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? 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. 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. 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. 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.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).
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!!).
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.