Author Topic: How would you make the trip?  (Read 7484 times)

kdms

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How would you make the trip?
« on: July 10, 2013, 07:24:31 AM »
Good morning everyone....

My parents have finally stopped dropping hints and have said outright that they'd like us to come to their place in Vancouver, BC for Christmas, and seeing as they've always been the ones to make the trip here to Ottawa, I'd really like to go back and visit as well.  (DH is ambivalent.)  The last time we were there was 2010, right after our son was born, and we drove across the country with him at 3 weeks old and drove back at 6 weeks old.

Gas and hotels (due to time of year it was too cold to camp out with a newborn) cost was around $900 total, and while the trip out was relatively easy (three week olds sleep a lot) the trip back at 6 weeks old is not one we want to repeat - ever.

So.  Going around the Christmas holidays isn't going to be cheap, and we'll be a family of four this time - newest addition should be arriving around the end of November - and preliminary research shows round-trip flights are currently running around $2k, regardless of how we shuffle the dates.

I've made a cursory check of trains, planes, buses, renting cars, and even thought of u-ship.  I'm not willing to pay $2k for r/t plane tickets right now, and I'm willing to make an adventure of getting there - the infant will likely sleep a good chunk of it anyways, and the three year old will probably spend most of the time gawking out the window of whatever mode of transportation we're in - but based on experience, at the end of the trip we're probably going to be tired, cranky, and just want to get home, so I'm set on flying back from Vancouver.  Also, if DH goes home earlier for work requirements, I'll be responsible for managing two kids, and the shorter the trip, the better.  Right now, that's around $1000 for three paying passengers.  I'm ok with that (although it'd be nice to do better); with our budget it's doable.

Does anybody have any creative suggestions for getting from Ottawa, ON to Vancouver, BC at the end of December on the cheap?  Greyhound will get us there in three days for around $500, but I'd like to try and do better than that - and having taken the bus from PEI to Vancouver once before, quite frankly, it's not something I'm all that keen on doing with a toddler - it was uncomfortable enough by myself.  I don't have a problem going to different cities or cross-border if need be, or mixing and matching modes of transportation.  We generally pack pretty light and don't carry loads of baby stuff when we travel, so ease of movement isn't too much of an issue.

TIA!

SunshineGirl

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Re: How would you make the trip?
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2013, 08:20:27 AM »
Personally, having traveled alone with two wee ones on a trip that still gives me the chills to think about (screaming baby an entire flight from Dallas to Phoenix, until the last ten minutes when he puked all over the aisle....) I would tell your parents you'd prefer to come the following Christmas. Or would a summer train/driving trip be easier? Are one-way car rentals prohibitively expensive? (where I live, they are VERY cheap certain times of the year if I'm driving to a west-coast destination where they're in demand.

An RV?

Rebecca Stapler

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Re: How would you make the trip?
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2013, 08:31:50 AM »
Well ... I think it's pretty gutsy of them to ask you to visit them for Christmas when the littlest one is a newborn. Go ahead and face punch me, but I wouldn't take a newborn on a long flight or a bus because of all the germs, especially in the winter. Once the baby's older it's a different story. But at 4 weeks? I would hesitate. It's also pretty gutsy in that you would have to pay for 3 airfares when they would have to pay only 2 to see you. I would suggest paying for one of their tickets if they come to you. For us, a lot of the Christmas celebration revolves around our son, and I want him to spend Christmas in familiar surroundings and wake up Christmas morning in his own bed.

That aside, if I were to make the trip, I would suggest that my parents pay at least half of the cost. They save money by having you travel to them. They are insisting that you visit during one of the most expensive times to travel.

MrsPete

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Re: How would you make the trip?
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2013, 09:14:17 AM »
How long is the train trip?  That might be do-able. 

Three days on a Greyhound bus -- absolutely not. 

I'd want a firm commitment that your husband WOULD NOT return early for work; you plus two wee ones on a lengthy journey -- no.  Just imagine taking the three-year old to the restroom . . . with an infant on a train.  If it comes to this, I'd see if your mother /another relative might return with you.  After all, you're going to buy a ticket for your husband anyway, so you'd have another adult ticket.  The only extra expense would be getting that adult back home.

