Traveling with a toddler

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smsraven

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We will be taking a family vacation in August and are planning to take the train. We will be traveling from Jackson, MS to New Orleans, LA. My husband and I will be traveling with our son (10), daughter (2) and a family friend (15). My husband will be sleeping on the train seeing as he will be working graveyard shift the night before. I have taken this trip once before, but that was without kids. My questions are:

1. We will be bringing a stroller with us. I am going to be buying a lightweight stroller that folds up like an umbrella stroller just for this trip. Do I need to check this? Can I check this? or is there enough room to carry it on?

2. My daughter is full of energy so I will not be staying in our seats with her. Is it acceptable for us to sit in the lounge car on the trip seeing as it is only around a 4 hour trip? or do I need to get a room with her?

3. Should I just get a family sleeper? Could my husband sleep in the upper berth while the kids and I sit below? Is there enough room for this? I hate to spend over $100 more for this, but I don't want my child bothering others while we are on the train.

4. Any other tips for traveling with a toddler?
 

coachseats

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We will be taking a family vacation in August and are planning to take the train. We will be traveling from Jackson, MS to New Orleans, LA. My husband and I will be traveling with our son (10), daughter (2) and a family friend (15). My husband will be sleeping on the train seeing as he will be working graveyard shift the night before. I have taken this trip once before, but that was without kids. My questions are:

1. We will be bringing a stroller with us. I am going to be buying a lightweight stroller that folds up like an umbrella stroller just for this trip. Do I need to check this? Can I check this? or is there enough room to carry it on?

2. My daughter is full of energy so I will not be staying in our seats with her. Is it acceptable for us to sit in the lounge car on the trip seeing as it is only around a 4 hour trip? or do I need to get a room with her?

3. Should I just get a family sleeper? Could my husband sleep in the upper berth while the kids and I sit below? Is there enough room for this? I hate to spend over $100 more for this, but I don't want my child bothering others while we are on the train.

4. Any other tips for traveling with a toddler?
Hi- we have taken the train several times with our young daughter and so far it has worked out great. You will have no problem bringing your stroller on board- there is plenty of room to store it, either in the larger luggage racks near the downstairs door or in the large overhead bins above the coach seats. You can definitely go hang out in the lounge car if the kids get tired of sitting in the coach seats. I wouldn't spend $ for a sleeper for such a short trip. Since your trip is during the day as long as your kids are polite and respectful I don't think the other coach passengers would have the expectation that they be perfectly quiet. Bring plenty to keep them busy like coloring or reading books, a new toy, a laptop/dvd player with a new video, etc. You can always play the I spy game as you look for things out the window- or make up a bingo card of items for kids to watch for out the window. By the time you do all of that and go to the lounge car for a snack the four hours will fly by! Have a great trip.
 

JayPea

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Coachseats has answered your questions so thoroughly that there isn't much to add other than my $.02. I wouldn't bother with a bedroom for that short a trip either. I think your daughter should be just fine. I personally find those who yap incessantly and as loudly and as annoying as possible on their cell phones to be pains in the neck (or lower); the only emotion that toddlers such as your daughter bring out in me is jealousy, because I always end up wishing I was that young and energetic! :lol: There may be an old grump from the "children should be seen and not heard" line of thinking but if your kids are well-behaved, that's Old Grump's problem, not yours. Bringing things to keep her entertained is a great idea and should help pass the time by quickly. And staying in the lounge is fine. More than once, while on trips from Spokane to Portland and vice versa, when I don't purchase a room (it's about 8 hrs between the two) I have spent virtually the whole trip in the lounge.

And I can empathize with your husband; I've worked the graveyard shift for 13 years now. I hope he's able to sleep during the day better on the train than I do!!

Have a great trip and I'm glad to see you starting your children off on what could be a lifetime of train travel for them!!
 
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me_little_me

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We will be taking a family vacation in August and are planning to take the train. We will be traveling from Jackson, MS to New Orleans, LA. My husband and I will be traveling with our son (10), daughter (2) and a family friend (15). My husband will be sleeping on the train seeing as he will be working graveyard shift the night before. I have taken this trip once before, but that was without kids. My questions are:

1. We will be bringing a stroller with us. I am going to be buying a lightweight stroller that folds up like an umbrella stroller just for this trip. Do I need to check this? Can I check this? or is there enough room to carry it on?

2. My daughter is full of energy so I will not be staying in our seats with her. Is it acceptable for us to sit in the lounge car on the trip seeing as it is only around a 4 hour trip? or do I need to get a room with her?

3. Should I just get a family sleeper? Could my husband sleep in the upper berth while the kids and I sit below? Is there enough room for this? I hate to spend over $100 more for this, but I don't want my child bothering others while we are on the train.

