We embarked on a four-country trip through Europe with an infant and a toddler. This might sound expensive and daunting but it wasn’t. We made country hopping affordable by traveling throughout Europe by train. Here is why train travel is Europe is the best!
How to Get to Europe Cheaply
Getting to Europe will be the most expensive part. Always start your trip by flying into the cheapest city on your itinerary. For our most recent trip we went to Amsterdam, Paris, London, and Brussels. Scoring a deal on Delta for $400RT to Amsterdam, it was the cheapest city to fly into so that’s where we started. Here is are the websites with the best flight deals.
Reasons to Travel Europe by Train
Costs Are Lower Traveling Europe by Train vs Flying
When looking at our options to get from Amsterdam to Paris, the train was the clear winner. While the cost for a budget airline was 37 Euros, the cost for the train was 35 Euros. I know what you are thinking it’s just 2 Euros more. However, when you add the cost of children and luggage the cost of the flights skyrockets. The budget airline charges full price for kids 2 and up. They even charges for lap infants under 2. The lap infant was 20 Euros so the cost for our family of 4 would be 131 Euros.
Budget airlines offer minimal free luggage. Most only allow 10kg (22lbs) of carry-on luggage and no checked luggage. While this can include a stroller, it would take the place of any other type of luggage you had. The stroller allowed can also only be an umbrella stroller, if you have a different stroller or car seat/stroller combo you would have to pay extra. Adults are allowed the same 22lbs of carry-on luggage. If your bag is heavier you will need to purchase additional weight starting at 13 Euros.The train however is free for kids under 4 and kids 4-12 are 50% off. There are also no restrictions on the weight or the amount of luggage you bring. Our total train cost was 70 Euros while we would have paid at least 144 Euros to fly a budget airline.
Less Hassle Entering and Departing Countries
Unless you are entering or departing London via Eurostar you do not have to go through security or customs to travel within Europe. You simply arrive to the train station a few minutes before departure, board, store your luggage, and find your seat, if you have one assigned. This alone cuts hours from your transportation time you’d normally spend arriving to the airport 2hrs in advance and then going through customs and immigration upon arrival.
You Arrive Straight to the City Center
Often times flying into large cities like Paris and London leave you in the outskirts of the city. Heathrow International Airport is 45mins outside of the city by public transportation and takes even longer driving due to traffic. St. Pancras Station on the other hand leaves you in the heart of London with many hotels nearby. This saves travel time on your arrival and your departure.
You’ll Be Taking the Scenic Route
Traveling Europe by train means you’ll get to see parts of the country you otherwise wouldn’t see and surely not from the sky. Enjoy the beautiful country side of each country your train passes through and have a relaxing ride.
Stay Connected When Traveling Europe by Train
Most Europe train systems offer free wi-fi so you can stay connected on your journey. Many also offer power outlets to charge all of your electronics. You will also be able to send and receive text messages or make a phone call in an emergency.
European Train Systems
There are many different Europe train systems. Here are are a few we have traveled by and had great experiences on.
Eurostar– What we took from Paris to London but it also goes to other destinations
NS International– What we used to get from Amsterdam to Paris and Brussels to Amsterdam
Trenitalia– Great for travel throughout Italy
Eurail– Great for extensive long term travel throughout Europe as it offers unlimited passes
I hope you have learned by it’s best to travel Europe by train and the best Europe train systems. If you found this article helpful please share it!