Testing a Baby Equipment Rental Service
February 7, 2013
by Matt Villano
© Matt Villano
Between children, car seats and luggage, the last thing we parents usually want to schlep with us on a family trip is a big, clunky stroller. In previous articles (like this one), I’ve suggested using baby equipment rental companies as a solution to this problem.
On my recent visit with my older daughter to Los Angeles, I finally tried one of them out.
The outfitter, the Los Angeles franchise of a national company named Baby’s Away, came recommended by the concierge of our hotel. (She also offered to tackle the legwork on my behalf, but I declined, largely because I wanted the experience of interacting with the company so I could write about it here.)
The item I was after: A jogging stroller that would enable me to stick to my (sort-of crazy) training regimen while traveling solo with my kid.
Initially, I was frustrated. Though item was listed on the outfitters’ web site at $11 per day, the fine print indicated that the company insisted on a minimum of $50 per transaction. Adding insult to injury, I discovered that the one-time “delivery and pick-up fee” to (and from) my hotel in Beverly Hills would be $60.
You do the math. It was going to cost me $110 (plus tax) to rent a jogging stroller for three days.
As if the total price wasn’t enough of a bummer, I couldn’t complete the transaction online; instead, I had to a) submit my credit card info via email or b) call and share the data over the phone.
Still, I went ahead with it.
When my daughter and I arrived at the hotel, an almost-new Jeep Overland Limited jogging stroller was waiting for us upstairs in our suite. The next day, the stroller became the carriage that transported my little princess to the dress shops along Rodeo Drive. It also served as her nap-mobile during two runs over the course of the weekend.
Upon check-out, I wheeled the stroller downstairs to the concierge and left it (with a modest tip) for pickup the next morning. The next day, Baby’s Away sent me an email confirming the return.
Overall, I’d say I was pleased with the experience.
Don’t get me wrong—paying $110 for three days with a stroller that retails for $260 was HIGHWAY ROBBERY. That said, the stroller did its job: It facilitated my workouts and helped get us places, too.
On a longer trip—a daddy-daughter excursion for which I wouldn’t need to pay extra to meet the minimum—I’d definitely consider renting again. The next time we go away for a weekend, however, I think I’ll bring the travel stroller from home and take a few days off from the usual workout routine.