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Lately, I’ve been seeing lots of train videos on YouTube. People book cross country trips on luxury trains and film their experience. It looks so relaxing, the views are amazing and the food often looks scrumptious.
But before you book a train tour with Amtrak or travel to Japan to experience the luxurious ‘Seven Stars in Kyushu’ train, here are some things you need to know about taking a train tour.
1. Pack Light
This is the one tip that many people who have gone on a train tour emphasize on. We are so used to over packing when traveling by air because you can simply check in your heavy suitcase.
While some trains also offer checked luggage, it’s not always the case. So you may have to handle all the luggage you come aboard with. This includes dragging it along narrow aisles and trying to fit it in a cramped cabin.
If you need to change trains sometime during your journey, dealing with heavy luggage will be a major headache.
So pack as light as possible. Carry multipurpose clothes that you can wear multiple times with different outfits, consider doing laundry during your tour (pack quick-dry clothes that you can wash at the sink and hang-dry overnight), and consider wearing the same clothes multiple times.
Most people won’t want to do the last one because clothes tend to stink when they get dirty and sweaty. Well, we have a solution for that. Here at Hercleon, we have special no-laundry clothes that kill bacteria and don't get stinky even when worn over and over.
Generally, aim to have no more than two bags: a duffel bag or suitcase with most of your stuff and a smaller bag like a backpack or crossbody bag for smaller items like travel documents, your phone and money.
2. Pack for Comfort
Comfort should be your priority when packing clothes for a train vacation. You will be spending lots of time in a small space, usually seated. The last thing you want is shoes that pinch you, pants that are too tight or a shirt that leaves you clammy with sweat.
Pack comfortable loose-fitting clothes and well fitting shoes. They should also be lightweight and breathable.
Even if the train is air conditioned, as most trains are, it’s a smart idea to dress in layers. That way, you can easily shed or add on clothes to stay comfortable.
3. Be Ready for Boredom
One thing most people going for their first train tour are usually not ready for is the boredom. You can only enjoy rolling landscapes for so long until your begin to look for something different to do.
And unlike cruises where there are tons of activities to pass the days, a train has limited things you can do. Often, the only other interesting thing other than the views outside is the food.
So pack entertainment for yourself. Carry along a book or your kindle, pack a tablet to watch movies on or just use your phone, and consider bringing a board game.
4. Don't Forget Your Charger and Power Bank
Between the hours spent scrolling on your phone and the dozens of photos you will undoubtedly take, your phone’s battery will run out fast. So don't forget to pack your charger and a travel adapter if traveling abroad.
Most trains have outlets, so charging your devices won’t be an issue. But just to be safe, carry a fully charged power bank.
5. Check The Weather Along the Route
Long train tours traverse through different cities with widely varying weather. Before you pack for your trip, check the weather forecast at each stop of the train tour. This lets you know which clothes to pack. You may need to pack light clothes for warm weather and heavier wear for frigid weather.
6. Pack Your Usual Vacation Essentials
As with any other vacation, pack all the usual essentials when going on a train tour. This includes toiletries, a small kit with your most important skin care stuff, medication, a mask to stay healthy and anything else you think you might need.
Just remember to keep your luggage light.
If you’ve never taken a train tour, consider starting with a shorter one that lasts a few hours or overnight. This is especially important if you are traveling with kids.
It lets you get a taste of what a train tour is like and makes it easier to prepare for a longer tour.