I highly recommend bringing the bigger than you think is necessary stroller that reclines and has a sunshade, plus a cupholder.
We have a 5 yo daughter and 2 yo twins. We always bring an extra change of clothes, you never know about the water areas, or just plain ol’ kids-are-excited accidents. We still have the diaper bag and bring all kinds of snacks and juice boxes for them. We also can’t leave a park without some sort of purchase that someone would have to carry.
We typically have at least 2 bags, in addition to the stroller, that we bring. We keep it all in bags so that we can easily carry them when we’re on the bus. I’ve never had anyone comment or glare because of our strollers, and our last trip in October, we had 2 of them! People are very understanding and helpful.
As for gate-checking, as far as I’m concerned, it’s the only way to go. I can’t imagine not having my stroller at the airport, especially since we always have connections.
Remember, you can always leave your stoller in the stroller parking area and come back for it when you need it. Just because you bring it doesn’t mean you have to use it all the time, but it’s a real lifesaver for those times that you do need it! But, don’t expect it to be in the same exact location as where you left it when you come back for it! :pirate: I can’t stand the stroller movers!
Best of luck with your decision.