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Plane, Train, Bus, Car or RV: What’s The Best Way To Travel With Kids?

By November 1, 2013December 31st, 20152 Comments

kid with Elmo backpack in airportAre you planning your family’s next vacation, but simply can’t decide the best way to get there? Here are some things to think about when considering your different modes of transport you travel with kids.

Airplane

Planes are fast and ideal for group travel. There’s no need to tack on an extra day or week to your family’s vacation when you fly because most destinations will only be a few hours away when you travel through the clouds. Furthermore, when you get your children on an airplane while they are still young, you can guide their experience along and insure that it is a positive one. They’ll adapt, and flying will be a breeze in the future.

Plane tickets can be very expensive, so be sure to plan ahead and scope out fares in advance. If you fly fairly often, enroll in a frequent flyer program; after time your flights will pay for themselves! Jetblue now has a family pooling program. Although plane tickets can be a bit pricey, flying is probably one of the most convenient ways to travel, and it is widely understood to be the safest.

Train

As adults, we tend to underestimate what a unique experience a train ride is for a young child. Kids see things like Chuggington and Thomas the Train all over their televisions screens, but until they actually get the opportunity to see a big metal beast up close and personal, it is impossible for them to grasp how large and powerful they are.  A train ride is more than just transportation, it is an experience and a trip in itself!

When traveling by train, kids aren’t strapped down to a seat and can enjoy some freedom of movement while they spy cities and landscapes rush past the windows. Trains aren’t typically a super fast way to get from point A to point B because of frequent stops to pick up passengers, and tickets can be expensive depending on how far you plan to travel. Train rides are perfect for day trips when you don’t want to drive yourself or pay for parking and longer trips where the final destination isn’t more than a few hours away from home. Bigger operations, such as Amtrak, have snack bars so the little ones can indulge in more than just a bag of pretzels during the ride—and you can get an adult beverage if you so choose.

Bus

Taking a bus is one of the most inexpensive travel options available; however, bus rides tend to be cramped and move pretty slow. Bathrooms may or may not be readily available, and gasp! regardless of how it is advertised, you might not get internet access. Buses are a good option for families who are working on a strict budget, but want to go far away. Teenagers will probably fare well on bus trips, but don’t expect great behavior from your young children.

Buses, however, are nothing if not convenient. Bus routes from place to place run several times a day and can take you and your family all over the United States, if you choose to take the ride. Plan ahead and take advantage of awesome deals, like the Peter Pan Express bus from Boston to NYC for only a dollar.

kid driving little carAutomobile

When choosing how to travel, your own vehicle is a fantastic option. Your family can travel at their own pace, and you can largely control what your children are being exposed to—from dirty or clean bathrooms to healthy snacks or fast food—options you may not have if you choose other means of travel. If you aren’t going too far from home, taking your car can also be a money saving option. If you are planning on going farther away for your trip, but would still like the freedom to move about at your leisure during your time away, consider a plane or a train to get there and then a car rental during your stay.

RV

Recreational vehicles are gaining popularity as a way to see the world with road warriors and inexperienced travelers alike. CruiseAmerica.com is a great place to start looking for a clean, reliable RV. In addition to moving at your own pace, this travel option also doubles as a cheap accommodation and you can also plan on saving a few bucks by doing your own cooking. This is a great way to travel for families who are all about the journey—not simply the destination. You never know what gems you will find on the road! Gas in these giants can be a trip killer, so see if another family wants to come along for the ride and split travel costs while you double your fun.

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Shauna Armitage

Author Shauna Armitage

Shauna Armitage is an editor by day and a social media addict by night. She's also the co-founder of Pure Wander, a passionate traveler and mother of two little nuggets. She loves hiking with the family, staying in hotels that deliver cheeseburgers to your room at midnight, and all the red wine. Pinot Noir please. Connect with her on Twitter @CarpeCalamus

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