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Train with Babies: Exploring Europe by Train

Exploring the continent by train is not only doable, but an incredible way to see new places as a family. My family and I have taken several trips around Europe by train, and I've learned a thing or two about making the most of this convenient and comfortable mode of transportation while you train with Baby.

So let me share my top tips for planning a seamless European train adventure with your little ones.

Illustration of a long distance train parked at a train station in the swiss mountains

Getting Your Eurail Pass

The first step in planning a European train trip is deciding if a Eurail pass is right for your family. Eurail offers a variety of pass options that allow you to travel through multiple countries on one ticket.

Some of the most popular Eurail passes include:

  • Eurail Global Pass: Gives you access to the rail networks of 33 European countries.

  • Eurail Select Pass: Allows you to choose 2-4 bordering countries to travel through.

  • Eurail Regional Pass: Covers travel within a specific region, like Scandinavia or Benelux.

The right pass for your family will depend on your itinerary and how much ground you plan to cover. I recommend doing some research on the Eurail website to compare the different options and find the best value.

One scenario where a Eurail pass can be especially beneficial for families is if you plan to visit multiple countries and take longer train journeys. With a Eurail pass, you can often save money compared to booking individual tickets, especially for longer trips where seat reservations are required. The pass also provides flexibility, allowing you to change travel plans as needed without worrying about rebooking or change fees.

The Eurostar

If your travels will take you between the UK and mainland Europe or other major cities in the northwest corridor of Europe, the Eurostar high-speed train is a convenient option. You can find more details about taking the Eurostar with babies in my blog post here.

Navigating Country-Specific Rail Systems

While the Eurail pass makes cross-border travel a breeze, you'll still need to familiarize yourself with the rail systems within each country you plan to visit. And it may even be advantageous of you to check individual tickets within each country.

If you have a set schedule, are sticking to one or two countries, or are planning closer to your travel date, it may be less expensive than the more flexible Eurail. Here's a quick rundown of some of the major train operators in Europe:

I'd suggest bookmarking the websites for these rail companies, as they can be helpful for checking schedules, booking tickets, and finding information specific to traveling with kids.

Tips for Traveling with Kids

Traveling by train with children can be a breeze, but there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Book seats together as early as possible, especially during peak travel seasons.

  • Bring snacks, games, and other activities to keep little ones entertained during longer journeys.

  • Take advantage of amenities like onboard dining cars and spacious restrooms.

  • Be flexible with your schedule and don't overbook your days.

When you are traveling with babies or toddlers, here are some additional tips:

  • If you have the option to book seats for your baby or toddler, do so. They are often at a discounted price and the extra space can be really helpful.

  • Request a family-friendly compartment or carriage, which may have more space and amenities.

  • Bring a lightweight, portable stroller or carrier to navigate train stations and platforms.

  • Depending on the train and your seat allocation you may need to collapse the stroller before getting on board. I like to have a really big bag with me to throw everything in the stroller into while boarding or disembarking the train.

  • Nurse or bottle-feed during the journey to help little ones stay calm and comfortable.

  • Consider booking overnight train rides if you plan to travel long distances to maximize your time and allow your little ones to sleep.

With a little planning and preparation, you can turn your European train adventure into a memorable family vacation.


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