This post is our review of the Babyzen Yoyo Travel Stroller. It’s the fifth or sixth stroller we’ve owned, including jogging strollers, umbrellas, and several sizes in between. We bought our Babyzen last December in Vienna, Austria, near the end of our year traveling through Europe, and as of this writing, it has been performing well as we make our way through Asia. If anything changes, we’ll be sure to update this post. (Updates are at the end of the article.)
By the way, this post contains affiliate links. That means if you make a purchase through the product links provided, we’ll earn a commission at no extra cost to you. These commissions help us continue to travel the world, producing content like this review and countless stories and photographs for your enjoyment. If you’d like to learn more about how we’re monetizing this blog, check out Jake’s monthly report: Operation Digital Nomad. We paid full price for our Babyzen Yoyo.
Our Review of the Babyzen Yoyo Travel Stroller
If you are thinking about buying a Yoyo, you probably already know what the selling points are:
- It’s Sturdy
- It’s Comfortable
- It’s Compact
- It’s Lightweight
- You Can Bring it on an Airplane!!!
Yeah, that last one caught our attention, too. So after using and abusing the Babyzen Yoyo on the streets of 10 cities on two continents, traveling by planes, trains and automobiles, here’s what we can confirm, good and bad, about what it’s like in action.
Note: plenty of people have asked questions in the comment section of this review, so don’t forget to scroll down when you’ve finished reading to see the answers (or ask questions of your own).
The Babyzen Yoyo Travel Stroller is Small (and Smaller)
We definitely noticed the difference right away as we weaved between parked cars and squeezed through crowds of tourists. The length and height are pretty standard for a stroller - which they pretty much have to be so you can push it comfortably - but it is narrow. That means you can easily maneuver it through difficult spaces where bulkier strollers won’t be able to go.
But where it really shines is when it’s time to stop strolling and bring it in the house or hotel room. The folding mechanism on the Yoyo is really well designed. It only takes a few seconds to fold up, and once it’s folded it is really small. The strap is just long enough to hang it from your shoulder, so you can bring it up the stairs with you while holding a baby or toddler with the other arm. The folded stroller can also be stood up vertically to save space in your house. We haven’t tried it, but we imagine you could also hang it on the wall using the strap if you had a sturdy hook. The Babyzen Yoyo’s weight is 13lbs, which isn’t bad. It also helps that the shoulder strap has a nice pad on it for when you have to carry it.
They did have to make a couple sacrifices for the Yoyo’s size, though.
In order to save space, the Babyzen Yoyo has four single wheels instead of the double wheels you see on a lot of strollers. The plus side of this is that the travel stroller is very low friction and rolls and turns easily. The downside is that a single wheel gets stuck in cracks or against curbs a lot more easily, and on rough or bumpy terrain it can be a little harder to turn. We didn’t think it was a deal breaker considering the advantages smallness has for travel, but it’s definitely worth mentioning.
The narrow frame also means that the stroller is a little less stable than it would be if the base were larger. I wouldn’t call it unstable, you just have to be extra careful if the sidewalk is very slanted or under other unusual circumstances. For the record, it’s never tipped over on us, but once it a while we could feel a little torque while we pushed it in tricky spots.
The Babyzen Yoyo is Sturdier Than it Looks
When we first got the Yoyo, one of our biggest worries was how tough it would be. We had treated our previous stroller pretty rough, and it had performed admirably for a long time. We actually only switched because we weren’t sure how hard it would be to replace if it ever broke after we arrived in Asia. The Yoyo travel stroller also seems to be holding up well. When you tip the front wheels up to go over a curb, you can feel the frame flex a little bit. But we’ve learned over time (and many, many curbs) that it bends but never breaks. Like I said earlier, we really put our strollers through a lot, so if anything changes we’ll be sure to update this post.
The Babyzen Yoyo is Comfortable
Of course, Jake and I haven’t actually sat in it. Lisa loves the Yoyo, though. Thanks to the foot rest, she can climb in on her own instead of being lifted, and she is usually eager to do so. The harness is secure and adjustable, though the buckle is a little bit confusing until you get used to it.
It’s also worth noting that the back reclines quite a bit, more than a lot of other folding strollers we’ve seen. We use it for naps regularly when we are out exploring a new city. Actually, even when it’s not reclined, Lisa still fall asleep in there when she gets tired. Sometimes we just want her to stay awake for fifteen more minutes so we can rest with her when we get home, but nope, she’s out.
It’s also pretty comfortable for the parents too. The handle is at a good height so Jake and I don’t have to bend over to push it like we did with one of our umbrella strollers, and the padding is comfortable and easy to grip. The rounded handlebar is not ideal for hanging heavy bags while you explore, but this might be for the best since that is not recommended practice for any stroller. We did buy a couple of velcro stroller hooks, though, and they suffice for small bags and other items when we need our hands free.
The ones we are using (pictured below) were purchased on TaoBao (Chinese Amazon), but you can easily find one with a quick Amazon search for velcro stroller hooks. As long as you don’t put anything too heavy on there, it won’t be a problem. These tiny bananas were fine.
