Traveling by train can be a wonderful experience for young children. Watching this huge and noisy vehicle pull into view on the tracks is really impressive and children enjoy this immensely. Furthermore, children can stand up and move around the aisles on this vehicle and theoretically they do not have to stay seated the entire time, making it even more attractive to them.
However, this will also depend on the child's age and how we as parents feel that a trip by train should go. Traveling on a commuter train is not the same thing as taking a trip on a long-distance train, and this is why we are providing some fundamental tips to ensure that your journey is as safe, entertaining and enjoyable as possible.
We want to remind you about the legislation regarding safety on trains, and we would like to direct you to this article about whether or not it is necessary for trains to have child restraint systems.
Preparing for the trip
A trip by train is fun and entertaining...at first. If the journey is over an hour long then boredom can easily set in. Therefore, before setting off we should plan what we are going to be taking with us to help combat boredom, hunger and thirst.
- Water or a feeding bottle if the child is very young.
- Something to eat: some pieces of fruit, sandwiches...This all depends on the child's age but it is best to have healthy foods that will also help keep them hydrated. Do not forget to pay attention to the size of the pieces of food, to avoid choking.
- Toys and board games, but always making sure they will not disturb other passengers. If we choose videos or music we should play them at a sensible volume.
- Lightweight clothing.
- Coloring books are a good way of keeping children occupied.
In Spain, Renfe offers special children's prices and provides all the details on this website, but we can summarize them as follows:
- 40% discount for children under 14 years old who take up a seat.
- Free tickets for children under 4 years old.
Long distance train journeys
In the case of long journeys, both children and adults need to stretch their legs from time to time to make sure that blood is circulating properly, not to mention the fact that by doing so we will get bored less easily. Every one or two hours we can calmly walk up and down the aisles or take children to the rest room or cafe.
We do not recommend playing games in the train cars and aisles for two important reasons: firstly, the child could lose their balance and hit themselves on one of the seats, and secondly, and no less importantly, they might disturb other passengers. It is important not to let them poke around too much either, because they might accidentally press a button they should not be pressing. Above all, we need to remember our civic responsibilities.
When they are in their seats they should be sitting down and not standing up or jumping around. This is for their own safety and for the comfort of those around them.