In this post we share the reasons for our transition from a compact travel stroller to a full-sized UppaBaby Vista when on the road.
While there are a few exceptions and places where smaller & compact almost always wins out for the majority of use cases (thinking of Southeast Asia), we’ve generally found that our UppaBaby is a preferred stroller for most types of trips and terrain.
Our challenge with a compact, lightweight stroller
We purchased the Mountain Buggy Nano for travel with our child.
The thought was that the numerous benefits of traveling with a lightweight stroller – easier to load in/out of taxis, planes and public transport, can be carried around all day, light, easier to carry up/down steps etc. – would far outweigh our personal preference of a heavy-weight, full sized stroller, our UppaBaby Vista V2.
But we re ran into a number of issues when on the road, including:
- Small wheels require additional force to push and becomes a hassle after a mile of walking
- Smaller wheels are trickier to navigate over non-even, paved surfaces
- Less space to hold “stuff” to be out-and-about all day
Indeed there are moments where one has to load into a tight tuk-tuk (say in Thailand, India and other places in Asia) for a five minute ride to a different district in town. There would literally be no space left for humans and gear if we had a large stroller.
So with all this in mind, we decided to try a different approach and bring our UPPAbaby on a trip. We’d heard the horror stories of people who brought theirs, only to receive it from the airline with a cracked frame. At this price point, it was too expensive to take the gamble.
When I purchased the UPPAbaby, I was not aware that UPPAbaby offers a TravelSafe Program that will replace any broken portion of the stroller if used in conjunction with their travel bag (and a stroller that is within two years of purchase date).
Once I found out this information, I was okay with trying a new approach to seeing if the stroller we used for travel did make a difference to our daily outings when on the road.
Why we switched to using the UppaBaby Vista
Advantage one: a smoother ride
Higher quality wheels provide a few benefits:
- Smoother roll over uneven, cobbled, rough, and sandy surfaces
- Shock absorption so child doesn’t feel every bump on the road
- Easier handling – less force is required to move the stroller
- The 360 degree movement on the wheels allows tighter, quicker turns and adjustments
Advantage two: different seat options (for multiple kids) –> increased comfort for child
More seating options allow children to sit upright, recline or fully lay back to sleep. This allows families to go out for multiple hours instead of having to bring child home for a rest.
UppaBaby Vista is a travel system that comes with a bassinet, car seat that clips in, and a seat. There are optional upgrades to purchase an additional seat or a piggyback ride-along board for older kids to use.
Advantage three: packs into a carry case
We are 50/50 on this one. The UPPABaby has its own travel case that provides a warranty on any parts damaged during travel for the first two years of ownership. The travel case is pricey, bulky and doesn’t have a ergonomic way to roll it through an airport which becomes annoying, fast. But having a warranty on an expensive stroller gives peace of mind that regardless of who handles your bag with care (or not), you are covered.
Advantage four: large storage space for baby items, backpacks and more for a full day out
When you’re traveling, it’s important to give yourself the space to say “yes” to opportunities that present themselves throughout the day.
The stroller has ample space for diaper bags, umbrellas, shopping bags, sweaters — enough room for a child’s things and items purchased throughout the day as well as items for parent one and two’s stuff. We’ve found this extra space to be valuable, particularly post-lunch when we need a break but aren’t yet ready to return to a hotel.
Having a few extra items on hand, and a space to unload newly acquired items or stick leftovers, is a nice thing.
Advantage five: front grip to move the stroller up stairs or over bumps
The stroller has a front bumper that enables two people to lift it over many steps without having to collapse it. Admittedly, a travel stroller may be the more natural choice for train stations due to its lightweight nature.
Downsides to the UppaBaby Vista
Before you purchase the UPPAbaby, do consider these things:
- Expensive ($1,000+ system between car seat, bassinet, frame and accessories) – can be mitigated from buying second hand but this invalidates the TravelSafe program benefits
- Less portable than a umbrella or travel-specific stroller
- Heavy to load in/out of cars
- Larger width – 30″ and 32″ doors typical in Europe and other more historical places may not have the 36″ door frames standard in American homes and commerce buildings
- Without the separate bag, the frame is prone to damage
- Travel bag is awkward
Things we don’t love about the UPPAbaby travel bag:
- The travel bag is awkward to roll – the disappointedly short pull leash ends up hitting the heels when walking around with it
- This bag must be gate-checked and is often considered “oversized” baggage, which gets sent to the oversized baggage area in the baggage claim area
- The bag’s warranty only lasts for two years as the TravelSafe program benefits only apply to bag + stroller within two years of original purchase