Train travel has lost its popularity over the years, but it remains an excellent way for families to travel. It allows you to have more room to move about (or to nap), and it save you money. However, no matter what your mode of travel, traveling with children can be challenging. Anything smaller than an open field is going to feel like cramped quarters for a little one, and when meltdowns happen (which they will) you are going to feel like you’re trapped in a metal tube (which you are) with annoyed and disapproving strangers.
Though there are no guarantees that can make travel with children painless, you can make preparations that will make it a little easier. Here are a few tips for taking train rides with children:
There are peak times to travel, which will have more passengers on the train. If you can, choose to travel during times that are not so crowded. You may then have empty seats around you, which you can use to stretch out or offer your children space for more comfortable naps. Plus you won’t have to worry about annoying your seat mates when your children ask you why for the thousandth time or throw a tantrum because they weren’t allowed to have cake for lunch.
Bring Along Plenty of Activities
The excitement of being in a new place will only last for so long. Once it’s gone, you will be stuck with a bored and fussy child. Make sure you bring along plenty of items to keep your children entertained and distracted. These can include new toys, small games, pens and paper, and even a portable DVD player or a tablet that can play videos.
No matter how long your trip is, your children are bound to feel snackish at some point along the way. Every parent knows that there is no wrath like that of a hungry or thirsty toddler or child. You can’t count on the train having items at the time you need them or having items that your child will like. Make sure you are prepared with some favorite snacks and juice boxes. Keep a small stash with a few options to satisfy any craving.
Bring Some Favorites
Any kind of travel can be distressing for your children. They may feel scared, anxious or overwhelmed. You can help to make the trip easier on them by bringing along some favorite, comforting items. Grab a couple of favorite toys, a blankie, or a lovie. These familiar items will provide a taste of home and help to soothe them and make them feel more comfortable throughout the trip.
Pack for “Just in Case”
Children are unpredictable. You never know what accidents will happen. Make sure you are prepared. Bring along “just in case” items like wipes, a change of clothes, medicines, and a few first-aid items, such as Band-Aids. Though the train may have some items you will need, they won’t have them all, and you can’t count on anything being available.
Train rides provide a more easy way for many families to travel. However, any kind of travel with small children can be challenging. Make your train trip a little easier by following these tips.
Have you taken a train trip with your children? Share your tips for making the trip a little easier in the comments!
About the Author: Bridget Sandorford is a freelance food and culinary writer, where recently she’s been researching culinary schools in Nashville, TN. In her spare time, she enjoys biking, painting and working on her first cookbook.