Listen, I know everyone is excited about travel after two years of living through lockdowns and a bunch of uncertainties. But I’m here to remind you of something; your kids have forgotten how to travel and maybe you’ve forgotten what traveling with kids actually looks like, too. Road trips where the car starts to smell worse and worse and you can’t hear the GPS over your kids fighting in the back seat. Long lines at the airport, flights where people glare at you if your kids make a sound. Trains, however, are an under-appreciated way to get where you’re going, especially with kids. And especially right now when gas is comically expensive, airports are terrifying, but you still want to get out and travel with your kids. Need more convincing? Read on.
#1. You get to enjoy the ride, too.
As the person paying the bill for your vacation, it would be rather nice to actually get to enjoy some of it yourself. Even the journey. And if you are planning on traveling through Florida at all this year, there’s a new train connecting the cities of Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach called Brightline that will make you feel like you’re heading off to Europe without heading off to Europe. I was recently invited to join Brightline on a tour, and let me tell you... it was a vacation in itself. Sipping a mimosa, snuggled into my oversized seat, not worrying about parking or checked baggage. A dream.
You can hop on a gorgeous, sleek modern train along with your kids and just stare out the window. Comfortable and relaxed because there’s WiFi aboard to keep the kids occupied, and best of all, snacks. A premium ticket gets you free mimosas, free coffee, free snacks... you might just want to ride the rails all day. And so will your kids.
#2. Moving around is so much easier.
Anyone who has been on a plane with their kids knows the struggle of trying to keep them strapped in and staying still while everyone around you curses you for any sound they make. Another genius thing about traveling with Brightline? You sit facing each other in basically your own little living room compartment. Kids can move around at will safely.
#3. Flying is impossible right now.
You’ve heard the airport horror stories happening right now. Flight delays, cancellations, sitting in the plane on the tarmac waiting to disembark with angry, sweaty kids to entertain. Why put yourself through it?
#4. Two words: Kids. Lounge.
There are kids’ lounges when you’re at the Brightline stations so they can run off a bit of energy. Separate areas designated for kids who want to run around and be free during a rest stop. Conveniently close to a nice bar where you can perhaps enjoy some refreshment. Pure genius.
#5. Let’s talk about seats.
Plane seats have gotten smaller and somehow less comfortable in the past few decades. Go ahead and try to stretch out your legs or get any work done on a laptop and see if you can manage that for any length of time. Train seats are bigger, and on Brightline the space to stretch out and work, or in the case of a kid, watch a show on your iPad, is significantly easier to handle. You have a tray and plenty of room to stow your luggage above your head instead of shoved under the seat in front of you.
#6. Have you seen the gas prices?
Gas prices are still higher than most families can afford, so train travel is also an economical choice. Kids 12 and under can ride for $5 on Brightline with the purchase of an adult Smartfare, which gets you complimentary admission into a whole host of family-friendly activities in the area.
#7. You can create your own little all-inclusive getaway.
Have you ever wondered how it feels to literally walk through a cloud? Take your kids to the SuperBlue Museum for an interactive afternoon where they can actually walk through a cloud. Then take the train on over to Fort Lauderdale, where you can spend a sunny afternoon doing a family segway tour of the canals or if it’s raining, you can check out the Museum of Discovery and Science and let the kids try out the flight simulators, interactive dinosaurs, and loads of other STEM level fun that should wear them out. Which we all know is the sign of a good vacation with kids. When you need a break, just hit the sand in West Palm Beach and wander the downtown for a little bite and maybe even a cocktail for yourself.
This summer, Brightline is also offering a Trainee Passport for kids 12 and under riding the rails. They’ll receive an activity bag with their first Brightline Trainee Passport, where they have the chance to win special prizes for collecting stickers as they travel to new destinations.
#8. Your kids will feel like they’re in a movie.
You know why kids will actually want to travel by train, right? Just like us, they’ve seen it in the movies. Whether they are Harry Potter fans or love the Polar Express, trains are always presented as the coolest way to travel. In fact, for kids who love Christmas, Brightline offers a Polar Express-themed train ride departing from Miami complete with Santa Claus himself, dancing waiters moving through the train cars just like in the movie delivering hot chocolate and cookies, and a special gift for the kids. This special train trip happens over the Christmas holidays but tickets go on sale soon.
The last thing any parent needs this summer is a stressful family vacation. Why not ride the rails and make it easy on yourself?