10 Reasons Why Eurail Is Perfect For Family Travel
Many people associate Eurail trips with free-willed gap year travelers who are looking to traverse the continent with ease. And while this demographic does sound like the average Eurailer, more and more families are discovering that this is one of the most cost-effective and enjoyable ways to travel. Here are 10 reasons why Eurail is perfect for family travel.
Family travel with Eurail
1. Kids under 4 travel free (without a Eurail Pass)
If you’re traveling with your kids when they’re still young, you won’t have to pay a cent for them if you choose to travel by train. Children under the age of 4 on the first day of the Eurail trip can ride on European trains for free, without a Eurail Pass. If the train is crowded, you may need to put your child on your lap.
Good to know: Reservations are still required for sleeper trains if you’d like your child to have his or her own bed.
2. Children aged 4 to 11 also travel free
While children under the age of 4 might not fully appreciate the spectacle of a European rail journey, older kids certainly will. The good news is, anyone between 4 and 11 on their first day of travel also ride for free. You simply need to choose a Family Eurail Pass when you order online.
Good to know: Up to 2 children can travel for free per adult – so 2 adults can bring 4 children aged from 4-11. If you’ll be traveling with more kids, you’ll need to order a separate 1st class Youth Pass for each child.
3. Fewer security checks and long waits
No one likes long airport security lines and arduous boarding processes, but they can be particularly difficult for families. Eurail travel removes the need to stand in almost any queue. Simply get your family to the right platform at the right time, and hop aboard when your train arrives.
Top tip: You might need to reserve seats ahead of time for some trains. You can do most of these online or at the station itself. Check the Eurail Reservation Guide for more info.
4. Ability to walk around, stretch legs, and play games
Trains offer much more freedom to move around, which is perfect for any restless members of the family. You’ll have more room to stretch your legs and walk around, and you can usually switch seats if you want. Some trains even have 4-seater sections divided by a foldaway table, perfect for card games on those slightly longer journeys.
Top tip: Make sure you know which station you’re getting off at well in advance. Pack up ahead of time and make suitable arrangements to get off quickly, especially if your children are still young and easily distracted. Trains typically only allow a few minutes for passengers to alight.
5. Constant intrigue and excitement
Trains bring out the child in all of us. Everyone in the family will be intrigued and excited by the prospects of a train journey. If people in your family aren’t enthralled by the engineering feat of the actual train, bridges, and tunnels, then the scenery outside will certainly capture their imaginations. There’s always something interesting to look at when you’re on a train, regardless of your age or interests.
6. No luggage restrictions
Worried about fitting the stroller, winter clothes, and 2 weeks of snacks into a tiny overhead compartment? Then travel by train. There are essentially no luggage limits on board trains, provided it fits and you can carry it yourself without assistance.
Top tip: This doesn’t mean you should take as much as possible. The amount of luggage you carry is directly related to how hassle-free your journey will be.
7. Smaller carbon footprint
Family travel around Europe by plane is not only costly and tiresome, it’s also harsher on the environment. Families concerned about their carbon footprint can offset much of this by skipping the long plane rides (and constant taxi rides to and from airports) and exchanging them for rail travel.
8. No fear of flying
When it comes to family travel, the younger (or even older) ones can be afraid of flying. Some even suffer other issues such as motion sickness or ear problems. Trains are generally more stable, less intimidating, and far less likely to induce panic attacks in the younger members of your family.
9. Easily bring own food and drinks on board
If you have special dietary requirements, or if a member of your family must travel with large amounts of liquid (such as baby milk or a cherished bottle of Irish whiskey), then trains are the way to go. There’s usually no food or liquid restrictions on board trains. Smart families even plan ahead and pack picnics that keep the entire family – and bank account – much happier than traditional airline food.
10. Less hassle when you arrive
Perhaps one of the best things about rail travel in Europe is that most trains deliver you directly into the heart of the city. Most stations are within walking distance of hotels and other accommodation. If not, there are often cabs and other public transportation waiting to help out with the last few miles of travel. The cost-saving benefit of these arrival points is a big bonus for family travel, and entering a new city by ground and taking a short walk to your accommodation can be enjoyable and memorable.
Train travel is a thrilling way to explore Europe, regardless of your age or travel partners. Family Eurail trips offer more convenience and great savings on tickets, airport transfers, and food and drinks. They also give you the perfect opportunity to bond with younger members and incite true passion in trains and rail travel in general. For more info on family passes and discounts, visit the Eurail website.
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