Travel by train is an unique experience. When people are planning their family vacations, not many experience the pure joy of riding on a train, because they just don’t understand the hype. Forget a plane or a car, if you want to travel cross country, do it by train! By taking a train trip long distance you do not have to hassle with driving yourself. You can sit back and relax, and enjoy the scenery. Here are 7 tips for traveling cross country by train to make your experience more enjoyable.
Enjoy Lots of Room
Something you may not know about a train is that there’s actually a lot of room. You’re not shoved into this tiny space as you may expect. You can get up and walk around, enjoy food, and even request sleeping accommodations. This is great for kids, since they get restless when traveling long distance. You can easily move around and stretch their legs to prevent them from getting bored.
Bring Extra Toiletries
Keep in mind that you’re not in a hotel while on a train. If you plan to travel long distance that requires overnight stays on the train, always bring your own toiletries. Not all trains provide these items like a hotel. Remember, a train is public transportation so bring along some hand sanitizer. One great thing is you do not have to worry about toiletry sizes like you do on a plane.
Plan Length of Stay in Advance
Riding on a train is exciting, but it can get old after so many days if you are unprepared. Although spontaneous trips may seem adventurous, knowing how many nights you plan to be gone will help you be better prepared. This way you can book a sleeper car before they fill up so you’re not trying to sleep in a seat the whole time.
Bring Your Own Food
Just as if you were traveling on a plane or a car, it’s always best to bring some of your own snacks with you. Trains clearly run on their own schedule and you don’t always have control over when you will eat. If you’re traveling cross country, this is definitely something to keep in mind. Pack healthy snacks so you don’t feel like you are eating vending machine food the entire trip. Do your research before boarding your train to see what type of restaurants and food they offer.
Bring a Hobby
There are some really cool things you can do on the train as you wait. Some people just enjoy the scenery and others enjoy talking to new people. However, you will have lots of down time when you’re traveling across the entire country. Make sure you bring something that will keep you busy. This is especially true if you have kids, you don’t want them telling you they are bored every five minutes. I love to take photos out the window, read a book, and if I’m lucky use the wifi on board. For the kids I have them pack their own backpack with coloring books, handheld electronic game systems, and even bring a small puzzle or board game we can do from our seats or at a small table.
Just like when taking a road-trip, you want to be dressed as comfortably as possible. You will do a lot of sitting. Always bring an extra layer of clothing such as a small sweater, you never know if your train will be cool or not. We love to pack a small lap blanket and pillow when we travel. Comfortable shoes or slip-ons are a life saver when moving around the train.
The last thing you want to do is run out of juice in your electronics only 20 minutes after boarding the train. You may not be guaranteed an outlet to recharge your battery. A portable charging dock will come in handy, especially if you are trying to work while onboard the train.
When it comes to traveling cross country by train, it’s a great experience. I think everyone should take a train trip at least once in their lifetime, and kids especially find it exciting. My son fell in love with trains when he was only a toddler. I hope you found these tips for traveling cross country by train helpful!
Have you ever taken a vacation by train? Where did you travel to?