Traveling on Amtrack with a 2 year old. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 10-10-2012, 11:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Does anyone have any experiance travleing cross country by train with a toddler? Or even just any experiance on amtrack at all? We've never done it, but in 2 months we are traveling from Portland, OR to Chicago by train. We have a sleeper room which puts us in first class, but I have no idea what to expect! 


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#2 of 14 Old 10-10-2012, 12:38 PM
 
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I haven't been on Amtrak with a toddler but I have been on many 5 hour train rides here in Germany with my boy, as well as flying several times to the States (flights up to 12 hours) with him. On the trains here they have a children's compartment, which is basically just a little private seating area with more room and a bigger table, where kids can be kids and no one will be bothered by that. Is there such a thing on Amtrak? I guess you've already booked the sleeper, but that sounds similar insofar as some privacy and more space for your kid than just one single seat.
For all journeys I bring some new toys and books and that always works. Also whip out some videos. On trains and planes going for walks. And he has his own backpack / suitcase thingy with wheels and he loves to wheel that thing around like all the grown ups. Also crayons and paper. And of course loads of snacks of all varieties. Between all those things and if you're lucky some sleep (well on a multi day trip of course he'll sleep), and it's always gone fine for us. Our boy is quite a good traveller though, and he's only 2 1/2 so of course anything could change.....

Best of luck and have fun! People don't ride trains so much in the US as they do in the test of the world. It's a great experience! Have fun!

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#3 of 14 Old 10-10-2012, 12:57 PM
 
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We went with two 10 year olds (SF to Seattle). The sleeper is awesome, though in the little sleeper (the one for two) there isn't any floor space when the bed is made. It can be lots of fun to walk up and down the train (both the club car if there is one on the Chicago train and the observation car) The observation car is marvelous for watching the world go by.

 

You'll get your meals in the dining car...it comes with your ticket. Use it. The dining car food is reasonably good. The snack car food is kind of nasty. Walking all the way to the back to look out is an awesome way to spend time.

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#4 of 14 Old 10-10-2012, 12:58 PM
 
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I've also been Boston->Oakland via Chicago and Seattle alone. It was great.

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#5 of 14 Old 10-10-2012, 01:22 PM
 
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I suggest trying to sit by other parents with young kids for as much of the trip as possible.  After a while, you get to know the other passengers, and everyone will be a lot happier if they make new friends.

 

I took a train ride from St Louis to KC in July.  The conductor was directing families with kids to the front car (suggesting only) and families without kids to the back car.  It worked out perfectly for us because we were traveling without kids.  The front car was chaotic...there were kids playing cards behind the bulkhead on the floor, they all had dvd players, and many were goofing off in the isles.  Then the very front car was the dining car... some were up there too.  (but it was freezing in that car)  

 

So, basically, the kids were pretty much socializing and entertaining themselves, and since the car was full of kids, the parents could relax and not have the added stress of the adults who didn't really want to say "Hi" a million times to the cute toddler in front of them.  

 

Let your child walk on the train as much as possible.....it's a slow trip, and lots of stops.  So, exercise is important.

 

On our return trip, one car's air conditioner was broken, and we ALL had to sit in the back car, and it was NOT fun.  Kids everywhere, poopy diapers that went unchanged, kids allowed to climb on the luggage cart.  There was one kid that pooped his underpants, and the mom changed him and cleaned him up without ever leaving her seat.  We all had to smell that, and he was about five years old.  It's funny now, but at the time, I was thinking "Are you kidding me?  There are 8 bathrooms on this train"

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#6 of 14 Old 10-10-2012, 01:31 PM
 
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I've made that exact trip with a toddler! Much younger though, 16 months. Since you have the sleeper car, you're in good shape for it to be a good experience. We brought 2 toys for her plus a dvd player for signing time, the only thing she watched at that age. All meals are included for 1st class passengers (yay! ) and you eat in the dining car, like a restaurant. That will be a fun adventure for your little one if they like restaurants. I'm pretty sure I got at least one meal to go and ate in our room. Can't remember. So 3 meals a day in the dining car, plus one nap (the movement of the train helped my dd sleep so well! ) and filling in the gaps wandering the train and playing with her 2 toys/signing time, really passed the time. Have fun!

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#7 of 14 Old 10-11-2012, 04:32 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sk8boarder15 View Post

Does anyone have any experiance travleing cross country by train with a toddler? Or even just any experiance on amtrack at all? We've never done it, but in 2 months we are traveling from Portland, OR to Chicago by train. We have a sleeper room which puts us in first class, but I have no idea what to expect! 


That would be so much fun! Talk about time to bond. No responsibilities, just hang out.  I have done a 6 hr trip. We did lots of exploring, got off  and looked around at a layover station. Puzzles, colouring, books. Little toys.


Sara - Mum to C (10/02) ; m/c 10/07; 7/08; 3/09; Lucy Olive Feb 28, 2010 !
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#8 of 14 Old 10-11-2012, 10:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, we hate flying (I did refuse to fly for many years, till we really had to last spring), and driving from Portland to Chicago in winter is a very scary thought, so we decided to try the train. Even though its a little more than flying we figure you get to see a lot more! If we visit Chicago again in the summer we will probably drive. 

 

I didn't even think about the possibility of playing with other kids, My DS is pretty social with other kids of all ages and will probably love that part!!! He loves loves loves trains too, so that excitement alone will probably keep him occupied for a while. :P 


- Mom to Baby Mark (9/18/10) and 4 wonderful dogs!
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#9 of 14 Old 10-17-2012, 08:45 AM
 
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We took a 5 hr trip.  A walk to the dining car is good.  I got a headphone splitter, and we both plugged into my iPod and listened to music together, he was really occupied by it.  DVD player.  Brand new tiny toys and coloring stuff.

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#10 of 14 Old 10-27-2012, 06:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks. We have a headphone splitter from flying last spring. We watching movies on the laptop till he zonked out (he slept most of our four 5 hour flights).

 

Any one else? Suggestions for small toys a 2 y/o will like? We will definatly have some hot wheels, trying to figure out a few more little things. 1 month till our trip! 


- Mom to Baby Mark (9/18/10) and 4 wonderful dogs!
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#11 of 14 Old 10-28-2012, 04:04 PM
 
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It's not a trip for bringing a full train set, but a couple of train cars? Maybe a felt activity board?

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#12 of 14 Old 10-28-2012, 10:00 PM
 
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We went on a shorter trip (Portland to Seattle and back) with our then just-toddling 12 month old.  We took some toys and books but didn't end up using them much--the other passengers and the stuff going by out the windows were much more amusing!  Good luck!
 


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#13 of 14 Old 11-20-2012, 01:02 PM
 
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Not sure if you have already gone, but we took an overnight train from Chicago to Rochester last summer and our 2.5 yo LOVED it.  Monkeying around in the sleeping car was a big deal, as was exploring the train in general.  On a plane segment of the same trip, I bought TONS of stuff to do in a mad panic to entertain him, and the ONLY thing we used was the stickers and a few books.  Hope it goes well!

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#14 of 14 Old 11-21-2012, 05:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We go in about a week and a half! Thanks for the input! Getting really excited. I decided to make a few "Busy bags" for the train so we'll see how that goes. :) 


- Mom to Baby Mark (9/18/10) and 4 wonderful dogs!
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