2 Travel ?'S....1st: Am I CRAZY for Not Taking a Stroller? 2Nd: Backpack??

Updated on May 23, 2011
R.D. asks from Haysville, KS
21 answers

Alright ladies, I apologize for the million posts and questions, but I always find good advice here :)
A little backgound: we are headed to San Diego Saturday to see my brother and a mini-family vacation ("we" includes daughter (2), husband, mom, dad, and of course my brother). We are flying and have one stop in Houston that is about an hour layover.
I was planning on bringing our big stroller. I don't remember the exact name of it, but it is the big Graco one that comes with the carseat....sorry, not much help I know. I was thinking taking the big one if nothing else there would be room for all of our stuff instead of carrying it around the whole time, and I highly doubt daughter will be getting any quality nap time (even if I arranged time for naps, she won't take one. She will NOT sleep if it's not her own bed and for sure doesn't take naps when we have visitors.
When I was talking to my mom, she had said she was pretty sure we wouldn't need a stroller, between one of the five adults someone can always carry her. My daughter usually does not like to ride in the stroller; she is VERY active. I am fine with not taking a stroller, I'm just wondering if I'm going to reget it. We do have a smaller one that we actually bought the last time we went to San Diego (she was 6 months old). It is just a really cheap, little umbrella stroller. Only problem I have with taking it is there is no canopy on it and no place to stick all of our stuff. I just keep thinking what if....for the big one. But, it is HUGE, and will take up lots of space and I'm sure just be annoying and in the way. I guess if it comes down to it, we can always do what we did last time and go buy a cheap umbrella stroller. So! I'm pretty sure we won't take one unless one of you gives me a really good reason as to why I should.
Ok next question: I have a really big Coach purse that I take with me most places. I was planning on taking it with me to San Diego, but I'm starting to think it will be annoying to carry, especially the more stuff I pack into it (it just fits on a shoulder). I'm thinking it makes a lot more sense to take a backpack with my wallet and other "purse" stuff. That way when we go to the different attractions, I can just have one big backpack with the sippy cups, snacks, all that stuff plus my wallet, etc. instead of taking a small backpack for my daughter, my purse, and the backpack that has the camera. I guess that's not really a question; just wanted to know if that's what most moms do on big trips involving lots of walking with a two year old :)

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So What Happened?

Wow...thanks for all of the quick responses!!
As to the reason why on earth I would WANT to bring a stroller....like a few other moms, even though my daughter is very active, I have a feeling that she may want to just sit and chill for awhile, especially if we are up and going all day. Plus, she is not used to the warmer weather, so may be ready for a break quicker than normal.
I was also not aware that they have stroller we can use. Thank you for pointing that out (even though it seemed a bit rude in the way you pointed it out.
My daughter does have a small backpack, which I def. plan on taking with us. She gets hot and sweaty quickly though, and I already know I will end up carrying the backpack. OR she will refuse to let me and be tired and sluggish. That is a good idea though; thanks! I plan on using her small backpack to take toys, etc. on with the plane but didn't think about taking it with us to the different parks.
I am trying to keep it as simple as possible; hence the reason for asking questions. This is our first big trip and it is going to be a rushed, hectic one. Luckily my daughter is a trooper and loves these kinds of trips. We plan on relaxing and having fun, but there are certain things we want to do. I am also a planner and I am usually way over-prepared. Drives my family crazy, but that is just the way I am.
Thanks for all of the helpful advice. And to the one who rubbed me the wrong way...sorry if you didn't mean it the way it sounded but with the caps it makes it seem like you are being a little insulting. Usually I could care less and don't let these types of things bother me, but today they are. Maybe it's because I'm tired this morning, looking at my classroom that has to be completely packed up by Wednesday in order to move to a new grade level, and because the reason we are going on this trip is because it will be one of the last time we see my brother before he leaves for Afghanistan. So I apologize for being rude in my response.

Featured Answers


answers from Tulsa on

I would definitely take the umbrella stroller and a backpack. You can get a travel lock to lock up the backpack and you won't have to worry about pickpockets. I always lean toward taking the stroller. Even though there are 5 adults, a 2 year old can get heavy fast! Not to mention I love the stroller in case I needed to keep my son in one place while we were moving quickly. I'm so bummed that he is too big for the stroller now. It was a lifesaver when we traveled.



answers from Boston on

My youngest was 2 when we went to niagara falls he refused to sit in his stroller it stayed in the trunk almost the entire time. I put my ergo in my backpack when he wanted to be carried I wore him on my back and another adult took the backpack. :)

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answers from Los Angeles on

They do have strollers at the theme parks, but they are a ridiculous price for renting (to me, anyway; what a waste of money!). If you don't mind transporting it with you, I'd take the big stroller (like you said, it would be a nice way to carry all your stuff) and it would be a comfortable place for your daughter to rest when she gets tired. Theme parks are huge, especially for little ones, and they can get tired out easily. I know you have five adults with you, but for me it would be easier to bring the stroller (I get tired walking in the heat and wouldn't have the energy to carry my child everywhere :-). Oh, and definitely one backpack; much easier to keep track of and carry everywhere.

