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24 August 2016 @ 09:00 am
Family Traveling in HP  
You guys! It's been so long since I've done a proper post with thinky thoughts and/or questions about HP and fandom and it's kind of sucked. Mostly I just haven't had the time or energy, even though I have a few thoughts bouncing around. But this morning, I was TOTALLY inspired, so here I am! With thoughts and questions!! All for you!!!

Anyway, I was thinking about HP before bed, as one does, and started contemplating modes of travel in the wizarding world. I came up with:
  • Brooms
  • Flying Animals
  • Apparating
  • Floo
  • Automobiles
  • Trains (long distance)
  • Portkeys
  • Knight Bus
Am I missing any? Keeping in mind I was trying to keep it limited to somewhat reasonable everyday type travel, so I left out mysterious ships and vanishing cabinets. ;)

There is a point to all of this, and that point is a question:

How do wizarding families get around when they have infants and toddlers traveling with them?

All of these modes of travel seem well and good for children of a certain age, but for young children, many of these modes seem impractical and downright dangerous.

Brooms: I can't imagine a broom is safe or practical for young children. We see in PS that many children, including pure-bloods, aren't allowed to touch a broom before Hogwarts. There are exceptions of course (like with Draco Malfoy) but I am guessing for really young children, even if you let them on baby brooms (like we see with Harry and that picture of him & Lily when he was a baby) they aren't using real brooms for actual travel. Given the make and design of a broom, riding with a child in your arms or one who you cannot reliably count on to hold/grip the handle, this seems overall impractical.

Flying Animals: The Weasleys (and I would imagine most families) likely don't have a flying animal, and during the daytime with all the Muggle areas around, that's not really practical either.

Apparating: They aren't old enough to Apparate, and while there is side-along
A. It doesn't sound like the kind of experience you want to subject a child to, and
B. In Chapter 17 of HBP: "Dum--er--someone took [Harry]. Side-Along-Apparition, you know."
"Whoa!" whispered Seamus, and he, Dean, and Neville put their heads a little closer to hear what Apparition felt like. For the rest of the day, Harry was besieged with requests from the other sixth years to describe the sensation of Apparition.
We know Ron & Neville grew up in pure-blood wizarding families, and presumably many of the other sixth years did as well, which leads me to believe it's not a common practice to side-along underage wizards, especially not young kids.

Floo: This *might* work, assuming the place you're going has a Floo, but given the emphasis on pronunciation, and how bad younger children often are at clearly speaking, it seems risky to let children go on their own. Do we know if you can side-along Floo? Like, if I hold a baby and Floo, will the baby come too? Is there a point (age/weight etc) where side-along Floo would no longer work?

Cars: We see a few instances of "magical" automobiles--Sirius's bike, Arthur's car, and the Ministry cars--but are these popular in Wizarding families? In Chapter 3 of CoS, Molly says "Imagine a wizard buying a rusty old car and telling his wife all he wanted to do with it was take it apart to see how it worked, while really he was enchanting it to make it fly." which makes me believe that the car wasn't ever intended for them to actually use. They do use the Ministry cars (when they get special permission for escorting Harry), but my instinct is that, while the Ministry probably has cars to blend in with Muggles, most wizarding families likely don't have any form of vehicular transport.

Trains: This seems to really only apply to long-distances. I don't see any issue traveling with young children here, but I'm more interested in everyday type travel.

Portkeys: I know Portkeys are created for travel, and that they are helpful for mass travel over long distances. They can be used for fewer travelers over short distances as well. What I don't know is how difficult the charm is, or if there is any kind of regulation on it. The Pottermore entry leads me to believe anybody can create them, but then there is mention at the end of "the suggestion of arranging Portkeys for the transportation of annoying relatives has saved many a wizarding family Christmas.", and the "arranging" word choice makes me think that perhaps there is more too it. Though I very well could be readin too much into things, and they were just referring to the unpleasant experience of Portkey travel. But even if it's easy to create one, traveling by Portkey is very uncomfortable and "can lead to nausea, giddiness and worse." The Pottermore entry also specifically recommends that pregnant women not travel via this method. Which makes me think that, again, traveling with small children via Portkey would not be ideal or perhaps even safe.

