Being a family traveler I am always on the lookout for ways to make family travel cheaper and/or easier. Sometimes those two desires are mutually exclusive, and thankfully sometimes they are not. Recently something was introduced that makes family travel easier, safer, and can be pretty budget friendly if you take advantage of promotions. Any guesses as to which improvement I am talking about?
One word, or is it two? Anyway, it’s uberFAMILY. I have written about it before here, but hadn’t had the chance to try it myself until my most recent family trip to New York City. uberFAMILY is much like Uber in that you can press a button on your app and a car appears to whisk you off to your destination. There is no cash involved, you can track your driver, know what type of car they are arriving in, see their rating, and get a fare estimate before you ride. Basically Uber is everything that cabs aren’t.
The big difference between regular Uber and uberFAMILY that I got to use today is that UberFamily vehicles have car seats! They are using the IMMI Go brand of car seats, as seen below in my snapshot from today, and Uber worked with the “Car Seat Lady, to get this improvement up and running! You can head to her site to check the height/weight minimums and maximums for that type of car seat.
When I used uberFAMILY with my daughter today to get from our hotel in Manhattan out to LaGuardia I found that there were some uberFAMILY vehicles driving around Manhattan, but there were (not surprisingly) fewer of them than regular Uber cars. Instead of the 3-6 minute wait that the app estimated for UberX or UberBlack, the wait was about 12 minutes for a car with a car seat. Fair enough, and roughly 12 minutes later a clean Honda Odyssey minivan appeared with the car seat firmly installed in the last row of seats.
The driver offered to move the car seat to the first row, but I happily crawled in the back seat with my kiddo, strapped her in, and away we went. The car seat (and car) were made of leather, seemingly in good condition, and very clean. Heck, it was cleaner than some of my car seats.
The info on Uber’s website says that there is an extra $10 charge for uberFAMILY, but that charge wasn’t specifically called out on the receipt, so I’m not sure that it was actually charged. The total from Manhattan – LaGuardia came to about $48 all-in, which is less than UberBlack would have been, but potentially more than UberX. I’m not 100% sure on the normal price to LaGuardia, but I am 100% sure that I loved uberFAMILY as much as I hoped I would
For trips to NYC there is now no real reason to bring a car seat for my 4.5 year old daughter as uberFAMILY solves the car seat problem completely. No lugging the bulky car seat just to use getting to and from the airport! For what it’s worth, I looked at the Uber app while I was at the airport and there were several uberFAMILY cars in the area – more than just the one I took.
If you want to unlock the uberFAMILY option on your app, follow these steps:
- OPEN your Uber app and tap the person icon in the top left corner of the screen
- SELECT ‘Promotions’ and apply promo code ‘FAMILY’ to unlock the new uberFAMILY vehicle view
- REQUEST uberFAMILY
- RIDE with your child safely buckled up in a car seat
I very much hope to see uberFAMILY expand across the country as it makes travel easier by not requiring families to lug a car seat, makes it safer by ensuring the kiddo is strapped in, and can be budget friendly if you take advantage of promotions like the current first ride free (up to $30 promo – my link). As I mentioned in this post, if you sign-up then refer your spouse and other family members who might be on your trip, your group can get multiple free rides.
If you are paying with real money instead of Uber free rides/credits keep in mind that you can earn 2x Membership Reward points if you are paying with a linked American Express card. You can also earn 2x with a Chase Sapphire Preferred as it codes as travel. If you were looking to use points you can now use Membership Reward points to pay for your Uber ride if you use the latest iOS version of the app. I personally would not do that as I can get a better return for my Membership Reward points elsewhere, but it is an option.
Have you used uberFAMILY and their car seats? What did you think? It may sound a bit dramatic, but given how much I despise lugging car seats, uberFAMILY is my favorite addition to family travel thus far in 2014.
Now if only Hertz and other car rental companies would have a family program that comes with installed clean car seats and pick-up/drop-offs for your family at the airport instead of the family shuttle bus shuffle.