How to pack for a vacation traveling on a train

What used to be the safest and most widely-used method of traversing longer distances is quickly falling out of favor – buses are going farther for less money, planes are cheaper and more commonplace and personal vehicles are getting safer and can have more mileage.

Non-metro trains must be feeling quite neglected these days considering how many people they once carried, especially in the cases of older ‘uns. If you’re making use of this old-but-not-forgotten method of transit, you can look forward to a good deal of comfort without having to fight anyone for your seat. The fact that you might not arrive quite as soon as you would with other travel methods might be a plus – you’ll get to enjoy better views of the many zones your train will pass through.

As safe and comfortable as it may be, traveling by train is best done with some planning beforehand. Here’s how to pack for a vacation if trains will be your choice of transportation. I have a friend in the Lone Star state of Texas who swears by these tips…

  • Keep an eye for different kinds of weather. It’s true for every mode of traveling – if you’re going long-distance, be sure to pack a range of different clothes. Pairs of T-shirts and shorts, regular shirts and jeans, a jacket and some vests… All should be brought in ample supply to ensure a pleasant trip. This often stands all the more true for train vacations – aside from going to far-out places often, trains generally let you carry a good bit more luggage than you otherwise could, so feel free to empty out your wardrobe before the trip.
  • Many trains won’t separate you from your luggage while you travel. This lets you pack things that you might normally be reluctant to, as your stuff will often sit right above you: expensive clothes, pricey items or those with an emotional significance, electronic equipment and so on. While the chances of luggage being stolen or lost while traveling by train is far lower, don’t push it – if you have a bullion safe back home, don’t empty it just so your gold bars can travel with you.
  • Laptops and mini-TVs are a good thing to have on trains. Due to how they operate, most trains let you plug in any reasonable electronic device in order to charge it for as long as you’d like. Be sure to fill your laptop or a similar device with movies and TV shows to watch if you’re going on a longer train ride, as there’s no guarantee you’ll have internet access on the train, even if you’re carrying a mobile hotspot.
  • Consider bringing a blanket, a sleep mask and some ear plugs! Train rides can take up to twenty hours depending on where you’re going, and you might want to get some sleep in there. Trains are known to be noisy from the inside even if there aren’t many people around, and the window curtains aren’t guaranteed to do a good job – the ‘gear’ listed above will shield you, although you’ll definitely want to minimize the amount of expensive items in your luggage if you plan on sleeping on board the train.