Knight Bus: This one seems like maybe the most likely? I couldn't find any mention about the Knight bus from Ron in PoA that would indicate a familiarly or unfamiliarity with having used that form of transportation before. It does seem like traveling with young children on such a bumpy ride would be challenging, but not necessarily harmful. I never got the impression that the Knight bus was that important and popular among all wizards, but it's not like that would have necessarily come up in Harry's journey and it is used numerous time sin the book...

So. How do families with small children get around? Possibly via Floo, but I mentioned my reservations with that method, and what happens if they want to go somewhere without a Floo?!? Is the Knight Bus really what most people use?!?

Any thoughts? Suggestions? Did I miss something totally obvious that I will be embarrassed over later? Come talk to meee!
Niconarlth on August 24th, 2016 04:20 pm (UTC)
How about horse(or other animal) drawn carriages? Like the threstral carriages that take some of the students to school?
wicked smut goddessgracerene on August 24th, 2016 04:24 pm (UTC)
I'd imagine that would be pretty conspicuous for traveling generally-speaking, given Muggle populations. Probably expensive, too.

Other than the Beauxbaton's carriage and the ones at the school, I don't think any animal-drawn carriages are mentioned, which makes me think they're probably not very common. :D
(no subject) - narlth on August 24th, 2016 04:50 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - josephinestone on August 24th, 2016 05:38 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - gracerene on August 24th, 2016 06:13 pm (UTC) (Expand)
kerrilee75: pic#126363732kerrilee75 on August 24th, 2016 04:46 pm (UTC)

I think of the modes of travel you've come up with, Floo is the best bet. I'm thinking you must be able to Floo with someone, carrying them or possibly holding hands if it were a big enough fireplace. Also, I'm thinking about injury situations where you need to get someone to St Mungo's. I can't quote HP as well as most, but I'm thinking of situations where injured students were transferred to St Mungo's. How'd they get there.

kerrilee75: pic#126363732kerrilee75 on August 24th, 2016 04:50 pm (UTC)

Good lord I said "thinking" a lot in that answer. I'm on my lunch break and can't edit my response from my stupid phone. But thanks for the little nugget to ponder while I eat. ;)

(no subject) - gracerene on August 24th, 2016 05:07 pm (UTC) (Expand)
bonsaibetzbonsaibetz on August 24th, 2016 05:01 pm (UTC)
You forgot flying carpets. I think there is a bit in canon where "family sized flying carpets" are mentioned in the books? Some reason that visual in my head has always stuck there, so I think that's canon. Now I'll have to check HP-lexicon to be sure.
wicked smut goddessgracerene on August 24th, 2016 05:05 pm (UTC)
Yes, I purposefully excluded flying carpets as I believe it was mentioned that they were popular in other countries, but not in England, which is where I was mostly thinking of. You're right that they might work well in this instance for countries where they're popular, but I'm not sure about families in England.
kerrilee75: pic#126363732kerrilee75 on August 24th, 2016 05:43 pm (UTC)

Does the person standing in the Floo have to be the one to say the name and toss the powder? Like could a mother toss the powder and say the location while the kid steps in? What if a person has a lisp or stutter? Also, do you have to be magical to Floo? Could Squib children Floo?

wicked smut goddessgracerene on August 25th, 2016 02:46 am (UTC)
LOL! So many Floo questions!!
cunning as a weevilfirethesound on August 24th, 2016 05:55 pm (UTC)
Flying on a broom with a loose baby/toddler sound super dangerous, but I've seen baby seats on bicycles. Maybe there's something like that with lots of built-in crash charms? Though that'd only be practical for short distances, I think. And probably in the country where there's relatively little chance of being seen by Muggles.

