Let’s face it- babies and toddlers almost require a second car with all of the things they need when we go out of the house. A simple trip to the grocery store can feel like packing for a day trip, and a week’s vacation leaves little room in the car for anyone else’s suitcases! I remember that glorious time when my kids finally grew out of the “baby gear” stage and could sleep in a normal bed, drink out of regular cups, sit in a dining room chair, and use a bathroom! Then we had baby #3, and with five people crammed in a van, I had to get creative. That is when I stumbled across an amazing option.
You can rent pretty much ANYTHING at the beach, and that includes baby gear for your toddler or baby! Yes, I was super excited too, and it took me almost nine years to realize this was a possibility! I had to share this with the world so I could save some other tired moms and dads sanity, space, time, and gas money. Also, to make life even more stress-free, these companies typically deliver and pick up as well.
Here are some example of what you can rent when you go to the beach.
Pack and Plays
You can rent a pack and play from pretty much any rental place, and that includes bicycle rental places. Also, many hotels, resorts, and private vacation rentals have pack and plays available if you ask.
There is something to keep in mind if you go this route. We have used pack and plays for the past two years, and our son never slept well. Also, be aware that some places may have their pack and plays folded most of the year. This can make for a very lumpy and enjoyable experience for your little one. I always bring a lot of padding to stick under a fitted sheet in order to cover up some of the lumpiness; however, we still could never get our son to sleep through the night no matter how hard we tried. Obviously, since every child is different, you may want to try this option first.
If you are not a fan of the pack and play but renting a smaller space, then you can find many rental companies that offer mini cribs. These are usually about the size of the ones you see in daycare centers.. If your child is older than two but still too young for a regular bed, you may want to look at the next few options.
Full Size Cribs
This is the one I was the most excited about. I had no idea they actually make folding full-sized cribs! For under $100 for the week (and only about $30-$40 more then renting a pack and play), I was able to rent a full-sized crib with mattress for my son. Since we always stay in a vacation rental for the additional space, our master bedroom had more than enough space to set up a crib. Hello, vacation!
If your child is too large for cribs and pack and plays, but you are out of beds, you can rent rollaway beds. Besides having the ability to move them out of the way during the day, the other advantage is that they are closer to the ground. This may be a little safer for the under 3 foot high crowd.
Finally, if your child is in that pre-school range and sleeps in a “big” bed with guardrails, there are some companies that also provide rental bed rails so you don’t have to spend the extra money on “portable” options (or try cramming those big things into your car or sticking them on the roof).
Time to Eat
While there are plenty of space saver, folding booster seats, sometimes even a 1 foot wide space in the car is not available. If that is your situation, do not fear! You can rent booster seats so that you are not stuck feeding your child on your lap, or the floor, or the couch… you get the picture. And last time I checked, they don’t make the phone books big enough for sitting on anymore!
Full Sized High Chairs
If you have a large family and do not have enough chairs to dedicate to a booster seat, then there is an answer for that too! We decided to go with a full size high chair for multiple reasons: not enough space at the table, easy clean up tray, and the ability to move the chair to different rooms.
Out and About
If you are the active type you may want to bring your jogging stroller, but the bulkiness might force you to leave it behind. Don’t worry though, as plenty of places provide jogging strollers for rent. Some places even provide double jogging strollers!
Full Sized Strollers
Jogging Strollers might not be your thing, and your baby may not be old enough for an umbrella stroller, but full-sized strollers can take up almost all of your trunk space. That’s why renting one could be a life saver, especially if you’re baby needs to take a nap! Double strollers are also available at some locations.
One of my favorite activities at the beach is going for bike rides, especially in places like Hilton Head Island. You may think that you will have to wait until your baby or toddler is old enough to ride a bike independently, but that’s not the case! There are multiple options for families with young kids to go bike riding, and all of the bike rental companies offer at least a couple of these options.
- Child seat – a seat with straps that mounts to the top of the bike and sits behind the adult
- Trailer – a two-person trailer that attaches to the back of the bike.
- Weehoo- reminds me of a child seat and a bike trailer combined. It’s an open-air seat with straps like the child seat, but it attaches to the back of the bike and is considered a “trailer.”
- Tandem bikes – your child may be too large for these options but is too young to be trusted crossing busy streets. You can get a “bicycle built for 2” with a smaller, child size second portion on the back.
I only have experienced the bike trailer because I don’t ride enough to trust myself not to fall! The bike trailer is close to the ground and provides coverage from the sun, so it is what we used on our most recent trip.
If for any reason you need an emergency car seat you can actually rent them from some of these companies too.
If it weren’t for the invention of swings, exersaucers, bouncy chairs, and jumpers, us parents would be forced to hold our babies practically all the time. Though I don’t know what people did before the invention of these life- savers, I sure know that a vacation without them can be less than relaxing. In fact, I avoided going on vacation for quite awhile just because I didn’t know what I’d do for the week if I didn’t have all of our “baby gear!” There is an answer- baby rental companies that will literally provide you most of what is in your living room. Here are some of the things you can rent to provide your mind (and your arms) some relief, all while entertaining your baby
- Baby Swing
- Bouncy Chair
- Beach Toys
How to Find Baby Gear to Rent
A Google search for “baby rentals” plus the location you are visiting is a sure way to find companies that provide rentals, but I have provided some places to get you started at three popular vacation destinations. Don’t think that you need to stick to strictly baby rental companies. I actually rented most of our gear from a bicycle rental company. I found while searching for bikes that most of these companies provide a limited supply of basic baby items (cribs, pack and plays, high chairs). For some of the other items on the list you, however; may need to look for a company that specializes in baby and child rentals.
- Hilton Head Bicycle Company : This is the company we used, and they provide 15% off if booked two weeks in advance. You can find bike trailers, child seats, Weehoos, pack and plays, miniature cribs, full size cribs, tandem bikes, jogging stroller, and rollaway beds.
- Vacation Comfort Rentals: This company will provide you a 10% off email code if you sign up, but it takes a day or two to arrive. They provide a huge assortment of items such as cribs, crib bumpers, full size high chairs, booster seats, baby gates multiple stroller options, exersaucer, swings, bed rails carseats, and rollaway beds
- Hilton Head Baby Rental : For everything baby and toddler, this is the place to go. They have everything mentioned at the places above plus “packages” that provide cribs, strollers, and other large items such as a Jumperoos, bouncy chaira, and beach toys.
- Tots on-the-go : This rental company has multiple locations. Click here to see list of options provided at this location, and then go back to the main link to make reservations. This company provides all of your major needs plus diapers, bath tubs, baby monitors, and baby beach tents.
- Charleston Baby ‘s Away:This company has literally everything you could ever want for your baby or toddler, plus beach items such as carts, tents, chairs, and the little things like step stools and training potties. It is also very highly rated on Google.
Myrtle Beach & Surrounding Areas
- Tots on-the-go : This is the second location for this company. Click here to see list of options provided at this location, and then go back to the main link to make reservations. This company provides pretty much anything you could ever want, including diapers, bath tubs, baby monitors, and baby beach tents.
- Baby’s Away Myrtle Beach : This company services Myrtle Beach plus all surrounding areas such as Cherry Grove, North Myrtle Beach, Murrell’s Inlet, and more! They provide all the baby gear you could need plus beach items like umbrellas, beach chairs, and carts.
Hopefully you find this information useful and don’t find out about it a year or two late like I did! My family sure had a better experience spending a few extra bucks to make our stay more relaxing, plus our minivan had more room for some fun stuff like boogie boards and floaties!