In the U.S., travel by train is often passed over in favor of travel by air for long distances or car trips for short distances. But in the rest of the world, trains are often the best option to get from one place to another, and train trips in the U.S. can be very enjoyable as well. When making a trip by train, keep the following in mind:
– Bring snacks and drinks. Train trips can be long and sometimes involve unplanned stops or breakdowns. Make sure you’re prepared by packing a few easy meals and something to drink. You can also bring cash for making purchases at long stops or onboard the train, but not all trains have snack bars, and if you rely solely on them, you may find yourself out of luck.
– Buy a rail pass. Passes are available in Europe and the United States and will provide significant discounts for travelers planning on making multiple train journeys. If you do purchase a rail pass, make sure you know how to use it. You may be required to reserve tickets in advance for each leg of your trip.
– Make the most of your sleeping options. Plush sleeping cars offer showers and seats that fold down into beds, but they can be substantially more expensive than coach accommodations. Luckily, many overnight trains have large coach seats that recline and come with lots of leg room. You may also be able to find a place to curl up in the lounge or observation car. In addition, if you plan to sleep on the train, bring a blanket and a pillow to keep you warm and comfortable.
– Spend some time in the lounge car. One of the great joys of traveling by train on a long-distance trip is getting to know other people, and the lounge is the best place to meet them. Some trains also provide entertainment in the lounge car, such as musicians or volunteers who give lectures on the history of the area or the train’s route.