This is a really good question and now I want to know the answer! If I recall correctly, the only time in canon we ever see anyone traveling with a baby, it's when Hagrid took Harry to the Dursleys. And enchanted motorbikes are definitely not the norm.
wicked smut goddessgracerene on August 24th, 2016 07:17 pm (UTC)
Yes, I've seen those as well and wondered about broom add-ons. But given a broom's size and weight, it seems like adding something so bulky could throw off the balance? Though I guess bikes are fairly slim as well.

Yeah! Other than baby!Harry, there really isn't mention of many other babies in canon. We have Teddy for a half a second, but that's pretty much it, and no mention of traveling...
Josephine Stonejosephinestone on August 24th, 2016 06:01 pm (UTC)
I don't think you're forgetting anything transportation-wise, but as a parent of small children the reality is: we don't take them places often.

I can see using the Floo to go to St Mungos but they simply wouldn't have a lot of reason to take their kids places. They wouldn't be required to take their kids to the doctor every month like people try to force on us, and they don't go shopping for groceries but grow their own food. At least, we never see them shopping for groceries. And if they did those places would have Floos.

Ellipses is not two yet, but the only places he's been are relative's houses and the grocery store. We do take him to the park but we could walk there if it weren't for the highways. And wizards probably don't have parks. We did go to a destination wedding for my sister in law, but that would have meant a train.

I guess I'm having trouble picturing a place you would want to go with a young child that didn't have a Floo or train stop, since it seems all houses have Floos.

Also, remember this is the UK not America. People walk there all the time as it is and don't rely as much on cars, because when everything was build there they didn't have cars. Since most of America was developed after cars were already a thing and popular enough that most people had them it makes sense that all of our homes, jobs and shopping places are so far from each other. That's simply not the same in Europe. Walking for all your basic needs is option there. (At least, this is what I've been told by people who are confused as to why Americans need cars - they have problems understanding how you need to drive 30 minutes just to get to work which at 60 miles a hour would impossible to walk to and from everyday, and that walking to the grocery store would take a hour, even if you didn't have to cross an interstate and a two highways with no sidewalks to get there.)
oceaxeoceaxe on August 24th, 2016 06:09 pm (UTC)
My issue, as incoherently described in the comment below yours, is that if they mostly walk, then they are exposed to Muggle culture ALL THE TIME and also have to fit in with that culture or risk being exposed. And JKR goes out of her way to show that wizards do not grok Muggle culture.
(no subject) - josephinestone on August 24th, 2016 09:01 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - gracerene on August 25th, 2016 02:51 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - josephinestone on August 25th, 2016 03:20 am (UTC) (Expand)
oceaxeoceaxe on August 24th, 2016 06:06 pm (UTC)
Does JKR explain how the Weasleys got to Egypt? Or how wizarding families get to Diagon Alley?

I mean, she never really even explains where most wizarding families live. Do they all live around Diagon Alley? Doesn't seem likely, that's described as a shopping district.

Are there wizarding neighborhoods in London and throughout England? The two we hear of are Hogsmeade and Godrics' Hollow (and I'm not even sure about the second being exclusively wizard). But there are obviously others since there's a fucking train full of students going to Scotland every fall.

Maybe the wizard houses are mostly like Grimmauld Place, hidden in plain view, but then how do the wizards travel from the muggle neighborhood in which they live to the shopping district or Kings Cross or the Ministry? JKR depicts most wizards as being really out of touch with muggle culture and technology, but if they're embedded in those neighborhoods, that seems unlikely.

But then, if they're not embedded, and most are not isolated on estates like the Malfoys (speaking of which, how do they get to Kings Cross?) - and we haven't heard of other wizard villages besides Hogsmeade and maybe Godrics Hollow - where are all the wizards???

Also, there are a bunch of Quidditch teams with place names (I assume) - are those the names of wizard communities?

THIS IS A HUGE WORLDBUILDING HOLE. Unless the answers for all this shit is in the books and I've just forgotten, or it's on Pottermore but I don't read that site much. So I'm probably just exposing my ignorance. I'm okay with that.

