Is a stroller a necessity when travelling with children?

I asked a question regarding use of strollers in Twitter some days back to hear what other moms have to say and I’m quite overwhelmed by the replies I got.

The question I asked: “Should I bring a stroller on our long haul flight?” and “Moms, how do you feel about big kids in strollers?” (because I don’t like it)

I got replies like: Let the kid walk, you’re making her lazy! or “that is the cause of obesity, our stroller-centered society!” or “let her sit on a trolley or wheeled suitcase!”

The misunderstanding is just shocking.

My daughter loves walking, I’m not making her lazy and how can I use a wheeled suitcase when on layover? My wheeled suitcase is checked in and I can only claim it when we’re in our final destination.

stroller

I was of course, referring to our long travel next month where I will be travelling with my daughter (statistics: 5 years and 9 months, 20 kilos, 120 cms in height, long arms and legs) to Japan via Singapore. We have to change planes at Changi Airport in Singapore and again at Narita Airport in Japan. The boarding gate distance is unknown but the last time we transferred planes in our previous travels, it was more than a kilometer long!

For the first time EVER last year, when Pristine was 4 years old, we bought a stroller.

I was travelling with her alone and some moms suggested I use a stroller to carry her around – after all, it’s not always a guarantee that she’s perky and awake the time we land. It’s not always a guarantee that I’ll have lots of time available to transfer from one plane to the other. The other plane could arrive late, leaving me having to sprint to the next boarding gate with a heavy, sleeping child in my arms (they’re just heavier when they’re sleeping, are they!)!

In short, I was glad to have brought the stroller with me last year. But this year, she’s older and I feel awkward having to shuttle her around in a stroller but at the same time, I am worried about the ‘airport runs’ that I have to make so I asked the question.

To make things clear, we don’t use the stroller when we go to malls or wherever. It is even gathering dust because we don’t use it at all. We didn’t use a stroller when she was a baby so I feel awkward using it now.

Pristine is a very mobile child. The reason we didn’t have a stroller when she was younger was that she always preferred to walk so, it was kind of hurting to hear comments like she’s being lazy or I’m being lazy because I don’t even like using strollers if only I didn’t need it that much. Last year even if we had the stroller, here’s what happened so I guess she’s not a fan of being in it too.

in-replacement-of-stroller

For me, I’m not a fan of the stroller because of these reasons:

  • The need to practice folding/unfolding as quick as possible
  • The need to search for an elevator since I find it dangerous to get on escalators with a stroller (I know a lot of parents do that all the time but I’m a sissy, so ok, I’m afraid I’ll fall coz I’m clumsy like that)
  • The need to strap/unstrap my child every time
  • I can’t see her face when she’s seated in the stroller
  • The need to disassemble the stroller when boarding the plane
  • The need to assemble it again after landing
  • The awkwardness of shuttling an empty stroller when she’s in the mood to walk (when she’s not sleepy or tired from sitting for 12 hours, she’s into lots of walking and sees every airport waiting area as a huge play place!)

Ranting aside, Twitter is a great social networking tool that offers a lot more than just pure fun-whiling-away-the-time kind of things. I’ve learned a lot tweeting. Messages are sent and received across very quickly, in 140 characters or less. It is less daunting than having to write a full blog post. But somewhere along that brevity advantage comes risks – the risk to misinterpret and be misinterpreted.

*****

Bottomline, I won’t be using the stroller in our next month’s travel. I’ve tried travelling with it and now, it’s time to travel without it. Besides, my girl is already big and she told me I can wake her up when we land (in case she’s sleeping) and she’ll walk. Let’s all hope she keeps her promise!

10 thoughts on “Is a stroller a necessity when travelling with children?

