When we took our first trip with our baby, when she was 3 months old, we wanted to make it as simple as possible. Travel with a baby can feel overwhelming when you start to think of all the baby travel essentials you have and use. In this post, we will share how we simplified traveling with baby gear. We will also share our experience with baby equipment rentals when traveling, tips for renting baby gear and everything else you should know!
You see the question asked in mom groups on Facebook all the time – “What was the #1 thing you packed for traveling with your baby” and inevitably the comments are flooded with answers that are all different. Because we are all different, our babies are different and how we travel is 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 baby swings, high 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.
How you ask? One simple answer – rent the baby gear you can’t live without but don’t want to pack! The best baby gear rental companies make it so easy for traveling families. When you are looking into renting baby gear while traveling, look for quality providers of baby equipment that can arrange delivery to the airport or your hotel.
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5 Reasons Why You Should Rent Baby Travel Gear
We have traveled from Canada to Barcelona with a baby with little more than our baby carriers. Sure, it’s a personal preference for us to travel with as little baby equipment as possible but we’ve found the rental of baby equipment to be easy and convenient.
This family travel packing strategy may not be for everyone, but let us try to convince you with the reasons why we like to rent baby gear while traveling:
1. Packing Lightly
You know that amazing feeling when you drop off your luggage at the check-in counter at the airport? There’s something very freeing about dropping your luggage off, which many new parents miss out on when they keep their stroller and other baby travel gear with them.
Planning to rent your baby items at your destination allows you to continue enjoying the benefits of packing lightly.
2. No Stress About Lost or Damaged Baby Gear
All new parents know how expensive baby gear is, especially the stuff we like to bring while traveling, like car seats and travel strollers. One of the major reasons why we choose to rent baby gear while traveling is we don’t want to deal with careless baggage handlers breaking our expensive baby equipment or worse, having it not show up at our destination.
When you rent baby equipment at your destination, you are free from the expense and stress of dealing with damaged car seats, or waiting at the carousel for your travel crib which doesn’t look like it made it off the plane.
Gate checking expensive baby equipment is one way to help protect your gear, but then you have to lug it all through the airport (see #1 above).
3. Convenient Delivery
Most baby gear rental companies will arrange delivery of your baby gear right to the airport, rental car counter or even to your hotel, depending on your needs. Some may even deliver your baby gear rentals to the location of your choice before you arrive!
4. Clean, High Quality Equipment
A reputable baby gear rental company will provide you with clean, sanitized baby rental equipment from top quality brands.
You can even rent baby equipment that you wouldn’t normally use when you are at home. For example, we used a travel system for our newborn at home, but when we traveled with our infant we were able to rent a bassinet stroller for her to lie flat in. We didn’t need the car seat since we got around with public transportation.
Another example might be traveling to Banff National park with a baby, where you might want to rent a baby hiking backpack carrier for the hikes in the area. You might not have any use for hiking backpack carrier at home, so it’s not worth buying just for the trip.
5. Less Stuff to Forget
This is related to our love of packing lightly, but this reason is mostly due to a parent’s frazzled state of mind. There is a lot to think about and remember when you travel with a baby, especially if it’s your first trip with a baby.
Inevitably you will leave something behind. It happens. The one time we decided to fly with our own pack n’ play (because we had a short, direct flight and a car rental) we ended up leaving it on the baggage carousel! Thankfully, we remembered before we drove away in our rental car.
Which Baby Travel Gear Should You Rent Instead of Pack
Rent a Stroller
Many parents prefer to have their stroller at the airport. Sure, bringing your stroller is 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.
Here are a few reasons why stroller rentals are ideal for travel with a baby or toddler:
- If your stroller at home is a large jogging stroller, it becomes very onerous to travel with. You can always rent a similar one when you arrive at your destination.
- You don’t need to worry about the state your stroller will be in when you arrive at your destination.
- You can rent a stroller that’s better suited for your trip than what you own. For example, you may have a toddler who doesn’t spend much time in the stroller at home, but with all the walking on your trip a double stroller might be worthwhile having. Similarly, renting a bassinet style stroller for infants works well if you don’t need your full travel system.
- If your baby is more likely to nap in a baby carrier, then you might not need your stroller at the airport. Save yourself the hassle!
Rent a Baby Car Seat
We all know that it can be pretty hit or miss renting a baby car seat from the car rental company. You don’t know the history of those car seats and very often you are provided a car seat that isn’t suitable to the age of your child. In addition, car rental agencies will rarely guarantee the availability of a car seat rental (what will you do if they are out of them?).