4. Any other tips for traveling with a toddler?
Check the price of a bedroom. Remember, you get free meals which sometimes is covered most, if not all by the cost of meals. We used to take the little ones on overnight trips and they played on the floor of the room while we sat on the seats. A cooler provided snacks.
 
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We will be taking a family vacation in August and are planning to take the train. We will be traveling from Jackson, MS to New Orleans, LA. My husband and I will be traveling with our son (10), daughter (2) and a family friend (15). My husband will be sleeping on the train seeing as he will be working graveyard shift the night before. I have taken this trip once before, but that was without kids. My questions are:

1. We will be bringing a stroller with us. I am going to be buying a lightweight stroller that folds up like an umbrella stroller just for this trip. Do I need to check this? Can I check this? or is there enough room to carry it on?

2. My daughter is full of energy so I will not be staying in our seats with her. Is it acceptable for us to sit in the lounge car on the trip seeing as it is only around a 4 hour trip? or do I need to get a room with her?

3. Should I just get a family sleeper? Could my husband sleep in the upper berth while the kids and I sit below? Is there enough room for this? I hate to spend over $100 more for this, but I don't want my child bothering others while we are on the train.

4. Any other tips for traveling with a toddler?
I know where you are coming from. I have a 2 1/2 yr old son and we have been on several train rides with amtrak. Now with strollers we always carry a lightweight one and you can check it or if you want to, they have lots of space downstairs when you get on the car to put your carry on luggage and what not. amtrak does not cound strollers, carseats and other items like diaper bag as carry ons. I honestly dont even thing they care about how many carry ons you have as long as you can take them on and off the train with no help. I always take a stroller(lightweight), a carseat(sometimes I check this or put it in the car as a carry on) I use a carseat because when we travel, we stay with family and we need a carseat to get in their car.

also you can totally sit in the lounge car. we did for like 80% of the time. I just walked my son back and forth through the train and went to the back of the train to the last car and you can see behind you its cool. Also you can check out the dining car and sit there too. I wouldnt get a sleeper. our trips we take all the time are like 4-7 hours and we never needed a sleeper car. I thought about getting the small one this time so I could just close the door and my son could like play on the floor area in the room,etc but I dont know if its worth it for just a small 4 hr trip. If you need any other tips message me. I know exactly how it is with a 2 yr old.
 

AlanB

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3. Should I just get a family sleeper? Could my husband sleep in the upper berth while the kids and I sit below? Is there enough room for this? I hate to spend over $100 more for this, but I don't want my child bothering others while we are on the train.
The cost issue is something that only you and your husband can decide upon. But as noted by other's, the room would include a lunch in the dining car.

And yes, the upper bunk can be put down so that your husband could sleep up top, while everyone else sits in the seats below the bunk. You'll have to mind your head when you stand up, or you could end up with a headache, but you can sit quite comfortably below the lowered upper bed.

So if his getting a good nap is important, it may be worth the extra cost. Only you guys can decide that however.
 

George Harris

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Are you people being serious? This is Jackson, Mississippi to New Orleans, Louisiana? All this to-do about a trip of under 4 hours? This comes under the heading of barely being able to get settled in good.

I can understand hubby wanting to sleep, just getting off work, but, if it were me, for the cost difference I would say, give me one of the window seats, some eye shades, and ear plugs (maybe) and then wake me when you see the station platform at New Orleans going by the window.

You will probably be able to spread out almost as much as you want. My understanding is that though the train may be fairly full out of Chicago, south of Memphis the load on the train is much lighter, and at Jackson more people get off than on.

Do get on the upper level, as that way you will not be bothered by the opening and closing of the door at the stop. The feel of the bouncing and swaying is minimized about mid-car. Is this train running coaches last now? If so, the plus of the last car is no through traffic, and the kids if interested can stand at the back and look out the window. This can usually keep their interest for a while. The minus of riding in the last car is that the bounce and sway is somewhat more pronounced, as a train does somewhat tend to wag its tail.
 

chandj

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Mar 31, 2009
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I take a 2 1/2 year old on the Pennsylvanian from Greensburg to Harrisburg (in PA) freqently. It's about six hours and he does great. As PP's have said, no problem with the stroller or the lounge, and a DVD player is a good idea. There are no sleepers on the Pennsylvanian, so I do upgrade to business class for a little extra room but I would not spend the money on a sleeper for such a short ride as you are taking. Only problem we ever had was when the train was really crowded right before Christmas. The attendant helped us find seats together by moving a solo passenger.
 
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smsraven

Guest
Thanks everyone! The only reason I was considering a sleeper is so I wouldn't have to worry about my daughter making too much noise and bothering other passengers in seats next to us. My husband can sleep anywhere and can fall asleep quickly, so I think he should do fine sleeping on the train.
 
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