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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My sil is getting married, on the other side of the country, when I'll have a (estimated) 2-4 week old (under 2 weeks, we'll cancel the trip) and a 28 month old. We're really struggling trying to figure out how to get there. There's a LOT to consider.

For one.. I'm still quite a bit traumatized from the last time we flew out there, just over a month ago. the airport was a nightmare, the plane was a nightmare, nothing but tantrums, cramped seats, miserable toddler who refused to be entertained with any toys we brought. Checking bags is extra. With a newborn, we'd have to suck it up and check some things for sanity's sake. The upside, its the quickest way to get there.

The best price we can find for everyone would be just under $600. But here's the problem. What if I go to 42-43 weeks? I don't think I will, but it is possible. Or what if there's some health concern with the baby, or a rough recovery for me, and I didn't feel up for travel? the tickets are nonrefundable. There's a $150 rebooking fee (per ticket) to change it to a different date. There is trip insurance available for $17/ticket.. which is worth it in the situation, but looking at the terms and conditions it seems kinda.. er.. scammy. Like they'll look for any excuse to deny a refund. I don't entirely trust it. Southwest gives credit with no penalties if you cancel, and also doesn't charge to check bags. But it would cost over $800.

On Amtrak, for coach, we're looking at a 45 hour trip, and about $675. Thats for coach. But the seats are roomy, recline all the way, lots of foot room. dd would have space to play. There's the lounge car, and the dining car (which is like a sit down restaurant). They allow 2 carry ons and 3 checked bags per person, no extra charge. carry ons can be much bigger than on airplanes. We are able to "spread out" quite a bit more. I worry about sleeping.. but I think it'd work with dd across her seat and mine, and the baby and I on the floor (there is space for floor sleeping, I'm familiar with this particular train) Amtrak fares are 100% refundable *at any time*. I can cancel 5 minutes before the train leaves and they'll give the money back, no questions asked. Thats a huge relief to not worry about that.

There's also a 5 hour drive from the train station to where we're staying, and a 1 hour drive from the airport.. so thats another consideration (fwiw, dd does well in long car rides. we'd have to stop frequently to nurse the baby though)
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
yeah I know.. its not a great situation regardless. I normally really enjoy flying, but that last flight with a 2 year old made me want to jump out of the plane. The part that made the airport hell wasn't crowds or lines.. it was simply carrying all our stuff since we couldn't check a thing. The food on the short distance amtrak planes is really nasty, but the long distance trains, most of it that I've had was actually pretty good!

The big thing that makes the train seem more appealing is money. Even though it is slightly more than the best airfare we can find (we'll have to pay more to check bags on top of the airfare, evening it out even more) its refundable. 100%. No questions asked. So if for whatever reason I don't feel up to travel, even if I don't decide until literally the day of.. I can back out. Whether its a high needs baby completely wearing me out, rough recovery, health concerns in the baby, bf difficulty, whatever. if we bought a plane ticket (unless we took southwest, which is one of the more expensive airlines for the dates/route) and changed our mind last minute.. that money is GONE.
 

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I would be inclined not to go. Family weddings are very important, but that is really cutting it close.

If you do want to try to make it, I would call and talk to someone about the $17 insurance and whether it would cover you in your circumstances. If not, then go with Southwest.

I love taking the train, but in like 5 hour increments max. The idea of spending over 2 days on a train with a newborn and a toddler, and THEN having to drive five hours? No thanks. (And I suspect the people sitting near you would prefer you not to do that either).

Good luck in whatever you decide.
 

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Boy, I have to say that I wouldn't be going either. My first month or two after baby is born is just a haze of sleep-deprived hysteria. I can hardly leave the house for errands, much less travel across country.

Is it possible for DH to go without you? It's his sister, correct?
 

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Good luck in your decision. I've flown with my 29 month old 9 hours (each way) and she did great. She was just that much older than at age 18 to 24 months (which is much harder) that she was easy to entertain, she could colour, watch a DVD, eat snacks on her own, play with her toys. They seem to mature very quickly when their siblings come along (or is it just me that suddenly the older child seems much bigger when you bring home a newborn).

The difference in time duration (flight versus 50+ ground travel), I'd grin and bear it through a flight. We've also travelled by train in the UK with our 29 month old and it was fine, but I don't think I'd want to do 45 hours on a train with a little one.
 

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I would definitely not go - just reading about what you'll have to do has left me exhausted! I know that's not the answer you're looking for, but neither of your options sound realistic (or worth it) to me.
 

