Flying: Managing Baby Gear
With baggage restrictions, how do you get baby gear to your destination? Options vary depending on where you're going.
- Best bet when it comes to diapers, wipes, and formula: buy and ship from places such as Amazon.com and Diapers.com. This is a cheap, easy way to get heavy staples there, and it will give you more room (and weight allowance) in your suitcase.
- Staying with relatives? See if they have neighbors or friends with young kids who will let you borrow a high chair, Pack 'n Play, or baby swing while you visit.
- Staying at a popular family destination? You may be able to rent equipment, but you'll have to dig around, and prices vary. Baby Beach Rentals, serving the Gulf Shores of Alabama and Florida, charges $25 a week for a high chair. Bear Baby Equipment Rentals, run by a mom on Martha's Vineyard, rents high chairs for $30 a week. A high chair from Rockabye Baby Equipment Rentals, serving cities in Texas, costs $45 a week. Trust us: It's easier to rent than to bring one or buy one.
- There are some national baby-equipment rental chains, such as BabysAway.com. To get prices, e-mail them the specifics of your trip.
- Staying at a hotel? Call the concierge or front desk. At the least, most provide a Pack 'n Play. (Even if there is a crib available, it may not meet current safety standards.) Loews hotels can lend Fisher-Price toys and baby gear like a bouncer seat. The more high-end the hotel is, the more it will offer. You should see the baby toiletries given out by a Four Seasons!
- Mail your own stuff to your destination. Expensive, yes, but it may be cheaper than an extra piece of luggage.
- Buy secondhand after you arrive at your destination. This is time consuming but can be worth it. One American Baby editor, staying in Ohio for a weekend, took her 2-year-old to a Salvation Army and bought $20 worth of toys. Before they left, she donated them all back again.