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Mumsnet users hare with Trainline their top tips for travelling by train(331 Posts)
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Travelling on the train with your family for a day out, especially if you have little ones, can feel like a daunting experience, but it doesn’t have to be; the train journey can be an exciting part of the day out adventure for you and your DC’s and not just a way to get there. To help make sure this is the case for you and your family, Trainline would like you to share your top tips for travelling by train on family days out.
Here’s what Trainline have to say: “We’re always trying to make travel simple, giving our customers information they can count on. And planning a day out with the kids is one scenario where the simpler and more predictable the better. As it’s winter we’ve been thinking about the best ways to get out the house for some fresh air, without breaking your budget. We’ve come up with some “wild” train trips to zoos and animal parks across the UK which are perfect for letting off some steam (for you and your DC’s!).”
Do you research the stations that are on your journey beforehand so you can tell your DC’s fun facts about them? Do you use mobile tickets? Perhaps you pack a great picnic full of their favourite foods to keep everyone happy? Maybe you pack fun, entertaining games to play on the journey? Or do you keep them distracted by talking about all the things you’re going to get up to you on your day out?
Whatever your top tips are, please share them on the thread below to be entered into a prize draw where on MNer will win a £300 voucher of their choice (from a list).
Thanks and good luck
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We always take drinks - it can get expensive otherwise! We buy the tickets online to save queueing and generally talk a walk to the station the day before to collect them from the machine. It help builds the anticipation for the trip. And never the pack of baby wipes! perfect for cleaning hands before and after eating.
Our favourite go to snacks include mini cheeses, mini pepperami, and pre cut fruit. All those are relatively un-messy!
We make the journey part of the adventure. Talking about the scenery, looking at books and on long journeys playing game s in the tablet. Usually we pack a picnic and drinks. Pre booking seats with a table had always be useful for playing and eating at.
Book a train seat with a charging point. You have to take a charger and plug but at least you won't run out of juice.
Getting a seat with a table we can all sit round is so much less stressful than sitting in rows.
One large refillable water bottle between us, contigo flask of coffee for me, non smelly/messy snacks, and a wet flannel in a waterproof bag for cleaning up after.
I've never taken my children on the train - I've got a 3 year old and a 1 year old. Just not sure how I would manage a pram at the station and getting on and off the train...and how to keep them contained on the train. So no tips, but following - I'd like to take my 3 year old to London for the day so any tips would be useful.
Lots of healthy but yum snacks
Sneaky mini wine
I usually let mine buy a kids magazine at the station shop, that keeps them busy for the first bit of the journey and after that they normally findl looking out of the window so exciting anyway!
They have food allergies so we pack our own snacks and drinks but I try not to pack loads as I hate karting loads of bags around
We get the train a lot, so it is just normal (but somehow still quite exciting). I much prefer days out by train than driving.
For long journeys, I try to book a table and bring paper and pencils and books for entertainment. Those little eye spy books of things to spot are good too. Some train companies give you a free activity book and crayons.
It's more expensive, but buying something to eat from the trolley or buffet car is exciting, so I sometimes give a bit of money for sweets or crisps for a longer journey.
I try to allow lots of time to change trains, and know what platform to go to in advance (not always possible).
I don't bring any entertainment for shorter journeys, up to about half an hour. That's what the windows are for! .
Don't sit in the quiet carriage! Bring drinks, snacks, colouring, kindle and reserve a table
Divide the family up into twosome seats rather than a table of four - prevents the DC from arguing. Always take snacks for the journey and things to do.
We tend to sit in the quiet carriage now that the children are much older BUT we've recently twice had scenarios with people mistaking 'quiet' for 'silent' and complaining in no uncertain terms about low-level talking. I was always under the impression that 'quiet' meant no loud/long business phone-calls punctuating the journey time rather than no talking at all?
A packed lunch with lots of their fave nibbles in is great, having tickets ready in advance so you have one less thing to worry about at the station. Reserving seats if it's a long journey so you aren't worrying about not sitting together too.
Try to pre-book seats around a table. Most train companies have seat plans so you can work out which seats you need if you are booking online. With a table it is much easier to have a packed lunch, balance drinks, do some colouring, share a tablet amongst siblings (with headphones) and generally spread out!
We love train journeys. We book tickets beforehand so we get seats together.
We take a packed lunch but I give the kids a £1 or so each so they can buy their own snacks or sweets at the station. They find that so exciting.
Sit in one of the quieter carriages and take lunch with you!
We always pack a picnic and lots of pencils stickers and paper helps pass the journey also my children loved Thomas the tank engine
Train journeys themselves are not, or shouldn't be, daunting at all. I much prefer being on the train with the DC, than in a car. I can chat to them, take them to the loo, open packets and do all the things that are so difficult when you are driving.
The daunting bits are finding parking near the station that isn't all fully taken by 8.30am and doesn't cost a small fortune, unexpected delays, missing connections and cancellations. Maybe the train companies should be posting on here with their tips for how they can make all of those not happen!
If the journey involves changing trains, I always have a look at one of the websites that show plans of the stations with platform numbers marked. Then I have a good idea of whereabouts In the station I need to get to for the connecting train.
Doing that before booking means I can allow plenty of time to change platforms, as children can be slow!
If you are travelling with prams and suitcases look into booking a helper/assistant to meet your train.
Plan the journey in advance so that you know timings and where to get off, the next place to be etc. My children always ask 'When do we get off the train' 'what time will we be there' etc
Research where you will be eating food so you can guarantee they have food your little one will eat (or take your own)
Let the children sit by the window so they can look out and see the surroundings, let them use their ticket in the machines too!
I always over prepare for a train journey. I pack gadgets, snacks, water, magazines, books, cards etc but more often than not the thrill of the journey is enough to keep my DS amused for a while.
Book in advance & try to get a table seat.
Research the journey. & make sure we have enough snacks, drinks & entertainment for it
Sadly, I don’t have the sort of toddler who will entertain doing a bit of quiet colouring it, so for us it’s tiny pots of Play-doh, lift the flap books, massive but non-offensive train picnic, and lots of “let’s see if we can spot a fox outside.”
We also regularly use the tube and that can be better if I plan ahead for quieter times, research step free access and generally hold on tight.
planning is the key-
lots of little non messy snacks
ipads for extreme circumstances lol
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