Journeying across the world by rail is indisputably one of the more relaxing ways to travel; an extraordinary experience which makes the journey an unforgettable part of your travel adventure. With no waiting in long check-in lines, no baggage allowance or limitations, and uninterrupted views across breathtaking landscapes, long-distance rail travel is a unique and rewarding travel experience that simply cannot be beaten. To help you to make the most out of your next journey by train, we have compiled a list of our top five favourite tips for long distance rail travel.
Comfort is key
On any long-distance train journey, it is inevitable that you will spend much of your time on board seated. And, despite the fact that the majority of modern trains offer a great degree of comfort on board, often coming equipped with large, comfortable chairs and a substantial amount of leg room, it certainly doesn't do any harm to come well prepared for the journey. Layered outfits consisting of soft, breathable fabrics with a relaxed fit are a fantastic way to ensure optimum comfort on board. A large scarf, pashmina or wrap that can double up as a handy extra blanket can prove to be extremely helpful too, as even on journeys through countries with warmer climates the air temperature on trains is often regulated and can become rather cool, especially on an evening.
Carefully consider how long you are going to be spending on board, and pack for the trip accordingly. For longer, overnight journeys, think about packing earplugs and a light-blocking eye mask to ensure the best, most undisturbed night's sleep possible. Adding some well thought out toiletries to your luggage can make the journey considerably more pleasant, too. Even though most long distance services allow passengers access to shower and washroom facilities, a pack of wet wipes and an antibacterial gel hand sanitiser can go a long way towards making you feel fresh throughout the day. If you're a fussy eater, or if your ticket doesn't include meals on board, you could also consider popping a few of your favourite snacks in your carry-on bag.
Use your time wisely
A long journey by train is the perfect excuse to self-indulge and spend some quality time doing the things you love. For some, that will be in the form of socialising with fellow passengers, and incidentally, on board a long-distance train is the perfect place to meet a variety of interesting people, each with their own unique story. The dining car is often a great place to socialise, with a great sense of camaraderie brought along with communal dining. Share travel stories and tips, enjoy meaningful debates and make potential lifelong friends as you journey towards the next part of your adventure. Book lovers will relish the chance to spend a relaxing few hours thumbing through a much-loved novel, free from the distractions of day to day life. Alternatively, spend some time taking photographs of the undoubtedly magnificent scenery the train passes through, or take the opportunity to plan your leisure time in your next destination.
Get to know the train
A little research about your train before your trip can go a very long way. Find out in advance what on-board facilities are included with your ticket type, and make the most of them throughout your journey. From spectacular, panoramic dome observation cars, to luxurious bars and comfortable lounges, many long-distance trains have a surprising amount of spaces for passengers to explore and while away the hours. Many train providers also welcome specialist speakers on board for informative talks educating passengers on the history of the train and route, or even local talented musicians. Again, research online before your trip to ensure you don't miss out on any added extras.
Travelling by train should be relaxing and, most of all, enjoyable. Make the most out of your time on board by putting away your mobile phone, removing all distractions, and enjoying some quality time. Long journeys are the perfect excuse to get lost in a novel, socialise with fellow, like-minded travellers, or simply sit back in your comfortable seat and watch the ever-changing landscape roll past your window. No matter how you chose to spend your time on board, a long distance train journey through a new and exciting country is guaranteed to be an inherently magical experience.