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  1. #1
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    Exclamation Advice Needed: Amtrak/Plane Travel & travel bag for Blvd CS

    We are embarking on an adventure in a few weeks with our to-be 17.5 month old daughter. We'll be traveling from NC to Louisiana via the Amtrak train for a family wedding and then returning a week later via Southwest Airlines.

    We are thinking that we will probably get a rental car while we're there, as we need to go from New Orleans > Houma > Lafayette > (possibly Houma again) > Lafayette > New Orleans during our one week stay! It's a lot of driving as most of those trips are 1.5-2.5 hours each! It's possible though that we could end up being transported part of the time in my in-law's 2001 RAV4 (MUCH smaller than our redesigned 2007 RAV4).

    We own one convertible car seat, a Britax Boulevard CS, that we JUST installed last night and used for the first time today in our RAV4. DD is right around 21-22# and had been getting away with still using her SnugRide Infant Carrier until now!! She's definitely on the small side as far as weight goes. I'm not sure about height (we think around 30"), but she's not super-tall compared to her peers. We need to get another smaller convertible car seat to use in our 2002 VW Jetta, but I haven't decided on what to get for that yet.

    My friend has a GoGo Travelmate that she said we can borrow for this trip, which will turn the car seat into a stroller for the airport and possibly train station. I'm hoping that works as well as it sounds.

    I have a lot of questions here, so please just bear with me!

    1.) Has anyone ever traveled on an Amtrak with a pre-toddler before? We booked the "Viewliner Roomette" which has 2 "beds" - the two seats fold down to make a bottom bunk and the top bunk pulls down from the wall. It's a VERY small space though (about 5.5 ft wide) but better than the Coach seating for containing my daughter and giving us some privacy. It's a 20.5 hour trip that departs at midnight. Should we bring our car seat into the Roomette and place it on the floor for her to sleep in (unsecured) or check it with the luggage and try to have her sleep in the bottom bunk with me? It sounds like the Roomette is so tight that the car seat wouldn't have very far to go if we wedge it in there!

    2.) We just checked Southwest Airlines' website and it appears that our Boulevard CS is too wide to properly fit on their seats. They suggest 16"W, but the Blvd is 19.5"W. Anybody have any experience with this?

    3.) If the Blvd is too wide for the airplane after all and we need to get another seat for this trip, I'd prefer to just get something that we will also use in our Jetta long-term. I had been romanced by the design and colors of the Maxi-Cosi Priori (I know that's a horrible reason to ever buy a seat, but I figured I could at least start there!), but after reading your reviews on here, it seems less than the best choice. I fear that a Marathon is too big for the Jetta, as the SnugRide infant carrier with base was a VERY tight fit in the back, leaving nearly no leg room for the adult passenger riding up front. I'd like to be able to switch back and forth b/w using the RAV4 & Jetta without feeling like I've compromised on the quality of the car seat in the Jetta. Any suggestions?

    4.) If we do check the car seat with the Amtrak luggage, I also need suggestions for a good "Carry Bag" to get for it so it won't get destroyed in the checked baggage compartment. Coupons, discounts and websites are appreciated!

    Thank you for reading this far and thank you in advance for any advice you can offer!

    - Holly

    -----------
    DD born 12/15/07 - RF in a Britax Blvd CS, 2007 RAV4
    Last edited by goldentwig; 05-05-2009 at 11:08 PM. Reason: signature didn't show up

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  3. #2
    Senior Community Member natysr's Avatar
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    Re: Advice Needed: Amtrak/Plane Travel & travel bag for Blvd CS

    Britax convertibles do fit well on airplanes.

    Here is a short video of our Marathon rearfacing on a Southwest flight.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wwg9w1Spf_c

    Many people like to buy a less expensive seat like a costco scenera to travel with...but personally...I love to travel with my Marathon. I know the seat like the back of my hand, and it installs great in nearly every car.

    We've had our Marathon rearfacing in our civic for years. I've also had it rearfacing in a couple of Corollas, Chevy Colbalt (now that was a tiny car...it was a rental), and a scion.

