Benefits of using public transport over the car during the summer holidays

Family on train

We recently came back from North Cyprus and used an airport car parking service to park our car at Gatwick Airport’s car parking site for the week. However, my husband and I couldn’t help but think we should have taken the train instead for that all-around immersive travel experience for the kids. I can count the number of times on one hand that my boys (7 and 8) have used the train or the bus, which makes me wonder whether I should teach them the advantages of using public transport over the car on some occasions. With the help of other bloggers, below are some benefits of using public transport rather than the car during the summer holidays.

What is public transport?

Public transport (otherwise known as mass transport, mass transportation or public transportation services) is the transport of passengers by a group of travel systems which are available for use by the general public. Public transportation is typically managed via a schedule, and you are charged a fee for each trip.

Types of public transport include:

  • Buses
  • Trams (or light rail)
  • Passenger trains
  • Rapid transit (metro/subway/underground)
  • Ferries
  • Airlines
  • Coaches
  • Intercity/high speed/overground rail

So why take public transport rather than the car?

There are several public transportation benefits, some of which you can find below:

You can enjoy the journey to the destination

Taking public transportation means that you or your other half don’t have to drive to your destination. Instead, you can use that time, to read, work, study, or simply watch life passing you by. It’s a great way to just sit back, relax and enjoy the sights and sounds around you.

“When I drive, I tend to miss out on some of the sights and sounds around me. It’s so nice to be able to relax on a bus or a train and take it all in!”

“If you are travelling by train you can sit back, relax and have a glass of wine! Book a table and play board games with the kids on a long journey. Train journeys are exciting and part of the fun of the holiday!”

You don’t need to vie for car parking spaces

Parking can be an absolute nightmare, especially during the summer holidays when other family goers are fighting for car parking spots. Take the initiative and don’t pay through the teeth for expensive parking spots. Instead, use the money on public transport which can take you to where you want to go instead. If you buy one-day travelcards, you may even be able to save more money in the long run.

“Parking. You’re not having to battle for spaces or pay for the privilege of parking in the best places either. Plus my kids love the bus and train.”

Public transport teaches the kids excellent life skills

Boy reading a map

It’s essential that kids get a sense of how to navigate public transport on their own. Get them involved in the decision-making process, for example, working out where you need to go, buying the ticket and navigating the map, so they understand the right path to follow to get on the right train.

“It’s such a good life skill for the children. I hadn’t realised that by 7 and 9 my two hadn’t really ever been on public transport, so had no idea about bus stops, train stations, how to buy tickets, how to read timetables etc. So now we use public transport during the holidays to help them understand how to use it! Such a great skill for when they are older.”

“My boys often miss out on bus and train rides as we drive everywhere. So we often take a couple of trips during the summer using public transport as it’s good for them to know how to use it too.”

You can engage more with your kids

When you’re driving in the car, you are unable to actively participate with your children. Travelling via public transport leaves you time to talk to them about the holiday, get to know their feelings and emotions, and even play games that they can dictate, so they feel like they have some control in the journey.

Some public transport games can include snakes and ladders, cards, activity sheets/packs, colouring books or even just the age-old ‘I spy’. The kids will love it!

“You don’t have to worry about paying for parking, congestion charges etc. It’s much fun to use public transport because you can engage more with the kids, enjoy the view together and read road signs.”

“You can give your kids your undivided attention if you’re on public transport, rather than just a fleeting glance in the rearview mirror. This is definitely a huge plus for my kids – especially on long journeys.”

The roads can get jam-packed during the summer

The streets can be packed full of holiday goers trying to get to their desired destination. The advantages of taking public transport are that you tend to bypass those traffic jams, which helps ease congestion too.

“The roads can get so busy during the summer. We like to travel by train or bus as this can avoid the hassle of sitting in queues. Buses tend to have designated bus lanes to avoid the queues and trains bypass this all together. My son loves to go on public transport, and it can also save us money in the long run.”

Public transportation is better for the environment

If you’re not commuting in your own personal vehicle, then you are automatically helping the environment. Public transport reduces CO2 emissions, as well as the stress of being stuck in those pesky traffic jams too!

“It’s better for the environment, if you’re getting the train you won’t get caught up in traffic. It’s often cheaper than driving.
You can get up and stretch your legs and walk to the loo whenever you want!”

Travelling via public transport is an activity within itself!

Kids love doing something different, and if you’ve always travelled by car, then they will love travelling by bus or train. As mentioned above, involve them in the process of buying the ticket, navigating the map and encouraging them to enjoy the scenery around them. It is incredible how much they will learn about the world around them when they can sit back and enjoy with their parents guiding them.

“Obviously it’s better for the environment, but my kids find it an activity in itself! They’re excited about going on a bus or a train, they’re excited about the activity we’re heading to, and they’re excited on the way home too. It’s a fun way to travel!”


“It’s a real treat for my boys to go on the bus or the train. They love it we can go on the top deck of a bus and sit at the front so they can pretend they’re driving!”

You can gain real experience into how the locals live

Travelling by bus or train encourages the family to see how the locals live as you get to people-watch in their own digs as you pass by.

“To get a real and authentic experience of how local people and communities live. It’s a fantastic way for all the family to learn about and engage with locals and better understand a country.

Car journeys can be frustrating – and claustrophobic

Car journeys can feel claustrophobic as you’re tied down with seatbelts throughout the trip, and you can hardly move. You also have to make sure you have bought everything with you on the journey, and make sure you are navigating the roads correctly. Public transport can take the pain away by letting the vehicle take you to your destination while you only worry about enjoying the sights with your family.

This way or that way? 173 spare nappies or 174? Summer hat, winter hat or both? Try and keep the milk warm or heat it up somewhere on the way? Leave early in the morning or late at night? A1 or M1? Hourly shifts or swap when we’re tired? So many questions, so little chance of choosing the right answers to any of them.””

Public transport need not be pricey

If you’ve booked a holiday and you require transport to get partway to your journey, then think about booking in advance for discounted travel tickets. Off-peak tickets tend to be cheaper too, so consider this when planning your trip to your destination.

Using public transport comes with several benefits, especially for families, because parents get to sit back and enjoy the travel experience with their children, as well as have a hand in helping the environment as well! So, if you are booking your tickets for your summer holidays, think about incorporating public transport into your journey for a jam-packed fun experience for the whole family to enjoy!

*Collaborative feature post*

Leyla Preston (597 Posts)

Leyla Preston is the owner and Editor of Motherhood Diaries global magazine for parents. Leyla is a busy mother of two even busier boys; Aron, 8, and Aidan, 7. When Leyla isn’t feeding, managing a gazillion tasks or cleaning the infinite mess at home, she is busy working on this magazine and a new cooking channel coming very soon – no rest for the wicked! You can follow Leyla on Twitter (@M_Diaries) or join the busy Motherhood Diaries Facebook group where all mums get together and share stories and solutions with one another: