Rent Bugaboo ChameleonSo, you’ve taken the plunge and booked a family vacation a plane ride away with a toddler and a baby in tow. Or perhaps your sister is coming to visit with her three kids under six. Once you’re over the initial excitement, panic sets in… How will you manage to pack all the gear you need? Where will your sister’s kids eat and sleep? Will you be able to keep them entertained? Relax. Reach for the phone or power up your laptop, help is at hand!

Baby equipment rental companies can now be found in every major city across Canada and the US. They provide travelling families with the equipment they need to make their stay comfortable –  from car seats to highchairs, from strollers to playpens and more.  They can even supply diapers and baby food if required.  If you like to travel light  (or as light as is possible with young children), consider renting what you need at your destination.  Often times, you’ll find the rental companies carry better brands and newer models than what you have at home, so baby will feel like she’s vacationing in style!  Comfort breeds contentment (and what’s not to love about content kids).

To rent baby equipment, research companies in your destination city. The New Parent Guide has a comprehensive list for North America and elsewhere. Browse the rental company’s website or give them a call to discuss what you need to rent and for how long. Decide in advance where you would like your gear delivered (to the airport or to your hotel, for example) or if you’d like to have someone pick it up for you (if that’s an option). There may be a delivery fee in addition to your rental costs. Ask about any packages or special offers they may have. Call to book your gear well ahead of time if you are travelling during peak season to avoid disappointment.

When making a reservation, you’ll be asked to sign a rental agreement and liability waiver and will be required to give a credit card number. The agreements outline the terms under which the items are rented. The equipment you rent should be clean, in full working order and CSA/JPMA approved. This goes for baby gear that you use anywhere – from car rental agencies to hotels to grandma’s house. If you have any doubts, don’t use it. All reputable baby equipment companies will monitor for product safety recalls and safety inspect every item between uses. If you return an item that is excessively dirty or is damaged beyond usual wear and tear, expect to pay an additional fee. If your travel plans change, and when travelling with little ones anything can happen, try to call the rental company as soon as possible to inform them of the changes.

The owners of baby equipment rental companies are parents, too. Usually they have travelled extensively with their own children and can offer advice on what to pack and what to rent. They can help out with any equipment questions and even offer travel planning advice. So next time you travel as a family, call the pros and pack light, safe in the knowledge that all your baby needs will be taken care of at your destination.

Renting baby equipment makes sense for many reasons. Here are some of the most common reasons people call Little Traveller:

– I need a car seat for my rental car
– My grandkids are coming to town and I need some essential baby gear
– I like the convenience of getting the gear I need delivered to the airport/hotel/grandma’s house
– I’m travelling alone with my kids and I can’t manage to bring everything
– I need some toys to keep my little ones amused at the hotel
– I want to rent a CARES airplane harness to keep my child safe on our next flight
– I need some child-friendly equipment to take my kids hiking or camping
– I’d really like to try out a piece of expensive equipment before I buy one

– Kara Turnner is the mother of two seasoned little travellers and the owner of Little Traveller baby equipment rentals in Calgary. Contact Kara for more information at kara@littletraveller.ca / 1-877-242-4067 / www.LittleTraveller.ca

Photo: the Bugaboo Chameleon.

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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