Travel with a baby can feel overwhelming when you start to compile that mental note of all the baby stuff you have and use. You see the question asked in mom groups on Facebook all the time – “What was the #1 thing you used all the time with your baby” and inevitably the comments are flooded with answers that are all different.
We use a lot of stuff with our babies at home, because why not? Why not make our life easier and baby’s more enjoyable with swings and chairs and play mats when we are at home. When it comes to travel though, you really can get by without most of that stuff. And I’ll go one step further to say that you can travel to your destination with little more than a baby carrier (we think babywearing at the airport is a must!).
How you ask? One simple answer – rent it.
We have successfully traveled several times with only a baby carrier (plus the bag full of snacks and toys, of course). In fact, our first trip from Calgary, Canada to Barcelona with a baby was with only our luggage, a Baby K’Tan and an Ergo Baby carrier. When we traveled to Sedona, Arizona with a 2 year old and a 2 month old, we again brought only those two carriers mentioned above.
Why We Rent Baby Gear
Sure, it’s a personal preference for us to travel with as little baby equipment as possible and may not be for everyone, but let us try to convince you with the reasons why we do it:
You know that feeling when you drop off your luggage at the check-in counter at the airport? There’s something very freeing about having someone else worry about your stuff. The same applies to all that baby equipment when you leave it behind.
No Stress About Damaged Gear
Renting it at your destination means you don’t have the stress of dealing with damaged car seats or a travel cot you needed that doesn’t show up on the other end. Sure, you can gate check some of your equipment but then you have to carry it all through the airport.
Most baby equipment rental companies will deliver right to the airport, rental car counter or even to your hotel, depending on your needs. Some may even deliver before you arrive!
Clean, High Quality Equipment
A reputable company will provide you with clean, sanitized equipment that is also top quality brands.
Less to Forget
This is similar to packing light, but it is mostly due to a parent’s frazzled state of mind. Inevitably you will leave something behind. It happens. The one time we brought our own pack n’ play with us (because we had a short direct flight and a car rental) we ended up leaving it on the baggage carousel.
Which Baby Gear Items Should You Rent Instead of Pack
Many people prefer to have their stroller at the airport. Sure, it’s convenient for carrying all your stuff and maybe your baby will sleep in it, but it’s also possible to get through the airport without it. Part of the reason we have always rented a stroller is because our stroller at home is a large jogging stroller, but we also preferred to just use our baby carrier in the airport. For both of our kids, getting a nap was more likely with a baby carrier and we didn’t want to haul an extra piece of equipment to the airport just to risk having the airline damage it in transit.
Again, rather than risking getting damaged car seats on the other end and having to haul two massive car seats with us, it’s just simpler to rent them. We’ve only rented from a rental car company once in Norway when we had no other options. Thankfully, we were quite pleased with that experience. On our most recent trip to Mexico, the rental car company misunderstood that we were waiting for car seats to be delivered and brought us out a couple of theirs. We were shocked at the poor quality and were so glad we had arranged ours through Riviera Maya Baby Gear for Rent.
Crib or Travel Cot
We would first recommend checking with your hotel or apartment rental to see if they can provide a crib, pack n’ play or travel cot for your baby to sleep in. If you aren’t able to get one provided and you will be travelling frequently, you might want to invest in a very lightweight one or a KidCo PeaPod (for older babies). If you aren’t happy with what the hotel can provide, then renting one is a great option.
If you are staying in a self-catered apartment and your baby is on solids, you might want to consider this. You could also bring your own portable travel highchair.
Other Items to Rent when Traveling with a Baby
Depending on where you are going and how long you are staying, other items you can rent are safety gates, baby bathtub, swing, bouncy seat, toys… the list goes on!
Top Tips for Renting Baby Equipment
Compare the Cost
Depending on how long your trip is, the cost of renting can add up. It’s worth it to compare this to having to buy a new one if something does go wrong. One way to help reduce this is to see if the company offers discounts for renting multiple products or for longer stays.
Review Online Images & Get Digital Installation Instructions
It’s worthwhile taking a look and confirming which brands the company has available to make sure you are comfortable with them. If you plan to rent car seats, request a digital version of the installation instructions to make sure you know what you are doing before you have to install them.
If you have any hesitations, you can ask the company for some testimonials. They will often have them on their website, but should be more than willing to put you in contact with some customers as well.
Don’t be Disappointed with the Quality
Make sure they make mention of cleaning and sanitizing the equipment. Also, just confirm that you will be given equipment that is the same as the pictures on the website (i.e. brands and style).
Confirm When and Where
Make sure you confirm exactly where and when you will have the equipment delivered/picked up and if there are any extra delivery or pickup charges. If you are having it delivered before you arrive, make sure you inform the hotel.
Provide Your Flight Information
If you are meeting the company at the airport or rental car counter, provide them with your flight information so they can check for any delays.
To make it easier to find baby equipment rental companies, we are working on a worldwide directory. If you have used a baby equipment rental company, please share your experience with us!