As we all know, from watching beautiful landscapes slip by outside your window to socializing and meeting new people, Travelling by train is a great choice for a peaceful travel experience.
Whether you’re looking to get a romantic, nostalgic or a rather scenic experience, packing for your train trip can require a little forward thinking. With that said, here’s a few train trip essentials to help you get started with packing for a lovely train experience.
1. Choose the right bags.
One key advantage that comes with travelling by train as opposed to other modes of transport is the fact that it’s much less taxing in regards to luggage restrictions.
For accomodative reasons and due to the fact that larger suitcases could be placed away in an inaccessible part of the train. Its preferable to get a smaller bag you can keep close to your seat, something like a day pack or tote bag are great candidates for storing your luggage.
Side note: Keep an alternative bag inside your main bag.
You should consider using a ditty bag to store bathroom essentials like shampoo, toothbrushes and flip-flops.
If you know you’ll tend to be doing a lot of city walking, you’re better off with a backpack. Pick a small backpack with sufficient space for your essentials, some of the best travel backpacks have a detachable day pack.
Pro tip: Look into sleeping bags.
This will be particularly useful in the event that you’re on a budget and can’t afford a comfortable sleeping compartment.
An inflatable pillow is a good choice for when you’re looking to get the desired level of comfort without taking up too much bag space, plus you can just wrap it in a hoodie for a more cosy sleep.
Be sure to check for all items before boarding the train and have everything accounted for lest you forget something important.
2- Pack comfortable clothes.
This is another important thing when it comes to train travel, you definitely don’t want to take clothes you’d feel tight in.
Instead you should go for clothes that are fitting without sacrificing your comfort and ability to relax in them, some good examples of these are:
The clothes you’ll be packing should be fairly small for storage reasons, so that could be 3 tops plus the one you’ll wear the day you’re boarding and 2-3 pants.
Side note: Anticipate your destination’s weather.
A lot of trains in the central and western parts of Europe have climate control systems. This means that it could be sweltering or freezing outside but inside the train its perfect comfort.
For situations like these, its advisable to do some research on your destination’s weather to appropriately pack your clothes and prepare for your arrival so you don’t end up being received by a particularly harsh weather when you arrive at your destination.
Another great idea is to bring along a few layers that can be easily added or discarded from your dress depending on the temperature in the train and at your destination.
Pro tip: Consider a Hoodie.
Having a Hoodie on is perfect for staying warm and it’s also great because you can just roll them up to make a comfortable warm pillow.
3- Bring a book along.
More often than not, after spending some time getting a feel for the train, you’ll probably start to feel a little bored because for one thing you can’t move around so much like you would at home.
This is where a good book can come in handy, whether it’s a novel, comic or magazine. Having something to read is a great way to pass the time and learn some new things !
Side note: Mementos are great too.
If you’re the type that has a thing for nostalgia, then making a memento can help add to your experience on the train whilst passing the time.
You could take some time out to write some of your thoughts down in a journal or on the notes app on your phone.
Another great idea is to draw, it could be a beautiful piece of scenery or something you creatively come up with. Later when you get home, you can add it to your photo album or place it in frame if you so wish.
If you’re looking to get some photos from your journey, you may bring a camera along and keep it close. Shooting photographs from the train window can be tricky so you wanna make sure you’re ready to take that perfect click.
Pro tip: Ebooks are a good alternative.
Alternatively you can get a few good books from popular ecommerce sites like Amazon or Goodreads if for some reason don’t want to take a physical book with you, Audiobooks can also be particularly helpful if you’d still like to look out the window and enjoy the experience of reading a book.
4- Don’t forget about your treats.
Doing some planning in advance about your food before the day your board your train will ensure you have something you can enjoy later on in the trip and substantially reduce your chances of spending too much money on train food which may turn out to be unhealthy or somewhat expensive.
Side note: keep sharp.
You may want to consider packing a few items to freshen up so you don’t arrive at your destination feeling overly worn-out.
Some of these items may include:
Pro tip: Bring the things you need.
Be sure to bring along any medications and personal care items you might need. Even if you can get them at city stops, it’s much better to have them with you in the event that you don’t get access to them in over 10 hours.
You can use a sanitizer to wipe down tables and arm-rests for that added layer of hygiene during your trip.
5- Your means of entertainment.
Entertainment is crucial for a wonderful train travel experience.
When you’re short of options and you’d like something to help you relax then having your own means of entertainment is the way to go.
Side note: You can also choose to block it out.
A nice pair of headphones can be very useful for those moments of your train trip where the only thing that feels right is taking a nap, you can just play some peaceful tunes, block out all the noise and slip into a more relaxed state.
Now entertainment for different people means different things. For most people, it probably would mean an iPad with lots of movies and music on it or even just your regular smartphone with subscription to streaming services like Netflix (if this is you then you might wanna take the possibility of bad/no wifi into consideration).
Pro tip: Card games are fun too.
if you happen to be travelling with a friend then bringing a card game along is a great idea and it helps provide distraction from the boredom that inevitably arises in the course of a long train trip.
Traveling by train is a good alternative to flying provided it’s a feasible destination distance. As an added bonus, you get more time to be creative, connect with others and appreciate beautiful sceneries. Keep calm and enjoy your travels.