Mix up your travels with a train ride! It’s a world away from your usual daily commute and more exciting than the car. Unlike planes, you don’t have to worry about long check-in lines, increased security, the debacle over baggage restrictions and cramped seating. Enjoy the journey, mix with the locals and admire the scenery. The kids can even get up and stretch their legs with a walk to the dining car. And with these handy tips, the journey is sure to be smooth.

1/ Pre-book

mother and daughter on train francePre-book specific seats on your train. Often, you can even request family spaces or book the areas with multiple seats around a table so everyone can sit together and the kids have more space to spread out. If you’re travelling overseas, your train might also be a double-decker so check this when you book – very exciting for the kids!

2/ Find the nursery area

If you’re travelling with babies, be sure to ask where to find the on board Nursery area. You’ll often find dedicated changing facilities and bottle warmers.

3/ Avoid losing beloved toys

Lost teddy bearTo avoid the trauma and tears that come from the loss of a favorite toy, attach it to your child’s bag so that it can’t be left behind in a station or on a train.

4/ Don’t forget snacks

Keep a supply of small treats on hand to reward good behaviour and to encourage tired children to keep going just a little longer. However, beware of the sugar rush fallout and go for cereal bars, fruit and healthy snacks instead.

5/  Tattoo your kids! 

Not literally of course – write your phone number on young ones arms in case they get lost.

6/ Use the WiFi

Train through French countrysideMany trains have free WiFi on-board WiFi. If you can’t tear your teenager away from their phone and tablet these can be a great opportunity to allow them to update their status.

7/ Keep the kids entertained

With older children, play the geography game in stations. Look at the departures board, and work out which state or country each destination is in – this is especially great in big stations like Grand Central in New York City or Gare du Nord in Paris, which has many international services.

8/ Learn the language  

If you’re travelling internationally, learn alongside your children. Aim to learn a phrase or two every day in a new language and encourage the children to use the phrases they have learned. Start them young while they’re less self-conscious and the locals will be delighted to hear kids making the effort and attempting the language.

9/ Save money with Interrail tickets

If you’re planning a vacation through Europe with several stops, take a look at Interrail. Kids under the age of twelve are eligible for free passes and each adult can travel with up to 2 children. It’s a huge saving on travel and children love travelling by train!

Rail track in sunset - mycola