Ste, Hector and I go on our very first holiday abroad as a family next month and I’m experiencing equal mixtures of excitement and anxiety. Excitement obviously because we haven’t ventured abroad since our honeymoon FOUR years ago and then anxiety because of fear of the unknown. How will Hector cope with the flight, with the fact he’ll be in our room for ten days (!), with the heat and don’t even get me started on the mountain of stuff we’ll need to cart with us.

We’re intending to spend a few days chilling by the pool (both boys adore swimming) but equally we’re hoping to make it out of the confines of the villa and take a few day trips (this mama has got to get her culture fix!). We’ve long since ditched his pushchair (pretty much from the moment he was comfortably walking) as he much prefers to walk so when my mum suggested that I really ought to be looking at taking a stroller with us I went into a bit of a panic.

Did we really need one? Would he even use it? And would it be a utter waste of money given that once we return home we probably won’t even take it out of the downstairs cupboard.

Despite my protestations, there was rationale in my mum’s argument (isn’t there always). When Hector inevitably gets tired of walking, either Ste or I carry him for a bit until he catches his breath. But….as it stands I’m beginning to find him a touch too heavy to carry for any real period of time leaving Ste to literally shoulder the burden. Add the heat into the equation and you’ve got one big hot sticky mess.

Popping him into a stroller would at least alleviate some of of this discomfort and may even double up as a handy place for him to rest his eyes should he so wish (never going to happen in a million years!). So I began to look…

I confess that I was a bit shocked when I began my search; in fact I still am. Unless I’ve been looking in all the wrong places I’ve found that strollers fall into one of two camps. Those that are high quality and practical but eyewateringly expensive and those that look like they wouldn’t be able to handle anything more than a plastic doll sitting in them.

I’m really not looking to spend anything more than say £75 but I want a stroller that’s a decent quality and that’s not going to fall apart after its first use. I’m not so bothered about any kind of storage or basket but it does need to be comfortable and ideally have a shade to protect small eyes from the glare of the sun. Can I find what I’m looking for? Can I heck.

I know that Charlotte speaks highly of her Babyzen YoYo which she talks about in more detail in her holiday essentials post. Classed as hand luggage and weighing about 5KG in weight, the stroller can be carried using a strap that fits over your shoulder. Whilst I love the look and feel of the product, from a cost per ‘wear’ perspective, it just wouldn’t be worth the money for us. We’ve come to the stroller a little too late in the day.

Some other friends have the Maclaren XLR which looks super comfy and has a 4-position reclining seat and an extendable UPF 50+ sun canopy. All ideal except for the £280 price tag. That’s not to say I don’t think it’s worth the cost just that it isn’t worth it for us given that it’s likely to have approximately ten days of use.

Perhaps the closest I’ve come to ticking all my stroller boxes is through Silver Cross’ Pop and Zest offerings. Funny really given that Hector’s first pram was the Silver Cross ‘wayfarer’ but which he has now outgrown (you can read more about it here).

I’ve always been really impressed with the quality of the brand and Hector’s pram still looks as good as new now so I have no worries on that front. Both look sturdy and come with the factor 50 sunvisor as desired. The Zest in particular is incredibly lightweight whereas the Pop possesses the widest seat on the market – perfect for growing boys. However they are both still out of our preferred budget.

I’ve considered looking on eBay for a secondhand stroller but a couple of previous bad experiences with the site and dodgy sellers have put me off the idea. Nor do I have any friends with strollers that I can borrow for the holiday that they aren’t using themselves. So I guess this is where I ask you for your thoughts and advice…

Do you have any stroller recommendations based on personal experience? Any secret bargain shops you know of that I really need to check out? Should I just bite the bullet and accept that I’m not going to get the stroller of my dreams unless I fork out the cash for it? I’d love to hear what you have to say…