Child & youth passenger age requirements

Different countries have different classifications for "Child" and "Youth", and so we ask you to enter the age of young passengers when you search.

Passengers under the age specified for children may travel for free if they share a seat with an adult.  With the exception of French train tickets purchased in Euros (see below), by default we won't search for tickets for child passengers if they may travel for free. 

For bookings outside of France, if you want to reserve a seat for child passengers please enter their age as 6 (you may need to enter a date of birth that reflects the age you specify).

Countries/rail operator Children Youths
Belgium and Luxembourg 6 - 11 12 - 25
Eurostar 4 - 11 12 - 25
France* 4 - 11 12 - 27
Germany* 6 - 14 15 - 26
Italy 4 - 11 12 - 25
Netherlands (including Thalys) 4 - 11 12 - 25
Spain* 4 - 13 14 - 25
Switzerland 6 - 16 17 - 26
United Kingdom* 5 - 15 16 - 25
Other 4 - 11 12 - 25

* there are some important exceptions to the table above:

France

Child passengers under 4 are assigned a seat for a fixed fee of €9 (or the equivalent cost in whichever currency you are booking in) regardless of journey length. This special fare is called Forfait Bambin. 

If you do not require a seat for your infant under the age of 4 then you can simply not include them when you search for trains. They can then sit on the lap of an adult passenger, or in a spare seat if there are unreserved seats available on the train when you travel.

It is compulsory for children over the age of 4 to travel with a ticket so it's important you always include children over the age of 4 when booking (on trains with reserved seating they will be assigned a seat just like other passengers).

Germany

Children aged under 6 may travel free of charge on Deutsche Bahn trains and do not need a ticket. You don't need to enter your child as a passenger if they don't require a seat. 

If you want a child under 6 to have a seat, enter them as a child passenger but note that they still won't appear on the ticket. Your ticket will state the fare paying passengers only e.g. 2 adults and one child under 6 appears as '2 adults' but if you look at the seat allocation you will note that there are 3 seats. 

Spain

In Spain children aged under 4 travel free of charge. On AVE, Avant and other long distance trains, a free child ticket is mandatory. The ticket is issued automatically when you add a child under 4 years old to your order. 

UK

Children travelling on Rail Sail tickets between the UK and Ireland travel for free but must have a ticket for the ferry. This ticket is not issued with your order; you will need to collect it at the ferry terminal on arrival. 

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Youth discounts

Some rail operators offer a discount for young people, as defined above. To be eligible for these you must be able to show, on demand, a valid proof of age document such as a passport. These discounts are usually offered on the basis of age alone, and do not require a youth or student railcard. 

Some trains and tickets don't offer a discount for youths, and will categorise passengers in this age group as adults. If you enter the correct age of each passenger into the search form we will automatically seek applicable discounts and apply them.  

Additional discounts may be awarded for  railcard/pass holders, but these must be selected from the railcard menu on the search form. They will not be applied without you choosing them, and you must be in possession of the appropriate card on board the train.  

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