Traveling by train can be one of the most relaxing and romantic ways to get around but it can also be frustrating when things don’t go as planned. So whether you are a veteran of the rails or a first-time train rider here are some international train travel tips that will make sure your train trip goes smoothly.
There is nothing worse than spending your limited vacation time scrambling to find a hotel room while you wait for the next train. Trains run on strict schedules (though delays are not uncommon) these schedules are often set years in advance, so it should not be hard to plan your trip around these schedules. Most countries allow you book train tickets online now, which makes your life even easier. Before you leave for your trip be sure you have all your tickets printed out and ready to go, as your action to online tickets may be limited when traveling. Also, be sure you arrive at the train station on time. This means making sure you have given yourself adequate time to transfer between airports, ferries, etc. It is best to expect the unexpected during international train travel so be sure and give yourself plenty of time, you don’t want to be running down the platform with all your luggage and watching your train leaving the station!
Many trains offer sleeping cars. These range from private luxury suites to clean dormitory style bunks. Sleeper trains can be an excellent and relaxing way to explore a new location. They also have the added bonus of being money savers, as you don’t have to worry about accommodations for that night. Imagine, falling asleep in Swiss Alps and waking up to breakfast in Italy. Sleeper cars are also excellent for long journeys, such as the Trans-Siberian railway or Australia’s luxury Great Southern Railway. Be careful, the class and relaxation of traveling by sleeper car may be addictive and you will find yourself reluctant to board buses and airplanes in the future.
Do you need Air Conditioning?
In some countries, air-conditioned train cars are much more expensive. So ask yourself do you really need the air conditioning? Remember the windows go down and the breeze while sailing down the tracks is usually enough to keep you cool. Keeping the windows down also allows you to take much better photos of the gorgeous scenery (which is likely why you choose to travel by train anyway.) Another expert traveler tip is that you will meet more interesting local people when riding non-airconditioned. Most tourists will opt for the air-conditioned car and often the conductor will group foreigners and tourists in one area. If you book a non-airconditioned car you may meet some new friends with valuable insight into your destinations!
When you are considering your next international train travel consider our tips to save money, feel well rested, take great photos, and meet new friends. Safe journeys!