Everyone needs to take a train vacation at some point in their life. Not only are they fun, exciting and generally affordable but they’re also the perfect way to spend some time alone watching the world pass you by especially if you choose an iconic great rail journey. For first-time travellers, here are a few tips to make the most of your experience of travelling by train.
Like any other trip, proper planning goes a long way to ensure you have the best trip possible. Planning helps you choose which destination or destinations to travel to, the best trains to take, and the ideal time of year to travel (depending on the price). Researching train routes and schedules helps you to time your trip just right and decide on how long to spend in each place.
If you can, be sure to make prior reservations especially if you’re travelling during peak times (the summer months, Christmas and New Year). You could either use the services of a travel agent or book your own reservation. This could get you discount offers as well as early tickets, securing the seats for the best views on the train.
Choose Round Trip Vacations
A round trip means the trip starts and ends at the same station. Nothing beats a long round trip via train, as it provides a comfortable way to tour multiple places and enjoy incredible views sometimes even twice. It helps travellers know what to expect on the return journey and you get the chance to see the best sights to their fullest. It’s also easier if you are flying in and out of the same destination on a return ticket. This way you get to visit several locations without worrying about any additional transport expenses or getting lost.
Avoid overbooking your schedule
As with most of us, you probably have a bucket list full of destinations and would like to see and visit as many of them as you can. Talking from past experience, rushing through countries to see as many as possible leads to travel fatigue as you fast travel to see the sites in each location. It can hinder you from fully appreciating the journey so make sure to give yourself enough time to rest and recharge.
A good rule of thumb is to spend three or four nights in big cities and one or two nights for more minor stops. This way, you have the chance to rest and not feel like you are constantly on the move, packing and unpacking your clothes. You will also save money because you will not be buying tickets daily.
Pack some snacks
If you’re worried about what to do about dining, everyone ought to have a dining car experience on their train ride. The only downside to this is sometimes the cost. If you are traveling on a tight budget, be sure to carry some snacks with you. This will keep you away from the temptation of expensive meals being offered on the train.
When you’re on the train, make sure you have the following for a more comfortable train ride.
- Comfortable clothes and shoes: The outfit you wear when on long train trips should be loose-fitting and comfortable. It should also have lots of pockets to carry essentials items such as your phone. Layer up if you need to so you can pull on an extra fleece in case of extremely cold conditioning.
- Entertainment: Those long hours are ideal for contemplating life as you stare out of the window but you may also want to take some entertainment with you too. Pack a book that you want to read whether it’s a travel guide on the destination that you’re travelling to or a fiction book, download some podcasts to listen to or just pack your favourite crossword puzzles to keep your mind active on the journey. Being solo, you never know who will be sat in the seat opposite you. You could even find a travel buddy for a few hours.
- Travel Kit: Though most trains offer toiletries you can pack a travel kit filled with all your favourite mouthwash, hand lotion and other toiletries to keep yourself freshened up in-between stops.
- Never forget your chargers! You don’t want to run out of battery trying to take another shot of the scenery whizzing past. Pack a portable charger if you’re worried you may not have enough power sockets on the train.
Taking a train trip can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience so make sure you plan for it carefully to fully enjoy the trip. So put into use the above tips and once onboard sit back, relax and enjoy the views.
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