Are you firm on Christmas?  How about Thanksgiving or New Year's instead?  It's only a few weeks in either direction, but it'd probably cost less, AND you wouldn't have to transport the kids' presents. 

I would not ask my parents to pay a portion of the cost.  They've already spent a good bit traveling to you in past years, so that seems unfair.


avonlea

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Re: How would you make the trip?
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2013, 09:59:13 AM »
There is no way I would make that kind of a trip with a four-week-old infant (unless it were a life-or-death situation, and I don't consider a family Christmas to be in that category).  Your responsibility as a mother outweighs your sense of obligation as a daughter, no matter how thick your parents lay on the guilt.

Rural

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Re: How would you make the trip?
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2013, 10:06:47 AM »
There is no way I would make that kind of a trip with a four-week-old infant (unless it were a life-or-death situation, and I don't consider a family Christmas to be in that category).  Your responsibility as a mother outweighs your sense of obligation as a daughter, no matter how thick your parents lay on the guilt.

+1

Daleth

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Re: How would you make the trip?
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2013, 11:01:28 AM »
Well ... I think it's pretty gutsy of them to ask you to visit them for Christmas when the littlest one is a newborn. Go ahead and face punch me, but I wouldn't take a newborn on a long flight or a bus because of all the germs, especially in the winter. Once the baby's older it's a different story. But at 4 weeks? I would hesitate. It's also pretty gutsy in that you would have to pay for 3 airfares when they would have to pay only 2 to see you. I would suggest paying for one of their tickets if they come to you. For us, a lot of the Christmas celebration revolves around our son, and I want him to spend Christmas in familiar surroundings and wake up Christmas morning in his own bed.

That aside, if I were to make the trip, I would suggest that my parents pay at least half of the cost. They save money by having you travel to them. They are insisting that you visit during one of the most expensive times to travel.

I COMPLETELY agree with this, and with Avonlea's phrasing that your responsibility as a mother trumps ANY AND EVERY request your parents could make. No way would I take off across Canada with a 4-week-old by public transportation in wintertime. Ever heard of whooping cough??! Babies are dying of it across the US, and your baby is too young to be vaccinated against it. Of course the risk is minuscule, but it's a lot more likely on a plane trip or long train trip than if the baby simply stays home.

It's rather obnoxious of your parents to insist on you guys traveling with small children at your own expense. The best response is of course not "are you kidding me, that's obnoxious," but "we would love to visit you, but the baby hasn't had any vaccinations, is too young for them, and so we're not going to make the trip until the baby's older. However"--and this is if you're feeling generous--"we would gladly cover half the cost of YOU coming HERE, up to a max of $___." If they argue that you traveled with a baby before, just say you've learned more since then (if you want you can say your doctor advised you since then that it wasn't a good idea).
« Last Edit: July 10, 2013, 11:03:40 AM by Daleth »

ghatko

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Re: How would you make the trip?
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2013, 11:44:17 AM »
newest addition should be arriving around the end of November

What would happen if you go two weeks past your due date? You are thinking about travelling with a 2 week old when you have not likely recovered from the birth? I think that sounds a bit crazy to me, but YMMV.

By the way I'm also in Ottawa, and my family is in SK, so I understand your pain :)

DoubleDown

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Re: How would you make the trip?
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2013, 12:04:34 PM »
Piling on with the others saying I would not make this trip with two small children, one a newborn. Your parents should not be insisting, asking, suggesting, or hinting. I wouldn't make this trip on an airplane let alone ground transportation. And as pointed out already, let's hope there's no complicated delivery, but if you had to have a C-section or something, travel would likely be downright prohibited. If they want to see you and the children, they should make the trip, and you MIGHT be able to reciprocate the following year or at another time.

secondcor521

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Re: How would you make the trip?
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2013, 12:30:23 PM »
If you're still thinking about going after all of the above, one way to reduce the expense if you have good credit and are disciplined is to do travel hacking for free airplane tickets.  The basic approach is to apply for credit cards, spend a certain amount on them (usually $1K - $5K in the first few months to a year), and receive enough airline miles to get a free ticket.  Since you are married, you can usually get a credit card for you, a credit card for your husband, a credit card for your business, and a credit card for his business, so each offer can result in up to four free plane tickets.

