Monday, April 15, 2013

train travel with kids

So I recently posted about our train trek to Santa Fe with the kids, but today, I wanted to focus on exactly what 18 hours of train travel means!

We hadn't done any travel by train as a family and while the days of my kids being obsessed with Thomas the Train are gone, they were still pretty excited about this adventure. 

The Union Station in Downtown L.A. is really awesome! I loved all the tile work. 

Our train was aptly named the Southwest Chief!

We departed at 6pm but arrived early to the station (it's not like an airport; you don't need to get there early) so we had some time to goof off in the atrium. 

Then it was time to find our platform! We felt like we were Harry Potter

We became close with this porter by the end of the journey!

We booked a family sleeper car for the ride, which included 4 beds. We did a lot of window gazing. 

Lots of drawing and card games. 

Lots of reading. Even though there was a snack car, I'm glad we brought tons of snacks. 

We went up to the dining car for dinner and breakfast (by lunch the next day we were tired of the dining car food, so we skipped it.)

They seat everyone 4 to a table, so if you're not a party of 4, you sit with strangers. I had a blast eavesdropping on the various conversations happening around me. 

Then back to the room to get ready for bed. The kids couldn't decide which bed to sleep on. I somehow ended up scrunched on a kid's bed for the night. 

And they eventually fell asleep on the biggest bed. 

The next morning we awoke to new scenery!

More snacks, more people watching, more games, more reading. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

We got out at Albuquerque to stretch our legs. 

There were a number of Amish passengers aboard. 

By the end of the journey, they had found even more things to do in our family room that we didn't know existed, like climb the walls. 

All in all, it was a great way for us to travel! Unlike a plane or car, there's tons of room to move around and I can't express how thrilling it was to be riding the rails through uninhabited areas. I would definitely recommend a sleeper car for longer travels and bring things to keep your kids busy! (we also brought a DVD player with headphones). Bring snacks and water. And next time I would give the kids a camera to document the journey on their own. Personally, I wouldn't opt for a trip tht exceeded 18 hours, but because we left at night, we had 4 hours up with the kids, 9 sleeping hours and then 5 hours the next day - so that really broke the trip up. I'm already researching our next adventure by train....I'm thinking Grand Canyon???

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