    I've installed our older boulevard in a Jetta. It worked out just fine. Remember the convertible actually takes up less room front to back than the infant seat did. And..you can install it a bit more upright depending on your child's age...(see my siggy picture..the seat is more upright than a 45 degree angle).

    As far as travel bags..I think Sunshine Kids may make one that fits the Britax seats.

  4. #3
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    Re: Advice Needed: Amtrak/Plane Travel & travel bag for Blvd CS

    We have traveled Amtrack a ton (like over 22,000 miles int he last 10 years) so I can prob help all your questions with that - and we have done it almost all with kids, any where from 6 weeks to 10 years!

    A roomette is tiny - think 2 wide chairs facing each other (as adults your knees will touch - or scoot to opposite sides and rest your feet next to each other). I would take the carseat in the train car - there will be a small luggage storage are for stuff that does not fit easily in you room by the main door. We have taken a BLVD with us before. the go go kids will be good if you can get it (or if you can borrow a higher weight infant seat, I would do it for easy of travel this time) We took coach 1 time with the kids and will always use sleepers if available now. that given them a bit more room to move around and you can close the doors!

    Also it will totally fit on a plane seat - I do it on a regular basis. If you search my posts, I just posted a picture of my kids in both a BLVD and RA in a plane.

    If you have anymore amtrack questions, I am happy to help!

    Have fun, it is THE BEST way to travel with kids!

    (the big thing to remember is to relax and have extra time built into your schedule - trains DO NOT run on time!)
    Jess, CPST and mom to 6 girls
    W(7/28) is rocking an Aton, S(3) rides in a Nextfit or RXT, O(6) has a Frontier 90, the big girls (9, 11) have Monterey Boosters and incognitos, and the oldest is 15, wears a seat belt and is driving!

  5. #4
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    Re: Advice Needed: Amtrak/Plane Travel & travel bag for Blvd CS

    THANKS for info!! I missed seeing the second reply above until just now. That's good info too and I'll have to digest it soon.

    I've been reading the other threads on here and since we do need a 2nd carseat ANYWAY for my DH's car (he just got laid off and will have more time than originally thought to drive our daughter around), I thought I could narrow down what we want.

    As I mentioned above, our DD is pretty small (20th % give or take) and according to the growth charts we looked up, will not even reach 65 lbs until she's MUCH older. Still, the two I narrowed it down to (for our smaller car, airline travel, daughter's RF needs) are the Radian 65 and Combi Coccoro. I'm really leaning twds the Coccoro for $160 at JustKidsStore.com. The Radian 65 is very backordered at HipMonkey. Also the HipMonkey lady told me that the Radian would be VERY heavy to tote around the airport as it's a steel frame, plus in general, her head would rest on her lap when she falls asleep in the car. The Coccoro looks so comfy and CUTE! I know it only RF's up to 33 lbs instead of 35, but my daughter is barely 23# now at 17 months (next week)!

    I'd love any feedback you have on my decision... haven't bought anything yet.
    DD born 12/15/07 - 65 lbs. and 47-49" tall.
    DS born 05/28/12 - 27 lbs. and 23" tall.
    2007 Toyota RAV4 - FF Britax Frontier 90 Booster Car Seat with ClickTight and RF Britax Boulevard G4 Convertible Car Seat

  6. #5
    CPS Technician Victorious4's Avatar
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    Re: Advice Needed: Amtrak/Plane Travel & travel bag for Blvd CS

    Quote Originally Posted by goldentwig View Post
    My friend has a GoGo Travelmate that she said we can borrow
    GoGo is nice because kiddo can ride inside the carseat like a stroller - as long as the floor/ground is level (it's too much of a PITB for use on city sidewalks, though) or you can put roll your carryon luggage strapped into the carseat. A less expensive metal rolly thing from Target/etc. often works just as well. Of course, borrowing for free is the least expensive method

    check it with the luggage and try to have her sleep in the bottom bunk with me? It sounds like the Roomette is so tight that the car seat wouldn't have very far to go if we wedge it in there!
    My kid was in PreK when we took Amtrak from NY to Oklahoma -- I carried her folding Compass B510 booster with me & just put it in the coat closset as we boarded the train (an employee helped)

