Traveling light with kids
Rental services let parents lug less on the road
Friday, May 23, 2008
All by herself, she’s lugging a newborn, a 2-year-old, two car seats, a double stroller, a diaper bag and suitcases.
"Just trying to get from the parking lot to check-in with two little kids was exhausting," says the Aurora mother, whose story is one many moms can relate to. "I thought to myself, ‘Never again.’ "
Bearley might feel differently if she used one of the new baby equipment rental and delivery services.
As airlines make travel more unpleasant and checking extra luggage more expensive, companies are coming to the rescue and helping parents minimize the schlep.
The services vary. Some companies rent like-new baby equipment—things like pack-n-plays, strollers, exersaucers and cribs—with delivery and pick up included. Other companies buy specific items ahead of time, like diapers and formula, so it’s waiting for you when you arrive.
The prices aren’t as high as you might think: a car seat rental runs about $12 a day and the purchase of a package of diapers, wipes, a changing pad and more, including delivery, is $23.
"It’s truly an affordable luxury," says Natalie Pechacek, owner of Babies Travel Lite.
Children are traveling more than ever, but many places, including grandma’s house, often lack all of the equipment a parent wants.
"The hotels are accommodating with a crib, but that’s typically the only thing they offer," says Annie Gonzalez, owner of Rockabye Baby Rentals. "And people who are driving in can’t always fit all their stuff in the car."
Baby travel companies report a booming business, as do luggage delivery services, which help people pack and ship their own items.
Jeff Boyd, president of Luggage Free, says they help people avoid carrying a lot of stuff through an airport and waiting for all of it at the baggage carousel—if it shows up, that is.
Hearing about these new companies, Bearley raised her eyebrows with interest.
"That might make me travel again," she says.