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Train Ride Survival Guide: Our Children-Friendly Travel Tips

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Do you want to enjoy a train trip minus the meltdowns? 

Whether it’s just you and the one bundle of joy or you have the start of your own football team with grandparents, cousins and extended family members all in tow; going on an adventure with your little ‘uns is good wholesome family fun.

And throw an exciting train ride into the mix and you have the perfect way to travel and amuse your kids at the same time!

But wait, we know what you are thinking – how do you stop the baby from getting cranky? And how do you persuade your active pre-schoolers to sit still for the journey? The trick is to stave off the boredom and with a bit of clever planning, having fun whilst travelling with your little ones is easy.

We’ll give you some helpful tips on travelling with nippers and take a look at some of the best travel games that are ideal for playing on a train journey with restless children.

Bored child leans against a rainy train window

Travel Games to Play on a Train

What better way to entertain your kids than to play some good ol’ fashioned travel games with them?

Check out the following for some games that are perfect for playing on a train journey:

I-Spy With My Little Eye …

This classic guessing game never goes out of fashion and is one of the best games to play on a train journey.

How to Play: Someone starts the game by finding an object that everyone can see and then it’s time to say: ‘I spy with my little eye, something beginning with …’ and state the first letter of the word. You can spot things inside and outside the carriage and as the scenery is constantly changing out the window; you will never run out of new things to spot!

This is such a popular game for families to pass some travel time, we have created a fun game of I-spy for you to print out for your children to play along the way.

Download the PDF for our I-spy game here.

Sing-alongs

With a little creativity, travel games can make going a long distance a whole lot of fun by belting out a few songs along the way.

How to Play: There are lots of ways to enjoy sing-alongs on a train journey. You can sing a round where everyone sings the same lyrics but starts at different times or try singing a few lines from a famous song and get everyone to guess the name of the song from the snippet.

A little girl singing against a yellow background

Ssshhh … Let’s Play the Quiet Game!

Who says kid’s games have to create a whole lot of hullabaloo?

If the carriage is busy, you might prefer to keep the family racket to a minimum by encouraging your more active little ones to join in with a peaceful round of the ‘Quiet Game’.

How to Play: Challenge everyone to stay quiet and the winner is the child who goes the longest without making a noise and this is the perfect game to play on a train to calm your kids down after a raucous singing collaboration.

Animal Spotting

When it comes to games to play on a train, getting kids to keep their eager-eyes peeled for animals along the way is an effective way to hold their attention.

How to Play: Similar to I-spy but the objective is to spot as many animals as possible along the way. You can make the game as competitive as you want, depending on the age and attention-span of the children playing, by including everything from bunnies in the passing fields to squashed bugs on the windows.

Are We Nearly There Yet?

It’s the one question that every parent on a road trip dreads and while we all appreciate our children’s natural curiosity; hearing this question for the fifth time in 10 minutes will soon become irksome.

So, we came up with a great travel game for kids to play to answer their own question and all you need to do is have a map handy.

How to Play: Challenge them to embrace their inquisitiveness by getting them to follow the journey in real-time, either via an online map or on a printed out map that they can draw on with colourful pencils. Get them to keep their eyes peeled for place names and check them on the route, so they can see for themselves how the journey is going.

The great thing about this game is that they can continue to play for the entire journey and with some luck, you might even be able to avoid having to answer the question yourself.

Lots of children’s toy trains

Trains vs. Planes & Automobiles

Travelling with your kids doesn’t have to be as daunting as many parents fear and while it certainly has its challenges; there’s one way to guarantee heaps of fun while getting from one place to another with your children - a train ride and a few travel games.

Why Car & Plane Journeys with Kids Suck

Forget long, cramped car rides, stuck in traffic jams with children hankering to stop to use the toilet every 20 minutes and swap your confined car for a long carriage that offers a great way to stretch everyone’s legs.

Even the best travel games will only entertain children cooped up in a car for so long before weariness sets in!  

Airports are equally as unappealing to parents. They are time-consuming, jam-packed with frantic travellers and, quite frankly, as easy to manage with children as touching your nose with your tongue.

You convince yourself that the airport won’t be that bad and a car journey will be bearable, yet chaos feels frustratingly inevitable. When trains are so much fun for all the family - instead of trying to reach your elbow with your tongue, why not just jump on a train?

Be Prepared: Pack to Entertain

Nothing beats spending valuable time with your family but being cooped up in one place with fidgety children will require some careful planning and packing if you want to avoid toddler tantrums, as having travel games to hand will only take you so far.

Below are a few essentials that parents should never leave home without when taking a train ride with children:

  • Snacks & drinks
  • Crayons & paper
  • Electronic equipment such as a tablet or smartphone
  • Audiobooks
  • Sticker books/activity books

Fun, lightweight travel games and toys such as colourful pipe cleaners and silly putty will also come in handy, along with a change of clothes should a predictable spillage happen while travelling on the tracks.

Child writing with a red pencil

Tantrum-Free Travel Tips

From travel games to clever packing, making sure you all enjoy your excursion is easier than you may think. Take a bag stocked with snacks, refreshing drinks, a collection of games for travelling and all the naps and distractions you can pack into the day and everyone will enjoy the outing.

As any parent knows, with all the excitement of a trip the odd meltdown is fated but being well-prepared will help to make the journey memorable for all the right reasons, so pack some travel games and have a fun family day out.

Do you fancy going on a family train trip? Check out our advanced tickets page for 70% off your CrossCountry train tickets.

*Applies to CrossCountry journeys only. Average saving calculated by comparing Advance standard single ticket prices, purchased before the day of travel, for 4,858 CrossCountry journeys to the equivalent price of an Anytime standard single ticket. Advance fares are subject to availability, terms and conditions apply. Please see website for full details.

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