Travel Tactics: Go, Baby, Go!

Families can travel light with these baby-gear rental services.

By Stirling Kelso | Illustration by Kirsten Ulve

Talk to parents about vacationing with children, and there’s one common complaint: the stuff. No matter how much you try to minimize, it’s almost impossible to arrive at the airport without extra suitcases and bulky items such as car seats, strollers, and travel cribs in tow.

Now there’s a solution. Baby-gear rental agencies are cropping up, delivering everything—think beds, high chairs, even gliders—to resorts, condos, and airports. Prices range drastically and can start anywhere from $5 a day for a diaper pail to $17 a day for a double stroller. We vetted services in the U.S. and in top vacation destinations, such as Mexico, the Caribbean, and Europe, as well as put together helpful tips for families on the go.

U.S.A. and Canada

The most comprehensive equipment-rental site—and the easiest to use—is BabyQuip. Based on the sharing-economy model, this company vets and works with customer-reviewed providers, often parents, in more than 400 destinations across the U.S. and in a few Canadian cities. Rental gear and services depend on the individual provider, though you can usually order anything from strollers and baby gates to toys and even groceries.

Another U.S.-wide option is Baby’s Away, which has more than 95 locations across the country. The company buys its gear directly from stores and supplements their collections from places such as Amazon or Walmart on a case-by-case basis. Baby’s Away will deliver to residences, hotels, and airports within set geographic ranges, usually cities and surrounding suburbs. Similarly, Traveling Baby Company sources, cleans, and stores equipment in dedicated warehouses when it’s not in use. You can arrange a drop-off.

Mexico and the Caribbean

If you’re going to Los Cabos, look to Baja Baby Gear for a nursery’s worth of equipment, such as bottle sterilizers and cribs with organic bedding. The company gives a portion of its earnings to charity. Baby Vallarta services the Puerto Vallarta area, delivering not only kid equipment but also bikes and beach gear for adults. And down south, Riviera Maya Baby Gear for Rent carries everything from strollers to beach tents, and it drops off at hotels and villas from Cancún to Tulum.

In the Caribbean, Empty Suitcases has been operating on the Cayman Islands for 14 years, while on Saint Thomas, Caribbean Nanny Services specializes in certified childcare, with a gear-rental arm.

Don’t Forget

Five helpful reminders if you’re considering renting baby gear on your next vacation.

Ask questions: Most companies and gear renters are up-front about the cleaning, maintenance, and safety standards they adhere to when it comes to caring for their equipment. Still, it’s worth inquiring about policy specifics and alerting companies to your children’s allergies or developmental milestones in case that influences their rental recommendations.

Book early: Whether you’re renting in a popular destination like Cabo or a far-flung island where agencies might have limited equipment, book your rentals in advance. Also, review the cancellation policies and ask about extra charges should you need to add an item at the last minute.

Request a recommendation: If you can’t find an agency that rents baby gear in your vacation destination, ask agencies in nearby cities if they have a suggestion or if they’ll deliver to you for an additional fee.

See what’s free: It might not be clear online, but your hotel or vacation rental might also provide things such as cribs and certain baby amenities. Check before you rent additional gear.

Tap your own network: If you’re visiting friends or family, chances are they have a friend or neighbor who might be willing to lend or rent their own baby gear. Keep in mind, though, that it’s up to you as the parent to research that particular equipment’s safety information and recall status.

Europe and Beyond

Traveling across the pond? You can create your own “kid kit” by choosing from more than 100 items through Airtots, in London; the company will also send digital instructions for any items that require setup.

In Italy, there are several similar companies stationed in major cities that also service surrounding towns. Reach out to MamaRent in Venice; farther south, Baby on Tour Napoli is a great option in and around Naples. In Australia, Hire for Baby has 75 locations across the country, including Sydney and Melbourne, and can also help deliver and set up car seats at the airport.

  • NOTE: Information may have changed since publication. Please confirm key details before planning your trip.
  • Published: Summer 2019