9 hacks for stress-free train travel with children
1. Time it right
Keep your little ones away from the rush-hour commute for as long as possible – they’ll know all about it soon enough! Avoiding pre-9.30am and between 4pm-6.30pm will ensure emptier carriages and cheaper fares.
2. Book in advance
Turning up to a busy train station with the children can be a nightmare. Long queues and lengthy waits for tickets = grumpy children. Book your tickets in advance via the Trainline App or website and you could save an average of 43%.
3. Be smart…use your smartphone!
Just because you’re arriving with children doesn’t mean you can’t be spontaneous. This year, Trainline customers can also purchase mobile tickets on select routes, with both advance and on-the-day rail tickets now available – all from within the Trainline app. Mobile tickets means no more paper tickets or long queues at the collection point. For a list of mobile ticket enabled routes, please visit here.
4. Keep them entertained with the latest tech…
With on-demand TV taking the world by storm and tablets designed especially for children now readily available, you’d be foolish not to take advantage of their child-distracting capabilities. Apps such as Amazon Prime Video or BBC iPlayer even allow you to download content at home to be viewed while on the move – no WiFi needed.
5. …or go ‘old school’ with a travel game
Travel games are as popular as ever – from the classics such as Eye Spy and Word Association to micro editions of popular games like Battleships, Scrabble or Simon Says. Just make sure to pick up all the tiny bits once finished!
6. Pick the right snacks
Sugary drinks and treats will keep them happy for minutes – but will then see them bouncing around the carriage before crashing somewhere between the luggage rack and the toilets. Healthier alternatives such as granola bars or fruit provide a slower release of energy and will help prevent that sugar crash.
7. Check your timings
We all do it, rush for the train and then curse the wasted energy upon finding out it’s delayed. Handily, if you book via the Trainline App, you’ll get real-time updates on the location of your train and push notifications to advise on any delays.
8. Plan your route through the station
Kids are good at getting lost. The less wandering around the station the better. Luckily, gone are the days of waiting for the platform number to flash up and a dash to get the best seat. With the Trainline App you can check the scheduled platform of your train from your mobile, so you’ll be one step ahead of the rest.
9. Let them know if “they are nearly there yet”
Make that familiar cry a thing of the past. Let your little ones play with Google Maps to see where they are in the UK – but also (another handy tool via the Trainline app) you can also track where you currently are on your train journey and when you’ll be arriving at the next stop.
Bonus hack: You can save 1/3 on adult fares and 60% on children’s tickets with a Friends and Family Railcard, find out more here.