I love to travel by train and if you’re reading this I can only assume you do, too. While traveling in a group or with a friend or family can be an incredibly rich experience, I traditionally prefer to go it alone; hence, my relationship status.
Traveling on a train alone has so many benefits; namely because you get to be a little selfish; eat what you want, when you want, be where you want, sleep when you need to, and pick up and move at the drop of a hat.
On top of that, it’s simply easier to make new friends and no one’s going to get jealous that you just spent the last three hours talking to a stranger about a string of topics you’re passionate about.
Yes, yes. Traveling solo is my favorite way to travel; however it can also fall flat easily if one is not prepared. Being alone can also mean packing more “just in case” items and there’s no one to share items with.
In order to be a completely independent traveler, here’s a packing list of items we never leave home without. So for a lighter minimalist pack, these are the train ride packing basics;
If you’re taking the train anywhere you’ve got time on your hands. We suggest bringing a laptop such as a Mac Air, “phablet,” or a tablet because they’re thin, light weight, and pack a technological punch.
You can eliminate the need for multiple items with only one; no need to carry a plethora of items such as an MP3 player, portable DVD player, e-reader (or a stack of books and magazines), standalone mobile phone, and with something like a laptop you can also use it as a backup battery to recharge other items via USB.
Bonus points for downloading apps that emphasize offline capability, as you won’t be in a WiFi zone very long, if at all.
- Comfort Items
Long-distance travel comes with a whole lot of caveats, whether you’re riding in a plane, train, or automobile. One of the biggest difficulties I have with travel is my inability to sleep while in transit; snoring, daylight, and seats that aren’t the right size for sleeping all pose a risk to your happiness.
To overcome the obstacles that come with spending extended periods of time in close quarters with others we suggest packing:
- Ear plugs
- Eye mask
- Neck pillow
- Zip-up sweater (instead of blanket, if one not provided)
I also tend to wear jeans while in transit to combat frigid air conditioning systems.
- Tin Cup
And no, it isn’t to play a quick hole of golf, we strongly recommend bringing a tin cup for hot and cold liquids while travelling long distances because you never know when you’ll need to use a public water supply or even cook up some emergency rations like oatmeal.
For example; the Trans-Siberian Express serves its drinking water from a hot water pot on the train: no drinking water glasses are provided at all times, or they might just be in short supply.
- Medical Kit
You don’t need to be ready for everything, like snake bites, broken bones, or the rapture or anything, but a basic medical kit can go a long way to ensuring a safe and enjoyable journey. Bandages, cotton swabs, antiseptic, and medical tape go great with a healing ointment and Ibuprofen. After all, you never know.
Photo by Josh Nezon
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