Kids Travel Free and First Class is 5 Euros? What gives?
Fast WiFi and they just offered me chocolate mints. I think I’m on the wrong train.
Maybe I’m on the wrong planet. This just isn’t my world, I don’t recognize it. When I was younger … OK, OK, I’ll stop right there with the comparisons to the past.
If you’re looking to travel by train in Europe, do shop around for prices and deals. If you pay attention, the deals can be quite surprising. Kids under 14 travel free with an accompanying adult so my son is coming with me (well, he’d come even if he weren’t free … ) from Holland to Wiesbaden for a few days to visit an old friend. When we booked the tickets, the online booking system said it would be only 5 Euros extra to make it first class. I truly don’t care about 1st (or 3rd) class, but it was more a question of making sure we’d get a seat on the ICE (the super fast train through Germany). I’ve been on it before and enjoyed the smooth 250+ km/hour ride less while standing in between cars and holding onto the handrail. But those were days long ago. Now, apparently, I travel first class.
Coming from the boonies of Holland, we did have to get four trains before we got to Duesseldorf to get our fast train, but we’re in this for the journey today, not the destination. I know (through scientific experiments) that my kids actually do hear what I say, so I remind him that it doesn’t matter when we arrive because we have nothing to do when we get there and while on the subject of things to do, we have nothing to do while we’re on the train. Let me rephrase, there is nothing we have to do, but there is plenty to do.
Train Travel Tips for Travel with Kids in Europe
- Plan ahead: there are bigger discounts the further in advance you purchase tickets.
- Upgrade: although the upgrade was cheap, you might not want to travel with your young kids in a train car full of businessmen. Although there are more seats … and chocolates (on the ICE).
- Reservations: this was another reason that we chose first class: it was actually cheaper than reserving two seats. There were plenty of seats in both first and second class, but you never know when it’ll be busy … well, actually, you do: Friday and Sunday afternoons, for example.
- Travel apps: because we started in Holland, I used the NS train app, but it didn’t get me to Germany. Then I used the international train app and it gave me a beautiful plan of our journey.
- Flexibility: we had some close connections this morning, but managed to make all of our trains. Make sure you have time (or no agenda) to get from A to B … to C to D.
One thing I’d still like to do (if only from the memory of when I did it with my parents when I was 15) is do a sleeper car. I haven’t looked into it at all, but I just like the romantic idea of it, the rumble of the steel on the tracks and falling asleep while still moving. Falling asleep and traveling at the same time? Maybe I should put that on my list of tips above.