For a long time, air travel used to be our go-to when it came to long-distance travelling. Sure, it is a very quick way to get from one place to another. And even now there are some destinations which can hardly be reached by any other means of transport. But since the pandemic, we’ve become more aware of the impact of all our trips on the planet, we’ve been mixing things up. Instead of just opting for the quickest way to get from one point to the other, we’re now looking at the bigger picture. The road is just as important as the destination, isn’t it?
That’s where train travel comes in very handy. It’s a relatively eco-conscious way of travelling and it allows you to travel in comfort and style. Depending on if you travel by day or not, you’ll get to see a whole lot on your way as well – instead of just flying over a landscape, you’re now getting to experience it all from up close. See a place you really like? Write it down for the next time. Or just get out at the next station, if you’re really motivated about seeing it in detail.
So far, we’ve established that train travel is better for your ecological footprint and that somehow, it allows you to be more flexible. Great, but then there’s the comfort too. Compared to a small, cram-packed plane, travelling by train allows you to get up from time to time, stretch your legs, even get some fresh air. And if you plan things carefully, it can all be a very comfy experience. But there are some accessories, some useful knickknacks you can’t do without on a long train journey. Don’t know where to start? We’ve made a handy little checklist for you, to make sure you’ve got all the essentials on you next time.
Travelling by train means you’ll be surrounded by other people. On the one hand, that implies there’ll be all kinds of noises around you, from which you’ll want to isolate yourself from time to time. On the other hand, it means you’ll have to take those people into account as well. Want to listen to some music? Want to watch a series? Be courteous and put those headphones on. Your co-passengers will thank you!
This speaks for itself but still, don’t forget your chargers. Phone, e-reader or laptop: you don’t want to run out of battery. To make sure you’ve got all situations covered, you could take a power bank with you as well.
3. Reusable cutlery and a cup
Most long-haul trains do have some kind of dining car. And you’ll quickly experience that even if you’re well-organised, chances are you’ll make use of it anyway. Even if it’s just for a cup of coffee every now and then. Therefore, don’t forget your reusable cutlery and cup – they’ll make your journey quite a bit more eco-friendly.
4. Luggage lock
If you’ve ever made a long train trip before, you’ll recognise the luggage stress. Especially if you’re travelling alone. You don’t want to leave your things unattended because you’re afraid someone will steal them, but then again, you don’t want to have to stay put all day long. That’s where a luggage lock comes in handy. Attach your suitcase or backpack to the luggage rack (making sure other people can still get to their things) and you’ll see that this will give you some peace of mind.
5. Cushion, eye-mask and earplugs
Taking a nap in a train filled with people can be a bit of a challenge. Give yourself the best chance to succeed by making yourself comfortable: a cushion, eye-mask and earplugs go a long way.
6. Rubbish bag
Some trains have bins but not all of them and sometimes, there’s just full. Be prepared for such a scenario by packing your own rubbish bag. Snack packages, a chewing gum or just some random bits: keeping your trash organised will save you some time cleaning up afterwards.
7. Hand sanitiser
We shouldn’t even mention this anymore since the pandemic, but man, hand sanitiser sure can be a lifesaver. Especially on train toilets, which – let’s be honest – aren’t necessarily the cleanest. A bit of sanitiser afterwards and you’re good to go again!
8. Blanket or big scarf
Just like in a plane, temperature inside a train can vary quite a lot and you can’t do much about it. Therefore, try to work with layers to be able to take things off or put something on when you’re hot or cold. Travelling during a hot summer day? Take a blanket or scarf with you anyway, you never know.
When you’re travelling for such a long time, there’ll come a moment where you’ll be bored. Make sure you’re prepared for this and take enough entertainment with you: a book, laptop, e-reader… Whatever does the trick for you and whatever you’ve got space for in your luggage. Packing a card game is a good idea as well, whether you’re travelling alone and you’d like to make some friends or you’re travelling with company and you want to stay entertained.
10. Food and drinks
No explanation needed. Snacks are life.