Written by IMOGEN HALL
We’re living in an era where reducing your carbon footprint is no longer a choice but now viewed as a necessity.
If your family lives somewhere with a decent train network, one way to balance your need to explore with a commitment to your eco-conscious kids is to take to the rails for longer journeys.
While it can seem easier to chuck everything in the car and drive off, there are way more benefits to letting the train take the strain.
On trains you can move around and there’s lots to look at, the buffet car provides a distraction, and you don’t have to factor in emergency toilet stops. Here are ten tips to make it a smooth ride:
1. Plan your route
You might know what point A and B are, but have you looked at the connections? Consider whether they are too tight when you factor in hauling kids, suitcases, and buggies to different platforms.
Likewise, five hours on a train can seem like an eternity with a toddler who won’t nap so consider carefully what you are committing yourselves to, especially if your family is new to train travel.
2. Book ahead
We all know this usually gets you a better price, but when you travel with kids it also means you can secure yourselves a table, hopefully in a carriage not too far away from the buffet car.
A little leg stretch is good but navigating a hot cup of tea, moving train and enthusiastic toddler for ten carriages can be a challenge you regret.
Advance booking might also give you the option of a relatively cheap upgrade to first class (think of all that space for the kids, as well as the complimentary drinks).
3. Go off-peak
Sometimes it’s unavoidable to travel with the commuters, but if you can give them a wide berth then do so.
Not only will the tickets usually be cheaper but there will be more space for your kids to spread out and less chance of them annoying someone. This, of course, makes it less stressful for you.
It’s also worth remembering that some routes really empty out past a certain stop, so you might be able to handle a crowded hour knowing your kids will get more space for most of the journey.