Aug 18

Travelling abroad with children: Car vs. Train

Tips-For-Traveling-With-KidsWhen on holiday with children, it often feels safer to stick in one spot, to not venture too far from the beaten path.

However this can pretty much limit your holiday options for eighteen years, and there is so much for your children to enjoy when you take them on holiday and go and explore.

Whenever we go away we treat it as an adventure.

Most recently we travelled to Spain, and stayed in the north of the country.  We flew into Zaragoza and picked up our hire car.  It is easy to find cheap car hire in Spain and other European destinations. Iit is worth booking in advance to ensure you save Euros.  You can attempt to travel by train or bus, but in my experience the car is often a more stress free choice.

Car Hire vs. Train travel


In a hire car, you can pack as much as you will need, travel cots, travel high chairs, and clothes, plus toys.  The car will normally carry as much as you want to cram into it.  The train is the opposite, you need to travel lightly and be able to hold all that you need on your back.  The train works when travelling solo or as a couple, but since I have had children, my mode of transport needs a great big boot.


Surviving a trip with children that involves travelling can be a challenge.  In the car you can maintain a happy environment, sing along CD’s, stopping at beauty spots, and loud car games are all perfect ways to maintain harmony.  The train has the advantage of allowing you to stretch your legs, but, not all travellers are sympathetic to crying toddlers and raucous pre teens.  You could find the journey extremely stressful from a parenting point of view.

Price Tag

We are a family of five, and we have to buy tickets for each of us.  When we travelled to Northern Spain we looked at how much the train would cost us in order for us to reach the different destinations we had planned to see.  The price was astronomical.  The car came out much cheaper, even with petrol added on.  Because it was a hire car, with lower emissions, I lost some of my guilt about trying to live green, knowing if we had brought our own people carrier over the ocean it would have hurt the environment far more, because of the age of our vehicle.

In my opinion, travelling with young kids is a great way to spend a break, but hiring a car beats train travel every time whilst they are still small.

By Jane Blackmore, writer, blogger, traveller.

ALSO read: Childalert’s Travelling with Children

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