Tips for traveling with a toddler

Posted by Alina on Tuesday Jul 21, 2009 Under useful tips

Here is a new trick that I learned from a more experienced mama, and it made a huge difference in a recent transatlantic flight with our toddler. Toddlers are very curious and will explore something new for a while, which gives you, the parent a nice break. I went to a toy store before our trip and bought about 7 or 8 little cheap toys (for example: a little change wallet, toy car, wind up toy, a magnetic doodle pad, etc..), and spent a grand total of $16. A 99 cent store would be an ideal place for this but I could not find one. I didn’t show any toys to my son before the trip and pulled out something new every hour or two during the flight. I was pleasantly surprised when the little change wallet filled with paper and pieces of card board cut out like cars, kept him busy and calm for almost 20 minutes! We also purchased a portable DVD player for this trip and Elmo kept our little guy’s attention during the meals when it was impossible to walk up and down the isles, competing with the food carts. Although novelty is the theme here, it’s also wise to bring some familiar toys or books to make your toddler a bit more comfortable in a new environment.

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Traveling with a baby

Posted by Alina on Wednesday Oct 1, 2008 Under baby safety, useful tips

By plane:
It is not necessary to buy a plane ticket for a child until they are two years old, however, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recommends that parents of children younger than two years buy a ticket and use a car seat on the plane. Some airlines offer discounts for children younger than two, so make sure to notify them if you are buying such a ticket. If you don’t buy a ticket, you have to hold them on your lap or you may be able to get a bassinet, but you must ask for it well in advance. One piece of advice given to me was to purchase the aisle and window seats, because a single middle seat is the least attractive option for someone flying alone. Bring the baby in the car seat all the way to the gate, and when getting on the plane ask if there are any unfilled seats on the plane. If there is an empty seat, the flight attendant may be able to help you arrange to have a seat for your baby’s car seat. If all seats are filled, you can check your car seat at the gate.

By bus in NYC:
You must carry your baby and collapse the stroller while on the bus.
My personal experience with the bus was not extremely pleasant. It was heavy to have to drag the diaper bag, the stroller (in collapsed position) and my son in a carrier. Having to sit at the front of the bus with all the stuff, I felt like I was in the way of people getting on and off. Also, as the bus moved and swayed, I found it a bit difficult to hold on to the stroller while holding the baby and the bag so that nothing would fall. I think traveling without the stroller, with the baby in a carrier, would have made for a much better experience.

By car:
In NYC your baby must be in a rear facing car seat until 1 year of age and 20 lbs. After that he/she must still be in a car seat, but may face forward until he/ she is 40 lbs. Until the child is 65 lbs, he/ she must be in either an appropriate car seat or booster seat (facing forward).
**When traveling in a taxi in NYC, the car seat law does not apply, thus the baby does not have to be in one, although for his/her safety, it is wiser to use one.

By Subway:
In NYC, you can bring the stroller on the subway and do not have to collapse it. I would advise against traveling in rush hour with a stroller if possible, due to overcrowding. The greatest challenge is getting in and out of the subway, because many stations do not have elevators, and some that are marked on the subway map as “handicapped accessible” have elevators that will bring you to a platform of the train traveling in only one direction, not both. I have found  people on the subway to be very helpful with carrying a stroller for a mom who has a baby in her arms, you may just have to wait by the staircase for a few minutes.

By train (Amtrak/ LIRR):


According to; “Children under 2 years of age traveling free may occupy a vacant seat only if it is not yet needed for a paying passenger. If a child under 2 years of age does occupy a seat without paying a fare, the conductor has the right to request the child be removed for a fare- paying passenger, or the passenger has the option of purchasing a ticket to allow the child to continue to occupy the seat.”

A stroller may be checked in as a “special item” for a fee of $5.00.

My husband, 5 month old son and I recently traveled by Amtrak from NYC to Montreal, Canada. We brought the stroller onto the train with us both ways (did not check it) and occupied the handicapped area seats. These seats have extra space in front so the stroller can stand opened, directly in front of you and there will still be decent leg room. It was great to have the stroller with us during this ELEVEN HOUR TRIP, to be able to put our son down so he could play or nap. One thing to keep in mind is that there are “red caps” (guys wearing red caps), who work for Amtrak, and for a tip, can help you bring your stuff and escort you onto the train before everyone else, so that you can get those special seats. You should see the red caps if you look around where tickets are sold or near check in posts.


According to
“Children under 5 years old ride free at all times. Children ages 5-11 travel at half the adult fares. These tickets are sold as an option under “One Way” or “Round Trip” ticket buttons on Ticket Machines.”

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How to keep fellow travelers patient when your baby is crying

Posted by Alina on Monday Sep 22, 2008 Under useful tips

Do you remember traveling before you had kids of your own? Perhaps you have encountered a screaming baby somewhere on the plane that drove you a little crazy. Your first impression of this poor little guy or girl was probably not the most favorable and you may recall what you were feeling or thinking to this day, probably feeling a bit guilty now.
Once I became a mom, a woman named Ellen shared a great piece of wisdom with me and I got to try it out this past week, while on an eleven-hour train ride from NYC to Montreal, Canada, with my husband and five-month old son.
Early on the trip, it’s a good idea to walk around with your baby when he/she is in a good mood and let people meet him/her happy and smiling. They will get to meet an adorable, smiling baby and this will help to soften their reactions and illicit greater sympathy if or when this same baby or toddler has a crying or screaming fit later during the trip. I was surprised how nice and engaging strangers are when you have a smiling baby in your arms.

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