traveling by train - solo or as a family always a good choice
Long long time ago, I can still remember . . . when I was still single, I loved to travel by train and I still do.
As a female single, I traveled several times by train to different holiday destinations in Europe, like Hamburg, Paris, Siorac en Pérgord (France) and through the United States from Atlanta to Washington DC by night train and from Washington DC to Manhattan. It was always a pleasant way to travel, and I loved it being alone but nevertheless getting in touch with others easily.
I also made my daily trips from home to my office in Luxemburg city and back for many years by train, and my husband still does nowadays, about 60 km by train each morning and each evening.
After I met my husband in 2001, we still made few trips by train, to the Belgian coast, to Colmar in France and to Hamburg and Kiel in Northern Germany.
Then, lucky us, we became parents for the first time, for the second time and a third time, within three years and we were quite busy with our kids and as our babies were very close in age, we were afraid of going somewhere by train, because we had loads of stuff to take for the kids.
traveling by train with kids
When our baby girl was two years old, we decided to go by train to Paris with the kids for an overnight stay, visiting the famous Christmas markets and the Eiffel Tower.
It was great, the kids loved the train ride, the freedom of moving around as well as their parents having plenty of time to devote to them an not to watch the road. TGV trains are nicely furnished and spacious, we had a family corner, so 4 places with a table.
We went from Luxembourg City to Paris Est by TGV 'train grand vitesse' (high speed train) wich is an comfortable and fast way to travel. It's only a two hour journey between Luxembourg and Paris.
There's just one point we really disliked with TGV and unfortunately experienced each time: it's constantly overbooked! This is not only extremely annoying, because it takes hours with infants to get to the toilet and back, it in my opinion this a real safety issue!
Twice on our return trip from Paris the corridors and exists were so crowded that it was nearly impossible to move through, and in case of emergency this additional number of people and their luggage blocking all corridors and exists would cause panic and problems when exiting the carriages. Unfortunately staff on the train is not to be seen during the whole journey, and upon arrival we were just told that they 'can't do anything about that situation'. Well, thank's a lot!
All in all our first family trip uproad by train was a positive experience, so we were eager to go on more trips by train.
We've been back in Paris twice with the kids, been to the Belgian coast, and even twice to London by Eurostar.
Traveling to London by Eurostar was a great experience too. The kids loved it and ask all the time if we will visit London again so. Partially because London is a great place to be, but also because they enjoy train trips.
The journey in total is about 6 hours from our place at home to St Pancras Int. Station in London.
This might seem a long journey, but it isn't.
We have to change trains twice, first at Liège Guillemins railway Station and again in Brussels Midi.
These breaks make the journey interesting and less boring as the kids can move around and explore the surroundings.
Also compared to a trip by plane, these 6 hours are not excessively more time to spend.
From our home to the national airport we have to preview at least one hour on the road plus half an hour for parking and access to the airport. Then there's one to two hours required prior to departure, which brings us to about 3 hours in total. Add one hour 15 minutes of flight time, which brings you to 4 hours fifteen. Traveling from London City Airport to the city centre can vary between 30 minutes by cab to over one hour by public transport. So that would make at least 5 hours 15 minutes in time.
Further more, plane tickets are more expensive, and car parking also has to be paid.
This makes it an easy choice for us to opt for train trips on several destinations, rather than taking a plane.
Other than with TGV, with Eurostar we never had the problem of overbooking.
The trains are great, spacious, clean and staff is friendly and present.
We definitely recommend EUROSTAR as travel partner!
As our kids are getting older, traveling by train becomes even easier each year.
The first time we went to Paris we still had to take our babystroller and lots of accessories and diapers, the next year we didn't take the stroller to London, and we had to carry our little girl for miles while she was asleep . . . . last time we went to London, it all was easy going and our daughter, then 4 years 8 month old, managed it well and just went walking on and on and on . . .
We are actually planning some more holiday trips by train next year, and eventually even some destinations farther away.
I'll keep you up to date . . . so stay tuned!