changing pad, diapers, bottles, milk/formula, blankets, stuffed animals, toys, rain cover, camera, phone… It should be able to fit whatever you might need for a day on the town.
6. Portable when folded, opens/closes easily. The smaller the better. Remember, you will need a rental car big enough for your bags, car seats AND the stroller.Having a stroller that collapses small enough to fit through the security scanner also saves time. As you will be opening and closing your stroller continuously, make sure it is easy to do so.
7. Comfort, safety and durability. Seats should be well padded so they can sleep better (caution for very young infants!). A 5 point harness seat belt system is essential for safety (especially on the occasion that you have to carry the stroller up and down stairs with twins inside!).
8. Large sun shade. You can hang a blanket over the canopy to assist with naps.
9. Divider. There needs to be a physical barrier that separates the twins. If there is little to no separation, your twins will be constantly jostling each other and keeping each other from blissful sleep. Ideally, the divider is minimal when the twins are upright and more substantial when they are reclined. This facilitates interaction when they are awake and sleep when you lay them down.
10. Maneuverability and height. The stroller should handle smoothly (the ‘catapult’ certainly didn’t). The handles of the stroller must be the right height so you and your partner can push it comfortably.
Daddy had to carry the stroller to a palacio in Urbino, Italy

Daddy had to carry the stroller to a palacio in Urbino, Italy

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19 thoughts on “How to Choose the Best Double Stroller for Travel with Twins

  1. Great article!

    Just want to add a couple of things to your 10-point list.

    1. Warranties and return policies – Most airliners do have their warranties when strollers get damaged onboard, but I always feel safer when I buy a stroller with good warranties from the manufacturer as well.

    2. Wheels – I always look out for the strollers that have front wheels with 360-degree capabilities. Going on vacation means lots of strolling. Comfort is important.

    3. Cup holders/Parent tray – Not easily applicable on all travel strollers, but definitely a great thing to have.

    I recently made a rather in-depth article on strollers. There are lots of good ones out there, and testing them out in real life is the best way to find out whether you hit the jackpot.

  2. So glad to have found your blog with all these great twin travel tips! We just purchased a side by side Combi stroller and I already love it for our twins. We’ll be traveling when our kids are 10 months old. I’m curious if you every travel with car seats or do you rent those from car rental companies? Any advice or sharing experience would be great – thanks!

    • Thank you for your comment. We love our Combi stroller and we have been everywhere with it. We always bring our car seats with us if we are planning a road trip. We don’t want to take any risk of car seats not being fitted properly. American Academy of Pediatrics advises against using previously owned car seats because there’s no way to know if the seat has been in a serious accident. They are also expensive to rent (times two for us). Just check in with airlines along with your baggage. Most airlines let you check one seat per child free. Strollers and car seats need to be suitably packed with all straps stowed away. There’s no question that lugging car seats from the parking lot to the ticket counter is a pain. I recommend that you use bungee cord to strap them onto airport luggage cart or suitcase.

      • Thanks for your reply – I’m enjoying your blog and as we are planning some trips with our twin girls, it’s been very helpful!

  3. Pingback: HOW TO SURVIVE JET LAG WITH TWIN BABIES/TODDLERS | Travel with Twins

  4. Thank for your very useful articles. I’m look around your blog and find out many helpful and detailed tips for twins. Keep doing the good work. P/s: Your kids are so lovely.

  5. Hi, I’m wondering if you’ve had any trouble getting around on public transport (bus, metro, boat) or in restaurants with a side by side stroller. We are planning a round the world trip and are looking for the perfect stroller! Thanks

    • Marie:

      We have taken our double stroller all over the world and we wouldn’t travel any other way with our twins. We make sure our strollers are narrow enough to fit through standard doorways. There are rare exceptions where you have to partially collapse them, but well over 95% of the time there are no issues.

      Cheers and happy travels,

      TwT

  6. Any tips on traveling alone with twins? I’m flying to Morocco with my 2.5 yr old boy/girl twins. We will meet my husband there and fly back together. I’m worried about managing a stroller and car seats etc… Thanks! I’m enjoying your other tips!

    • Wow! You are brave! Perhaps we have a few tips to help you on your journey.

      1. Navigating the airport: Have someone drop you off at the airport and help bring your bags to checkin. Call the airport/airline at the destination and see if someone can help you with baggage to get through immigration and into the arrival hall. You will have your hands full dealing with the twins. Speaking of immigration, many countries have a shorter line for families. Ask on arrival.
      2. Airline assist: Call the airline before departure and let them know you will need help. Tell the flight crew as you board. Flight attendants will often help parents with kids (eg you need to go to the toilet and your kids are sleeping, need to change 1 child, etc).
      3. Double stroller: Use your stroller to carry as much of your gear as possible. This can be rough at security depending on the country (if you have to unload everything, fold up the stroller and handle the twins). The US is pretty much the only country we’ve had to do this. Hopefully you are able to carry everything you will need on the plane (Backpack). Make sure you have your stroller checked at the gate so you can access it during lay overs! Jet lag sets in early and the kids can sleep whenever they want in it. While some airports will loan strollers temporarily during lay overs, I’ve never seen an airport with a double stroller.
      4. Entertainment: Have a number of things to keep your kiddos occupied. Tablets, small toys, sticker books, coloring- whatever they enjoy. Kids at that age tend to get bored easily so have a variety of things with you.
      5. Snacks: bring a number of finger foods for your twins to nibble to pass the time.
      6. Necessities: spare clothes, wet wipes, medicines for fever (ibuprofen, Panadol/Tylenol), diapers/pull ups, etc.

      We hope this helps. Have a brilliant trip. Hats off to you for traveling (alone) with twins!

      TwT

  7. Thank you so much for all of these tips! We are traveling with our twins when they will be 9 months to New Zealand and Australia. We’ve flown with them several times domestically, but this will be our first big, long trip. More and more lightweight strollers have been coming on the market. Any new recommendations? I have my eye on the Zoe XL2 or the Maclaren Twin Triumph but just can’t decide. I’m willing to spend a little more for more canopy coverage at this age.

    • That’s exiting! We moved to Australia 2 years ago from US and couldn’t be happier. We have not used both stroller you mentioned but I would go for Roe XL2 because of the lightweight and the huge shade. The sun got in the way when they trying to nap and also provided sense of privacy. It is also reclined to 135 degrees which is essential for them to nap.

      Happy travels!

  8. I keep coming across your blog again and again. It’s full of handy tips re strollers etc. And it is genetally a fun fanily blog to read 🙂
    You also show that there is life after the massive change that is The Arrival Of Twins!

    Girl twin parents
    Angelika & Bob

    • Thanks for the kind words. Unfortunately our busy lives interfere with our updating the site despite our best intentions. Please follow our adventures on instagram travelwithtwins.

      Happy travels and all the best with your family!
      TwT

    • You will likely be fine. Many of the front/back strollers work well and I suspect your stroller is among them. The “catapult” was a beast with the baby carriers snapped in. It was big, heavy and difficult to use.

      Sorry for the delay in replying. If you have already traveled, let us know how it went.

      Keep traveling.
      TwT

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