Travelling by train is one of the most relaxing transport experience you can have as a family, so if you’re thinking of taking your baby or toddler on the Eurostar I can’t recommend it enough.
I have always been an avid Eurostar traveller, having travelled to Paris often through my previous work, so when I started a family I couldn’t wait to take my son along a short trip to the other side of the channel.
Luckily for us, we were able to pop over to Paris and Disneyland Paris for the weekend and despite very little preparation, off we went on his first trip on board the très fabulous Eurostar. Despite having flown dozens times with him as a baby, this was going to be the first time my toddler travelled on the Eurostar – and it all felt so much more special!
EUROSTAR PACKING TIPS
- PACK LIGHT AND TAKE ESSENTIALS ONLY, AS YOU’LL BE CARRYING YOUR LUGGAGE WITH YOU THE WHOLE TIME.
- KEEP ALL YOUR BABY’S ESSENTIALS/TOYS/iPADS HANDY IN A SEPARATE RUCKSACK FOR EASY REACH.
CHECKING-IN AT ST PANCRAS
- YOU CAN TAKE YOUR BUGGY/STROLLER FOR FREE ON THE TRAIN, BUT WILL HAVE TO FOLD IT, AND STORE IT OVER YOUR SEAT.
- IF YOU’D LIKE TO ‘CHECK-IN’ YOUR LUGGAGE, YOU CAN DO SO FROM £25 – FIND OUT MORE HERE (not applicable in Calais, Disneyland, Lille, Ashford). IF YOU’D LIKE TO HAVE YOUR LUGGAGE DELIVERED TO DISNEYLAND, YOU CAN DO SO IF YOU BOOK YOUR TRAIN DIRECTLY THROUGH DISNEY.
The whole check-in process at St Pancras was very smooth, the staff were helpful and our son behaved pretty well (minus trying to escape while we were waiting for the bags to get x-rayed!). It was all so quick, that we had plenty of time to have a coffee and pick up a magazine before boarding the train.
Update 2019: Things have changed slightly since I first wrote this post, and queues are now much longer in St Pancras, so do consider arriving with time to spare and to avoid having to rush through to your platform
TOP 5 TIPS TO MINIMISE CHANCES OF MELTDOWN ON THE EUROSTAR
- Book your tickets near the buffet cabin. It has plenty of space for your toddler to run around giving you some time to sneak in a glass of wine. Download a map of the Eurostar seating arrangement here.
- Upon arrival, try to share a smile with your neighbouring passengers. They are likely to be anxious to be seated next to a small child, so a soft smile will help create a connection and hopefully that way, they’ll try to help instead of tutting away.
- Fill your smart phone or tablet with Peppa/CBeebies shows to keep your little one entertained in case of a meltdown. There are times to be a non-phone parent, but honestly this isn’t it – who cares if you’re singing along to Baby Jake? (remember that wine you had earlier?)
- It goes without saying but do pack lots of healthy snacks. Especially of the kind that takes a toddler lots of time to open/eat. The little packets of raisins are particularly good for keeping a toddler occupied for at least 20 minutes.
- Despite it being heaps better than an airport experience, arrive at your departure station with plenty of time to avoid getting stressed before the journey. You’ll have to juggle check-ins, security-checks, and no doubt a last-minute soiled nappy change, so give yourself time to sneak in a coffee break.
Taking a toddler or baby on the Eurostar is infinitely better than an airport, but of course there are still lots of hiccups that may occur, I hope these tips will help you plan your Paris or Disneyland trip.
Do you have any tips on how to entertain babies and toddlers of your own? We would love to hear from you!