Tips For Traveling By Train With Kids In Europe
Peaceful and enjoyable. Two words you rarely hear parents using when telling their holiday travel stories with kids. So, we’ve decided to give you the most important tips for traveling by train with kids in Europe.
There is just something about trains that calms children in a way that air or car travel do not. (We wrote a whole blog on why train travel is better Quickest and Better than Driving if you need more convincing). Same goes for adults too! Family tables, passing landscapes, room to walk around, cafe facilities, time to chat and catch up and, the joy of joys, no luggage restrictions. Going by rail is safe, comfortable and affordable when planned in advance. Teach your children the joys of train travel from an early age and they will be lifetime converts. In the meantime, here are Tips for traveling by train with kids in Europe.
- This article was written to educate about Train Travel and was made by Save A Train, The Cheapest Train Tickets Website In The World.
Tips for traveling by train with kids in Europe: Bring Activities to Occupy the Kids
While riding a train is fun in itself and looking outside can keep kids entertained for hours, we also suggest bringing some activities too. Book in advance and secure a window seat with a table that allows you to spread the coloring books and snacks!
Some recommended train activities include:
- Tablets: Similar to an airplane, a tablet can be a great way to pass the time. A lot of trains in Europe offer free Wi-Fi, but the service is not always guaranteed, so make sure you download movies and games at home. On most trains, almost every single seat has an outlet to keep your electronics charged, but charge them at home regardless – and bring headphones!
- Coloring books: Coloring books and crayons are a favorite no matter what age.
- Games: If you can grab seats with a table, there is plenty of space to play cards or any other travel game. Unlike air travel, you will not have to worry about turbulence, so pick your family’s favorite game and go play. This could be the perfect opportunity to actually finish a game of Monopoly!
- Play toys: Depending on your child’s age and interest, bring some Matchbox cars or other figurines (think Polly Pockets). My son pretends the table is a racetrack while my daughter sets up her little dolls to cheer them on.
Tips for traveling by train with kids in Europe: Be considerate to other passengers
The vast majority of people will be very understanding if you have a crying baby or an upset toddler that takes time to calm down. Not planning ahead and letting your little one delve into boredom due to lack of planning may not get as much sympathy. Plan entertainment that isn’t intrusive or likely to spark arguments. We don’t want to have to write Tips for traveling by train with kids in Europe, that don’t belong to you…just joking!
Tips for traveling by train with kids in Europe: Traveling overnight?
Always try to book a compartment on a sleeper train. Taking overnight trains is awesome, and the sleep is usually great due to the natural rocking of the train. It’s also so exciting going to sleep and waking up in another country. Sleeping compartments vary by country but if you are only three and don’t want a stranger sharing with you then you’ll probably need to budget to buy an extra bed to keep your sleeping compartment private.
Tips for traveling by train with kids in Europe: Allow yourselves plenty of time when getting off
Most trains will only stop for a couple of minutes maximum at each station, so around five minutes before you arrive you should be packing things up, rousing sleeping kids, putting on coats and bringing bags off the overhead shelf. This level of organization gives a lot of peace of mind especially if you have a lot of kids or a lot of baggage. If the platform is busy, ensure your bags go off first out of the way of the doors, then bring the kids down afterward to prevent anyone getting lost.
Tips for traveling by train with kids in Europe: Bring Your Stroller On Board
Another reason to use trains instead of air travel is that you can strap your kids right into the stroller and roll them right onto the train, without the headache of having to dismantle and then reassemble the stroller. You can sometimes even park your stroller in the snack area or other open places on the train (such as the accessible area as long as it is not occupied by someone in a wheelchair), which is helpful for young kids who will sleep in their stroller. This is a huge advantage over airplane travel as I find getting a kid to sleep on a train much easier.
Tips for traveling by train with kids in Europe: Arrive About 30 Minutes Early
One of the main benefits of traveling by train with kids in Europe or anywhere else in the world for that matter. Is to give yourself time to arrive! Unlike air travel, you do not need to arrive at the train station too far ahead of time. When traveling with kids, we suggest arriving about 30 minutes early to get yourself situated, maybe a little earlier if bathroom stops and snack breaks are on the agenda. Typically, the boarding process will not start until 10 minutes before departure at most, but you do not want to scramble and find yourself running through a busy station.
Possibly the most important tip of all. SNACKS! A lot of the long distance routes feature full-service dining cars with plenty of kid-friendly food – think French toast, grilled cheese, meatballs with penne. On shorter routes, trains have snack bars offering sandwiches, bagels, chips, and other snacks. You may want to pack some of your kids favorite snacks regardless though! Traveling with an infant? Bring baby food or formula and ask the food-service staff to warm it for you. You can make reservations for the dining car shortly after boarding. As always when traveling with kids, you should always bring snacks and beverages, in case you can’t get a reservation or the snack bar decides to shut down just when your kids announce that they are starving.
Ready to brave a train trip with the kids now that you’re armed with our Tips for traveling by train with kids? Great! Book your tickets with Save A Train, hassle-free!
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