Don’t disregard public transport when you are travelling with a baby.

As we mentioned in our taxi post, depending on how many children you are travelling with, how many adults are on hand to help, how much luggage you have (let’s face it, probably more than you’d like), and what kind of traveller you are, you’ll sometimes be better off using public transport with a baby rather than cabs (when you may have car seat hassles, and it can be expensive) or a car (when you have hassles of car seats, navigating and finding a park).

Public transport with a baby can be easy, cheap and visually rewarding. Of course, you’ll need to pick your poison. In Europe, the interstate  and inter-country trains are fantastic, while in specific cities urban buses can often be far more pram-friendly than metros (particularly in cities like London or Paris, where stairs abound below ground).

Does the city have a waterway?  In many cities, ferries are a gorgeous way of moving around while feeling like you’re doing something fun. In London try the local ferry – not the tourist cruise – from Southbank to Greenwich. In Sydney, ferry rides across Sydney Harbour are justifiably famous. Plus, each Sunday is “family fun day” –  $10 buys you a ticket allowing two adults and two kids from the same family to travel on all forms of public transport all day, including ferries.

Of course, public transport can be packed at peak hours: ideally, if you’re travelling with a baby, aim to avoid these times. Not only will it be harder to squeeze everyone on, but you’ll be unlikely to fit a pram on with you. (Sue prefers to put the baby in a carrier like an Ergo on most types of short-haul public transport. Sure, bring the pram, but use it later, not during the actual trip on public transport – if a baby is tucked up against you it’s far easier to keep control of what’s going on in a busy, confined space.)

Pros and cons of public transport with a baby.

On the downside: stairs will be your enemy, you may have to actively ask before people offer you a seat (sad, but true), and of course, there’s all that waiting around.

On the upside: it’s cheap, it’s sometimes scenic, when it works smoothly it’s hassle free and (and you didn’t hear this from us)  in Paris, where the metro is SO pram unfriendly that you’ll develop a whole new hatred for stairs (and more stairs), the system is such that you need to stand at a gate and be ‘buzzed’ through upon entry and exit. What’s good about that? Well, the gate doesn’t require tickets.  Seems incredible, but was definitely the case in 2015, and we’re reliably told by parents there in 2008, the situation was the same there. Vive Paris!

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Aussie journalist, travel writer and founder of babieswhotravel.com Sue White has always been a traveller. When her son was born, Sue knew her travel itch would still need regular scratching. But how do you travel with a baby under one and still have a good time? Is it even possible? Where do busy new parents discover practical tips to support those first few trips? To find out, Sue and her baby son travelled both Australia and Europe doing house sits and house swaps; cat sitting and car journeys; took on 24 hours flights and short domestic jaunts; travelled with friends, solo and family members; and cycled, drove, flew and train-ed around seven countries, all before his first birthday.
Learn more about Sue.