We like to travel as light as possible with baby in tow, so when we can leave the car seat at home, we’re thrilled. Public transportation makes that possible, which is why it’s great to explore cities with kids in the U.S. and around the world that are well-connected in this way.
This is one of the reasons why we love living in Chicago, and have still resisted buying our own car, because we hardly have reason to use it. We frequently use Chicago’s well-connected buses and trains to get where we need to go with baby around town (and if we really need a car to run errands or get out of town we use Zip Car). The advantages of using public transportation while traveling to a big, well-connected city with kids include:
1) Hop-on, hop-off: no worrying about parking (which can be really expensive in big cities where parking is a premium), and saves lots of time you could otherwise be spending sight-seeing or chilling with baby at a park
2) Lightening the load: no worrying about attaching car seats, putting baby in a car seat, or figuring out to do with a car seat once you get to your destination (if you’ve taken a taxi to a museum or park, for example)
3) It’s cheap: typically babies and small children ride free
4) It’s less stressful: especially if you’re exploring a new city, you can spend more time enjoying the ride with the kids, instead of figuring out road maps, fighting traffic, and getting angry at drivers not signaling their turns
When we were in New York City, we found the subway and walking the most convenient and efficient way to check out the city with our little one. We also opted for using a baby wrap rather than a stroller so we didn’t have to struggle with a stroller on the NYC subway’s many steps, or fight with a stroller for room in a crowded subway. Of course, public transportation options are often dismal in many developing countries, so make sure you have a reliable car seat if you’ll be traveling somewhere without reliable public transport.