Anyway, whatever you decide to do, good luck and have LOTS of fun!


answers from Kansas City on

backpack is a great idea. your daughter is 2, she can walk a lot (they seem to have more energy than we do) and if there are plenty of adults it might seem doable to do without the stroller - i absolutely would not take the big one. if anything, take the umbrella stroller (better than nothing, imo) i am sure other adults will have bags, etc, that they may want to throw on it. that's what we always ended up using ours for. have fun!



answers from Washington DC on

I'd go with the backpack (I have a backpack anyway) and the umbrella stroller. Even if there's no room to pack your stuff, you wouldn't have any storage if you didn't bring a stroller at all and you could put a bag in the stroller seat for a while when she's walking.


answers from New York on

In regards to your second question, I took a NorthFace backpack with me when I traveled internationally with my 1.5 year old son. It was a great substitute for a diaper bag as it has a lot of compartments and it carried all my travel documents, I had my wallet in it and change of clothes.

The following blog article might be useful to you:

My son is 2 now, he is equally active and if I were you, I would keep an umbrella stroller around just in case.

I hope this helps.



answers from New York on

When my kids were the age of yours I traveled with an umbrella stroller (even if they werent' in it I could put the backpack in it) a backpack and a small lightweight bag on a long adjustable shoulder strap.

I still use the small bag when we're in a city, amusement park even hiking. It's for my wallet or cash/ATM card, cellphone, camera, chapstick and sunglasses. Using the adjustable shoulder strap it can be made to be a fanny pack by shortening the strap - or a small purse with the strap across my chest / one shoulder (do you know what I'm talking about?) It provides easy access to cash and it's on my front so I don't have to worry about it being stolen.

The backpack is for sweaters, water bottles, change of clothes for the 2 yr old, diapers, wipes, bandaids, etc. My kids are teens so I rarely use a backpack anymore - maybe just a stringbackpack.

But I wouldn't leave home without the umbrella stroller. It's easy to drag around - it offers a place for your DD to sit when she's tired, even though there's no bag underneath you can often rig up a way to hand the packpack off the handles, or put a string backpack on the handles for loose stuff.

Just my opinion - but I wouldn't drag the big stroller and I wouldn't go with out one. Even with all kinds of family around - holding a 2 yr old can be exhausting - especially if it gets warm. And while the umbrella stroller doesn't have a canopy you can get a cute brimmed sunhat or even baseball hat for whish should shield alot of rays.

Good luck mama and have fun!



answers from New York on

Take the stroller.

Like you said, she only will sleep in her bed. Take the familiarness of her stroller.

Honestly, when I traveled with my 2 year old, I was shocked at how much time he sepent in the stroller. Think of it from their point of view and they're just walking around with a bunch of knees. I think they feel safer in the stroller.

And if you gate check it, it'll even be handy to have in the airport (minus the little hassle of getting through security) to carry stuff.

I'd do a backpack, too. That way hubby can help out with carrying it some.



answers from Detroit on

A few times I had to fly with my daughter when she was around that age, I packed a back pack - it was just way easier to have it hanging from 2 shoulders instead of always falling off of one, and having the weight evenly distributed.

Also, see if you can pick up a cheap stroller at a thrift store in San Diego. We happened to do this when we flew down to Orlando for our Disney World trip and it worked out great. Cost us 10 bucks and we just donated it back when we were done. Even if everyone is willing to carry a 2 year old, it can get old quick.


answers from Washington DC on

If you already know she doesn't like to be confined - why on earth would you WANT to bring a stroller?

In San Diego - if you are going to the W. Animal Park and Sea World - they ALREADY HAVE strollers there for your use....

I would have a small backpack for my child (I used to have this COOL Baby Gap backpack that fit toddlers) any way - have her stuff sippy cup, etc. in that - why break your back, neck and shoulder carrying EVERYTHING?

Girl you are SUPPOSED to be going on VACATION!! RELAX!! ENJOY!!!!




answers from Kansas City on

I would take the big stroller, but that's just me. I like to have space to stash stuff and a tray for my little one to put his snacks...but if nothing else I'd bring the umbrella. I usually travel alone with my kids, so a stroller is a must for me, but if you have that much help I suppose you could probably do without. The biggest times I need it are to wrangle them when getting through security (like right before and right after when you have to reassemble and put on shoes, re-stash stuff, etc.) and if you need to eat a meal or something at the airport. Plus, when you're waiting for your luggage it's so nice to strap them down and not worry where they've wandered off. So, if you feel like someone could just watch her during those times then make the call. Also, I bought a bag to attach the back of my umbrella at Babies R Us so I could stash at least a few things like a snack, sippy, and my wallet if we were just running out. My kids are both very active but sit/sat in the stroller pretty well at 2, at least during crucial times! ;) And, I also vote yes for the back pack but you might want to pack a small purse in your suitcase for those times you don't want to lug the whole backpack. Just my 2 cents!! ;)


answers from Washington DC on

Take the stroller.


