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Train with Babies: Exploring Europe by Eurostar

Updated: May 24

When planning our recent trip from Germany to Paris, we knew the Eurostar high-speed rail service would be the ideal way to make the journey with our two young toddlers in tow. The direct route from Düsseldorf to the heart of the French capital took just under four hours, with no annoying transfers or layovers to contend with

Ticketing and Fares

We opted to purchase six seats for our family of four, including two for the kids. At only €30 per child roundtrip, the extra space was an absolute lifesaver. By the time we reached Aachen, the second stop after Düsseldorf, the train was completely full, so having those additional seats gave us room to spread out and keep our little ones comfortable.

In addition to the basic fare, the Eurostar offers a range of ticket classes and add-ons to suit different budgets and needs. Standard class is the most economical option, while Standard Premier and Business Premier provide additional comforts like complimentary drinks and meals. You can also purchase one-way tickets or roundtrip fares, as well as multi-journey passes for frequent travelers.

It's worth noting that children under the age of 4 ride for free (without their own seat) on the Eurostar, making it a very family-friendly option. Older kids and adults can take advantage of discounted fares with the Eurostar's Youth, Senior, and Disabled passenger categories.

Other Eurostar Routes

While our journey originated in Düsseldorf, the Eurostar network connects a variety of major cities across Europe, including London, Brussels, Amsterdam, and Marseille, among others. Depending on your starting point and final destination, you may need to transfer between the Eurostar and local rail services, but the overall experience is still remarkably smooth and efficient.

For example, you could take the Eurostar from London to Paris, then connect to a regional train to explore the French countryside. Or begin your trip in Amsterdam, travel to Brussels via Eurostar, and then continue on to your final stop in Germany or France.

No matter which route you choose, the Eurostar provides a comfortable and convenient way to discover the heart of Europe with your family.

Update: According to several sources there are new checkin procedures for Eurostar passengers traveling out of London. "Eurostar travellers will need their fingerprints and picture taken before boarding as part of new European Union checks at St Pancras, which will require passengers to turn up to the station earlier than usual. All non-EU passport holders will have to deal with the measures once a new entry-exit system is launched on October 6. Passengers taking the Eurostar from the London station will be expected to arrive at least two hours before departure, compared to the current rules which advise travellers to arrive 90 minutes in advance." Source

Tips & Tricks for Travel with Baby

If you're considering taking the Eurostar for your next European adventure, here are my top tips to ensure a smooth and stress-free experience:

Download the App Before your trip, be sure to download the official Eurostar mobile app. It allows you to easily manage your bookings, view live train updates, and even access mobile tickets for a seamless boarding process. The app also provides helpful information about stations, onboard amenities, and trip planning.

Bring Your Own Snacks and Drinks

While the Eurostar does have a cafe car, the options were quite limited, and there wasn't even any coffee available on our return trip. To avoid any mid-journey hangry meltdowns, I'd recommend packing your own tasty treats and drinks to keep both you and the kids fueled up.

Reserve Seats with Baby Changing Facilities

If possible, try to book seats in train cars that have toilets equipped with baby changing tables. Not every car has this amenity, so securing those family-friendly spots in advance can make a big difference. This also increases your chances of being seated near other passengers with young children.

Choose the Right Seating Arrangement

For families of four with toddlers, the four seats facing each other with a table in the middle is an ideal configuration. This allows you to easily interact with your little ones and provide them with activities and snacks. Alternatively, sitting at the end of the car near the door can be convenient, although it can get a bit noisy with the door opening and closing.

If you have the basic fare without seat selection, the train staff will likely place you in or near a car with a changing table, which is a nice perk.

Bring Plenty of Diversions

With ample room on the fold-down tray tables, you'll want to pack a variety of toys, books, and other engaging activities to keep your toddlers entertained throughout the journey. A tablet loaded with their favorite shows or games can also be a lifesaver.

Arrive Early and Travel Light

Make sure to get to the station at least 20 minutes before your scheduled departure. The Eurostar is notorious for its strict departure times, so you won't want to risk missing the train. And since you'll need to quickly load your luggage onto the train, it's best to travel as light as possible and remain flexible.

Fold Your Stroller

Before boarding, be sure to collapse your stroller and stow it away with the rest of your belongings. If you have a lot of contents in the stroller, bringing a large bag to consolidate everything can make it easier to transport to your seat.

Traveling by Eurostar made our journey to Paris smooth, seamless, and downright pleasant, despite having two toddlers in tow. By following these tips, you can ensure a comfortable and stress-free experience for the whole family on your next European rail adventure.

For more information on the Eurostar, visit their website here.

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