Planes, Trains & Automobiles

4 Plains
2 Trains
1 Automobile
And probably a motley assortment of public transit options on top of all those.

We’re off this weekend on a 10-day summer trip, heading to Washington, DC to visit friends and take in the 4th of July festivities, then taking the train North to Montreal for a few days before flying back home.

All our tickets are purchased and travel documents are in order, but before we finalize our packing and transit strategy, I wanted to ask you, gentle readers, for advice you may have on any of the following:

1. Things to eat/see/do in the DC area (we’ll be staying in Virginia and will have a car)
2. Things to eat/see/do in Montreal (we’re staying downtown and relying on public transport)
3. Tips for making travel as painless as possible with the wee one (flying YVR-YOW-IAD, Amtrak from Union Station-Penn Station(3h)-Montreal (10h), flying YUL-YYZ-YVR).

Merci!

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6 thoughts on “Planes, Trains & Automobiles

  1. jen

    I can’t help with points 1 or 2, but as for traveling with an infant, if Isaac is at all similar to Jackson, wear something with super easy and comfortable boob access. Jackson would nurse, or at least latch and then pass out for entire plane rides. With all that extra nursing, plus the dry air on airplanes, be sure to drink plenty of extra water. When they are that little, I also found strollers to be a pain and just used our ergo. Sounds like your sling is pretty great so that might just do the trick. There were a few times I was able to go through security in the airport wearing the ergo without having to remove my sleeping baby (THANK YOU!!) and whenever I forgot and had my full water bottle in my carry-on, they just waved me through.

  2. Karen

    Seconding the sentiment about just using a carrier and skipping the stroller if at all possible. We just got back from a trip where we brought along our umbrella stroller and I am wishing we had left it at home! I think we used it once in the 10 days we were in B.C. Totally not worth schlepping it through the whole airport and gate-check process.

    We also love our ergo and Isaac should be big enough to use one comfortably now. It was the best $100 we ever spent. We have a sling as well but love the ergo for being able to carry Robert on our back or front. Also, we use it on the plane (except during takeoff and landing) which is WAY easier than holding him on our laps. I’ve never been allowed to go through security wearing mine though. I’m jealous!

    I haven’t been to Montreal in a while but the last time I was there I had a memorable meal at L’Academie. They let you bring your own wine/beer!

  3. Jeremy

    Being from Montreal, I have a few ideas for THAT city…
    – Stay out of the underground city, the shopping mall that is right downtown under half of the d\t core. There are no windows
    – Any time you’re planning outside stuff, remember that the humidity can become oppressive. As in, 90% +. Thunderstorms are common.
    – If Isaac is okay with crowds, look for festivals on St. Denis St., the old city, St. Laurent, or anywhere else for that matter. There are a ton of festival type things in Montreal. The Gazette should have some online listings
    – Dunn’s Deli for smoked meat. Charcuterie St. Hubert for chicken. Get the dipping sauce.
    – Old Montreal is nice, and close to the water, so a bit cooler. Not old like Europe, but old for North America
    – I used to enjoy walking around the old Expo 67 site on Ile Ste. Helene. The former US pavilion, a geodesic dome, is now just a shell, just to name one. Kinda cool in a post-apocalyptic way
    – Remember transit in Montreal is actually effective. The metro goes to a lot of places, and so do the buses. Getting around on transit in Montreal is like London. Reasonably quick, mostly harmless, but still you have to mind the gap.
    – If you go out for dinner, remember that Montreal has a different mentality around dining out. Typically dinner takes longer than it would here in BC. You want quick? Go to McDonalds.

  4. Courtney

    DC is an awesome city! We went in 2007 and stayed in Adams Morgan in a little B&B and really enjoyed the neighborhood. For food we just wandered around until we found something we liked. Even took the Metro to random stops to search for restaurants.

    While in DC we spent a lot of time along the Mall. The Lincoln Memorial and Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall were awe inspiring. We toured the Library of Congress (a must for me) and sweet-talked our way into the Capitol building. (We were initially told that if we wanted to go inside we had to contact our Congress person but once we said we were Canadian they let us in with just our passports.) We walked around the White House and gawked at the FBI building. Out of the Smithsonian museums, we only had time for the Air & Space and Natural History museums and both were awesome (and free!). Our favourite museum, and the only one we had to pay for, was the International Spy Museum (http://www.spymuseum.org/) which was SUPER cool! We also drove out to Arlington and the Pentagon and got lost a lot. (Their streets are kind of confusing.) We went shopping in Georgetown and walked a LOT. And we did all of this in 4 days!

    This was pre-child of course but I think the three of you will have a fantastic time! DC is definitely a place we want to return to with Maren.

    Have fun!!

  5. Nicole

    Montreal: go for smoked meat, crepes and poutine. Also, be prepared to feel underdressed and unstylish. If you can, bring a nice scarf, nice purse, fancy sandals and fancy earrings. They are much swankier than us lululemon-clad Vancouverites.

    Traveling with baby: you are allowed to take liquids on the plane with a baby under 2. We’ve done it lots of times. HUGE yes to the Ergo (I’ve been through customs wearing a sleeping baby too). I’ve always taken a stroller, but found it much more useful when Adele was walking and we had long airport walks. As an infant, it wasn’t always necessary, but not really a pain because you can gate-check it and it was handy for clipping the car-seat onto (which you can also gate check) rather than carrying it. Bring a pillow on the plane (if you’re not bringing a full-on breast feeding pillow), to rest Isaac on or to prop up your arm. Bring white noise for the hotel room, so that you can direct it towards him and still have the TV on etc. You’ll be surprised at how much time you spend in there with a sleeping baby. Nurse on take off and landing to get him to swallow to clear his ears. Check in online the night before and try to get seats towards the back with a seat in between the two of you. I’ve done this every time and each time had an extra seat (if the plane fills up and you end up with someone in the middle seat, they’ll surely switch with you). Ummm… can’t think of much else. Have fun!

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