Being in the DC area has a lot of perks. One is the ease of train travel. I’m taking this week off of work, and realized it might be more fun to go spend some time with the in-laws who love Bubus and can help out taking care of him. My father-in-law made me poached eggs this morning and held Bubus while I ate. That’s pretty awesome.
I did not relish the idea of spending 4+ hours in a car with Bubus in the backseat, and also didn’t want to deprive Hub of a car for a whole week. So we decided to take the train. My impression of train travel is that it’s expensive, but for one adult and an infant one way, it actually ended up being pretty affordable. We used the AAA discount on Amtrak and got a ticket for $62.
A few tips for bringing a baby on a train. One, although I really wanted to bring my full-size stroller, I brought along the easily fold-able UppaBaby GLuxe umbrella stroller. In the end I was glad. It has a strap so you can pick it up and carry it on your shoulder.
And although it was sort of a pain to carry, I brought along the Boppy too (in the picture above). I could put it on the seat next to me and sit Bubus in it – carefully supervised of course. I also used it to nurse, and when he fell asleep nursing I didn’t have 19 pounds of baby in my arms. He rested on the Boppy and we were both quite comfortable.
The biggest pain was dealing with having a baby, a stroller, and a rolling suitcase. Using the Moby wrap made it a big easier, but in the end it was the kindness of strangers that got me on and off the train. An Amtrak employee took me early down to the train and loaded my suitcase and the stroller. When we arrived in Metropark, a gentleman continuing on to the city unloaded my bag for me and the conductor took the stroller. Chivalry is still alive and well in the Mid-Atlantic.
A few tips:
- Bring a baby carrier (Moby, ring sling, etc). If baby gets fussy you can walk around with it, and it will ease the burden of carrying your bag.
- Bring a lightweight stroller. You’ll probably want one at your destination anyway!
- Check on baggage check-in ahead of time. We couldn’t check bags going to Metropark, but if we were going all the way to the city we could have. If I had known that ahead of time I would have just chucked the diaper bag in the larger bag to minimize the number of bags.
- Minimize bags if you’re traveling alone. We only made one diaper change in three hours, and baby was just as content to look out the window as to play with toys. If I had put the diaper bag in the suitcase, it would have been one less bag to carry.
- Bring a nursing cover but don’t feel like you need to use it. We nursed while the train was moving and no one was the wiser. Of course if it’s a crowded train and you have a seatmate, you may feel differently!
- Take an off-hours train. If possible, find out when the less-busy trains are and take one of those. Ours was a 5pm train to NYC on a Monday, which ended up being busy but not packed to the gills.
- Ask for help. If it’s just you and the baby, don’t be afraid to ask for a hand. Give someone the chance to be chivalrous. You probably like helping people because it makes you feel good, right? So give someone else the chance. Besides, you’ll probably need it.
- Have fun! It really is a fun experience to travel via train with baby. He liked looking out the window, having my full attention, and the rocking motion of the train. He also got to sleep full-on in my arms, which we rarely do these days so it was a nice treat for both of us. I can’t wait to do it again with him when he’s older – I think that this will be a favorite.