A new alternative to schlepping gear on family trips

Schleppers no more

Schleppers no more

Ask any family traveler to describe the most annoying part of traveling with kids and he or she will tell you quickly: schlepping the gear.

Between strollers, high chairs, and Pack-N-Plays, moms and dads often exert more energy carrying baby accessories than they do carrying the babies themselves. Trust me when I tell you this, people: I’ve had the sore shoulders to prove it.

This is where Babierge comes in. The Albuquerque, N.M.-based company rents unwieldy gear of all shapes and sizes to parents in 22 different U.S. markets. Prices usually range from $6 to about $15 per item per day. In many cases, the Babierge people will even pick up and drop off items, and (when applicable) set up items that might be too confusing.

I learned of this great company during a recent chat with a local mom. Two weeks later, after chatting with the company founder and the two women who run the Babierge outpost in the northern San Francisco Bay Area, I wrote up this Q&A for AFAR.com (one of my recurring clients).

What struck me about the interviews was the breadth and depth of thought that has gone into the Babierge product offerings. Not only does the company offer “typical” items such as high chairs and BOB jogging strollers, but it also offers “toy packages” and “book packages,” which essentially are small (and customizable!) collections of toys or books for those families who don’t want to have to worry about bringing that stuff when they travel, either.

These real-world options indicate clearly that real-life moms and dads are the people behind this company. In an age where entrepreneurs often do anything to make a buck, the authenticity is refreshing. For that reason alone, I’m happy to try out the service on our next trip.

Luxury Hotel Bathrooms: The New Nurseries?

Our "nursery" at the Trump.

Our “nursery” at the Trump.

One of our daughters—L, the older one—is a heavy sleeper. The other, R, wakes at the squeak of a mouse. As you can imagine, when the four of us hit the road and spend nights in standard hotel rooms, this mismatch can create some dicey situations around bedtime.

Our solution: We get creative.

Sometimes this means bringing tents to create rooms within the room. Other times it means crafting folding room partitions out of couch cushions.

For at least part of the time on our most recent trip to Oahu (we got home late Tuesday after 10 days away), it meant something else: During our stay at the Trump International Hotel Waikiki Beach Walk, we turned a second bathroom in our one-bedroom condo into sleeping quarters for little R.

By day, this room served its usual purpose—because it was close to the front door of our unit, we utilized the luxurious walk-in shower to rinse sand off our feet after days at the beach.

By night, however, we transformed the john into a nursery, complete with stuffed animals on the (closed) toilet seat, a sound machine on the sink and a giant crib on the tile floor in the center of the room.

When R was ready to go to bed, we pushed the crib toward the shower so we could swing the door around, then pulled it back and closed the door part way (to minimize disruptions).

Overall, the strategy worked beautifully. Behind the partially closed door (and with the help of those simulated crashing waves), R was able to sleep soundly while her sister, Powerwoman and I puttered about the rest of the condo. Because the bathroom had a bit of an echo, when R woke up in the middle of the night from the pain of new teeth, we were able to hear her cries without the aid of a monitor.

(In case you’re wondering, L can sleep through anything. She takes after me in that department.)

No, having our baby sleep in the bathroom at a five-star property wasn’t ideal. And I’m sure the marketing gurus at the property will cringe to read about how we improvised to get everybody some much-needed sleep.

The bottom line: It worked.

When you’re on the road with small children, practical trumps fancy-pants every time. The sooner we embrace this credo, the better off all of us will be.

What are some unusual sleeping solutions you’ve tried on the road with your kids?

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