How to Protect Stroller when Flying – 9 Tips You Need to Know

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If you are prepping for a trip and wondering how to protect a stroller when flying, you’re like every other parent that has traveled with a child. How the heck do I get this stroller on the plane and make sure it doesn’t get damaged? How do you gate check a stroller and what does that mean?

Traveling with a baby, toddler or kids might seem stressful. Whether you’re wondering how to protect a stroller when flying, what the best toddler travel toys are, or how to fly with a baby, there are so many things to think about before the day you take off to that next bucket list destination.

Shortly after our daughter’s birth we started traveling the world with her. From Norway, Hawaii, New Zealand and more we have flown with our stroller all over the world. After many short flights and long haul flights, we have learned a few tricks to keep our stroller damage free while we travel. Now, we are sharing all of our tips on how to protect a stroller when flying with you.

A view we found of the fjords in Norway while we were out hiking with our daughter.
Hiking in the Norway fjords!

Gate check your stroller

When traveling with a stroller you have two options if you plan to check your stroller under the airplane. 

  1. Check a stroller at the check in counter: This means you will send your stroller away in the hands of the baggage handlers at check in. Your stroller will be traveling with your checked bags and you won’t see it again until baggage claim after your flight.
  2. Gate check a stroller: This means you will push your stroller to your gate. When you arrive at your gate you’ll get a stroller tag for your stroller. When it is time to board your flight you will bring your stroller down the jet bridge to the door of the plane and drop your stroller here.

So, which option is best to protect a stroller when flying? Gate checking a stroller!

When you gate check a stroller, it is in the hands of the baggage handlers for much less time. Your stroller is in your possession for as long as it can be, unless you bring a compact stroller (see number 3). While it’s in your possession you know it’s in good hands. The best way to protect a stroller when flying is to gate check a stroller.

Additionally, when you gate check a stroller it is usually brought to you at your gate when you land at the airport. 

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Exploring Old Town in Cartagena Colombia

Use a protective stroller bag

If you’re wondering how to protect a stroller when flying, you should invest in a protective stroller bag. We are all very aware that airline baggage handlers don’t exactly handle bags with care. Suitcases and bags get damaged all the time and the last thing you want is your stroller to be damaged when you reach your destination.

If you plan to check your stroller under the plane, a protective stroller bag can help protect your stroller immensely. There are a ton of these on the market but here are our suggestions.

Many stroller companies sell them specifically for their strollers. This is a great option because you know it will fit your stroller well. Additionally, many stroller companies, like Uppababy, have a TravelSafe program which covers any damage incurred to your stroller during air travel when you use their stroller travel bag. Make sure to look into this for your stroller!

 

This gate check bag for single or double strollers is basic but will definitely help protect your stroller when flying, especially from scratches and scuffs.

 

If you’re bringing your stroller on a plane and wondering how to protect a stroller when flying, definitely purchase a protective stroller bag to gate check your stroller.

Travel with a compact stroller instead

A compact stroller, or travel stroller, is a stroller that folds up nice and small. So small that so you can actually bring your stroller on the plane and store it in the overhead compartments for the duration of your flight.

This means your stroller never has to be out of your hands and into the hands of the baggage handlers. If you’re wondering how to protect a stroller when flying, the very best option is to invest in a compact stroller and travel with that instead of a big stroller. This is the best way to guarantee your stroller makes it to your duration damage free!

There are lots of compact strollers, or travel strollers, to choose from. We love our Babyzen Yoyo stroller for travel! It’s light weight, durable, easy to fold and fits the airline dimensions for carry on luggage. It also lays back for naps and has a big sun shade and storage basket. We also have the Babyzen Yoyo travel bag to protect it and keep it folded during our trip.

We’ve also used the Inglesina Quid travel stroller and it’s a great budget friendly option.

 

Buy a cheap stroller or used stroller to use for travel

Another option to protect your stroller when flying is to leave your good stroller at home. Purchase a second stroller specifically for travel.

This stroller should be a cheap stroller or used stroller. Don’t spend more money on it than you’re willing to throw out of the window in case it does end up damaged on a flight or it’s no longer usable. 

