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How to Travel to NYC With an Infant

Posted by Ali | Friday April 13, 201210 comments
The short answer is you might want to reconsider that.  I just returned from four days in New York City with my husband and baby and was quite disappointed to discover how hard it is to get around with a babe in tow. Sure, it's a big bustling city and space is always an issue but it went beyond that.  From small inconveniences like waiting on the side of the sidewalk until there was a gap in the crowd to get by with the stroller (people don't share the sidewalk) or struggling with the doors others let slam in my face, to more serious ones such as the total absence of change tables and being flat out refused service at some restaurants.  On the plane ride home, we commiserated with a couple that had the same experience with their two year old.  The great city of Manhattan it seems is strictly for adults.  Or children old enough to order their own foie gras.

It made me wonder: how do New Yorkers do it when they have babies?  As I picked up a bottle of my favourite perfume from Saks Fifth Avenue, the sales clerk answered that with what I believe to be a universal truth there: "When I have babies I'll leave the city." 

I have to admit, after changing my son on the floor of a public bathroom for four days, I was feeling pretty crusty.  But, if you've already booked your tickets you will need some practical advice for getting around. 

Cabs with car seats
There are some taxi companies that can pick you up at the airport with a car seat installed.  The car seat may be an older model and you should definitely double check the install, but it's much more convenient than lugging a toddler seat around the city.  We used Eastern Luxury.

Bring a baby carrier
A lot of restaurants will turn you away from the door if your baby is in a stroller.  Yes, it's hard schlepping your 25 pounder all day strapped to your chest, while carrying a diaper bag but it's also hard when you're ravenous, your child's diaper is filled with poo and the diner won't seat you.

Even if you booked a crib, bring your playpen

I thought I was so clever, booking a crib in advance from the hotel.  I didn't realize said crib would be a 1960s metal barred hospital one with lead paint.  After repeatedly bonking his head rolling around in it (and getting his feet stuck in the bars), we brought him into our bed.  Our TWIN sized bed.  TWIN!! This from a 4 star hotel.

Avoid downtown
If you want to add some drama to the trip, you will take your child to Times Square.  There you will lose your temper and start slamming the stroller into people's heels screaming, "I hate you! I hate New York!!!"  Or, be a smart person and avoid the crowded core altogether.  We found Soho much more pleasant for getting around.

Book a day off after your return

If you arrive home on a Sunday, take the Monday off.  You'll need the day to lie on your bed in the fetal position, sobbing about the unfairness of it all.  Plus you got zero sleep on that TWIN bed!

Have you traveled to New York with a baby and if so, how did you manage?
More by Ali
More on Travel, Eating Out, Relax, Pregnancy, Parenting

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on March 29, 2016  Caro9  23,703 said:

Je suis contente d'avoir lu cet article. Très intéressant.

on April 27, 2012  Ali de Bold  STAFF said:

Thanks, Avery! I like your blog and there were a ton of great posts about your trip. Thanks for the links! Brooklyn is much more baby/family friendly. My trip was only to Manhattan and I think that was part of the problem. We have a trip coming up to San Francisco. Here's to hoping it's a better experience!

on April 18, 2012  Avery said:

We took our baby to NYC for 3 weeks last September (when our daughter was 5.5 months old) and it was AMAZING. Our secret - don't try to travel with a baby as if you don't have one. We have been to Manhattan many times and done boutique hotels and fine dining. But don't try to do that with a baby in tow!

We rented an apartment in Brooklyn, and did baby-friendly activities for our trip. We only went to Manhattan a few days; the rest of the time was spent in very family-friendly areas of Brooklyn (Fort Greene, Park Slope, Brooklyn Heights).

You can read all about it on my blog here: http://www.stuffaverylikes.com/?s=brooklyn fave&submit=SEARCH

And I also wrote a detailed blog post about flying on Porter Airlines (from Toronto to Newark) with a baby:

Hope this helps for your next trip!


on April 16, 2012  GoneBatty  3,196 said:

Oh goodness that sounds awful! Looks like my husband and I will be enjoying NYC alone next year!!

on April 15, 2012  Ali de Bold  STAFF said:

Yes we will wait until he is older before attempting this again. Next stop is San Francisco! Anyone Have advice for that city?

on April 13, 2012  Aliza  13,970 said:

Wow Ali, sorry to hear about how uninviting the city was for you and your family. Very useful tips for things one may not think about, like the crib at the hotel would have been something I would have done, being the planner I am only to be in the same position as you. Hopefully the next time you goto New York when he's a bit older it will be more manageable.

on April 13, 2012  shuey  2,784 said:

New York; not a baby city. I never would have thought of that until I read your article. Makes perfect sence though. I brought my babies there but they were 8 & 10 at the time. Santa was @ Time Square (the real Santa) and we skated on the ice pad. It was truely amazing. Best Chritmas ever .I suggest you try it again in about 6 years..lol

on April 13, 2012  takoda  28,648 said:

So do I!! After having a baby we find out all kinds of new things we
never thought of before hand. It's to bad there isn't a hotel chain that
just caters to family's with little ones that's across both of our
country's. I know they'd do great if there was one. And I don't mean one
like Disney world, I mean one that everyone can afford that's across
Canada and the U.S. If I had the money I'd start one.

on April 13, 2012  Ali de Bold  STAFF said:

Ya, it was kind of a gong show but in the end I thought it was funny. I guess that didn't come across here. It turns out bringing a baby on a business trip isn't the swiftest idea. We do have another baby trip planned and I'm hoping it goes a lot better.

on April 13, 2012  takoda  28,648 said:

I'm so sorry your trip went so badly Ali. The whole trip sounds like it
really sucked!! Some of your tips can be used pretty much any where you
travel with a baby. So I'd tell anyone that was planning a trip to double
check all of these things either with someone they know that's already
bin to the same place, or with the travel agent and on line. Hopefully
your next trip with the baby will go much better for all of you.

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