There are ways to have a business without much effort, and ways to spend money that don't involve really spending money.  Google "travel hacking" and do some research; it's out there if you look.

I have done this over the past few months in my spare time with 10 credit cards and have accumulated $4,300 worth of travel benefits.

I do agree with the others in the sense that the health and safety of your children should be (IMHO) paramount, but I'd also leave it up to you as to the assessment of the risk/benefit.

Redbeard

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Re: How would you make the trip?
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2013, 12:35:19 PM »
There is no way I would make that kind of a trip with a four-week-old infant (unless it were a life-or-death situation, and I don't consider a family Christmas to be in that category).  Your responsibility as a mother outweighs your sense of obligation as a daughter, no matter how thick your parents lay on the guilt.

Suffice it to say I agree with this, and with everyone above who is advising you NOT to travel cross country during the winter with an infant via public transportation.

If you are set on making the trip, however, I'd personally consider it worthwhile to spend the extra cash on r/t plane tickets. Three days on a greyhound with two little ones? Or even two days on a train? Considering food, sleep, comfort, travel time, and something to occupy your 3yo, it doesn't seem like the savings would be all that significant. Especially if you are able to wrangle some airline miles from credit cards like secondcor521 suggests.

Best of luck with your pregnancy and with the holidays!

crowstache

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Re: How would you make the trip?
« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2013, 04:05:32 PM »
Well, I would also lean towards NOT making the trip.  My wife and I used to visit both our families every Christmas, but that stopped after we had children.  We've made a couple of airline trips with infants (not at Christmas), but that's something I wouldn't do again.  If they want to see us at Christmas now, then they can come visit us is our philosophy.

But, if you are definitely going to do it, then I would go by train.  At least with the train you have a fair amount of space to spread out and are free to get up and walk around, eat, sleep, etc.  I used to take the train across country during college, and it was probably the most economical way to travel - not sure that it still is or how the price compares in Canada.  But as far as having a relatively enjoyable way to travel, go by train!

kdms

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Re: How would you make the trip?
« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2013, 11:37:28 AM »
Personally, having traveled alone with two wee ones on a trip that still gives me the chills to think about (screaming baby an entire flight from Dallas to Phoenix, until the last ten minutes when he puked all over the aisle....) I would tell your parents you'd prefer to come the following Christmas. Or would a summer train/driving trip be easier? Are one-way car rentals prohibitively expensive? (where I live, they are VERY cheap certain times of the year if I'm driving to a west-coast destination where they're in demand.

An RV?


Can you tell me what company you're referring to?  They're pretty expensive up here, but if there's a company that does cheap one-ways, maybe they've got a Canadian division that might do the same thing.


Thanks to everyone who answered the actual question of how to make the trip, and were objective and fair about their reasons about not travelling with infants - it's always interesting to hear other people's stories.  I've been through a fair amount of airports and bus stations where I've observed parents with kids - including some really young ones - and the only stress generally appears to be coming from the parents who haven't thoroughly prepared for the trip, although that's obviously not always the case - sometimes stuff just happens and there's no prepping for it.  My personal experiences and observations have shown me that planning is key, and I've taken my son camping solo (when DH couldn't come due to other plans) starting as young as 11 months and we've had a great time every time.  That's included some international trips, as well.  Maybe I'm just weird, but because I consider childbirth to be the hardest thing I've ever had to do (so far) and survived it just fine, then everything else can be managed.  I mean, the good moments have always been more frequent than the bad, and the ratio just gets better with planning and flexibility.  We're pretty nomadic, and having kids hasn't stopped that - just altered the process a bit.  :)

