In a lot of countries, the most efficient way to travel is by taking the train. In Europe, for example, you can go to small towns with scenic views by riding a local train. In Japan, you can get to the countryside and back to the metropolis quickly because of their bullet trains.
Train rides though require a different strategy let us say compared to air travel or road tripping. Here are some travel tips to help you prepare for that adventure on the rail:
Luggage with wheels
If you will be going thru a journey and you will be riding a lot of trains, you should think of the best luggage to bring for the trip. Ideally, you want something that is light and small as you might have to put it on a luggage bin above your seat or to boot, hoist it getting on board. You might also want to get a luggage with wheels. It will be practical since a lot of train stations, in Europe for example, has several platforms and without escalators or elevators.
Ideally, get a carry on bag which is wide enough to support a smaller bag on top. It will be easier to carry two smaller bags than putting all the weight in one huge luggage.
Bring multipurpose items
Travel light and try to fit everything that you need in that small bag. Bring multipurpose items like black tops or denim. Bring accessories as well like scarves or jewelry just to differ the look and combination a bit. No one will really notice if you have worn the same thing for a second time or if you have them in black. Denims are pretty much an all weather get up and you can wear them several times especially if you just walk around to see places. This will also help you save on laundry while on the road.
It will also be wise to limit your footwear to two or three at the most. Have something for walking, a comfy pair of flats for the evening, and one more pair if you are attending a function. Other small items like your socks, jewelry, or undies can be fitted into your shoes so you can maximize the space.
Hold your smaller bag on your seat
You might also encounter trains with smaller overhead compartments that cannot accommodate your luggage. Your daypack should stay with you while you might need to place your luggage on an assigned rack usually in front of the train. These luggage racks are usually attended so it will be a good move to lace your bag strap(if it has one) around the bar of the rack. This will somehow deter a thief to pick your luggage among the rest since they need to exert an extra effort. You can also buy a cable lock if you want but make sure you unlock it a few minutes before your stop so you can grab your bag and go as soon as the train stops.
All your valuables, documents, wallet should stay in a smaller bag that you would keep with you. Do not leave this bag even when you are going for a snack or going to the rest room.
Overnight train trips
If you booked an overnight train trip, you might want to bring a bottle of water, some snacks, and a set of earplugs if you are a light sleeper.
Reserve your tickets in advance if you are taking the night trains. You might also pay a bit extra if you want a private cabin or couchettes. The top bunk might be a bit crowded but it can also be safer. If you will be on ordinary seats, try to get a seat where you can place your bags between you and the wall while you take some shuteye.
In Asia, you might not have the option for an enclosed or private cabin so be sure to take care of your valuables. During train stops, you might also need to get down to buy food or drinks so it will be best if you have a bag where you keep your valuables and bringing this bag anywhere you go. You can leave your luggage of clothes on the rack and you might want to get something to lock it with the bar or pole of the compartment.
You might also want to bring a small blanket in case you easily chill in airconditioned cabins. Some trains provide small pillows and in case this is not good enough for you, you can bring an inflatable one.
You need to keep your passport handy since conductors might check it from time to time especially if you are crossing borders and regions.
In Europe for example, you might be required to stay in your seat during some stops as immigration authorities check visas and passports of the passengers.
During these stops, operators usually close the dining car. You might also be asked to turn off digital devices and have them stowed.
Let’s face it. After a while of seeing whats outside the window, long train journeys can be boring. It is up to you to have fun while traveling. You might want to bring some gadgets like a camera, an ebook reader, an mp3 player, or a portable gaming device to keep the trip exciting.
Of WiFi and Power outlets
Even if you are taking a first class train ride, do not expect that you can really depend on their WiFi and power outlets. Play it safe and charge every gadget you want to charge before leaving home. In case you will have a power outlet near your seat, just do not forget to bring an adapter that you can use with it. Keep the adapter or chargers accessible since it will be a big hassle if you have to search your bigger bag for it.
Some business class trains will provide internet access but not all operators have this. A lot of route even near big cities cannot access the internet while on transit. In some countries, you can get a access cards to help you connect with the train’s WiFi.