Traveling cross country with an 8 month old baby in coach?

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I'm new to Amtrak so not sure how it is to travel across the country on a train. My fiancé doesn't want to take our son in the plane so we decided to travel in Amtrak instead so he can move. Anyway, we're trying to save some money since we're planning our wedding in California so doing coach instead but not sure how that's all going to work out with the baby. He'll be 8 months when we go in September.

Anyone here can give me advice on traveling with an infant? I'm going from Chicago to LA so it'll be a long trip.

Also, can I take his car seat and stroller? Does that count as a checked bag? The stroller we own turns into a luggage and car seat is ofc for the whole week in California.

I really need as many tips as possible in order to have a great (I know it might not be) trip and not ruin everyone else's. TIA.
 

Just-Thinking-51

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There two trains traveling between those points. One takes two day, the other takes three days. Be careful which one you book.
Since your tight on money two coach tickets will give you a impressive amount of space, and it’s doable.
Carpet not the cleanest, so grab a few beach towels to cover it. You could make a tent if needed for more privacy. So add on a few clips, laundry or paper types.
Bring snacks, especially for the little one.
Bring some medicine for your child if they start to have a fever.
Bring a blanket for yourself, the AC can be a bit too good.
The Superliner has lower and upper seats. Booking one or the other might be a good thing.

Your trip is complete workable and your going to have a great adventure.
 

zephyr17

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Have seen many families do the "tent" thing in coach.

I might suggest downstairs seating may be better. There is no through traffic in the aisle. There is a misconception that downstairs seating is restricted to the handicapped. That is not true. Any passenger can choose "lower level seating".
 
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Have seen many families do the "tent" thing in coach.

I might suggest downstairs seating may be better. There is no through traffic in the aisle. There is a misconception that downstairs seating is restricted to the handicapped. That is not true. Any passenger can choose "lower level seating".
May i ask how do I make a tent? I Googled it but nothing came up
 

Just-Thinking-51

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Several ways to do it, depending on your goal.

There is a luggage rack overhead of the seats. You can hang a beach towel from the rack to provide yourself some shielding from the other passenger. Wrap it around the front and back. And you have a tent for your little one. With a 8 month it may not be needed. But with a toddler it may prevent the child from get stimulated around bedtime. It’s not a requirement it’s just a bedtime technique, I have seen used very successful. Over stimulating and children with a fever makes for limited sleep for everyone.

The same for the lower level seating less traffic, less noise, better sleeper. However lower seating has more track noise, and if you get that one annoying passenger, that person is much closer, and harder to escape from.
 

zephyr17

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May i ask how do I make a tent? I Googled it but nothing came up
Kind of rigged up blanket/towels between the seat backs and the tray tables and overhead luggage rack. I notice them but don't want to invade privacy by staring at them trying to figure out how they're rigged up. Bringing binder clips, safety pins may help.

Did you ever play blanket fort as kid? My guess is start from there.
 

NW cannonball

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If I understand correctly, there will be two adults and one 8-month child in coach.
I wouldn't worry it much. The time between 5 months and 8 months is huge, the kid will be a lot different then than now.
But still very easy to comfort.
At travel time, depending on the child's preferences, bring small fave snacks, or fave blue blanket, whatever.
My personal experience with kids a bit older, and my kids kids a bit younger -- the important thing is that mom and dad are close and caring.

e
 

Michigan Mom

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Son was 4 when we took his first train trip, but started traveling with daughter when she was maybe 6 months. Not LD however, only on the Wolverine corridor. Anyway, back to the present. :) The blanket fort is a great idea for a number of reasons. One of which is a slightly sensitive topic so I'll avoid it, but feel free to message me if you are into that discussion. My best advice is always have more diapers, wipes, and plastic bags than you think you'll need. People used to tell me to save space on diapers and buy those at destination... however soon learned that the "destination" diaper supply was quickly used up en route anyway. Particularly if Baby has upset stomach or is drinking more from anxiety etc. Which is good, you want them to be comforted and hydrated. I'm assuming they have more spiffy products than they did all those years ago, but for us, those plastic "bottles" that were just plastic tubes, with disposable plastic liners, were like a best friend. So much more sanitary, easy to clean. Also more lightweight if Baby has discovered how to fling them. The other piece of advice that came in handy (for all modes of travel) was packing extra baby socks and an extra baby blanket. Little socks get lost so easy, and because infants under a year old can't regulate their body temperature, they require extra covering in cool temps or even air conditioning. Despite the fact they were fascinated by pulling off the socks, my babies were always comforted by having them put back on. It almost seemed like a bit of a game back then.
It was extra work and planning, but those trips with my kids when they were little are among the best memories I have. Have safe and fun travels!
 

