Quantcast

Traveling with Toddler

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

Hanno

OBS Chief
Joined
Sep 19, 2008
Messages
584
Location
South Central PA
My grandson (Andrew) and his parents plan on visiting us in FL this winter for about 10 days. I think I convinced them that the Auto Train is a viable option to flying from a cost standpoint when taking into consideration the car rental in addition to airline tickets. The idea of being able to pack car seat, baby things, etc., in their car and having these things with them in FL was very appealing. Andrew will be 18 months old when the trip is made. They asked a few questions for which I have no experience. I said I would go to the experts so here I am asking for help.

The questions are...

1. They have a "pack and play" (what we called a play pen) that is about 30 X 40 inches. Would there be room to set this up in a regular bedroom or the family room at night?

2. Are there other reasons the family room would be better then a bedroom or vice versa

3. Would there be more floor room in general in the family room for Andrew to "stretch" his legs?

4. Any other tips on traveling with an 18 month old toddler?

I suggested they book soon as the spring is peak traveling time on the Auto Train.

Thanks for any assistance!
 

Ryan

Conductor
Joined
Apr 14, 2008
Messages
17,031
Location
OTN
1. No.

2. Yes, since there isn't room for the pack and play, Andrew can sleep on the lower level short bed if they're comfortable with him sleeping by himself.

3. A little bit, not much.

4. Not really - a bedroom (of any type) is perfect, because you can "spread out" and don't have to worry about making too much noise (within reason). The usual travel tips, bring plenty of activities, snacks, etc. The waiting period between when you have to show up and when you can board the train is probably going to be the worst part of the trip. If it's nice out, there's an outside playground at both stations (there was at Sanford and it *should* still be there as it's away from where I understand the construction is going on). If it's rainy outside, it could be a miserable hour or two cooped up in the station.
 
E

Erica

Guest
I have been taking my daughter on the train since birth and she is now almost 3 years old. I have found for my own peace of mind that it is easier for me to share a bed with her at night, even the lower berth of a roomette is wide enough for her and I still. I think it would be scary to wake up in the dark in a strange place after hearing your kid roll off the lower bunk and go thump!

I like the bedrooms better than the family bedroom because its upstairs... taking my daughter up and down the stairs on a moving train is really scary for me... also, having a bathroom in your room is nice when traveling with kids. While the sleepers are quite safe, it still scares me to leave my daughter and walk down the hall to the bathroom. My husband could sleep through the end of the world, I'm sure my daughter could get up and leave the room without waking him.

As long as they pack plenty of toys for him the trip should go smooth. They can get a portable DVD player for $50 or less and let him watch some preschool DVDs to keep him busy.. lots of coloring, lots of toys... Pack plenty of snacks that he enjoys. My daughter still isn't all that thrilled by the dining car kid's menu. Make meals an event and even make walking down the hall for some juice exciting. He will need to walk around so he doesn't go stir crazy.
 
C

coachseats

Guest
This past summer we took our then 16 month old on a round trip from Iowa to Georgia and back on Amtrak and it worked out great. There would not be room for a pack n play on the train, but my wife and daughter fit fine on the bottom bunk in the bedroom. We liked the bedroom since it had the bathroom and shower and sink in the room which made clean up and betime routines easier. Our daughter enjoyed climbing on the chair and couch, looking out the window, reading books and watching DVDs, and going for walks to the lounge car. We ate one meal in the dining car, but the rest we had the attendant bring to our room (extra tip) which worked out well so we didn't have to worry about making a mess or bothering other travelers. I would suggest bringing extra snacks and foods the little one will be sure to eat in case they don't like what is offered in the dining car. We took a stroller along to make connections easier and so we would have it when we got to our destination. It also served as a luggage cart of sorts when boarding. I would also recommend getting one of those backpacks with a "leash". At first I didn't think I'd like it but it allowed our daughter to run around and burn off some energy while waiting for trains and kept her safe and out of everyone else's way. Comapred to a long drive or flying, if it works for your schedule, taking the train is the perfect way to travel with small children.
 

DET63

Conductor
Joined
May 6, 2009
Messages
1,777
Don't be surprised if the worst part of the trip is convincing the little tyke to get off the train at the end of the ride. Fortunately, everyone else will be getting off, too, so that may be easier for him.

Don't be surprised if he wants a toy train or the like for Christmas (which may simplify Christmas shopping issues considerably, assuming that you have them, of course!).
 

