I have recently made some mid-length train trips with my toddler Daisy. These train trips were for around 3 hours. So long enough to need a bit of thought about how to keep her entertained. From what I learnt, these are my 5 tips for train travel with a toddler.
5 Tips for Train Travel with a Toddler
- In my mind I broke each hour into six 10 minute chunks. So I wanted to take at least 6 small, portable toys to rotate each hour. This seemed a sensible way to minimise the amount of stuff I needed to carry. But also have enough to hand to keep Daisy entertained. And hopefully sitting down for as long as possible. I experimented with a few different things. But my most successful six were: a mini tub of Playdoh; a purse filled with old credit cards, business cards, pretend money, etc.; a set of mini books; a small shape sorter; a small colouring book and pencils; and an episode or two of a tv show downloaded on my phone. The shape sorter wasn’t that compact – one of the small wooden cube type – but I knew it would keep her entertained for a long time.
- It is inevitable that on a train with a toddler you will spend a large proportion of the time walking up and down. In our case usually attracting the attention of the oddest looking people. Who then try to give Daisy chocolate. Fortunately she ran away. I’m not sure my German is up to not offending people when declining chocolate. Anyway, my tip here is to pack light. Especially if you are solo-parenting, as otherwise you may end up leaving your bags away from your full attention. (I wrote a post on packing light for a city break). Ideally, take another adult with you to share walking up and down duties…
- If at all possible, I always use a baby carrier when travelling by train. The space in trains tends to be limited and there are always steps in stations it seems. Of course sometimes you need a buggy at your destination. In which case just smile winningly at your fellow travels who will then assist… We use a Tula which I find really comfortable. But baby carriers come in all shapes and sizes, so there will be one to suit you.
- If at all possible travel at nap and meal times. I find that Daisy can take upwards of half an hour to eat lunch. So that is a good way of killing some time. And I was incredibly lucky that during an hour or so delay on one journey Daisy had a nap. I even got to read a book.
- Don’t forget snacks or drinks. I know most parents would remember this. But I forgot. Fortunately we were on a train with a restaurant car, otherwise it could have been a bit of a disaster.