1. Arrive early at the station. This is especially important if you have children. Arriving early allows you time. Time to change, be it platform or nappies, seats or minds. Time to acclimatise your children to their surroundings, time to deal with any nervous energy or last minute toilet demands. Time to find a bar if all else fails.
2. Take food and lots of it. Long train journeys can drag, especially with an empty stomach. Buffet cars on trains are often plentiful but they are also expensive. If you are travelling with small children you could find yourself spending the equivalent of a week’s food shopping allowance on snacks, so go prepared.
3. If you are travelling far it can often be a good idea to familiarise yourself with your journey, know whether you are passing by any famous landmarks or beautiful views. Nothing worse than arriving at a destination and hearing the words ‘and did you see…’ if you weren’t even aware you’d see it.
4. Whilst kids undeniably find it magical to travel by train, that wears off after about 15 minutes and then you are left with a whinging, bored, hungry (unless you read no2) child who’s constant ‘are we there yets’ is driving you up the wall. Go prepared, books, games, iPads, puzzles, colouring pens, basically as much as you can carry with as much variation as possible. Even if you don’t have kids, it is still wise to take stuff to occupy your time; books, puzzles and headphones (to drown out those people who do have kids but forgot to read this).
5. Sleep on it. We don’t mean figuratively. Why spend money on hotel stopovers when you can stay on, bed down and do the journey in one go?
6. We may be biased but finally, use our best fare finder widget to book your train tickets up to twelve weeks in advance, you can save up to 80% on fares and in some cases, an upgrade to first class can still be cheaper than a ticket bought on the day. But ssshhhh, we won’t tell your partner and kids that….