Hanno

OBS Chief
Joined
Sep 19, 2008
Messages
584
Location
South Central PA
Thanks for your responses! Andrew and his parents have booked a bedroom for their trip. As of now Andrew is planning to sleep with his mother on the bottom bunk. She is still hoping to find a small portable crib to confine him during the night as he is apparently very active at night. We'll see what she comes up with!

Again, thanks!
 

George Harris

Conductor
Joined
Apr 6, 2006
Messages
5,027
Location
now in California
Absolutely bring (or get) a "leash" or harness, or whatever they call them these days. Ignore any snide remarks of having your kid on a leash like a dog. It is better for all. That way the kid does not have his hand up in the air to hold on and you don't have to be sure he dosn't pull away. Really good for your peace of mind when on the platform or going around in the station. Probably not really necessary on the train, for the most part.

You should not need the play pen in the sleeper room, and would not be able to use it if in coach. If it will be useful on the far end, leave it in thd car.
 

Hamhock

Train Attendant
Joined
Mar 25, 2008
Messages
99
Location
Vacationland, Maine
Re: eating in the dining car

Before traveling on the Silver Meteor with our 18-month-old daughter, we purchased a portable high-chair that clips directly to the table. Looks like this:



It ended up working perfectly; it attaches/deattaches in seconds, our daughter was safely and securely able to sit at table height, and the Amtrak personnel thought it looked cute as hell.

Also, you're not required to order off of the kids' menu for your kid. It's just there for the 90% of them that only eat beige-colored starch.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Hanno

OBS Chief
Joined
Sep 19, 2008
Messages
584
Location
South Central PA
Re: eating in the dining car

Before traveling on the Silver Meteor with our 18-month-old daughter, we purchased a portable high-chair that clips directly to the table. Looks like this:



It ended up working perfectly; it attaches/deattaches in seconds, our daughter was safely and securely able to sit at table height, and the Amtrak personnel thought it looked cute as hell.

Also, you're not required to order off of the kids' menu for your kid. It's just there for the 90% of them that only eat beige-colored starch.
Looks very practical. What is it called and where did you get it?
 

Hanno

OBS Chief
Joined
Sep 19, 2008
Messages
584
Location
South Central PA
Well Andrew has arrived and the trip on the Auto Train was a grand success. Andrew slept in a travel size version of a pack and play (actually a Travel Crib by Graco which is 24" X 33") which worked fine. His mother slept in the lower bed but it was not extended into a full size bed. That gave them plenty of room for the pack and play and they could access the toilet which was a concern with limited floor space.

So I am posting this update for those who may have similar questions about traveling with a toddler.
 

TraneMan

Conductor
Joined
Mar 16, 2008
Messages
1,126
Location
Rochester, MN
Well Andrew has arrived and the trip on the Auto Train was a grand success. Andrew slept in a travel size version of a pack and play (actually a Travel Crib by Graco which is 24" X 33") which worked fine. His mother slept in the lower bed but it was not extended into a full size bed. That gave them plenty of room for the pack and play and they could access the toilet which was a concern with limited floor space.

So I am posting this update for those who may have similar questions about traveling with a toddler.
Great to hear the trip worked out for them.. Did they do it again since it was a year or so ago?
 

SP&S

Lead Service Attendant
AU Supporter
Joined
Dec 16, 2010
Messages
497
Location
PDX
Re: eating in the dining car

Before traveling on the Silver Meteor with our 18-month-old daughter, we purchased a portable high-chair that clips directly to the table. Looks like this:



It ended up working perfectly; it attaches/deattaches in seconds, our daughter was safely and securely able to sit at table height, and the Amtrak personnel thought it looked cute as hell.

Also, you're not required to order off of the kids' menu for your kid. It's just there for the 90% of them that only eat beige-colored starch.
WOW! They still make these. Twenty-some years ago when my two were small enough to need a booster seat we had a very similar setup. It was the greatest. Easily portable and you never had to worry about the availability/suitability/condition of the restaurant's hi chairs.
 

AlanB

Conductor
Honored Member
Joined
Aug 22, 2002
Messages
28,406
Location
Queens, New York
As Ryan said, she just layed on the couch and it worked fine.
Thanks! :) That's what I sort of assumed, but then you said "bed" so I wasn't sure.

The only challenge was the SCA had to find a place to store the mattress that normally is used on the lower bed.
That was silly on the SCA's part. Just unfold and leave the mattress up top on the upper bunk and make it cushier. That's what I always do when I'm riding solo and sleep up top.
 
Top