You don't have to be a parent to know that traveling with children can be quite an adventure. Add the fact that Thanksgiving and Christmas are the busiest travel days of the year and you have a time of both heightened excitement and stress for everyone.
But don't let crammed roadways, delayed flights and overinflated fares take the joy out of your journey. These "parentpreneurs" are creating companies that contribute to transformative experiences for families.
Sara Brinton, CEO and Founder of Penguino Travel, is mother of four. Before becoming a parent she wandered the world. Now she is building a company that satisfies her wanderlust while also exposing her family to new experiences. And she's inspiring a tribe of travelers along the way.
"I love to travel, but the inspiration for Penguino Travel was a moment where I wanted to do anything but get on a plane with my kids," she says.
Through a robust online sale site, shoppers can choose books, activities, games and even travel-related gear. The magic is in the back-end technology which allows for filtering by category, theme, age and even destination.
The small company gains loyalty over big online retailers by providing a one stop shop with a personal touch. It provides support through a blog and offers customized travel tips through an online portal. Plus it sources from companies dedicated to making a positive social impact and donates a portion of profits through an organization called 1% for the Planet.
Next up for Penguino Travel is a digital peer-to-peer platform, currently in development, that connects seekers with those who have been there and done that. Families interested in a specific location can learn from others who have real insight into what works for kids of all ages. The community curates favorite family-friendly activities and venues including hotels and restaurants.
Penguino Travel is a member of the Fall 2017 cohort for Div Inc, a pre-accelerator dedicated to increasing diversity among tech startups, providing access to mentors, investors and resources that supports them in building a business.
Go without gear
Another startup, goBaby, founded by a team of parents, describes itself as "the Airbnb for Baby-Gear-on-the-Go." Through a mobile app, parents can rent all of the equipment they need (strollers, baby seats, Pack 'n Plays and even beach umbrellas) in their destination city.
This is great news for single parents who can't grow enough arms to manage small children, suitcases and bulky kid accessories. It also alleviates bargaining for two-parent households of who will carry the stuff versus manage the children. For airline travelers, the cost savings of renting for a few days can more than cover additional baggage fees.
Like many sharing economy companies, goBaby depends on a trusted community. The transaction is transparent, cashless and secure. Plus it creates a marketplace for parents who quickly outgrow the expensive gear they depended on when their children were small. For parents looking for a little extra income, this kind of side hustle can add much-needed relief for all involved.
What you can learn from "parentpreneurs"
If you search for "travel with children" you'll find thousands of blog posts and articles addressing the topic, which points to a large market in need of solutions. Where some see headaches, entrepreneurs see a treasure chest of opportunity. Penguino Travel and goBaby have tapped into a trend and are providing easy options for parents who are willing to pay.
The inspiration for business opportunities can come from everything and everyone around you, especially when you travel out of your comfort zone. So the next time you're stuck in a long line with grumpy people in close quarters, remember that where there is frustration, there is opportunity. Your biggest roadblock could lead you to you next big idea.