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Travelling with children; what are your tips? Share them with South Western Railway

341 replies

EllieMumsnet · 28/01/2019 10:21

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We all know that travelling on family days out with children are not always the cheapest of experiences. However they can provide great family bonding and memories that will last a lifetime and just as importantly don’t have to burn a hole in your pocket every time. With that being said South Western Railway want your top tips for travelling with children, especially your best money saving tips!

Here’s what South Western Railway have to say: “If you’re savvy at looking out for great family deals then sign up to receive our customer newsletters. You’ll receive exclusive offers and inspiration on where to visit on the network, helping you to plan a fun family day out.”

Do you ensure you bring pack lunches and snacks for the whole family so you don't have to spend anything on food? Perhaps you like to bring along extended family or friends? Do you bring lots of fun games to use as distractions if and when needed on the journey? How do you decide where to go if you have children of different ages?

Whatever your tips are for travelling with children and saving money on family days out, share them on the thread below and everyone who does will be entered into a prize draw where one MNer will win a £300 voucher of their choice (from a list).

Thanks and good luck with the prize draw!

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Travelling with children; what are your tips? Share them with South Western Railway
OP posts:
BristolMum96 · 28/01/2019 11:35

Always take packed lunches. Cheaper and you know what your child will eat. Kids of different ages - wonderful if you can take 1 adult per child and go off to do different things. Money saver - drive, don't take the train! It's extortionate.

sharond101 · 28/01/2019 11:45

We have small diy storage boxes and full them with bitesize snacks which is s real novelty for the kids. Activity books are fluid too and the pound shop do excellent ones.

Ashhead24 · 28/01/2019 11:47

Tons of snacks keeps them entertained. Definitely bring them and don't buy them to save money. But we do buy lunch as an "activity" to keep them entertained and use up time as well.

3boysandabump · 28/01/2019 11:52

Snacks are a must. It's the only time I will buy one of the total rip off kids magazines as well. We also play games like eye spy and one called the cow game where we split into teams and get points for spotting cows out of our windows. Double points for spotting cows out of the other teams windows.

sarat1 · 28/01/2019 12:08

Be prepared, pack plenty of snacks but also ensure any toys and other distractions brought along are quiet so as not to disturb others passengers.

voyager50 · 28/01/2019 12:20

I always take the 'I-Spy on a train book' - it has lots of things to tick off as you see them at the station as well as during the journey - it encourages them to look out of the window ratter than just stare at a screen.

wobytide · 28/01/2019 12:29

If you can reserve seats then reserve a table seat giving you somewhere to read, eat, play

Don't sit in the quiet carriage

Check which of the toilets are actually working

When nearing your destination check they have all they came with, i.e. sauntering round leaving jumpers/coats on other seats is a regular favourite

Gazelda · 28/01/2019 12:33

Take small activities and snacks.
Play games - Ispy, yellow car spotting etc.

April2020mom · 28/01/2019 12:42

We have audiobooks for long car trips. I always take a bag of food and drinks too. I also invested in a couple of activity books. I love making up interesting stories and games to play. When I was a child my mom used to give me drawing paper the day before we left.
I also take the opportunity to have them practice counting skills.

torthecatlady · 28/01/2019 12:45

Snacks and colouring books!!!

Stringofpearls · 28/01/2019 12:48

I've an 8 month old and I find that new books are great to keep her entertained. Also it's best to have food they like with you in case they don't like the available food. I always have a familiar blanket and soft toy with me too so that she can curl up and have a nap on me if she needs it.

UpOnDown · 28/01/2019 12:49

Use a Family & Friends Railcard.

jacqui5366 · 28/01/2019 12:59

If its a short journey, a comic with things to read in bitesize columns, puzzles to do and the free gift to play with, for longer journeys, a tablet with games to play and a downloaded movie or programme,

del2929 · 28/01/2019 12:59

ive always found it has helped taking small snacks- drinks, ipad

daniel1996 · 28/01/2019 13:06

We always take grandad with us when we can, as he has a lovely way and patience with my littlies, and brings a sense of calmness, and organisation to get us from A to B. I generally have a rucksack for travelling with antibac wipes and gel for hands and the train table. There is a 5 year age gap, but to be honest it's not a problem, they have a mini tablet each and will play games, together and separate. I always take some fromage frais tubes, ham sandwiches and drinks cartons (to save money and not buy from the buffet car)

MargoLovebutter · 28/01/2019 13:15

It's not rocket science, you just have to think ahead a bit and depending on the age of your children take appropriate food and entertainment, so that you don't drive your fellow travellers insane or end up gibbering yourself.

Flights were my biggest stressor when the DC were little, due to such limited space and close proximity to others. I used to have a bag full of bits and bobs the DC had never seen before (usually from the pound shop) and used those things and snacks as distraction.

Worst case scenario and it all goes screamy and horrible, just remember that it is only a journey, won't last forever and you'll probably never see your fellow passengers ever again!

treegone · 28/01/2019 13:20

I'm afraid it's endless snacks first. Then some activity books and stories. I'll download some programmes on my phone in advance so can stick on something for them to watch if the journey is very long and they're getting fidgety. We don't take the train much as the long distances we go would not work out well for trains. But we do take it as an activity in itself sometimes. Little half hour rides now and again.
We've done maybe 3 or 4 3hr plus train journeys and it's all about the food! Bite size and in little bags and boxes, stuff they're not normally allowed to graze on, and often!

Aubasaurus · 28/01/2019 13:57

Definitely snacks, and a packed lunch if I'm organised enough. Activity books are good, especially ones with lots of stickers. Those multi-coloured biros seem to be a big hit and are a lot more transportable than a handful of coloured pens or crayons. And baby wipes, always handy.

Honeywort · 28/01/2019 15:01

Definitely bring snacks and packed lunches. And family’s &friends rail card is great. Is even better value when going to London to include the tube travel on your train ticket - this makes a day trip to London incredibly good value by train for us. Plus there are all those great museums with free entry once you are there,

angel0071987 · 28/01/2019 16:02

Lots of snacks and activities to keep the entertained. Ispy books for older ones, colouring (especially the water ink books/pads as no mess!!), sticker/activity books and good old fashion story books or magazines.

asuwere · 28/01/2019 16:12

If it's a long journey, plan in advance. Get the kids to pick their own activity books although lots of travel games don't need anything other than imagination! Definitely own packed lunch to save money. To really save money, I'd say avoid the train and drive!

lolly2011 · 28/01/2019 16:16

I always bring snacks, drinks with me, I take a packed lunch if its a long day. I plan the day ahead and make sure I've got tickets for activities booked in advance.

Visioncroquet · 28/01/2019 17:06

We recently drove from Manchester to France via Dover. We took lots of snacks, bought the kids magazines but the best investments was the dual dvd players that attach to the back of the front seats! Kept them quite & busy on a very long journey.

seizethecuttlefish · 28/01/2019 19:27

Baby carrier, so that the youngest can get involved if we explore. Research where you're going to make the most of it and make sure you have what you need. My kids also think I know everything GrinLook for local deals and cheap online tickets. Have a change of clothes. Plenty of snacks and also things to do. Don't let kids have all the snacks at once (might just be my kids...) Travel mug with a cuppa for me. Backpack to carry everything easily.

Theimpossiblegirl · 28/01/2019 19:48

Have a family and friends railcard.
Reserve seats if you can.
Take lots of food and drink, they will be hungry from the moment you leave.

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