  1. in twitter, you have to consider if the responders are well traveled. If they haven’t seen an international airport then, their response is, well, irrelevant. hence, the misunderstanding to your concerns. some people, just don’t understand or just not thinking about the concerns of air travel across continents for hours, or almost days, with little children, and international airports are too big and wide, to walk around.

    i think P at age 5 is already old to need a stroller and she’s quite an experienced traveler so i think she’ll understand that you’ll have to drag her if/when she’s not too energetic or alert to walk.

    I hope you’ll have a great family trip!

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  2. I agree, some people don’t understand long trips! And I’m sorry you were misunderstood. It’s so sad that we are all so quick to jump to conclusions about other people at times.
    When we went to Saudi I took Cory in my Ergo baby pack. He was small enough that I thought it would be okay and we don’t own a decent stroller either (other than a jogger which wouldn’t have worked well on a plane/airport). It was good except for the part where we stood in the customs line for 3 hours… my back was killing me and there were like 4 chairs for 200+ people in the hall!
    Good luck with the travel and I do hope that you don’t have any super short connections that make you run!

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  3. Loved this post. As for the stroller on trips, I think they are to bulky and time consuming.
    when we came to Japan for the first visit, I traveled with my “just turned” 6 yr old, 7, and 9 yr olds. Our trip took 2 days and 3 aircraft. I was so happy that the little one was old enough not to need one because I felt much sympathy for those parents who had to take time to collapse or open up the strollers at various times.

    And besides your little girl will be so excited to be going on a trip that she probably won’t even realize that she is tired.
    Enjoy your trip over.

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  4. I think whatever decision you make will be great for you and Pristine will be great! I agree with Anuan, I think she will be so excited to see your family, that she really won’t really be that tired. You may want to get in contact with Candace over at Mom Most Traveled (http://mommosttraveled.com/) she travels with her two children from the US to Asia all the time, and may have some tips for you. She is a real sweetheart and I think she may have been to a couple of the airports you may be going to. I’m sure she would be willing to offer any assistance in traveling with a child Pristine’s age.
    Have fun… and I CANNOT wait to see the pictures.

    Thanks for that link, Lorie! I’ll check it out. We’ve booked a flight that will not arrive late at night so Pristine should be ok…

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  5. I so admire you. I’m a nervous wreck traveling on my own, and I can’t begin to imagine traveling on my own, with a small child in tow. You amaze me!

    I have no super power so I was nervous the first time I travelled with Pristine, she was 16 months (to the Philippines). Then after that, when she was 28 months to Germany, 3 yrs old to Dubai (all from Japan)..now she’s bigger, I am more confident. She’s quite used to travelling. Only problem is when she’s sleeping when we land…

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  6. Keywords pop into people’s heads and the run with their first thoughts. But you have to leave yourself open to such criticisms and take it all in stride knowing that you know the truth of how you handle your business.

    That being said, my mom didn’t own a stroller. Ever! She had a carrier and after that, I walked on my own. I’m remember my mother waking me up when it was time to walk because she refused to carry me. I don’t blame her. LOL! You’re doing the right thing.

    I get why you got the stroller and you found it necessary. You’re a great parent so don’t even worry your pretty little head over such ignorant comments from people who don’t even know you.

    Thank you so much for the kind words. I think I’m an old fashioned mom coz I’ve never owned a stroller before my daughter walked and never owned a baby carrier or sling too (just like in the ancient times)…LOL.

    I know, I shouldn’t have bothered with the misunderstanding. I gotta stretch my understanding of the people who misunderstands..gosh am I making any sense?
    .-= Urban Thought´s last blog ..What Comes After Bronze?: Finding Love in the Big City Part XXVI =-.

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  7. so glad i’ve read this.
    we plan to buy a stroller for our 4-month old son as a gift since we did not bought one for his Ate (5 yrs ago)
    but we have some hesitation since we seldom go to malls or out-of-towns or don’t travel a lot (we only go home (to CDO) once in awhile)
    upon reading your reasons why you don’t like strollers, it came to our realization that we don’t really need stroller!!!
    thanks (a big help indeed)

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