As some people seem convinced that all of my common sense and sense of responsibility as a mother has potentially gone out the window due to pressure from my selfish and obnoxious parents (who have never asked anything of us they knew we couldn't or wouldn't handle, and have no issue when we say no), and publicly condemned a complete stranger as a borderline negligent parent without asking for any other details, I suppose I could mention that the planning and preparation process in our household usually takes three to four times longer than the actual trip itself, and usually start weeks if not months in advance.  (Notice the current timing.)  We don't just pick up and go, and we have backed out of a few expensive pre-booked events that were not in the best interest of our son's welfare to attend, regardless of the lost cost and hurt feelings.  That would be just plain stupid with kids, and make for a miserable trip for everyone, including the people being visited.  I watched a coworker who was so determined to go to the Caribbean that she took her 14-month old daughter on a 8-hr flight with a recurring and persistant earache, with the go-ahead from her doctor (so I wouldn't count on a doctor to squash travel plans.)  I had to put up with the complaints for two weeks after she came back about how she had to spend practically the whole time in the hotel room with her poor child who was absolutely miserable.  Duh - what did you expect?  Buy travel insurance, cancel the trip, and stay home - that's the responsible (and sane) thing to do.  That poor child; I can't even imagine putting a sick child through that.

After speaking with DH again, I discovered that he's gone from ambivalent to not really keen, which has squashed the trip for now, and I will say that the decision has absolutely nothing to do with the potential age of our newborn, for those who were concerned about that.  Our doctor supports us 100% in travelling so long as the children are healthy - age is not an issue, whether two weeks old or not.  She's not a big fan of staying isolated in the house to avoid germs.  They're going to be exposed sooner or later, and with this new one's big brother being as healthy as he is (how many three year olds that have had three colds in three years even with being in daycare for two of them do you know?) she's really not concerned about illness in our family.  Our position on vaccination is polar opposite to the ones expressed in an earlier comment, and she's fine with that too, so that's not an impediment for us either.

Anyways...for now the trip is off, simply because DH doesn't really want to go, and my parents don't really care when we come - they never did; going for Christmas was DH's quirk, not anybody else's.  Maybe later next spring when we can take the camper and make a road-trip of it...

wearfannypacks

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Re: How would you make the trip?
« Reply #13 on: July 11, 2013, 12:29:12 PM »
Agree with other posters. I would personally not feel comfy flying with a 4 week old.

It seems the gist is that your parents would like you to visit them, perhaps you could suggest a different time when your youngest is older.

Would it be feasible to fly into Seattle and have them pick you up with the kiddos? Or could you take a train from seattle? If so I'd recommend getting enough SW credit card bonuses to get a companion pass. I haven't paid for a domestic flight in 2 years. google search million mile secrets southwest companion pass. He does a great job of spelling it out!

ace1224

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Re: How would you make the trip?
« Reply #14 on: July 11, 2013, 12:52:29 PM »
i would love to travel with a 4 week old vs an older child.  at 4 weeks they are still sleeping all the time.  easiest flight i ever made was with my 7 week old from the US to Panama and one of the flights was 4 hours.  the next year he was a terror and hard to keep in his seat/entertained.

Rebecca Stapler

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Re: How would you make the trip?
« Reply #15 on: July 11, 2013, 01:10:44 PM »

As some people seem convinced that all of my common sense and sense of responsibility as a mother has potentially gone out the window due to pressure from my selfish and obnoxious parents (who have never asked anything of us they knew we couldn't or wouldn't handle, and have no issue when we say no), and publicly condemned a complete stranger as a borderline negligent parent without asking for any other details, . . .


I definitely didn't mean to insinuate that your sense of responsibility as a parent is going out the window just because you considered the trip. I'm sorry if that came across to you. I have parents that can lay some pretty thick guilt trips, so I understand the pressure to visit over the holidays. Heck, I've only missed 2 Christmases with my parents and one was because I was halfway around the world in the Peace Corps at the time. Don't think she didn't try to get me to visit!


daizy744

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Re: How would you make the trip?
« Reply #16 on: July 11, 2013, 01:25:51 PM »
If you decide to make the trip and want to drive, you can drive someone else's car who wants it shipped to Vancouver and get paid for it.

http://hittheroad.ca/

GeneralJinjur

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Re: How would you make the trip?
« Reply #17 on: July 14, 2013, 11:50:38 PM »
Another reason to skip the trip is due to your own recovery from childbirth.  You are at risk of a blood clot for the first 6 weeks post-partum and travel increases the risk quite a bit (i.e., you aren't moving freely, legs are immobile for long periods, etc.). 

