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. This is how we made it affordable and easy.
Fly Into the Cheapest City You’re Visiting
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. The Flight Deal, Secret Flying and SkyScanner are great places to start to find the best deals.
Travel Within Europe by Train
Once in Europe instead of flying to each city we took the train and here’s why.
Costs Are Lower
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.The budget airline only allows 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.
European Train Systems
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
Drop your favorite European Train Systems in the comment section!