Travelling by train with children: rules for children travelling alone & offers for families

Reading time: 7 minutes

Is your child thinking of taking a train trip alone for the first time during the school holidays, or are you already planning a family train trip?

Different EU countries have different age limits and entry requirements for children and young people travelling alone.

In Germany, for example, your child can travel alone by train from the age of 6, whereas in France the age limit is 12.

You can also find an overview of children's and family fares on some selected rail companies in Europe here.


  • Age limits for children and young people travelling alone vary across the EU.
  • In most cases, children and young people travelling alone by train need a declaration of consent from their parents.
  • In Germany, your child can travel alone by train from the age of 6.
  • Deutsche Bahn allows children under 15 to travel free with a parent or grandparent, but they must be registered on the train ticket.

Family holidays by train: Offers and fares for children

Discounted train tickets with SNCB.

Up to four children under 12 can travel free of charge and without a ticket when accompanied by a paying adult.

From the fifth child, the discount is 50%.

Here you can find all the discounts and benefits on SNCB train tickets.


Danish State Railways: Discounts for children

Children under 15 travel free when travelling with Deutsche Bahn to Denmark when accompanied by a parent or grandparent.

In Denmark, children under 12 travel free when accompanied by an adult with a valid ticket. Children between 12 and 16 travel for half price.

Deutsche Bahn: Travelling and services for families

Deutsche Bahn offers special family areas or infant compartments on its trains (ICE, EC and IC) for families with small children.

There is space to play, space for prams nearby and a socket for bottle warmers.

If you are travelling by ICE and have children of pre-school or primary school age, you can also book seats in the family section.

Deutsche Bahn AG also offers childcare on selected trains on Saturdays and Sundays for children aged 3 and over.

With Deutsche Bahn AG, children under 6 travel free of charge. Children under 15 also travel free when accompanied by a parent or grandparent, otherwise they pay half price.

Find out more about Deutsche Bahn's discounts for children.

Family & children offers with the SNCF

On the SNCF, children under 4 travel free on their parents' lap on TGV and regional trains (TER).

If they need their own seat, they can buy one for €9. Children from 4 to 12 pay half price.

TGV INOUI trains have baby changing facilities. These are usually equipped with a bottle warmer.

If not, you can ask the staff at the onboard bistro to warm your child's food. Prams are transported free of charge.

There are also special family areas near the baby changing facilities.

Find out more about what the SNCF has to offer families.


Family travel with Thalys

When travelling on Thalys trains, carriages 7, 17 and 27 are equipped with a baby changing table, a wash basin and a bottle warmer. You can also take your pushchair with you free of charge.

On the Thalys (European high-speed train), children under 4 can also travel free on their parent's lap.

Children under 12 travel for €15 in the Standard category, €20 in the Comfort category and €30 in the Premium category.

Travelling by train with children: ÖBB offers for train journeys to Italy

Children under 4 years of age travel free of charge in first and second class, but without a seat of their own.

Children under 15 receive a discount of 30 to 50 per cent.

Family Child is the offer for children travelling with an adult (one child per adult) who has an adult or card fare ticket.

The offer is valid on all trains between Italy and Austria and on night trains to Germany.

ÖBB Nightjet trains, for example, run from Munich to Italy via Austria and have special family sections.

EuroCity, InterCity and InterCity Express trains of the Austrian Federal Railways, which also travel to Italy, have children's and nursing compartments.

Luxembourg: Free public transport throughout the country

Rail travel in Luxembourg is free in 2nd class (except TGV). For international long-distance journeys and 1st class travel, you will need a valid, paid train ticket. 


Travelling to Luxembourg from Germany

Children up to the age of 14 can travel free of charge with Deutsche Bahn when accompanied by their parents or grandparents.

Dutch Railways children's fares

Children under 3 years of age can travel free of charge without a seat of their own.

Children between the ages of 4 and 11 travel free when accompanied by an adult. A Kids Vrij fare must be booked.

Children between the ages of 4 and 11 travelling alone can buy a Railrunner ticket for €2.50.

Travelling with children on the ÖBB

Children under 6 travel free of charge. Children from 6 to 15 pay half fare.

Other age limits apply in some transport associations and for international tickets.

If you are travelling as an adult with a child aged 6 to 15, you can buy a group ticket from ÖBB.

There is also the Vorteilscard Family. With this you can take up to four children under the age of 15 with you free of charge when you buy an ÖBB single ticket. And it doesn't matter whether they are your own children, nieces, nephews or grandchildren.


ÖBB family service on board

You can board the ÖBB Railjet or ÖBB Cityjet with any pushchair. On older trains, this is only possible with narrower models.

Some ÖBB trains have a family zone with a children's cinema, tables with board games as well as nappy-changing facilities and pushchair parking.

Many long-distance trains also have infant compartments. These six-seater compartments are reserved exclusively for families and can be booked for any route.

There are also breastfeeding compartments with curtains for privacy. During the journey, mothers can withdraw with their babies if necessary. These seats are not bookable.

Travelling by train with children in Poland: Discounts with PKP

Children under 4 travel free. Children under 7 pay half fare.

With a family ticket, each passenger receives a 30% discount when travelling with a child under 16.

Offer valid only on long-distance services (TLK, IC, EIC, EIP) and cannot be combined with early booking discounts.

SBB: Travelling with children

Children under 6 travel free when accompanied by a person aged 12 or over with a valid ticket.

Travellers aged 16 and over can take up to eight children free of charge. Children aged 6 to 16 travelling alone pay half price.

Click here for more information on SBB ticket discounts.

Czech Republic: Travelling by train with children

Children under the age of 6 travel free on Czech state railways. Young people between the ages of 6 and 18 get a 75% discount.

Many Czech State Railways (CD) trains have special seats for children up to the age of 10.

Travelling with children on National Rail

Children under 5 travel free on the UK's national railways when accompanied by a paying passenger.

Children aged 5 to 15 pay half price on most tickets. It is advisable to carry proof of age.

There are also ways to save for older children: the 16-17 Saver Railcard or the Family & Friends Railcard.

Do children and young people need a declaration of consent?

When children and young people travel alone by train, some destination countries require confirmation that they are travelling with the consent of their parents.

While Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland have no specific rules, some countries require or recommend such consent.

In France and Italy, children under the age of 15 should carry an officially authenticated consent form.

In the Czech Republic, an informal statement is sufficient. And in the UK, an officially certified consent form is mandatory.

Travelling by train with children: What you need to know

To make your journey with children as relaxed as possible, here are a few tips:

  • Pack age-appropriate toys to keep them occupied during the journey.
  • Think about their physical well-being. Delicious snacks will pass the time, entertain the child and save money.
  • When getting off and changing trains, always help the children off the train first. Then take care of the luggage.
  • Whenever possible, take young children by the hand on platforms and keep them away from the tracks.
  • Take a blanket with you. This will allow crawling children to play on the floor of the compartment.
  • Remember to bring wet wipes and plastic bags. These will come in handy in many situations.
  • Only take a folding pushchair if absolutely necessary.

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Innovation Council and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Executive Agency (EISMEA). Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.