After we had finally settled on where to spend our 3 months of travel this past year (thanks to parental leave), it was time to decide what to bring. Our time would be split between Portugal, Morocco, Spain, Germany, and Scotland, traveling overland as much as possible, and using local transport at each location. The biggest and most difficult decision seemed to be regardng what configuration of wheels we would bring to carry our two young boys about.
A double stroller? One umbrella stroller? Two single umbrella strollers? No stroller at all??
Our past experience with Europe and a stroller was THIS, which led us to our no double decision. The sidewalks simply aren't wide enough in most areas, and with the insane number of stairs we had to tackle, the weight of a double stroller would have been exhausting. I wondered many, many times what someone would do stroller-wise with twins, and then I saw a couple of sets within a few days - both had enormous side-by-side double bassinet/carriage strollers. In both cases I wondered if they had materialized to the location, as only God knows what sidewalk they took to get there...
Bringing no stroller at all was not an option mainly due to travel days and busy crowds. With us each carrying a heavy pack on our back, one of us with a smaller but still weighty pack on our front, and the other with a baby on our front, our older son (2 years old) needed to be safely contained in a stroller to allow us to rush along to catch a bus, plane, taxi, or train. With that kind of extra load on our bodies, chasing a two year old was not an option.
Two single strollers seemed like a royal pain in the butt. It was likely that Levi would want to spend most of his time walking anyway. This option would insure that both of us would be pushing a stroller at all times - empty or not. Boo to that.
What we finally settled on was the same hearty umbrella stroller we brought to Italy, and an Ergo carrier. Looking back, it was the best decision. The sidewalks everywhere were as expected - often narrow, packed with people, frequently with high curbs and crazy obstacles, and sometimes non-existent. When you are without sidewalk you better hope you have the tightest little stroller ever because cars are not inclined to share their space with you.
The Ergo was great (again). We were still able to carry our 2 year old son in it, as the weight limit is 40 pounds. Sometimes, we would go out with Owen (6 months old) in the carrier and Levi walking, which meant no stroller at all. It was very freeing to venture out without wheels!
Our stroller was borrowed from my husband's mom when we went to Italy, and yet still, there it sat conveniently at our home 14 months later as we left for this trip :) - Thanks Mama D! The brand is Avalon, and it is fantastic. Full recline, and a large basket underneath are it's greatest assets, not to mention that it has seriously had it's ass kicked (Jim made a small repair this past trip) and still it hung in there for us. It is, sadly, on it's last leg but has served us more than well! We saw many, many Maclaren strollers and will probably seek one out for our next trip, but this little Avalon is comparable in weight, size and features. I just don't know where you would find another.
*I should add that we also brought a very compact sling with us which came in handy at times when it was helpful to carry both babes, particularly after going through security at the airport, or while hiking.