answers from Provo on

I take my stroller with me everywhere. Even when my son is not in it, I like to unload all of my bags and what not in there. It's soo nice not to have to carry everything all the time, it's like having a shopping cart with you all the time.
As for the stroller size, I would go and get a mid sized stroller, especially if you plan on A. traveling more and B. if you are going to have more children. I suggest a Combi. Decent size, folds super small, light weight and you can put a ton of stuff in it when your child isn't in it, and it's easily carried since it has a shoulder strap if you need to randomly do that.
If you don't want to buy a new stroller, but want to take one, they so make hoods that you can buy and put on a stroller. I saw one at Babies R Us and it was around $20 and put that on the umbrella.
Oh and backpack all the way. When I know i"m going to be gone all day with my son, I use a pack pack. SOOOOOOOO much easier than a diaper bag.



answers from Indianapolis on

I would a least take an umbrella stroller. My daughter is very active too but I find when we vacation she gets tired and wants to sit in her stroller. Normally she doesn't want anything to do with it. I would take the stroller just for piece of mind and at 2 they can get a little heavy trying to carry them around.

For the purse Coach purses are so heavy to me. I love them but I do not take mine when vacationing. I guess I have weak shoulders. :) The backpack would be easier plus you wont have to worry about it falling off of your shoulder. Hope you and your family will have lots of fun on your vacation.



answers from Minneapolis on

I always did a backpack as both a purse and diaper bag. That way hand were free for the little one. You also do not have to put it down when you go to the bathroom. Put a small purse in your luggage for an evening out when you want to dress up.

Forget the stroller, she can walk a bit or with 5 adults, you can take turns carrying her.



answers from St. Cloud on

If there will be lots of walking, BRING THE STROLLER~! (The BIG one!) Our almost 5 year old and 2 1/2 year old road in it constantly (they LOVED it) when we went to DisneyWorld last year. And it was a great place to hang our bags so we weren't carrying them! So even if you just pile it full of stuff, it will be a big help. I wouldn't go on a trip without one........ But we also don't give our kids a choice at times "IF" they want to ride. If they aren't going to walk, they ride! There is no way we would carry them all over town.... And we went on vacation with 8 ADULTS!

Backpack= YES. That is also what we do when we go on vacation. SO much easier to carry.


answers from Detroit on

No way would I take the big stroller. I would get a cheap umbrella one when you arrive if you do not want to travel with the one you already have. Age 2 was the last time we even took an umbrella stroller. At that age, they just want to get out and walk. Nice to have if their legs get tired, but with all those adults may not even need it.

As for the backpack...YES, we started to travel with one a year or 2 back and it's been great. My husband or I can carry it, lots of compartments & space for all your needs. Not the coolest thing, but when you are traveling places like that, most will have the same thing you do for their kids needs. If anything, bring a smaller purse for yourself, so if you do out to dinner, you can still feel like a girl and not just a mom ;)



answers from Philadelphia on

My daughter was 7 and still liked to ride in a stroller in Disney. I would get a smaller umbrella type stroller however. No to purse and yes to the backpack.


answers from Jacksonville on

Here's what I've gleaned from our frequent travels with my active 2 1/2 year old. (When I mean active I mean, can't sit still, get into everything, please let me touch it, type active)

The big stroller was nice to have to put the diaper bags in so we wouldn't have to lug them around. However, it is a complete pain to maneuver. Ours even got stuck in the XRAY machine! The umbrella stroller is what we use now. Our daughter really likes it, and we waste time in the airport by zooming her up and down the aisle.

Yes, yes, yes to the back pack. We do that instead of a diaper bag, because I got tired of the thing (or both of them) banging into my legs, and killing my shoulders. Besides it give you two free hands to snatch your little runner, if she tries to take off. However, I would be very careful about where you put your wallet and such. I know the idea of pickpockets is outdated, but trust me, they still exist. What I do is get an old wallet of my husbands and put my essentials in it and carry it in my front pocket.

Let me say, that I am really jealous you are going with a bunch of people to help. I am taking a flight on Sat with just me and my daughter. Yikes! It's the first time I have flown without my husband, and I am really not looking forward to it.


answers from Columbus on

I would not take the stroller, either. All of my kids had their own mini backpacks by about 18 months and carried most of their own things, with me carrying anything extra in my backpack on longer trips. I would buy her her own backpack and put in it 2-3 diapers, the small wipes container, a sippy cup, a few snacks, and two small toys or activities...everything else goes into yours in order to refill hers. For day trips, this should be almost enough supplies for her at this age, so you would probably be okay with just putting the camera into your purse and forgoing your backpack altogether.



answers from Pittsburgh on

The last time we traveled with a stroller was when DS was about 22 months and we didn't use it at all. I think you will be fine - if not - you can rent one in San Diego. I think a backpack is a great idea but I would NOT put my money, credit cards or id in it - too easy to get pick pocketed. We do still fly with our car seat - we have a GoGo Baby - it attaches wheels and an extendable handle to the car seat so you can pull it like a small suit case. If DD is small, she can still ride in it this way at the airport. BTW, a one hour layover is tight with a child. I wouldn't plan to get anything more than get to your gate with (if you are lucky) a quick bathroom break. Have a great trip :)

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