Travelling with kids: ten things to bring on board
Travelling with kids, especially young babies and toddlers, can be a stressful experience, which is why we thought we would offer a checklist of ten things we think could make the journey a little easier.
Wherever you are heading to, or however long your journey will take, these simple items should ensure you and your family get the most out of your train journey together.
Tickets and railcards
First things first, let’s get the essentials covered. If you have children under the age of five, then they can travel free of charge, so you will not have to purchase a ticket for them. Bear in mind, however, that this means that they will not have a seat reservation, so might need to sit on your knee if there are no available seats near to you.
If you would like to reserve a seat for your child, then it’s best to purchase a child ticket in advance of boarding. Child fares are available for kids up to the age of 15 and are charged at half the price of an adult ticket. Using a Family Railcard can often offer the cheapest way to travel by train when you are all together, so take a look before you buy tickets to see if this would be beneficial for you.
Booked an open ticket and not quite sure when you will be returning? Planning a bit of a UK rail trip with multiple stops? Either way, you will most probably find it very hand to download a train timetable straight to your phone or laptop. This way, you will always know when the next train is coming or going.
Plus, whether you save a digital version or bring along a printed train map, the kids will find it a fun activity to track your journey along all the stations until you reach your destination. It’s the perfect way to teach them some UK geography and pass the time all in one go!
Small snacks are perfect for soothing rumbling tummies and keeping tots entertained while the train journey unfolds.
High sugar snacks might provide a short-term high, but this is sure to be followed by lethargy and mood swings, so it’s better to opt for some low-sugar, high-energy snacks instead such as nuts, popcorn, muesli bars and chopped veg sticks.
Keep your family hydrated onboard with plenty of fresh water.
Bring along their favourite water bottle and keep offering them small sips throughout their journey. This is especially important in the summer months when it can get warm in the carriages.
Wipes and tissues
As careful as we try to be, accidents and spillages will happen! There’s nothing worse that scouring around in the bottom of your bag or having to ask fellow passengers to borrow a tissue if something leaks or gets spilt, so make sure you put a fresh pack of wipes or napkins in your bag so that you’re covered for every eventuality!
Layers and blankets
Regardless of the season or time of day, it can often be hard to gauge what temperature it will be onboard the train. Therefore, layered clothing is a wise idea.
As well as getting warmer in the summer months, it can also get chilly onboard the train if the air conditioning is switched on, which is why cardigans and thin blankets are a great idea to pop into your travel bag in case your little ones start to feel cold.
Books and magazines
Reading material is a great idea for train journeys with young kids.
Why not bring along some brochures of the places you are going to be visiting during your travels to get them interested before you get there. Alternatively, bring a couple of their favourite reading books or download an audio book to save on the heavy load!
If you do choose to download an audio book, then don’t forget your headphones! An obvious one really, but you can guess how many people actually forget to pack their headphones in their hand luggage!
On-ear headphones are much better for kids and special noise-limiting versions are available especially for young children.
There are many great travel games out there, so choose a couple of your kids’ favourite ones and have them handy for those moments when they start to look a bit bored.
Magnetic games are great as they minimise the chance of pieces getting lost and card games are a good old-fashioned favourite, with many variations to choose from.
Pen and paper
When the audio books have been listened to, snacks eaten and games all played, get out your pen and paper and make some plans together as a family. Make lists of places you all want to visit. Let your kids draw pictures of things they want to see. And draw maps of how you plan to get from A to B once you are in your chosen destination.
Above all, make travelling with your kids as fun and interesting as possible and the time will pass in a flash!
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