daybeers

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Welcome to AU, Wondrbunny! You came to the right place for tips. I would personally take the Southwest Chief (#3 westbound, #4 eastbound) which takes two days through a teeny bit of Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, New Mexico, Arizona, just skirts around Nevada, and finally California. The Sightseer Lounge is incredible with floor-to-ceiling windows, first come first serve open seating. If you have any other questions, please don't hesitate to ask! Refer to this thread too: Amtrak FAQs & First-Time Rider Info
 
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Cal

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Southwest Chief (#3 westbound, #4 eastbound) which takes two days through a teeny bit of Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, New Mexico, Arizona, just skirts around Nevada, and finally California.
Apparently Colorado has ceased to exist!
 

Everydaymatters

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My first thought was to tell you don't do that trip with an 8 month old! But the more I thought about it, yeah, it is doable. An 8 month old wants to crawl and explore, so that's potentially problematic. I'd suggest spending a lot of time in the sightseer lounge. The two-seat setup in coach is confining. It would be fine for nights and naps, but there would be a little more space if you can use the upstairs seating in the lounge during the day.
 

Cal

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why punish fellow passengers with a 8 month old , you know this won't end well.
If you're using that logic, why don't we ban all infants from using public transit?

I would, however, think it'd be best to be seated downstairs so any disturbances would effect less passengers.
 

zephyr17

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Less disturbance to the baby, too, since there is a LOT less traffic in the aisle on the lower level.

I really do think the lower level is the way to go here.
 
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Willbridge

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If you're using that logic, why don't we ban all infants from using public transit?

I would, however, think it'd be best to be seated downstairs so any disturbances would effect less passengers.
My son came along before Superliners but we didn't experience any problems that I can recall, with the exception of an urgent diaper change on CP Air during the usual violent winter crossing over the Canadian Rockies -- seat belts required. Luckily the guy sitting next to us on that trip said that he was a recent father, too.

My employer found that the cheapest way to get me from Denver to Boston was on a 2:30 a.m. flight to Chicago and then a connection. The plane had trouble with pressurization and there were multiple families on board, likely attracted by the low fare. Adults could grit their teeth and put up with it but multiple babies screamed their objections. The pilot did apologize.

Next time take the train...

1975 Coast Starlight mom and babe.jpg
 

flitcraft

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I'd consider a front-loading baby carrier if your 8 month old will tolerate it for sleeping at night. Once you fall asleep, it will be harder to be sure that the baby won't slip from your arms. I used one years ago on a trans-Atlantic flight so that my daughter and I could both get some sleep, safely. She was only six months old though, so not in the crawling stage...
 

Everydaymatters

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If you're using that logic, why don't we ban all infants from using public transit?

I would, however, think it'd be best to be seated downstairs so any disturbances would effect less passengers.
I kind of agree with Cal
why punish fellow passengers with a 8 month old , you know this won't end well.
We can all probably agree that there will be "disturbances" to other passengers. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad during the day when parents and baby can go to the SSL. But why would you want these "disturbances" to be delegated to the those downstairs? Some, perhaps all, of the downstairs passengers are unable to go upstairs to get away from the "disturbances" of traveling with one that young. This brings to mind one trip I wasn't on, but heard about. The smell of dirty diapers...throughout the the car, during the entire trip. Three days, two nights. No, I have to change my original thought from "it's doable" to don't do it. Rent a car.
 

Cal

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I think the best scenario would to be to bid for a sleeper (family room?) and see if you can get a sleeper for a lower price.
 
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