How to Travel by Train

How to Travel by Train
Travel by train is an often pleasant, if time-consuming, alternative to travel by airplane. Outdoors enthusiasts in particular will find it is often a hassle-free means of hauling their equipment. However, for most Americans a long distance train trip will come as a novelty, and many are unfamiliar with the ins and outs of making one. There are plenty of rules and tips that will come in handy for train travelers whether they're in Germany, Mexico, India or Japan.


Difficulty: Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Passport Chain and lock
  • Passport
  • Chain and lock
Step 1
Book in advance if possible. Never assume there will be an empty seat on the train waiting for you on the day of your departure. Some train routes are very heavily trafficked and can be booked up weeks in advance, such as the Kolkata to New Delhi route in India.
Step 2
Check whether a reservation is required. This is separate from the actual ticket, and becomes an especially important concern for anyone using a Eurorail Pass or the equivalent. The assumption that the holder of such a pass can just hop on and off trains at will is often wrong because of the requirements for reservations on many routes.
Step 3
Look at the international border crossing requirements, if you will be making one. Within the European Union, for example, there are no immigration and customs stops, so this is not a worry. Crossing from Malaysia to Thailand, on the other hand, requires a full immigration and customs stop identical to what is required at airports.
Step 4
Pack knowing you will be able to get at your stuff if you want or need to. Unlike an airplane or even a bus, your luggage will be with you the entire trip, so you can access it if you want to.
Step 5
Bring some entertainment. This could be anything from a book to an iPod to a portable DVD player. Train rides often pass by some lovely scenery, but that does get old after a while.
Step 6
Pack food and drinks. Some trains do not have dining cars, and on trains that do, the offerings are often overpriced and sometimes bland. The notable exceptions to this are luxury trains (such as the Orient Express) or special tourist-only lines (such as historic, mystery or dinner trains). Treat being on the train as an opportunity to have a picnic.
Step 7
Make sure your valuables are secure whenever you leave your seat or train car unattended. If someone isn't there to watch them, take them with you or tuck them away in a secure, locked-up bag.
Step 8
Take full advantage of the space and freedom of movement on a train. Get up and walk around. Do some stretching, or maybe some simple exercises like push-ups.
Step 9
Bring a chain and padlock for your bags if you are on the train overnight. In some countries, it is not uncommon for thieves to come barreling through the train car at a stop in the wee hours of the morning, when everyone is asleep, grabbing luggage and jumping off before anyone can stop them. Chain and lock your bags to anything convenient for that purpose (handle, strut, etc.) as a preventative measure.

Tips & Warnings

Do not assume the train will have such things as electrical or Internet outlets.

Article Written By Edwin Thomas

Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.

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