11 Long-Distance Train Travel Tips With Kids

We just came home this morning from our Copenhagen and Malmo trip….and we took the train.  It was a whopping 16 hours worth of trains there and 16 hours back.  We went on 10 trains total.  Can I mention… I am exhausted!  There were things that I wish I would have known before taking the train (which is funny since I have taken the train before!).

So here are my tips to make your train travel the most comfortable as possible.

  1. Pack Light- which is an oxymoron actually.  Because you are having to not only pack all of your clothing but you need items to survive your journey.
  2. Bring Snacks & Drinks: ALL the trains that we went on did NOT have a dining cart! So be sure to pick up something.
  3. Book a family compartment…
    1. When you book it make sure you book the entire thing (6 person)! Trust me it is worth it to do this.  Sleeping with other people is NOT always fun. Luckily for us our other people left a hour after we arrived but our friends were not so lucky.
  4. Bring Dark-Colored sheets (Queen/King size)
    1. On our way to Denmark we had curtains on the windows, but on the way back we didn’t. Train stations can be VERY bright at night. So having a sheet to cover that it ideal.
    2. Bring another sheet to cover the door area as well to block out the light as well.
  5. Bring blankets and pillows to be comfortable!
    1. The train CAN be VERY cold.  Ours last night was freezing.  Guess where my blankets were used? (The window and door).
  6. Bring some sort of electronics
    1. Especially movies! My kids were entertained for HOURS!!!
  7. And some mess free activities
    1. Coloring books, dry erase boards etc…
    1. Some people do not know how to shut up or move to another area if they are on the phone or chatting… even when you have a compartment. Earplugs or even some white noise will greatly reduce that sound.
  9. Melatonin.
    1. Sleeping on a train is uncomfortable as it is so having a little help … helps.
  10. So… you are going to laugh at me… my kids ALWAYS make a mess that is just them.  I am seriously considering bringing a dustpan and brush.  I am putting this on my list for our next trip for sure.  I hate leaving messes in hotels and on the train because brooms are not supplied.
  11. And one more tip… be sure you have enough time between trains especially when you have kids.  You will need to be able to have ample time to get from track to track!


Good luck!  Thank you so much for taking the time to read our article about train travel! I hope that it will or has helped you immensely! Please share and comment below!

About Kid Friendly Europe 101 80 Articles
Jennifer is a US-expat living in Europe. She is a travel blogger specializing in Kid Friendly travel. She loves travelling, spending time with her family, drinking coffee (about 1x per month... so she is a little crazy) and an overall awesome person. Well at least I think I am awesome. Thank you for reading!


  1. 16 hours ! wow that is long. Great tips.I have never been on such a long train journey. I would defo take all my electronic gadgets ,plenty snacks and my adult colouring book.

  2. Great tips! Definitely, equally applicable to traveling with kids and without :). I am going to use them next time I am on a train. Dark sheets to cover windows – brilliant idea!

  3. We have wanted to take the kids on a long distance train ride. These are all good tips. And we definitely have to meet some day. I bring a small broom and dustpan with me on our travels 🙂 Didn’t think I would meet another!

  4. Some great tips, but 16 hours!

    Have I misunderstood something?

    Aren’t Copenhagen and Malmo only like an hour apart!?

    Or were you travelling all that way to get to both of them..?

  5. I am on the other side of the travels: I don’t have children and sometimes I do see people that really don’t care about their kids on trains. On my last trip, the parents were watching a movie on their phone, on full blast, while their 5 children were running around and screaming, disturbing all the other passengers.

  6. Thank you for sharing this post, very helpful! I might don’t have a kid, but I travel like I have one, hahaha with complete travel survival kit

  7. These are great tips even for adults traveling with big babies (adult babies hehe). I personally never been to long train rides but for surely when I travel long term I’ll have more say to this!

  8. This is a great piece! the dark sheets is a great idea to block out light and earplugs are ESSENTIAL. I was on an overnight train and couldn’t sleep from the noise. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Thank you for the tips, maybe I should read more to find out many things before we start to vacation there. This is quite helpful and amazing.

  10. Keeping children occupied and tantrum free on a long train journey is a real challenge. It is very difficult to understand what will work and what will not. What worked today may not necessarily work again. Nice, practical and sensible tips.

  11. It’s so hard travelling with kids, and you, eventually, made it and get it to the point where you can give advices to others! That’s such a big step and such a useful article!

  12. Wow what a lot of trains to do in one journey no wonder you were tired especially doing it with kiddies I hope it was worth it though and you had a great trip

  13. Keeping the kids busy is the key. Then everything else is fine. Most of our train journeys in India are long distance and they sure are fun. Nice list of tips.

  14. Believe it or not, I love long distance train journeys. I have come to appreciate train and bus journeys more than flying.

    You have provided some really nice tips for such long train journeys. Books and music does it for me during the trips

  15. Wow that’s a long ride! I really enjoy travelling by train tough, especially overnight. By the way, I also went recently go Copenhaguen and Malmö and really enjoyed both places

  16. These are so good! I’ve never thought about the dark colored sheets but that’s brilliant! Snacks are definitely a must too – kid or adult 🙂

  17. These are awesome tips! The train seems like a way more enjoyable option than a plane! I’ve spent 15 hours on a plane with two little guys, a sleeping compartment would be heaven after that!

    • Yes! They should seriously have family “rooms”. The compartments are amazing. A lot more quieter than staying in the regular areas. Plus you can have climate control and turn off the lights! Though light does still come in from the hallway. Hence why the sheets are crucial!

  18. As a solo traveler and being a kid myself sometimes, haha. I could use these tips, like get an adult colouring book would be an interesting way to kill time during a long journey.

  19. Great travel tips. I did an overnight to Washington D.C. with my kids from Connecticut. It was very interesting. The kids slept, but I don’t think I slept much. Making sure they were alright.

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