Edited at 2016-08-24 06:08 pm (UTC)
Josephine Stonejosephinestone on August 24th, 2016 09:10 pm (UTC)
The Weasley used the Floo to get to Diagon Alley. So inside England, I think that using the Floo is probably what most people do (well, poor people, because I think Draco makes a remark about the soot on Ron's clothes, meaning maybe the rich don't use Floos as much?)

And I think Portkey asre supposed to be long distance travel, so I think that was what they used to get to Egypt - wasn't the World Cup in a different country?
(no subject) - gracerene on August 25th, 2016 03:15 am (UTC) (Expand)
nia_kantorka: HGnia_kantorka on August 24th, 2016 07:20 pm (UTC)
Adults probably mostly Apparate, use the Floo and Portkeys. Maybe there's something like mother-child flooing? Where they are holding hands and the mother calls the destination? Not sure what pregnant women do though. Go by Knight Bus - urgh. Floo and Apparation is out, a broom too.

Honestly, anywhere in Europe an animal carriage would be the opposite of low-key travelling. Don't forget, here aren't any Amish and horses are expensive to have. And in comparison to a car or train they're slow. Oxen and donkeys are even slower. If they have no problems with the Muggle world, normal public transport would be the way (if they don't have a driver licence). Flying carpets are probably a thing for countries with less rain than Britain. LOL
wicked smut goddessgracerene on August 25th, 2016 02:45 am (UTC)
That's what I'm really curious about, whether or not parent/child Flooing is a thing! :D
laraflame: voldemort4everlaraflame on August 24th, 2016 07:35 pm (UTC)
Yeah, josephinestone is right - you simply doesn't carry your babies around unnecessarily. With toddlers I think Floo is absolutely manageable, if the fireplace is big enough. If I remember correctly Mrs Weasley and Ginny stepped in together in CoS holding onto each other like with Apparition. And since we know the Weasleys are poor other families with Floo connection surely have a decent sized fireplace too, right?

Otherwise the family's social standing could come into the picture too.

As for purebloods - why go out with them? Mostly they have old, well-protected homes, just as old money and house elves. House elves' apparition I imagine would be a lot smoother since their magic is different. It looks like they can use it more freely — that's huge irony from JK there. :D I can totally see them apparating with a little child.
Their associates, friends and maybe a healer could come to them and inside the wards even the Weasley's have plenty of land for the kiddos to play. Surely Draco didn't need a common park when he's living in a freakin' mansion, extravagant park and white peacocks included... Purebloods would guard their heirs like hawks anyway, wouldn't they? Why take them to places filled with people so beneath them? LOL

I guess other couples — two muggleborns, a muggleborn and a halfblood etc. — wouldn't be so terribly ignorant and repulsed by muggle technologies and muggle-populated areas. (But they're probably out of practice a bit...? Dunno.) So I guess they could catch a taxi or the bus or something if needed. Well, it's risky considering children's accidental magic I suppose but that's why Obliviators exist, right? XD

oceaxe I think it's hinted that they are well covered from muggles so basically you cannot know if a wizard is your neighbour. :D I guess purebloods are living a lot like the Malfoys and maybe the Blacks — mansions in the country or huge luxury homes in a city. Others like James and Lily — in a homey, totally ordinary cottage somewhere. Point I'm trying to make, they might be scattered all over but obviously in much shorter numbers than muggles. (That always irked me btw, not knowing the exact numbers; how many wizards live in Great-Britain anyway? Or am I missing some vital information here? Help!)
Josephine Stonejosephinestone on August 24th, 2016 09:14 pm (UTC)
Yeah, the Weasley and Malfoy not knowing about Muggles I can see - those people living in the city I'm side eyeing pretty hard though.
(no subject) - oceaxe on August 25th, 2016 01:43 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - laraflame on August 27th, 2016 08:28 pm (UTC) (Expand)
welcome to villa cariño!capitu on August 24th, 2016 08:34 pm (UTC)
I was going to make a lame joke about time-travel but it just didn't work out at all. :/

