What kid doesn’t like trains, and when considering family travel to China, consider doing it by train. Riding a real one across such a vast country as China can be an exciting adventure. I fully recommend booking “soft” beds, as this puts you in a four-bed compartment with a door that closes, sitting toilets and is just generally more comfortable. Kids can enjoy sitting by the windows, eating and watching the world go by.
If you need a change of scene, the dining car can be a good place to spend meals. Across the train, hot water is always available, snacks and drinks for sale and at every stop, more snacks and drinks are available! But charge your electronics because plugs are rarely activated.
Rules and regs you need to know for China train travel: Kids under 1.2 meters are free and don’t require tickets. Between 1.2 and 1.5 meters are half price but need their own seat. My husband traveled with three kids, using only two beds. The toddler was free, one of the twins had a bed and the other had a seat that wasn’t used.
Jenny Lin is a writer/editor working in Beijing. You can follow her @twinlins or keep up with her cross-cultural familial adventures at beijingmom.blogspot.com.