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I have done Amtrak overnight with a 2-year old. It was not fun. (I was the mattress, DS slept well and I did not! The train was several hours late at a transfer.) The airplane does not sound that much better. It is SO EASY for someone to sneeze on your new baby. You will have to check 2 car seats. A t the wedding, you will be busy nursing and not get to participate much. The list just goes on!

Staying home is sounding like a good idea, IMHO.
 

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I would definitely just plan on not going if I couldn't afford to lose the money on the ticket, but if it was something I felt I HAD to go to no matter what I'd suck it up and fly. *Normally* I say Amtrak -- I personally really prefer it -- but in that situation neither means sounds pleasant, so the shorter trip would tip the scales.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yeah, its dh's sister. It crossed my mind to send him alone.. but.. it breaks my heart to not have dd go. She loves her grandma so much. She cried when we left her house last time, and just kept saying "grandma..." in the saddest voice you ever heard every few seconds until falling asleep. And I'm not comfortable with being away from her (that far) for that long. She's still nursing and very attached/dependent on it.

Maybe I'm being naive about how difficult it will be? I had a pretty easy time adjusting after dd was born, so that's probably coloring my outlook a bit. The only things that really crossed my mind about the actual long train ride portion being difficult was sleeping comfortably and keeping dd entertained and happy. And I just realized that since we'd be boarding at the first station on that line, and we'd be preboarding, we'd have first pick! The very last row of seats has really good space behind it with enough room to sleep, and an ideal play space for toddlers. I just kinda figured I'd spend my days baby snuggling while dh deals with dd! And she'd have dvds, course. ftr, I've taken this route twice. Once alone, 6 weeks pregnant in coach, and once with a 16 month old and dh with a bedroom. It was pretty fun with the 3 of us, and boredom was the biggest problem alone.

eta: the more I talk it out and think about it, the more appealing the train sounds! but the good news is, train fares don't fluctuate like crazy the way airline prices do. So I have plenty of time to think/sleep on it and soul search without risking the price going up. I can make/change my mind at any time, yay!
 

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I just did a 45 hr trip on amtrak with my 6 and 2 yr olds while 4-7 months pregnant. It was SO much better than I expected. I am planning another trip with the older kids and the new baby after the summer. My dh didn't (and won't) come with us, so it's just me and the kids.
We had lots of room in the coach. I actually slept fairly well, the kids slept great. There is nice big lounge car (like a living room) and a cafe car. The food in the dining was pretty much inedible and very expensive, so we only did that once. There were tons of kids on our train, including a lot of infants.
The train was only late once, at our initial boarding. We took the super express across the country and back, and the surfliner up and down the coast of California. All of our other trains were on time after the first one.
You don't have to buy your tickets in advance. To use the AAA discount, I had to have mine 3 days in advance, but if you aren't using that, you can buy them right at the station with no additional charges.
My best advice is to bring LOTS of food with you. I packed a rolling suitcase full of food and water. Food and drinks are available, but they are poor quality and very $$. Bring carseats and put them on the floor. There is plenty of room. They won't strap into the seats (no seat belts), but they are a great place for little ones to eat and sleep. You can bring a LOT of baggage. There is a ton of storage space, and they aren't at all picky about how much you bring or how big the bags are. They will help you find room for everything. You can pack whatever you like. There is no security screening (you can't hijack a train).

ETA: My kids had a fabulous time. They really got a big kick out of the train, esp my little Thomas fan. My older one really enjoyed the scenery-I was not expecting that at all. I packed them each a backpack of books and toys. The days passed really quickly. There are bathroom/dressing rooms to change and clean up in. We got dressed and freshened up (I even bathed the 2 yr old in the sinks), ate breakfast, played in the lounge, ate lunch, read stories, had a nap, ate dinner, colored, got ready for bed, read more stories and went to sleep. I stayed up a little later and read a book or knitted.
The 2 yr old's backpack had a detachable leash that was very handy in helping me to keep him safe while carrying the bags. it's this one http://www.toysrus.com/product/index...ductId=2815285

here's a link to my blog. I posted some pictures of our trip.
http://strawberryschool.xanga.com/694849445/item/
 

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Can you and DH take the older babe on the train and you fly with the newborn? Seems like the older kiddo might have fun with Daddy and wouldn't be so cramped on the plane, and you might get to rest and snuggle a little with the newborn on the plane.

Just a thought. . .
 

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I would take the plane, and fly Southwest. You'll save money on checked baggage and insurance, since you can cancel whenever you want.

I think with two kids, it's going to be a royal pain, but at least with flying, it's quicker and will be done soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
hmm.. splitting up would almost work.. except it just might be too traumatic for dd not to get to nurse for 2 days. I expect that once the milk is back, she'll be even more attached than she is now.

Hopefully southwest has a good sale in the next couple weeks!
 
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