Traveling with a baby seems to be this daunting parenting milestone. Are they sleeping through the night? Have they sat up on their own? Have you travelled with her yet?? A question full of fear when it should be full of excitement! I hear so many moms who are terrified of going on new adventures with their little ones. In her short 9 months of adventuring, my Merbaby has been on a plane, a train, and rode in the car for a 14 hour road trip. With a little planning, travelling with a baby can be a wonderful way to re-experience old adventures with your new adventure partner!
I’m going to start this 3 post series discussing our train trip.
I LOVE the train. Seriously, baby or not I would recommend taking the Amtrak at least once. I have rode three times: by myself, 8 months pregnant, and with a 5 month old. The train ride averages around 6 hours versus a 5 hour car ride if the Los Angeles traffic is decent. Tickets are typically $30 for me one way, but I always buy the general seats because I get on at the first stop going both directions. The only difference is that for first class you have reserved seating. Even the day before Thanksgiving there were empty seats in my car, so I don’t think it’s necessary.
Now you’re probably thinking that price and time wise the train isn’t worth it, but wait!! I promise it is and here’s why:
- Huge seats and empty cars mean easy and private nursing
- There is a food car with hot food, salads, coffee and soft drinks
- You can bring whatever food you would like on as well. I satisfied pregnancy cravings with a carne asada burrito I carried on in my purse.
- You are allowed 2 carry-ons per person, babies receive free tickets, but count as a person in terms of luggage. This includes full size luggage and they have areas to store it, plus a car seat!
- Free WiFi for you to pass the time or let your older kids play games and watch videos
- You can move around freely (read that your toddler can move around freely!) and the train is steady while moving, making it easy to walk. They announce at least 5 minutes before each stop, giving you time to head back to your seat or steady yourself with a hand rail.
- Most importantly: The restrooms are roomy and have changing tables! There are at least two in every car, making diaper changes so easy. No need to pull over to use the restroom every 45 for your little one to use the restroom
- BONUS: The views! We ride the Pacific Surfliner and we get to see ocean views for most of our trip from viewpoints you can’t see from the highway.
Now that you are convinced *wink wink* you will take the train, let me share my experience and tips for baby travel success.
We went to San Diego for a going away party and were only going to stay the weekend. But when Ry had to go back home for work, Aaliyah and I decided to spend some extra days in San Diego with my aunt so he took the car home. After 4 days of eating and exploring, it was time to ride the train home. I brought my Boba wrap for the trip and that was key to surviving the trip home. It is so important to have free hands when carrying your bags and getting on the train. While a baby carrier would work for older babies, since Aaliyah was only 5 months old the wrap was soft enough she could stay wrapped up even when I was sitting down.
We were running late, mean the conductor ran over to me and helped me grab my things late, so we got on the first car. I tried to settle in there but I needed to feed her right away. Normally I don’t care about breast feeding in public, but the couple across the aisle had that look and I didn’t feel llke dealing with an issue. So when the conductor came to check tickets, I asked if there were any cars farther back that were empty. Another train bonus: the conductors are always SO helpful. He helped me carry all my things to a seat two cars back so that we could have our own space! Once she was fed and asleep (still in her wrap!) I was able to sit back and read. When she did wake up I took her car seat and put in on the seat next to me with some toys to play with. There are no seat belts on the train so I kept my hand on the handle and made sure she was buckled in.
When we travel I make sure to put our clothes together in one duffel bag, along with our cosmetic items. I then keep another bag with diapers, wipes, her toys, pacifiers, and my phone charger and book. I keep a smaller purse with me for my wallet. This way I can easily put the duffel bag over head, and reach in and grab a diaper when she needs to be changed. We were able to easily get up twice to use the restroom and to buy a water bottle.
It was easy, and stress free. Just how traveling with a baby should be.
Stay tuned for flying with a baby and taking a family road trip tips!
Have you ever rode the train? How was your experience?
**This was an old post from my previous site. Update coming soon!**
See you soon,Lexi