Planes and cars might be the first form of transportation that comes to mind when thinking of travel, but trains are actually an extremely viable and often more reliable option, especially internationally. Whether it’s country-hopping via the local trains in Europe or getting to the not-so-close neighboring city on the high-speed rail in Asia, here are six essentials for that overnight train ride.
1. Travel Pillow & Blanket
Even if your train service provides pillows for the overnight route, they usually aren’t ideal for the upright slumber. This is where a travel pillow that wraps around your neck comes in handy. It’ll provide the comfort and support to hold your head up as you get some shut-eye for the big day of travels ahead. In addition to your pillow, a blanket will be clutch, especially if central heating on the train gets a bit chilly.
2. Light Luggage with Wheels
It’s already stressful to travel in foreign territory and having to lug around a heavy suitcase will only add more weight and hold you back from exploring as you please. Pack light and make sure your carry-on itself is lightweight and most importantly, get one with wheels. It’ll help travelling within the train station terminal and from train to cab to Airbnb to the next hostel, a lot more convenient and easy.
3. Noise-Cancelling Headphones
To make your overnight stay on a train enjoyable and peaceful when needed, pack a pair of noise-cancelling headphones. Many manufacturers like Sony carry a number of quality pairs and styles that will do a supreme job of keeping outside sounds where they belong— outside your ears. You can rest up without being woken up by a screaming baby, or watch a movie on the iPad sans disruption. It’ll give you control of creating your own experience for optimal satisfaction during the long commute.
4. Your Own Toiletries
Hotels normally stock your room with shampoo and soap, but many do not give you a few key essentials. Pack a travel-size toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, body lotion just in case. You’ll be glad you did after a night out feasting on exotic food or throwing back one too many. There are no restrictions on liquids when traveling by train, so bring as much as you need!
Traveling can get exhausting and when you’re on an overnight train ride, and there are no guarantees you’ll be provided with food. Snacks are good for refueling in the morning or if you get hungry during the ride. Pack foods that will provide a steady level of energy such as protein bars or apples as well as water to stay hydrated—they’ll help you keep up and keep trekking forward with the rest of your travels.
6. Personal Entertainment
If your bodily clock is thrown off from traveling across different time zones, you may not be able to fall asleep during the train ride. Instead of going stir crazy, prepare for this moment and bring along your favorite form of entertainment—an iPad with movies in the queue, a book you’ve been meaning to read, or even a laptop to stay on top of work while you’re out of the office on this vacation. Most trains do have power outlets, but on the off chance you are on one that doesn’t, be sure to pack an external power bank to keep your devices charged for the duration of your travel.
These essentials will make any long overnight train ride easier on yourself. Once you have your go-to items packed and zipped up in the bag, you can move along with your travels, worry-free, opening up more room for happy traveling to ensue!