As mothers, we know a failure to plan is a plan to fail. Before traveling out of town with my toddler I often wondered what could be the most stress-free form of transportation? How can I best prevent a car seat melt down? How do I change a dirty diaper in cramped space? My toddler is picky and mostly eats a Nigerian dish known as fufu (it isn’t very convenient for travel), will we struggle to keep him fed?
After reading blog post after blog post, pin after pin, I can promise you that nothing prepared us more than trial and error. With Hubby working out of town to having family all over the state, we have been on the road several times . To start my series of posts on Traveling With A Toddler I’d like to get into my favorite mode of transportation. I’ll also share with you what I believe is THE best spot to sit with your tot.
You might think I’m insane after reading this travel post for 3 reasons:
3. Still doing all of this while 8 months pregnant!
Traveling by Plane
Sometimes you have no choice but to travel by plane with your toddler. From getting to the airport, checking in, going through security and then waiting at your gate all of these factors can bring its own set of headaches with a toddler. Not to mention when flying from large cities/airports. If given an option I wouldn’t put a plane ride as my 1st choice. And here is why:
The Goz was about 10 months when we 1st solo traveled by plane. For some, this may be an easy ride with a mild-mannered toddler but my son is best described as independent and very active. He rarely wants to be carried because he is busy learning about and getting into everything. His Pediatrician calls him high functioning; I like to say he’s 2 handfuls. Interpret that how you may but I wouldn’t want him any other way.
The Goz had recently started walking so his mood often flipped between ‘Carry me Mommy’ to ‘Give me freedom!’ so I came ready with both our favorite carrier and umbrella stroller . Still, my nerves were wrecked far before we got to the gate by:
3. Having The Goz now upset and wanting to walk…away from security
The Goz ended up in the carrier and his stroller became a cart for his diaper bag. I was in the clear to finally make it to our gate but then the unthinkable happened; my early pregnancy bladder told me I had to pee NOW. On top of looking like the bag lady, one of my least favorite things to do is drag my toddler into a public restroom. I’ll spare the details of all the fumbling around I had to do in a hurry.
Fast forward to actually getting on the plane I quickly learned the monetary advantage of having a lap child may not be worth it with this toddler. The Goz could not stand having to stay on my lap despite his iPad for entertainment. Adding to the discomfort was trying to reach down in the tiny gap for a bottle out of the diaper bag between me, a stranger and The Goz’ flailing legs. Praying for a nap, that never came, I tried to patiently wait for the ride to be over.
Road Trip: No Thank You
I’m well aware a number of people enjoy jumping in their car and hitting the open road for hours to their destination. Not our family. Hubby and I would rather fly than take a road trip greater than 3.5 hrs. I don’t know if it’s either of us not wanting to be responsible for the driving or that I fall asleep quickly like a newborn baby in a moving car. You don’t want me as a roadtrip partner.
Now switch out your road trip partner for an active toddler. Say no more, this is at the bottom of my list. Hopefully other moms can relate to my son HATING his rear facing car seat. There is little I can throw back there for him with my short arms while driving. Please spare me the torture. I’m definitely not dealing with that alone on the road for hours, would you?
Catching The Bus
Yes, you read that right. I’ve been a frequent patron of Megabus since they arrived in the US and have yet to have a negative experience . It started out a bit more exclusive at the beginning since booking can only be done online, but its safe and modern concept have not changed. Solo travel with a toddler often requires both hands and without the responsibility of driving, a smooth ride on Megabus has been the right choice for us. Here is why:
5. Its spacious enough to fit your toddler’s convertible car seat
Throughout our 4 hour journey I was able to share snacks with The Goz, catch up on blogging, and catch some Zzz. He kept a pleasant attitude for most of the trip, had his own space close to the window to watch the cars zoom by, and took a peaceful 2 hr nap. I could not have been more relaxed, well maybe if I wasn’t 8 months pregnant. Remember, it can get pretty cool on the bus so bring a blanket or pullover for you and your tot.
Where To Sit
Ok, here is my secret spot. The Megabus is a double decker bus so once you step into the back entrance there is a a staircase to your left. Look up and those are your prime seats with your tot. There seems to be just a little more legroom in addition to the ample amount given to every seat. There is also a small shelf with cupholders directly in front of you. I like to use this to prop up his ipad, and my feet at times.
There you have it. I catch the bus and I have no problem with it! Give it a try some time, you might be pleasantly surprised.
It’s so cute that you get to have all this traveling time with your little one! That being said, I have no plans to ever get on another bus for a long distance trip lol however your reasoning makes a lot of sense, so once I have a toddler maybe I’ll give it a shot. Thanks for this tip, I will pass it on to mommies I know!
I just want to let you know that you are my superhero. I wouldn’t ever travel solo with a toddler lol I love my sanity way too much
Lovely post! It’s been a while since my kiddos were toddlers but these are great tips!
This reminds me of my sister who has travel across country with 4 kids.
We’ve went on a 9 hour trip to cleveland from North Carolina with a toddler! You’d think it couldn’t get any worse ? Well it did ! My nephewson threw up a good three times !!
Great Tips and I agree its trial and error with children! Some of the things I can do for mine may or may not work for the next person. Thanks for sharing!
When my son was 2 years old, we traveled from California to Chicago and I was very nervous. Things went good on the way there but boy oh boy, that plane ride back was no joke. He was very busy, to say the least. Like you, I brought stuff to entertain him to no avail. Boy, I’m so glad that I’m last those days.
I’ve never been on a plane. Road trip is how we do it even when my kids were toddlers. Takea a lot of patience but it is doable.
I knew exactly what seat you were talking about on the Mega Bus. That is a good choice. I’ve never traveled solo out of town with my kids anywhere. That sounds terrible because they are 12 and 5 now. Kudos to you for still going.
My favorite mode of travel is Amtrak.
Loved this post! I’ve flown solo with my LO (now 9.5 mos) twice so far. Luckily he sleeps for most of the flight. It still comes with so much anxiety though. I can’t even imagine how it’ll be when he starts walking. I’ll have to try the bus for sure! Thanks for the tips 🙂
I would never guess a megabus would be the most convenient way to travel, but this makes so much sense! My husband & I travel a lot, so I’ve been wondering how chaotic it will be to travel with a toddler in the future.