In the past I have never been a fan of strollers. I have survived the parenthood of two toddler foster children without owning (or feeling the need to own) a stroller. In the past I have relied predominately on 3 things: my ErgoBaby carrier, a wagon, and allowing my foster children to walk while tethered on what we call “the monkey leash” (a monkey harness contraption that in effect acts as a leash for a toddler).
2 of these things aren’t an option in Bulgaria: my beloved wagon won’t fit on the plane and Jude is not big enough to fit into the monkey leash yet (plus I’m not comfortable using it in another country, or really using that frequently in this country for that matter). That leaves us just the Ergo. And a problem. Sort of. Let me Explain:
That’s me. (Bulgaria’s totally cool with my scoliosis/surgery by the way). It usually doesn’t pose an issue. But then again, I usually wouldn’t be presented with the scenario of lugging around an aprox 20 lb person in an ErgoBaby carrier (literally the only carrier I could use) for 10-14 days in a foregin country.
So a stroller has now become a NEED. My first thought was to purchase an inexpensive umbrella stroller upon our arrival in Sofia but then I heard that they cost around $70-$80 US there. I was able to confirm this when I saw a stroller that would sell for about $80 here going for around $200 in the village we were in on trip #1. Buying stroller in Bulgaria idea out.
So we need to bring a stroller. I DON’T want to buy one. I won’t ever use it again, and, I mean, what a waste of money to buy something only to use it for 2 weeks. My sister has a really nice stroller and my parents have an umbrella stoller. So I could borrow one of those. The only issue here is we are already trying to figure how to bring all this stuff over with us on trip #2 (her luggage, her car seat, her clothes, some toys) in addition to all the things that we will need while we are there. It is so much gear that I feel the need to streamline wherever possible. Borrowing Stroller idea, maybe, but I really don’t want to do that either.
Before I purchased the car seat (the Diono Radian R120) I briefly looked into the Sit-n-Stroll. I liked the concept. If you have not seen this it is a car seat that quickly (and efficiently) converts into a stroller and is marketed to those who tend to travel in cars and airplanes. Perfect, however the car seat componet (in my opinion) didn’t justify the cost of the device. There is a another device called the Go Go Babyz Travelmate which is essentially a cart that you can attach your existing car seat on and turn it into a stroller (much like the Sit N Stroll) but again at around $80 I couldn’t justify the cost. BUT IT WOULD SEEM I WAS NOT ALONE. I was getting warmer.
Continuing my lovely Google search it seems that there are some geniuses on this planet. Absolute Geniuses! These uberparents (mostly really creative Dads…giving credit where credit is due) have figured out that metal rolling luggage carts (which you can get at WalMart or on Amazon for $15-$20) can be used in the same fashion to make a stroller out of your convertible car seat (like the Diono Radian R120). I was skeptical at first, but Dad after Dad (and a few Mums) claim that this works great. Well, my own Dad had one of these contraptions sitting in his front closet (Never Used, By the Way). So I followed the online instructions of attaching it to the metal framework using the latch connections. And?
IT WORKS AMAZING! It took like 2 minutes and is super sturdy and stable! My car seat is now also a stroller! I still plan on using the ErgoBaby carrier as much as I can, but I am so happy to not only have a “stroller” but have found a way to cart Jude and her car seat through the airport and onto the plane.