Happy September everyone! Life is going by way too fast and I’m not sure if it’s due to the pandemic or having a baby, or both. Regardless, I’m trying to spend as much time as I can with my son, which is why the blog is always on the back burner. But today I thought I’d come on here and share some tips and my experience on traveling with a toddler on the Via Rail from Toronto to Montreal and back. We went to attend a wedding and it was a really fun trip.
This was the first trip we took with PS. This was the first time he went on a journey that was over an hour and the first time he didn’t sleep in his room at home. The trip was a huge success and I have to attribute the success in some planning ahead of time. Hope you all enjoy these tips on traveling with a toddler on the Via Rail.
Traveling With a Toddler on the Via Rail
For both the trip to Montreal and back, PS napped around 3 hours in the train. Since the train ride is 5 hours, he napped for more than half the journey. So, I highly recommend planning your trip around your child’s nap time as well. Napping kills a lot of time and it also gives you the chance to take a break and relax. I ended up just listening to music and eating snacks while PS napped.
If you have kids, you will get priority boarding on the train, so we were first in line and we went straight for the seats that faced each other. This is the perfect place to get seats when you have a toddler, as you get more leg room and you can put down the seat and lay your child down on the two seats to nap comfortably.
Having a variety of snacks on any journey will definitely keep any child happy. I don’t know what it is, but toddlers love snacks. Since the train from Toronto to Montreal is 5 hours, you’ll need to pack snacks that will be fine for that long. I brought along cheese strings and cut up fruit, however, I made sure to give this food to PS first. The other favourite snacks were nuts (we love our Laid Back Snacks subscription, use my code REFKAMALDEEPDUG to get 20% off), pretzels, popcorn, banana chips and some homemade muffin. I also packed a peanut butter and jelly sandwich that PS really enjoyed. It was his first time eating it too.
I recommend bringing along snacks in original packaging so you can throw it out after it’s done and not have to lug around anything extra. I also suggest to buy some brand new snacks that your child has never had before but you think they might like. They can spend some time opening the snack and being excited to try something new.
Entertainment for Traveling with a Toddler on the Via Rail
I made a trip out to Dollarama to get a few new toys for PS to open during the trip. I went with what he likes best: trucks. Dollarama has a huge selection of toys and they are super affordable so I went ahead and got him 4 different packs of toy trucks. I left them in original packaging so it would take him time to open and be excited. Honestly, these toy trucks were such a hit. I gave a new one to him every time I felt he was getting bored and he would play with it for a good 20 minutes! I’ve actually done a whole blog post with my must buy baby products at Dollarama that you have to check out!
I also bought a few other toys/crafts from the dollar store. Play dough only engaged him for 5 minutes before he thought it was a good idea to eat some. The set of pom poms and pipe cleaners craft package also only kept him busy for 5 minutes before, again, he wanted to put the pom poms in his mouth and I had to take it away. I still think he is too young for these type of toys, but if your child is 2 years or older or has stopped putting things in their mouth, I think these are some excellent activities.
Another big hit was stickers. I bought the Melissa and Dough reusable stickers and they were quite a hit. We put them on the train window and created some stories as we did so. He really enjoyed these. The train also gave PS a package with some activities. The big hit was the stickers. He spent a good 20 minutes putting the stickers all over his legs and arms. It was fun to watch him as well.
I brought along an Ipad full of shows for PS, but he really did not watch anything. He isn’t really into watching many things, so I wasn’t really optimistic to begin with. But, I really am hoping one day he will enjoy watching TV or playing games on an Ipad while traveling.
Happy traveling 🙂