If you’ve ever traveled for business with your kids, you know it’s not easy. Whether the nature of your business allows for family travel or you’re bringing the kids along to extend a business trip into a weekend getaway of family fun, adding kids into the mix can present a whole new set of dilemmas. Thankfully, the rise of sharing economy travel services has added lots of options for travelers—from where to stay to how to get around. I checked in with some travel experts to find out which sharing economy travel services they like best. Here’s what they had to say:
“I’m a fan of Lyft for many reasons, but one big one is that a car seat is always just one click away, and almost always cheaper than going through a “traditional” car service. Traveling with a child is hectic enough, and living in NYC, I don’t own a car, so I don’t own a car seat. Knowing that I don’t have to rent one or figure out some other way to have one beforehand makes travel a lot easier.” – Peter Shankman, author of Faster Than Normal: Turbocharge Your Focus, Productivity, and Success with the Secrets of the ADHD Brain
“The sharing economy has really been a game changer for travelers. After my wife and I had our son, we learned of a company called BabyQuip. Before you travel, you decide what you want to rent from them and when you arrive at your destination, it will all be there waiting for you. The first time we used the service—on a business trip to Seattle—we rented a high chair, books, toys and games. We were even able to order our son’s organic baby food, diapers and wipes through the service, too. Because we didn’t have to pack all of this stuff, we were able to travel with carry-ons only, something that’s very difficult to do when you’re traveling with kids. You can also rent strollers, car seats, cribs and booster chairs, among other things, for reasonable daily rates. This amazing service really makes travel more manageable for parents.” – Johnny Jet, JohnnyJet.com
“Renting a condo or a house while traveling with kids can add an extra level of convenience that a hotel room doesn’t always provide. Generally, you get more space for the same price, as well as a kitchen, which can actually save you money in the long run. While you get a little extra work done in the living room, the kids can snooze the night away. As you sleep in, the kids can get up and prepare their own breakfast each morning without you all having to get up and out the door to find breakfast somewhere in town. When you rent, you don’t have to deal with cramped accommodations, kids complaining about sharing a bed, and a lack of privacy with your significant other. Best of all, no noisy neighbors or rambunctious hotel guests coming back at all hours of the night!” – Keryn Means, WalkingOnTravels
“The car seat option with Uber has been a game changer for me with little kids. Before this option, it meant toting a car seat on a trip and then renting a car or trying to get it installed in an Uber while in a pick-up lane or while double parked. A bit of research on my destination before departure means I can gauge how often an Uber car seat is available and prevents me the huge hassle of car seat logistics.” – Richard Kerr, Founder of Award Travel 101
“Airbnb and other house sharing services have been great for family travelers, whether the primary purpose is business or leisure. If you have a family of five, or if you are traveling with grandparents, most hotels don’t work very well. Either you can’t cram enough beds into a single room, or you’d prefer not to purchase two rooms, especially if not attached. The problem is even worse overseas where many countries strictly regulate the number of people in a hotel room. Renting out a house or an apartment can be a great solution.” – Jason Steele, Credit Card and Travel Journalist
“Airbnb is a life saver for business trips with kids. My children feel more comfortable in a home environment and have more space to play. I usually have more room, space and privacy to attend to business calls or work on my computer. Having access to a kitchen also makes the world of difference knowing my children will be well fed without having to run around finding restaurants and places to eat—especially since I have the world’s fussiest eater. Homemade Vegemite sandwiches make her very happy!” – Caroline Makepeace, YTravelBlog
“Especially when traveling with kids, I love to stay in a house or condo. We’ve swapped homes using HomeExchange.com in various destinations. At 10 and 13 years old, my kids are getting to ages where sharing a bed really isn’t an option, so I always look for a place that offers twin beds (bonus points for bunk beds!). A kitchen is always super handy for quick and affordable breakfasts, and for making snacks. Particularly when traveling with kids and trying to work, it’s nice to have extra space to spread out and maybe even spend a night in.” – Colleen Lanin, Founder/Editor of TravelMamas.com
Disney Minnie Van (Lyft)
“A few times this week, I needed to skip the packed buses and long waits while visiting Disney in Florida and the Minnie Vans bookable through Lyft came in clutch. They can pretty much pull right up to the parks (unlike Ubers or taxis) and take you right where you need to go. They’re a bit pricey but can save the day.” – Richard Kerr, Founder of Award Travel 101
As a mom often on-the-go myself, I know mealtime can be challenging when you’re on the road with kids. I’m always thinking at least one or two meals ahead, trying to plan where we’ll go and where my son’s next meal is going to come from. While room service at the hotel is an indulgence, it’s so overpriced that sometimes it’s hard to justify the expense. Instead, I love to order food in using Postmates. It’s much cheaper, you can eat something local and it’s far more convenient for us to eat in the hotel room instead of a restaurant, especially if it’s getting late.
Spa treatments are another indulgence when I travel but sometimes, the expense is hard to justify. However, with Soothe, you can have an in-room massage ‘delivered’ to your hotel room in an hour. Soothe provides vetted, background-checked massage therapists, who will show up with their own massage table, sheets, lotions, oils and music. Cramped airplane seats and long travel days (especially if they involve corralling kids all day long, or nursing a baby in an uncomfortable position for most of your flight) can take their toll on your body and it’s nice to know that you can have a massage at your hotel at what’s typically a more reasonable rate than the hotel spa will charge you ($128 for a 60-minute massage or you can get a better rate with a monthly or yearly subscription.)
What are your go-to sharing economy services when you travel? Tweet @TripIt to share.