There are many reasons you might send your child on a train. Train travel tends to be less expensive than flying. It is a great way to take in scenery while traveling, and learn about the country’s geography. It can be a relaxing and educational experience for your child. Here are some things to keep in mind if you are considering sending your child on the train by themselves.
Find Out the Rules
There are rules that a parent must take into consideration when sending a child alone on the train. Generally, an unaccompanied minor is considered to be between the ages of 8 and 11. Children under the age of 8 are usually not allowed to travel alone by train, though you will need to check out the specific rules at the particular time you choose to send your child.
There will also be other rules to adhere to. These can vary, but some specifics you may want to check out are whether your child is allowed to travel on the train overnight, if there is a certain time frame they must arrive in, whether they are allowed to exit the train at stops, and if they can travel on a route that requires a transfer.
Is Your Child Mature Enough to Travel Alone?
Every child is unique. Some children seem more mature than their actual age and tend to be responsible and cautious. This child would be a good candidate for traveling by train. If your child has trouble following rules, or is too trusting of strangers, you may want to reconsider.
Send Plenty of Entertainment
When a child travels alone on the train, there are sure to be boring moments. It may be fun to watch the scenery for a while, but you will want to provide plenty of other activities for when this grows old. Send along items such as sketch books, journals, pens, and markers.
A device for listening to music and watching movies is also a great thing to send. A smartphone or something else they can communicate with you on will help both of you feel more relaxed. If you send a smartphone, you will want to check out long distance rates in case you need to keep texts and calls to a minimum. This can prevent a shocking phone bill the following month.
Your child will need plenty of healthy food and snacks for the train ride. Pack enough meals for your child to enjoy during their trip. Fill a bag with nourishing snacks that keep well in room temperature, such as hummus and veggies, fruit, granola bars, beef jerky and individually packaged cheese sticks.
Send Money for Food and Other Purchases
Send money with your child if you want them to purchase meals or snacks on the train. They should carry enough cash in case of an emergency, but not enough to draw the unwanted attention of unsavory characters. Remind them to keep it hidden at all times.
Above all, teach your child about safety. Train them in the importance of being aware of other passengers, and following their gut instincts when interacting with others. Remind them to be cautious of strangers, and not to divulge any personal information.
Sending your child on the train can be stressful, but you can make it easier on everyone involved. With planning, you can prepare your child for this adventure. Follow these tips and make your child’s train trip a great one to remember.