Traveling with babies and toddlers can be as stressful as it gets. There are tantrums and tears, and most of us are not our best selves when paying an overweight luggage fee for a suitcase full of baby items or building a tower of pillows while praying our child won't roll off a guest bed.
Now there’s an app that can help families traveling to New York City with all that gear, and let locals make a little extra money. GoBaby is a peer-to-peer marketplace such as Airbnb, but for baby and toddler equipment. Remember that pack-and-play you shoved in the back of the closet just in case you need it? With this crowd-sourcing app, rent it out when you aren’t using it. And tourists? No need to pack all that baby stuff!
For no fee, you can list equipment, including strollers, cribs, baths, large toys, and even potties on GoBaby for out-of-town families to rent.
Founder Natalie Kaminski said the idea grew out of a trip she took to Chicago with her children. A friend offered to lend her a car while she was in town; Kaminski figured she would be able to rent a car seat somewhere, but that turned out to be impossible.
“It never occurred to me that a service like GoBaby wouldn’t exist,” Kaminski said. “When I found out it didn’t, I started to think about creating it myself.”
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Each item includes a description, location, customer reviews, and of course, price.
To rent out extra gear, simply register on the app and set up a Stripe account for payment. That is easier than it sounds—just one click in the app, and then an email confirmation. You set the daily price for each item and determine the amount of security deposit to cover any possible damage. I tested the process by listing a car seat, and it was quite quick and easy. Even the most technically unsophisticated person should be able to follow the prompts and create an active listing within a few minutes.
GoBaby also rents sporting goods and camping equipment, which is perfect for New Yorkers eager to get out of town but who also don’t want to commit to buying equipment and finding storage space. As the mother of a Girl Scout, I constantly hear from people in search of tents and sleeping bags.
Kaminski says her team is working on updates they hope to have live around Thanksgiving 2016, including an in-app chat so transaction participants can work out details in real time; an app section recommending city-specific, kid-friendly activities; and an option to have equipment delivered via a courier service. For the moment, renters can pick up the items themselves or, if the option is available, pay an extra fee to have the owner drop it off at your location.
GoBaby only operates in New York City as of now, but Kaminski says she has plans to expand to other cities. The app is brand-new, so there is probably not a huge demand for rentals as of yet, but there's no harm in listing your rentable items now.
All images from the app.