Riding Amtrak with kids is one of those life adventures you just can’t miss, especially if you live in the U.S. Sometimes you need to ditch the car, especially if you’re headed to a city where walking or public transportation is available, and parking is expensive. Before you climb aboard however, there are a few things you need to know. Riding a train with kids is comparable to flying, but has its own set of rules and prep to make the process smoother for everyone.
Great places to go via Amtrak with Kids
- Hand sanitizer/ Antibacterial wipes
- Small blanket (for longer trips)
- There are no assigned seats. Arrive early so you don’t have to scramble.
- The train will leave without you. This isn’t like a plane where you are checked in and accounted for. You simply get onboard. If you have a ticket, you get to stay. If not, they kick you off. It is that simple.
Tips to being a good rider
- Respect the quiet car. If you are riding Amtrak with kids, this is not the car for you.
- Be courteous to your fellow passengers. Don’t talk on your cell phone loudly. Don’t talk to your friends loudly. This is not your living room. It’s a train. People are trying to sleep, work, watch shows, etc.
- Use headphones! No one wants to listen to your music, movie, show or YouTube video!
- Facetime and Skype have a time and a place; the train might not be that place. If it is, at least use your headset so we all don’t have to hear the entire conversation.
- Bring entertainment for your kid. There is none onboard.
How to entertain your kids on the train
It is essential that you pack entertainment for your kids on the train. Yes, riding a train is exciting, but that excitement only lasts so long. Amtrak won’t entertain your kids. That is up to you.
- Tablets: Make sure your tablets are loaded with games, books, movies and anything else your kids will need. Amtrak does provide free Wi-Fi, but streaming movies isn’t always an option with dropping signals and choppy service. Not sure which one to get the kids? We love this one!
- Coloring books: You can never go wrong with a few great coloring books and crayons.
- Travel journal: The beauty of train travel is that kids are less likely to get motion sickness than they do in a car. Ask your kids to write or draw what they see as you wiz by towns, lakes, across bridges and through farmland. We love this travel journal for kids.
- Board games: Magnetic board games are easy to pack up and play on the train. This is uninterrupted family time at it’s best, and we love this puzzle-based game and this multi-game set.
- Card games: Just like board games, card games are easy to play on a train, unlike when you are in the car. Pull out your favorite version of UNO and start an epic tournament- Parents vs. Kids.
Don’t want to deal with finding all of these things? Don’t stress, we’ve pulled all of our favorites just for you.