I thought Porkeys were a good way to travel, and remembering the books it seems it's not a regulated charm. I think I remember Dumbledore creating one in OotP, but then again, that was Dumbledore. Still, the idea stands. If you're moving a whole family (of, say, five) back to their home or a known destination, it's probably very convenient. Also, remember how Harry was the one that was very uncomfortable? I think I remember Harry falling and Ron staggering next to him (maybe because he was next to Harry and was jarred by Harry's movement?), but maybe magical people are more used to these trips. ^^
wicked smut goddessgracerene on August 25th, 2016 02:43 am (UTC)

Yeah, but I actually think all of the kids fell down, even Fred and George. It was only Arthur, Cedric, and Cedric's dad that managed to stay standing in GoF, which makes me think maybe it's not all that common to use? I feel like I read something about them being regulated by the Ministry, but that totally could have been fanon.
fantasyfiend09fantasyfiend09 on August 24th, 2016 09:02 pm (UTC)
From the At Flourish and Blotts chapter of CS, I would assume that Floo is the usual means of family travel. Molly was truly stunned that Harry had never used it and seemed unable to imagine another way to reach Diagon Alley.

We know that the Weasleys live in a remote rural area and that the Lovegoods and Diggerys live nearby. The Malfoys also live out in the country. I think we can assume that a significant percentage of wizarding families live beyond easy walking distance to shops.

Given Molly's reaction to Flooing (as if every 12 year old MUST have done it), I assume that is the way. I can easily imagine a baby or toddler being held and carried with a parent until old enough to travel alone. I don't know about side-along Flooing, but it certainly seems possible.
wicked smut goddessgracerene on August 26th, 2016 06:40 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I assume Floo is the primary mode of transport for most wizarding families, and certainly once you get to 10 or so, it seems practical enough. But I'm very curious about side-along Flooing. And what about kids with lisps? Which is a common enough occurrence in really young children, as least in my experience (which is admittedly, limited).
(no subject) - fantasyfiend09 on September 2nd, 2016 08:40 pm (UTC) (Expand)
celestlyncelestlyn on August 25th, 2016 12:29 am (UTC)
I think you pretty much covered it. Of the modes of transportation you mentioned, I think Floo would be the general thing to use with families and children.

FLOO-It seems like most homes and businesses are connected to the Floo network. We see people Flooing to and from work at the Ministry all the time. Those traveling different ways walk into the phone booth and go down several levels that way. Muggle areas would probably have a Floo connection in well-hidden places.

As far as traveling with children goes, I suppose a parent would carry them or hold onto young children or those who could not speak well. It isn't glamorous and you get a bit dusty with ash, but it seems like the way to travel with children.

Apparate-In my opinion, this would be for those able to master it and become licensed to do it. Because of the chance of Splinching, it would likely not be common for children, although parents could side-along children. The only issue with doing that is, it seems like it would be exhausting for a parent to have to go back and forth Apparating more than one child and not particularly safe to just leave one alone while you go back for another. I see this as a way of travel for adults on their own.

Brooms-Well, I never got the impression that broom travel was used all that much. Used for Quidditch and in a pinch, but not really all that practical. I liken it to a motorcycle. You are exposed to weather and other hazards, so it isn't something children should do. I'm sure a parent could use some kind of sticking charm on the child to put them on the broom with them, if they had to, but again, not very practical.

Knight Bus-I would use it only in an emergency or if I were too intoxicated to get anywhere safely by myself. Public transportation can be rather nasty. But hey, the Knight Bus has a bed.

Train-probably more of a traditional sort of thing than a real practical one. Use it for transporting large numbers of people at once when time is no object. Kinda cool, though.

Automobiles-I think of them more as curiosities in the Wizarding world. Something to tinker with and turn into a flying machine (although I got the impression it was against Ministry rules to do that), but not something everyone would use. Although, if they use trains, automobiles would work fine, too. But you just never see cars driving down the streets of Diagon Alley or Hogsmeade, do you? I wouldn't think so.

Flying Animals-I guess, the Malfoy's family raised some flying horses. Abraxons? I hope I'm not mixing canon and fanon, here. They would likely not be practical for everyone to own and use regularly. More like fancy racehorses. Expensive and need special buildings to stable them, to say nothing of feeding them.

