As a mom who often travels with my little one alone, I am ALWAYS on the lookout for advice and ideas about traveling with kids from other moms! Today Onyi, a mother, and Physician Assistant, from the fabulous mommy and lifestyle blog Sincerely Onyi is sharing her favorite solo mode of transportation with kids as a featured guest blogger! I think you might be surprised by what she prefers (wink).
As always, happy and safe travels friends!
Sincerely Onyi’s Favorite Solo Mode of Transportation with Kids
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 a cramped space? My toddler is a picky eater, 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, just the two of us, several times. To start out 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:
- Traveling solo with an active toddler
- The mode of transportation I prefer
- Still doing all of this while 8 months pregnant!
Let me preface by saying I feel GREAT at 8 months pregnant and so far we’ve been blessed without any complications. However, I do advise you speak with your OB or midwife before traveling during pregnancy.
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:
My son 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 Mood Swings
My son 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:
- Having to take him in and out of the stroller at TSA security check
- Waiting for our precious breastmilk to get cleared
- Having my son now upset and wanting to walk…away from security
He 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. He 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 my son’s 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 road trip 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?
My Favorite Mode of Transportation – 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 still safe and a 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:
- You can kick your feet up and relax while someone else takes the wheel
- Bathroom breaks don’t lengthen your time to destination
- The Little one gets their own affordable seat to be entertained by coloring or (gasp) an iPad *sorry screentime nazis.
- You get to recline back much further than most airline seats
- It’s spacious enough to fit your toddler’s convertible car seat
- Free Wifi
Throughout our 4 hour journey, I was able to share snacks with him, 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 pull over 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 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!
Onyi is a young Physician Assistant and mom of 2. Her blog Sincerelyonyi.com was created to document her journey balancing life as a working mom, empowering women in medicine, and helping other Millenials maintain a marriage that flourishes. You can find more of Onyi on her Instagram account!