Most airlines include the transport of one car seat and one stroller in addition to normal baggage allowance when you purchase a child’s ticket. This is an amazing opportunity that you want to utilize. The problem is, you do not want your stroller to end up missing pieces or with a hole punched through it. If you have traveled with airlines at all, you know that they are not the most delicate when it comes to your precious luggage. They are in kind of a hurry after all. With this in mind I jumped into a full fledged investigation of case options for stroller travel.
The first product I looked into was the Phil & Ted solution to this problem. Since I own a Phil & Ted stroller, this seemed like a rational place to start. Then I started to read reviews of their Travel Bag. Almost none the reviews written by serious travelers were positive and talked about people using them once, only to end up with serious damage to the case and stroller. I wasn’t interested in spending $80 for disappointment. As you already know, I hate spending money, and if I do, it had better be for something truly useful. So I started looking into different cases made by different companies, only to find that none of the companies made a hard travel case that would withstand airline employee abuse.
During this whole investigation, my husband kept telling me that I could make a case that was much better than any of the ones that were available to buy. In the end, I gave in, although I didn’t sew one as we had originally planned. That would have taken quite an investment in materials that we just didn’t have. So instead, I took a tire box that my brother had from a recent purchase for his mustang, and got to work. I used to work for The UPS Store, and have been professionally trained to custom make boxes for strangely shaped objects. I went to work with my trusty box cutter and roll of packaging tape. I used the same principle as the Phil & Teds version by putting the brake on, and then taking off the wheels and turning them the opposite direction so they would turn while in the locked position. I also added a cardboard and tape strap to the top of the box so we could wheel it from the car to the check in area of the airport. It was free to make, and a year and a half later we still use it for every trip. We simply use some scissors to open one end when we unpack it, and then re-tape it for our next adventure.
Since I am a visual person, and I really want you to be able to make your own box, here is a general picture of what you need to do in order to build it from scratch. Make sure that you measure each side of your stroller for width and length, taking thickness into account. You know the carpenters saying, “Measure twice, cut once.” Of course, it is going to be different for a non Phil & Teds stroller, but you get the general idea.