Traveling by train is one of the best ways to explore the Europe. It is also one of my favorite ways of traveling. Luckily, in a few of my recent trips, I found out it is also completely child friendly.
But, like with everything related to kids, a good preparation is the key!
Although international trains mostly have their own restaurant, I really wouldn’t recommend eating in them (they have a nice coffee, though). So, take enough food with you (delays can always happen) for both you and a child. Just think of his or her daily menu and take it with you. Good idea is to take a food that can be hold outside the fridge for a longer time. And, don’t forget to bring a lot of water with you, as well.
A small tip here is: take some of his favorite treats, as well. They would be very useful if you will need to ‘buy’ a few more minutes of his patience.
It is always much more cozy if you are traveling in the clothes that is comfortable to you. But, it is also handy to dress him in something that will be easy to change. Changing the baby in a moving train could be challenging itself, so make it easier with the choice of clothes.
You will have to entertain your kid during a few hours of traveling, so it’s good to have different toys with you. My little one loves coloring books and stickers, so we always have a lot of these (tip here: look for erasable felt pens, they can be easily removed from clothes or the train tables with wet wipes). What definitely is not a good idea to bring are toys that produce a lot of noise (otherwise, after some time both you and your traveling companions will get a bit crazy).
It is also good not to give him all the toys at the same time, but to give him one by one. That way, you can always came with the new interesting one, when he gets bored with the old ones.
If your kid is watching cartoons, bring a tablet with some of his favorite cartoons on it. Or you can try some of the other applications, like a drawing ones, to entertain him for some time, without producing to much mess.
If during the train ride there will be a sleeping time for your child, it’s handy to have a baby carriage close. It will be much more comfortable for him to sleep in it, then on a train seat. Also, it is much safer and you will have some time to relax as well.
Some useful info…
Small children area
On my last journey to Germany, I had to change trains at some point, and when I enter the second one it was completely packed! So, there was me holding my son, with a huge backpack and my husband with a baby carriage and the other backpack. It was super crowded and when people are boarding, they don’t really care that you are with the baby, they just want to get on their seats.
But, what I didn’t know, was that there is a special part of the train reserved for the families with the small children. You have priority there and usually it is a wide space with a table, bigger chairs, space for a baby carriage and a luggage. It is also close to the restaurant area and a toilet with a changing table.
I found it both in Deutche Bahn ICE high speed train and in NS International trains. It is also great because more kids will be there, so both you and your little one will have a nice company.
In NS International train we had a coupe all for ourselves, which was really great! It was really specious, we had enough space for our things and Karlo had a small corner for playing. He could also produce as much noise as he wanted, without disturbing anyone.
You can recognize the children area in a train from the outside by the image of a mum with a kid or by the kid sticker on the window of a coupe. On a reservation space above the chair it is written: ‘Small child’, so you can also be sure that no one could reserve this sit.
Changing tables are usually placed in a toilets for disabled, and are very clean and nice. They are very often close to the children area in a train. If you are not sure where is it, you can ask the train manager to help you.
So, traveling by train is for now, my favorite form of transportation with a child. With a good preparation and with using all the children facilities in a train, all of you will have a great time!