Traveling with kids in China can be very challenging, and train travel is no exception. But there are many positive things to it too, so here are some useful tips for anyone plotting to travel by train in China with little ones.
So I have been thinking a lot about a trip with 3 year-old boy twins. The one where I swore I wasn’t going back to China again anytime soon. Yeah. That one. But I’m choosing to remember the good. And there definitely was plenty.
Let’s start with trains. I mean, seriously, what kid – what BOY – doesn’t like trains? This mode of travel in China is so easy and inexpensive. Our first train trip was a weekend getaway from the Beijing sandstorms to the beach at Beidaihe. By fast train, less than two hours. The boys, then on the verge of turning three, ran up and down the aisle making friends with another boy. The return trip was another story that will be filed under my life’s Most Embarrassing Moments and we’ll save for another post. So when we plotted our first foray to visit family in Chongqing – 24 hours or so by train, I was quite nervous.
I needn’t have been. We had a soft sleeper – four beds in a compartment with a door. We had two beds for ourselves since the boys were still small enough to ride free. But they were bottom beds with a small table at the window between them. The boys thoroughly enjoyed sitting at the table eating instant noodles and watching the world go by. They potty trained themselves while in Beijing previous to this journey (living in a country where no one flinches when a little boy stops to pee on the closest tree is another advantage). As they enjoyed aiming at rocks by the trees, they also got a kick out of peeing into the holes that served at toilets on the train. No major disasters on this trip. Not even too many stares.
The only downside of this story is that this was closely pre-Olympics so electricity in the train cars had been turned off. This limited the amount of DVD watching time on our portable DVD player (an absolute must for any long term travel!) or on my husband’s computer, but it still was enough. Their bag of small-sized Duplos and other small toys also served us well. Which leads into the next post – things I’m glad I packed and will make sure to pack next time. Stay tuned!