A travel lover myself, I strongly encourage parents to get their kids on the road — and in the air — whenever they can.
When my sister and brother-in-law brought my then 3-year-old niece from Wisconsin to visit me in Florida last year, I was ecstatic. Not only is it always amazing to spend time with her, but I also love seeing her experience travel at such a young age.
For all the moments of “Are we there yet?” and “Stop touching me” and “Seriously, you have to go to the bathroom again?!” that plague family vacations, in the end, they yield meaningful memories.
Plus, getting kids out there early lets them know there’s life beyond the four walls of your home or the limits of your hometown.
But I understand these trips come with challenges — and expenses, too.
Babies and kids that young need a lot of stuff, apparently, to survive. Packing and hauling that stuff across airports, planes, trains and automobiles sucks, and it might even cost you extra money.
How to Save — and Earn — Money From Family Vacations
New York City-based mother of two Natalie Kaminski was fed up with trips becoming stressful because of the gear she had to haul around for her young children.
So she launched a business to solve the problem.
Through the goBaby app, Kaminski created a parent-to-parent marketplace where traveling parents could rent baby gear like strollers, car seats and other items from local parents with the same to spare.
“Packing and carrying the equipment you need for your kids can add a lot of physical and mental work to family vacations,” Kaminski said in a press release. “Bringing strollers, rockers and bouncers with you to your destination just isn’t feasible. We created goBaby to take the pain out of traveling.”
She credits a “trusted community of parents” who use the app for making baby gear affordable and notes all goBaby items are vetted for quality, cleanliness and safety.
This Airbnb-style exchange for baby supplies is available in New York City and will be launching soon in Boston, Miami, San Francisco and Chicago.
If you’re traveling with children to one of these cities, you can log in to the app and browse for the gear you need for your stay — strollers, car seats, high chairs and even toys.
You’ll see the owner’s location, cost and rating by other renters. Choose the items you want to rent, and avoid baggage fees or higher fees from a local rental company.
On the flip side, if you live in one of these cities, use the app to monetize your extra baby gear!
Here’s how it works:
2. Take a photo of the item you want to rent out. Add a brief description, and set your price.
3. Choose whether you’ll deliver the item or have the renter pick it up.
4. Give the item to the renter, and get it back within the scheduled dates.
5. Get paid. Repeat!
As your little ones grow, this might be a good excuse to hang onto that baby gear for a few years longer!
(And, you know, just in case you want to have another some day, but we don’t have to talk about it right now…)
Your Turn: Would you rent baby gear from other parents to save money traveling?
Dana Sitar (@danasitar) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s written for Huffington Post, Entrepreneur.com, Writer’s Digest and more, attempting humor wherever it’s allowed (and sometimes where it’s not).