We have rented through car rental companies and have had some good experiences, but we’ve also had bad experiences.
We do like to avoid bringing our large convertible car seats with us, since we don’t want our expensive car seats damaged during the flight. We also have very little need to purchase an additional, lighter travel car seat.
We prefer to rent a car seat from a baby equipment rental company instead of the car rental company. A reputable baby equipment rental company should adhere to strict safety guidelines. The company will ensure that the baby gear rentals are safety checked and that they aren’t renting out expired car seats.
BabyQuip is a good example for their commitment to safety and cleaning. Though the equipment is rented from individual Quality Providers, they are required to go through training on safety standards and cleaning procedures. The baby gear they rent need to be inspected and deep cleaned after every pickup and again before being delivered to a new family.
If a car seat is in an accident and is damage or deemed unusable by the manufacturer, then it is replaced.
Rent a Baby Crib
Before you decide to fly with a pack n’ play, you should first check with your hotel to see if they can provide one. You should always inquire about the type of crib the hotel provides.
Baby crib rentals can easily be done through a baby equipment rental company. This is a great alternative to packing your own, especially if you’ll be staying in one place for a while.
If you have more than one destination, then it may become easier to bring your own portable baby bed for travel or one of these toddler travel beds (the KidCo PeaPod toddler travel bed is a great lightweight option for older babies and toddlers if you are moving around a lot).
Rent a High Chair
If you are staying in a self-catered apartment and are traveling with a baby eating solids, a baby high chair rental is a great idea! You’ll be able to avoid a lot of the messes if you have a proper high chair for your little one!
We also had good success with a portable travel highchair which packs down very small.
Other Items to Rent when Traveling with a Baby
Depending on where you are going and how long you are traveling, most companies will have a huge selection of baby gear items you can rent, like safety gates, baby portable bathtub, swing, bouncy seat, toys, even some of your baby beach essentials like sand toys… the list goes on!
6 Tips for Renting Baby Equipment While Traveling
1. Compare the Cost of Renting vs. Replacing
Depending on how long your family trip is, the cost of renting baby gear can add up. Always compare the cost of renting your baby gear vs. the cost of replacing it if you break our own gear on your trip. One way to reduce the cost of renting baby gear is to see if the company offers discounts for renting multiple products or for long term rentals.
You’ll want to also inquire about any additional fees like a service fee, cleaning fee or delivery fee. Make sure you know how it works for each company you rent baby gear from.
2. Review Online Images & Get Digital Installation Instructions
It’s worthwhile taking a look and confirming which brands of baby gear 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.
3. Request Testimonials
If you have any hesitations, you can ask the baby equipment rental company for some testimonials. They will often have testimonials their website (BabyQuip has over 45,000 5 star reviews!), but they should be more than willing to put you in contact with some customers as well.
4. Don’t be Disappointed with the Quality
Make sure they make mention of cleaning and sanitizing the baby equipment. Also, just confirm that you will be given equipment that is the same as the pictures on the website (i.e. brand and style). Don’t be afraid to ask ANY QUESTIONS about the cleanliness, safety procedures, brands or anything else you are wondering about!
5. Confirm When and Where
We recommend looking for companies that can deliver to avoid having to do self pickup. You’ll have enough to worry about!
Make sure you confirm exactly where and when you will have the baby gear delivery done and when pick up needs to be. Confirm if there are any extra delivery fees, so you don’t have any surprises.
If you are having your baby equipment rental company deliver directly before you arrive, make sure you inform the hotel or car rental agency.
6. Provide Your Flight Information
If you are meeting the baby equipment rental company at the airport or rental car counter, provide them with your flight information so they can check for any delays or if you will miss the delivery window.
Where Can You Rent Baby Equipment
Large companies like BabyQuip have baby gear rentals around the world. You can rent equipment from over 1200 locations, including the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia and several other international destinations.
If you aren’t seeing a location on the BabyQuip site, you can look for other alternatives. The easiest way is to do a google search like “rent baby gear maui” or “baby equipment rental los angeles”.
Other Baby Travel Gear You Might Not Rent
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This post was written & edited by:
Celine is the owner of Baby Can Travel. Not only does she have years of experience traveling with babies & toddlers, but she's been helping new parents travel with their babies and toddlers for over a decade.
Celine also writes about family travel on the site FamilyCanTravel.com, which she co-owns with her husband. Being from the Canadian Rockies, she shares her passion about her home and travel to Banff National Park and area on their site TravelBanffCanada.com.