You can find a ton of used strollers near you on Facebook marketplace. When looking for a second stroller to use for travel, there are a few key components you will want the stroller to have. Look for a stroller that reclines! This is so important for napping on the go while you explore. Look for a large sun shade and large storage basket.

how to protect stroller when flying, buy a second cheap stroller or used stroller to travel with. A few cheap strollers lined up at a park.
Purchase a cheap stroller or used stroller to travel with.

Wrap your stroller for protection

Another option for how to protect a stroller when flying is to wrap your stroller before bringing it to the airport. This can be in addition to a protective stroller bag, or instead of a stroller bag. 

But what exactly should you wrap it in? You can wrap it in bubble wrap or plastic wrap. In fact, most airports will allow you to pay a small fee to use plastic wrap and wrap your stroller at the airport. If you use bubble wrap, collapse the stroller as much as you can, wrap it up tight and secure it with tape.

Another way to pad your stroller before wrapping it up in bubble wrap or plastic wrap is to use pool noodles to cover as much of the frame and handle bars as you can. Pool noodles, when cut, wrap tightly around a stroller frame and provide amazing padding and protection.

You could also opt to pack your stroller in a box and check it on the airplane that way. This is a great way to protect a stroller when flying, but be prepared to pay a special baggage fee by the airline.

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strolling around the city with our Babyzen Yoyo travel stroller

Take off all stroller accessories

If you’re like us, we have a lot of stroller accessories we like to use. We have the parent organizer, the cup holder, the umbrella, the rain cover, the snow cover. You name it, we have it!

When you pack for your trip, only bring the stroller accessories you really need. Typically we only bring our parent organizer and umbrella. 

Before you gate check the stroller and put the stroller on a plane take off all your accessories and put them in your suitcase instead. This will help it keep it collapsed and 

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Our babyzen yoyo travel stroller and umbrella is great for travel

Use zip ties to keep it collapsed

An easy travel hack for how to protect a stroller when flying is to zip tie the stroller collapsed before you gate check the stroller. This holds the stroller closed so it won’t fly open when turbulence happens. Zip tying the stroller collapsed really just adds another layer of protection while the stroller is on the plane.

Simply collapse the stroller, place zip ties around the frame until it feels secure, then wrap your stroller in bubble wrap and/or put it in a protective stroller bag. 

Zip ties are very cheap and easy to use. Just make sure you have something to break them off when you reach your destination.

A plane waiting at the jet bridge. Before you board, zip tie your stroller collapsed. Then wrap it and put it in a protective stroller bag before you gate check the stroller.
There are so many ways to protect a stroller when you travel.

Follow the Airline’s stroller policies

Wondering how following the Airline’s stroller policies could protect a stroller when flying? Well, one of the worst things that could happen is your not allowed to bring the stroller on the plane or gate check the stroller because it doesn’t fit their requirements. That sounds like a travel nightmare!

All airlines provide stroller guidelines for what dimensions and weight they allow on their aircraft. Prepare for your trip and check your airlines website well before your trip to make sure your stroller is good to travel.

Do not wait for the night before to check this!! If your stroller doesn’t fit the airline stroller guidelines, you’ll want some time to figure out an alternative stroller to bring.

Additionally some airlines allow double strollers, while others do not. Some allow wagons, but most do not. If you are set on bringing a certain stroller it might be worth checking the airline’s stroller policies before booking your flight.

Our daughter in front of the Eiffel Tower on our trip to Paris.
Our daughter in Paris in front of the Eiffel Tower

Take a picture of your stroller

Taking a picture of your stroller before you gate check the stroller or put the stroller on the plane is very important for how to protect a stroller when flying!

If your stroller unfortunately gets damaged during your flight this picture will be your proof and just about your only chance to maybe get compensation for the damage from the airline. There’s no doubt some airlines are better about this than others.

No matter what airline you are flying, having a picture and proof that your stroller got damaged on their flight will definitely help your chances of getting compensated for it. It only takes a few seconds to snap a few photos before your flight. It’s such an easy step to take to protect your stroller when flying.

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Family photo in front of a mural painted on the Berlin Wall

You are now prepared with 9 easy tips on how to protect a stroller when flying. Now it’s time to relax and enjoy your trip. The truth is strollers rarely get damaged. Of course it would be a bummer for yours to get damaged but don’t let it ruin your trip if it happens. 

Enjoy your trip and deal with in when you get home!

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