Tips for Travelling with Kids on the Train
When you have children, few things can rival a family day out. At CrossCountry, we’re always giving tips for family-friendly days out, from the UK’s best zoos to the must-visit arcades on your seaside holiday. There are so many places to take the kids and there’s always a train to take you there.
It’s all well and good planning a fun day, though, but it’s another thing travelling with children in tow. These are CrossCountry’s top tips for travelling with kids on the train to make your day out as enjoyable as possible.
Plan your journey
When you’re travelling with just adults, it can sometimes be fun to hop on a train and not really know what the rest of the day has in store. Things are a bit different if you’re with children; instead, it’s important to know where you’re going and what you’re doing.
For inspiration for your day out, be sure to check out our blog section. Once you know where you’re going, plan your route by looking at live departures and arrivals. Finally, to make things easier when you depart and arrive, check out the facilities both stations have either end.
Know what to pay
Make sure you don’t pay any more than you need to when you travel on a train with children. Children under 5 can travel for free – though they won’t have a seat reservation, meaning they may need to sit on your lap or stand if no seats are available.
For children aged between 5 and 15, you might want to look into purchasing a Family Railcard. This gives a 33% discount on adult fares and a 60% discount on child fares when you’re all travelling together, which can turn into a substantial saving.
Book tickets in advance
There are so many reasons to book train tickets in advance when you’re travelling with children. Booking tickets in advance can save you money, especially when the whole family is travelling. You can request seat features, including sitting at a table – important if you want the family to be sitting together. It also guarantees you have a seat, rather than turning up on the day only to find out tickets are sold out.
Arrive with time to spare
You might be able to sprint for a train and hop on just as the doors close on your own. But try doing that with children in tow. Everything takes longer with kids, so give yourself as much time as possible to get to the station, find the right platform, and board the train without the mad rush. It will make your day calmer and, more importantly, make things safer for the children.
Take time to prepare your buggy or pram
Travelling with a buggy or pram can be difficult, especially when you have other children or extra luggage also with you. Luckily, trains are some of the easiest modes of transport to take children in a buggy, because of the many options for storage. That’s not to say we don’t have any tips.
Start getting your belongings together and strap your child into their buggy before you arrive at your destination. When you’re ready to disembark the train, turn to face inside the train, step backwards onto the platform, and gradually pull the buggy towards you.
Use lifts where possible
Many train stations have stairs and escalators for passengers to reach platforms, which can be particularly difficult if you’re travelling with young children. To make things easier for parents and people with disabilities, most stations are kitted out with lifts, enabling you step-free access to your platform.
What to do if you and your child get separated
Getting separated from your child can be a terrifying experience. Here’s what to do in the unlikely event that it happens:
- If you’re separated from your child on the same train, alert a member of CrossCountry staff immediately.
- If your child is left on the platform and the train leaves with the doors locked, pull the emergency stop device by the door. The train will stop and the doors will unlock.
- If your child is on the train but you are left on the platform, do your best to make this known to the driver. If this doesn’t work, speak to a member of staff at the station’s help point. Arrangements will be made to reconnect you both.
If you’re planning a trip with your children, don’t forget to book an Advance ticket via our website or our Train Tickets app. You can also find information on how to get cheaper train tickets via our special offers page. If you need more information, you can contact us here.
The UK is bursting with fun activities for the whole family. Whether you’re visiting one of the best castles in the UK, the best theme parks in the UK, or the best waterparks in the UK, you can always travel by train. CrossCountry has services running up and down the country to ensure you can get to the places you need to be.