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Train travel with kids

Wednesday, 29 August 2018  |  Mummy and Little Me

Train Travel with kids

 

I recently took the kids to Devon to visit my Parents on the train by myself and thought I would share the highs, lows and must haves for a successful journey. For those who haven’t read my blogs before I’m a stay at home mama to a 3-year-old little boy and 11-month-old little girl. We live Yorkshire with my husband and 2 dogs.

Devon is a 5 ½ hour train ride for us and as I don’t drive a car and daddy couldn’t join us train travel was my only method of transportation this time. I have done it once before when Lincoln was a baby and hadn’t found that too stressful so thought it wouldn’t be much different with my extra human in tow.

Both kids were entitled to free rail travel as they are both under 5 but the thought of them potentially having to sit on my knee did not fill me with enthusiasm, so we decided to pay extra for Lincoln to have his own seat. I also picked out straight through trains to minimise any disruptions (and save my stress levels!).

Hubby took us right to the platform, so he was able to lift the luggage on for me, but a last-minute platform change meant it was all very rushed in the end.

Overall the kids weren’t too much trouble for the journey, I took Lincoln’s tablet so he played games and watched some shows on that with his headphones. Etta was much harder work because I couldn’t pace the train as I had Lincoln in the seat and she wasn’t so keen on sitting still. We made it though with a combination of snacks, books and a significant amount of signing nursery rhymes!

The way back wasn’t smooth sailing, the train was late into the station and therefore I didn’t have much time to load stuff on. Trying to keep Lincoln sat still while lugging my bags down the train holding Etta wasn’t pleasant. The train was packed which meant little space for luggage and Lincoln wasn’t in the mood for sitting still! There was also someone sat in my seats fast asleep. Still, we made it and while I need a little bit of time to recover I would do it again.

My top tips:

  1. If you have more than 1 child book an extra seat. I found buying a family and friends railcard the cheapest way to do that. It meant we didn’t have to worry about the kids sitting next to strangers or my lap being overfull. There was also room for Etta to sit in the middle to eat her lunch.
  2. Take plenty of activities! The tablet and headphones, sticker books, surprise eggs type things, new stories and anything you think will entertain them throughout the journey.
  3. Take a well organised change bag. I specifically purchased the Skip Hop Greenwhich for this purpose and it was perfect. You don’t have much space to route around either at your seat or the change table in the toilet so knowing where everything is helps a lot.
  4. Take food and snacks for the kids. The trolley that comes around has very little choice for kids (but the wine may be useful for adults!)
  5. Don’t invest in the Wifi for the kids to watch stuff you haven’t downloaded. I made this mistake and the signal and speed were so poor it was a complete waste of money.
  6. Take an umbrella stroller as if the luggage rack is full the overhead storage should hold it easily (I took the Silvercross Flex).
  7. Only take as much luggage as you can carry alone. This is a random one but if someone helps you onto the train don’t be tempted to take extra luggage. When Lincoln was a baby I had an unexpected train change and had to move everything onto another train without any help. Now I just take one suitcase and the change bag and Lincoln had a mini backpack and his little suitcase (we had the Skip Hop Monkey luggage).
  8. Put the baby in a carrier for getting on and off the train as it leaves your hands nice and free.
  9. If you pre-book tickets may sure you have been allocated seats! I hadn’t been and thankfully I noticed as there would have been nowhere for me and the kids to sit for part of the journey. Your paperwork should state your carriage and seat numbers.
  10. Finally, good luck!

I hope our experience and tips came in handy and I wish you safe and stress-free travels!

Kylie

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