    We just checked Southwest Airlines' website and it appears that our Boulevard CS is too wide to properly fit on their seats. They suggest 16"W, but the Blvd is 19.5"W. Anybody have any experience with this?
    It'll be fine. The base of the BV is less than 19". Our Apex (which we used on our Southwest trip back from Denver) fit & the Apex is definitely more than 19" wide. I just lifted the armrest between us up out of the way

    I fear that a Marathon is too big for the Jetta, as the SnugRide infant carrier with base was a VERY tight fit in the back, leaving nearly no leg room for the adult passenger riding up front. I'd like to be able to switch back and forth b/w using the RAV4 & Jetta without feeling like I've compromised on the quality of the car seat in the Jetta. Any suggestions?
    Unless the parents are extremely long legged and/or the child has special health needs, it should be fine. The front passenger only requires 10" between face & dashboard (assuming there's an airbag there) & babies this old can have a more upright angle: between 30-45 degrees reclined. Worse comes to worst, the 2nd adult should simply ride in the back with baby. That adult would then be about 40-85% safer than being in the front seat anyway (NHTSA/SafeKids curriculum teaches us that it's around 40% safer, but the Univ. of Buffalo research shows that the backseat is as high as 85% safer for anyone)

    Quote Originally Posted by J-max View Post
    We Have fun, it is THE BEST way to travel with kids!

    (the big thing to remember is to relax and have extra time built into your schedule - trains DO NOT run on time!)


    Quote Originally Posted by goldentwig View Post
    the Radian would be VERY heavy to tote around the airport as it's a steel frame, plus in general, her head would rest on her lap when she falls asleep in the car.
    Heavy? yes indeed . . . head on lap? Erm, no, definitely not ... unless the harness is used horribly incorrectly The harness must be snug enough such that you cannot pinch a horizontal crease at the collarbone. Sleepy heads flop, sure, but never all the way down to the lap Besides, the kids themselves are rarely bothered by the flopping head. It is only a cause for concern with infants who cannot control their heads yet. An almost 18 month old healthy child with flopping sleepy head does not cause a safety concern. Usually the parents just imagine it to be uncomfortable, but some rolled up flannel receiving blankets on either side of the head fixes the issue. (Turning FF doesn't solve the problem although many parents think it would be a solution: FF merely increases the risk of spinal injury)
    TIFF ~ doula & all hours childcare provider
    SCARLA: winter '02 . . . Jr. Roller Derby level III
    BEAR: spring '11 ... Recaro Sport + Clek Oobr
    RAHNE: summer '17 ... MicoMax30 + RadianRXT
    childcare: 0-7yrs... Contender + Frontier Clicktight
    {emergencies: Scenera Next, Highback, Topside}

  7. #6
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    Re: Advice Needed: Amtrak/Plane Travel & travel bag for Blvd CS

    Quote Originally Posted by papooses View Post
    Heavy? yes indeed . . . head on lap? Erm, no, definitely not ... unless the harness is used horribly incorrectly
    Oops! I just realized what a mistake I typed this morning as I was in a big hurry... she said the kid's head would be resting on their CHEST, not on their lap! LOL!! Haha, that shows what I get for extreme multi-tasking as I'm on my way out the door!

    Thanks for your feedback!
    DD born 12/15/07 - 65 lbs. and 47-49" tall.
    DS born 05/28/12 - 27 lbs. and 23" tall.
    2007 Toyota RAV4 - FF Britax Frontier 90 Booster Car Seat with ClickTight and RF Britax Boulevard G4 Convertible Car Seat

  8. #7
    CPS Technician Chameleon's Avatar
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    Re: Advice Needed: Amtrak/Plane Travel & travel bag for Blvd CS

    You will be able to get a MA easily in a Jetta. I've had ours both FF and RF in the Jetta. Have fun on your trip and wave as you pass by me as you go from Houma to Lafayette
    DD1 12 Seatbelt
    DS 10 Seatbelt
    DD2 8months Keyfit

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