I had a deep vein clot after dislocating my knee and they are no fun.  I spent a week in the hospital, 3 months on crutches, physical therapy after that, 6 months of blood draws to monitor my blood thinning medication and I get to live with the increased risk of a future clot.  Definitely something to be avoided!

SnackDog

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Re: How would you make the trip?
« Reply #18 on: July 15, 2013, 02:46:43 AM »
Go for it!! Frugality dictates cheapest way possible, why is probably Greyhound both ways. It will be an adventure!  Most people spend holidays in this fashion in order to reunite, which is normal.  We decided years ago that holiday travel was not our cup of tea so we always stay home for Xmas.

kdms

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Re: How would you make the trip?
« Reply #19 on: July 15, 2013, 06:49:33 AM »

As some people seem convinced that all of my common sense and sense of responsibility as a mother has potentially gone out the window due to pressure from my selfish and obnoxious parents (who have never asked anything of us they knew we couldn't or wouldn't handle, and have no issue when we say no), and publicly condemned a complete stranger as a borderline negligent parent without asking for any other details, . . .


I definitely didn't mean to insinuate that your sense of responsibility as a parent is going out the window just because you considered the trip. I'm sorry if that came across to you. I have parents that can lay some pretty thick guilt trips, so I understand the pressure to visit over the holidays. Heck, I've only missed 2 Christmases with my parents and one was because I was halfway around the world in the Peace Corps at the time. Don't think she didn't try to get me to visit!



Thank you....and I'm sorry if I got a bit defensive.  I was truly surprised (and upset) at the outpouring of negative comments.  I've got friends whose parents use guilt as their primary modes of communication, and I know I'm really fortunate that mine don't do that at all...they never have, so when they do ask for something, I try my best to accommodate.  It's usually pretty important to them when they ask.  If it's not a good idea, they accept it, no questions asked.

If you decide to make the trip and want to drive, you can drive someone else's car who wants it shipped to Vancouver and get paid for it.

http://hittheroad.ca/

Thanks for this link...that's exactly the sort of info I was looking for.  I knew about uship.com but this is a new one for me!

worms

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Re: How would you make the trip?
« Reply #20 on: July 15, 2013, 11:32:41 AM »
In response to the negatives above, my eldest had flown over 30,000 miles before her first birthday and the other two flew 5,000 miles "home" at 4 weeks old.  Now they all have wide horizons and don't see continents and oceans as boundaries!

avonlea

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Re: How would you make the trip?
« Reply #21 on: July 15, 2013, 04:06:04 PM »
In response to the negatives above, my eldest had flown over 30,000 miles before her first birthday and the other two flew 5,000 miles "home" at 4 weeks old.  Now they all have wide horizons and don't see continents and oceans as boundaries!

My children have been to Asia three times since their births (we have family there).  They don't see continents and oceans as boundaries either.  They didn't fly overseas until they were over a year in age, though.  My youngest did take a domestic three-hour flight when she was four months old (and the size of an eight-month old), but doctors generally agree that flying after the baby is two to three months in age is safe (stronger immune system than a newborn).  http://pediatrics.about.com/od/weeklyquestion/a/0607_travel_bby.htm Yes, it is technically allowed at one week of age on most airlines and most children probably will not be severely harmed by it.  But as an earlier poster states, there is a risk for whooping cough.  There is also a risk for RSV.  A four-week-old infant is still pretty fragile.

I agree that it is easier ON THE PARENTS to fly with a very young baby as opposed to one that is over the age of one.  You have to put A LOT of effort into making a flight manageable with a toddler---those 12 hour flights will live in my memory forever, but with a little creativity (sticker books, new toys from garage sales) we made sure the kids were well occupied.  But, of course, little ones still get fussy when they are tired and you try as hard as you can to make sure they don't disturb other passengers.  Anyway, I have been there and done that, so I understand the stress.  I still think it's not worth the trade-off to fly when they are younger, though.

I know I sounded harsh in my first post, but I was really shocked and concerned for the baby, and that your parents would even suggest that you travel at that time. (Not just the concern of a flight but also about the possibility of a three-day bus trip, train ride, or renting a car to go over snowy areas.)  I probably should have used more tact, but my intentions were from a good place, really.