Yes, You Can Take the Babyzen Yoyo on a Plane With You (and it fits in the overhead compartment)
The Yoyo’s dimensions when folded are 7.1 x 20.5 x 17.3 inches. It easily fits in the overhead compartment, and no one has ever given us grief about it in the airport. At first, we used to get a gate check tag for it just in case there was a problem and they wouldn’t let us bring it on, but now we just slide it into the bag and waltz right on. It’s actually the smallest of our three carryon bags. We sometimes wonder if we could just leave Lisa in the seat and roll the narrow travel stroller down the aisle to the seat, but we figure it saves time to fold it up ahead of time.
If you haven’t traveled internationally with a baby before, you might not appreciate the value of bringing your stroller on the plane instead of checking it. Allow me to explain:
When you get off the plane, your checked stroller isn’t right there waiting for you. You have to go to the baggage claim area - often a 10-20 minute walk from the gate - where you wait in a big crowd for your bags to come out on the conveyor belt. Usually, the stroller arrives on a cart long afterward. In the meantime, you have been trying to wrangle your toddler while fighting the other travelers and scanning for your bags.
And that’s on a domestic flight. Flying internationally, you usually have to go through customs or immigration before you even get to the baggage claim, which can take hours if the airport is very busy. Imagine waiting in that line, either holding a toddler, or trying to keep her standing in line. We’ve actually noticed that if you have a baby in a stroller, you will often be ushered to the front of a customs line, whereas babies in your arms or walking get you no special treatment for reasons we will never understand. The bottom line is, walking off the plane with the stroller makes the whole experience a lot more bearable. The only possible downside is that it takes the place of one of your other carryons, so you have to pack accordingly.
Hint: Even though many airline employees recognize which stroller brands can be carried on, you can avoid having to explain anything by putting the stroller in its bag before you get to the gate. That way, everyone just sees an obviously fine black cloth bag instead of a stroller. (Extra Hint: On a Chinese train, where they are real sticklers about strollers, turn it so the open end of the bag is facing the wall, so that they can’t see the wheels through the opening.)
- The foot brake works well and the stroller won’t roll while it’s locked. The only problem is that if you are used to using your foot on the rear axle when lifting the front wheels, you might accidentally hit the lock until you get used to it. It took us a few days to adjust and use our left foot instead.
- The storage space underneath isn’t huge, but it’s enough for stuffed animals, sunblock, water, etc. Just be aware that if you fold the stroller, the contents will have to be removed. There is a pocket on the back of the stroller, just below the handlebar, which can remain full when the Yoyo is folded. It’s worth noting that unlike some other strollers, the Yoyo folds so compactly that you can’t keep anything in the storage compartment while it’s folded. On the plus side, the storage compartment sticks out to the footrest, so if your toddler drops toys and such, it usually gets caught instead of falling on the ground.
- The sun shade provides good coverage for the upper body, but like with many strollers, it leaves the legs exposed. It has a window you can look through to check on your child while she is sleeping.
- The rainfly that comes with the stroller fits snuggly and stays on really well. It provides good protection from the rain, and when it was cold and windy in Vienna, we also used it to defend against the wind. Update: We seem to have lost the bag that the rainfly folds up in. We have replaced it with the bag I used to keep my makeup in.
Our previous stroller was good for travel, but the Babyzen Yoyo is better. It’s comfortable, efficient and easy to pack and store. We haven’t used every travel stroller out there, but we won’t hesitate to recommend the Yoyo. It hasn’t failed us since we got it, and it’s removed a lot of the stresses that had previously made air travel more of a hassle than it had to be. We’re glad we bought it, and we wouldn’t hesitate to do it again. Now enjoy these photos of Lisa trying to unfold the stroller on her own.
For more product reviews and other resources for parents, travelers and photographers, visit our resource page. To read more about how the affiliate links in our product reviews help us fund our travels, check out Jake’s monthly column, Operation Digital Nomad. To see some of the places our family has traveled to, with or without the Yoyo, view our destinations page.
Update (November, 2018): The Babyzen is still doing a great job. We have been living in Dali, China for a few months now, but we still travel with the Yoyo for our visa runs. We recently purchased a second stroller when we signed Lisa up for kindergarten at a traditional Chinese preschool about a half hour down the road. Our new stroller is not very good, but the walk is so bumpy, so long, and so frequent that we didn’t want to put unnecessary wear and tear on our precious (and hard to replace in China) travel stroller. We still use the Yoyo when it’s raining just because we like the rain cover that came with it. The new one is just for walking to school.
(New Update: having used that umbrella stroller for a few weeks, we are already sick of it. The Yoyo was so much smoother and so much better for going over curbs, etc, that we don’t use umbrella for anything but walks to school. I think Jake is trying to break the umbrella stroller on purpose so he won’t have to push it anymore.)
A few more points to add to the review:
- Seeing as how our Yoyo was getting pretty dirty from use, we decided to wash the upholstery for the first time. It has a heck of a lot of Velcro straps to take off, but it wasn’t too hard to put it back together right (I was a little worried at first). The design of the upholstery is such that it’s impossible to put the straps in the wrong spot, so you don’t have to worry about it not fitting correctly.
- We’ve had it for 11 months now and we’ve been brutal with it. Durability is not an issue. No loose bolts, no wobbly wheels, no holes in the fabric. I wish our suitcase was holding up as well.
- Lisa prefers to nap with the seat vertical instead of reclined. I don’t know if this has something to do with the stroller of if it’s something to do with Lisa.
That’s it for now.