When can a child travel alone by train?

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  December 29, 2020

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Did you know that children between 4 and 11 can now travel unaccompanied with a railrunner ticket?

But when do you know if they are really old enough to travel independently?

The NS does not take a position on this, you have to make your own decision.

From what age a child can only travel by train

As a responsible parent, you must determine whether your child is ready to travel by train alone.

How do you know if your child is old enough to travel by train alone?

Think about whether your child can handle the responsibility, is your child careful or reckless?

Most children aged 11/12 are perfectly capable of taking a train journey, and of speaking to someone if they don't know.

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An assertive child from 11 to 12 years old can, if he or she dares to do so, independently make a - somewhat shorter - train journey.

Preferably the first few times without switching.

In addition, most children of this age have a mobile phone or the parents can use the Winnes Tracki Mini GPS Tracker for children track and trace.

Some parents believe that traveling by train alone should be possible for children and is part of their education.

They often start 'practicing' early on.

How can you prepare your child if it goes alone by train?

Before you make the decision whether or not your child is allowed to make the train journey alone, you go through the journey with him and you first go on the journey in question with your child.

Do not let your child travel alone by train immediately.

First, take a practice ride together, in which you let your child do all the actions themselves.

Make sure your child is ready, you can step in if necessary.

If your child goes by train alone, it is important for him to know where he stands.

It is nice for him to know how long the journey will take and which platform he has to get on or off.

Can children of the same age be in different stages?

If you have an 11-year-old child who panics quickly, you may want to postpone this event for a while.

A 9-year-old child who is very confident may just be able to travel by train alone.

But if your child finds it 'just' exciting, that is quite normal.

Sometimes a 9 year old child is ready to travel alone, while an 11 or 12 year old would rather not dare to travel alone.

It all depends on the character and the degree of independence of your child.

As a parent you naturally want your child not to feel completely unhappy during such a first train journey alone.

Therefore, look at the character and independence of your child. If your child isn't ready for it at all, don't force them and postpone the trip for a while.

And of course you can give the child a helping hand, if it needs it.

After the 'first trip alone', your child will often feel more confident and proud that it has succeeded.

What do you give your child on the train?

First, they need a valid ticket of course.

A child traveling alone by train does not need to show ID proof under the age of 12.

Still, it is a good idea to give your child a copy of his ID.

Having a mobile phone in your pocket also reassures your child - and you - during the train journey.

Should an unpleasant situation arise, your child can call you and that makes everything less bad!

What are great tips for games and toys on the go?

There are of course always aids to encourage solo travel.

How do you handle it?

Well, you provide a pleasant trip with games and a few refreshments.

Bring a lunch box so your child can eat a few tasty sandwiches on the way.

Immediately put in their favorite fruit or snack, and a snack, and your child will not be able to wait to go on a trip.

Games and treats for the road ensure that your child experiences the journey in a positive way.

I've written about it before this fun toys and games on the go for 2 people that would also come in handy on the train if you let two children travel together.

If you really put them on the train alone these airplane toys can come in very handy.

Our tips are puzzle books, a game boy and this a nice special train book to take with you, with information about trains or things to do while looking out the window.

If your child is traveling alone by train at a younger age, you would do well to talk about it together and show through booklets what it all entails.

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Speelkeuze.nl is a content marketer, father and loves trying out new toys. As a child, he came into contact with everything around games when his mother started the Tin Soldier in Ede. Since 2016, he and his team have been creating helpful blog articles to help loyal readers with fun play ideas.