Portkeys-I think of them for longer distance travel, but also not all that practical for everyday use. They are apparently regulated through the Ministry and costly, like our passports. Might be good to have one for an emergency, though.

Yeah, I guess I will stay with Floo travel or Apparating for most folks. I never saw any teachers flying around Hogwarts on brooms, so I bet they didn't do it much.

Edited at 2016-08-25 12:50 am (UTC)
disapparaterdisapparater on August 25th, 2016 06:23 am (UTC)
In GoF, at the Quidditch World Cup, among the adverts Harry sees flashing up, there is one for a Bluebottle Broom: "A Broom for All the Family – safe, reliable and with Built-in Anti-Burglar Buzzer ..."

It stuck with me because i remember trying to imagine how a family broom would work. Is it extra long with multiple seats? That puts me in mind of a banana boat, which :\ Is it two brooms connected side by side, more akin to a car set up, with two seats up front and two/three at the back?
wicked smut goddessgracerene on August 26th, 2016 06:07 pm (UTC)
Ooo, that's very true! When I read that advert, I interpreted it more as a broom that anybody in the family could ride, like, it wasn't some flashy Firebolt that may be unsafe for more casual flyers.

Though I wonder if that was the intention. LOL, I'd be very curious to see a broom with some of those additions!
starfishstarstarfishstar on August 25th, 2016 04:21 pm (UTC)
Ooh, this is a great question! I've wondered the same thing, often! Especially since when you get down to it, so many of the wizarding modes of transportation are...actually pretty impractical, even for adults who know what they're doing. Ha.

Here are my thoughts, fwiw:

I agree with everyone else who's said Floo seems most likely as the standard, everyday form of family travel. Given how carelessly familiar the Weasley kids all are with it, the first time Harry does it with them, and how it doesn't even occur to Molly that Harry might not know how, I picture the Weasley family using the Floo, a lot. Seems like the safest and simplest, especially with so many kids – when they're little, you carry them in your arms, when they're a bit older, you can still hold their hand and make sure they don't spin off into the wrong fireplace! Most homes and public places seem to have a Floo connection, and even if not, you could Floo into the shop next to the one you want to go to. :-)

Brooms: I can totally picture some kind of baby seat, or some way of strapping a baby to a parent's chest or back, for broom travel... I mean, given how totally impractical the idea of trying to ride a broom and somehow not slide off of it already is, adding a baby to the mix doesn't seem like that big a further step. ;-) But no, I can't see a big family all riding a broom when they could just step into the Floo.

Knight Bus: could be practical, but from the books, it seems like more of an emergency solution – I think the name "Knight" Bus is even supposed to be a play on the fact that it comes and rescues you when you need it?

I agree that flying animals seem impractical and presumably rare – seems like it would break the Statute of Secrecy in all kinds of ways to be flying around Muggle Britain on a Hippogriph!

And I think somewhere in the books it says flying carpets are banned in Britain? I don't have that in front of me, though.

Portkeys seem to be the method of choice for going long distances (or arranging to get a whole lot of people to the same place, like with the Quidditch Cup) but I always had the impression that they're pretty tightly controlled, and require official sanction – you can't just turn anything you want into a Portkey and leave it lying around, because think what would happen to a Muggle who picked it up by accident! Am I wrong about that, though, that they're only used in officially approved contexts? (Well, or by Dumbledore, but he's always his own exception...)

Uh, I think that's all I've got. Yeah, apparently my vote is for Floo! (Thanks for giving me a reason to think through it, because I didn't know what I thought until I wrote it all out.) :-)

Edited at 2016-08-25 04:22 pm (UTC)
wicked smut goddessgracerene on August 29th, 2016 07:30 pm (UTC)
LOL! Yes, you know, I actually felt like I'd talked myself into Floo as well by the time I'd finished typing the post, but by then I figured I might as well see what everybody else thought. :D

But yes, essentially all of these thoughts seem very sound! <3