10 mistakes experts say you should avoid on your first long train journey (2023)

I checked the timetable on the train platform in Gdańsk, Poland, for the umpteenth time and looked up and down the tracks again. I was sure that my train should already be here, when a local resident came up to me and asked: "Warsaw?" I shook my head. He pointed the opposite way behind me.

althoughtraveled by trainOn four continents, rail systems around the world differ so much that they can be difficult to navigate, especially when there is a language barrier. Once upon a time there was a train that stopped in a small town between Berlin and Prague, and everyone got off except me and my friends (turns out there was construction going on and we all had to take a bus to the next stop). There was also a time that I fell to the ground on the way to Puno, Peru (clearly mydizzinessdidn't match the elevation), and the time I got a children's ticket for the Taiwan high-speed rail when I was over 30 (well, Ieraasking my dad annoying questions in my elementary Mandarin).

But the reward of experiencing a slow ride on aTrain rideit's worth a few hiccups (which can lead to great stories later). And there's arguably no better way to connect with a place than to sit back and relax while taking in the sights between destinations.

"Plan, plan, plan"EurailNadine Koszler's head of marketing tellsTravel + Leisure, in preparation for his first trip. "But it allows for spontaneity and flexibility."

(Video) 10 MISTAKES To Avoid in Your First 3 Days in NYC!

To make sure your trip stays on track, here are 10 common mistakes to avoid on your first long-distance train trip.

10 mistakes experts say you should avoid on your first long train journey (1)

1. Not booking tickets in advance

Booking a train ticket is similar to buying a plane ticket, early risers catch the worm. "The earlier you book, the better your chances of getting the lowest-cost tickets, especially if you're traveling on a weekend or holiday when demand is very high," he said.Eurostarsays the spokesman. "If you can, plan [in advance] and get your tickets 120 days in advance for the best possible prices. The cheapest tickets tend to be on weekdays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays." While last minute tickets are often available, there is no guarantee as popular routes and times sell out.

(Video) Top 10 Beginner RV Mistakes (And How To AVOID Them!) || RV Living

2. Being too late

It is not exactly the same to get on a train than to get on the subway at the last minute. While you don't need to arrive as early as you would for a flight, still give yourself some leeway.Amtrakrecommends 30 minutes before departure (or 60 minutes if you need a ticket and luggage assistance), Japan's Tobu Railway suggests 30 minutes,Eurostarrecommends 45 minutes, andalaska railwayadvises an hour in the main stations and 30 minutes in the smaller stations.

10 mistakes experts say you should avoid on your first long train journey (2)

3. Not getting on board quickly

While getting on a train at its origin or getting off at its destination generally allows plenty of time, most stops are usually somewhere in between. "Trains only stop at stations for a few minutes, so be ready to board when you see or hear the train approaching."AmtrakRoger Harris, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing and Revenue Officer at T+L. Even a major station, like New York's Penn Station, can be an intermediate stop on the longer route between Boston and Washington, D.C.

(Video) 10 Rookie Mistakes to Avoid in Disney World

4. Overpacking

One of the advantages of traveling by train is being able to carry your belongings with you at all times. But it's still essential to pack smart. Koszler suggests using wheeled bags andpacking light. "It's important to anticipate the stairs at the train station or [to] navigate a few carriages once on board," she says. "Having a lightweight, easy-to-carry suitcase will make life easier for you and your fellow passengers." Just like air travel, check your baggage allowance before you board. For example, Amtrak allows two 50-pound carry-on bags but also offers checked bags, while Eurostar allows two large bags and one smaller carry-on bag. Storage options can also vary by area. "Abouteuropean railways, there is a large luggage room, but it is not always like that on Japanese railways,"Ferrovia Tobuexplains the entry strategy director at. "Japanese [railways] often use overhead racks. So it's best to keep your luggage as compact as possible."

10 mistakes experts say you should avoid on your first long train journey (3)

5. Sitting in the wrong seat or car

Seat assignments vary widely between train systems, so understanding the details of the train you're on is essential. In general, Amtrak seats are served on a first-come, first-served basis.commercial carfront and onedesignated silent car(think: just a library-level conversation), who usually has signs hanging over his head. Internationally, some services will give you a specific seat in a specific car - get there early to see where the car numbers are. "Sometimes trains can be split up and sent in different directions, so make sure the car you're riding in is going where you want to go," Koszler adds. In the current pandemic, Harris suggests consideringPrivate room of Amtrak, available on many routes. “To ensure everyone's safety, Amtrak requires all customers and employees in stations and on trains to wear face coverings while traveling,” he says. "Face masks can be removed when guests are in their private rooms - it's the perfect option for guests looking for privacy and space on a short trip and added convenience and amenities when traveling overnight."

(Video) Age of Easy Money (full documentary) | FRONTLINE

6. Hoping to be fully connected

Many trains have electrical outlets at each seat, but some do not, so check ahead. "Please make sure your cell phone batteries are fully charged or bring apower pack— you don't want to run out of battery and miss a photo opportunity,"alaska railwaysays Meghan Clemens' marketing communications manager. Also, be prepared to go through pockets without cell service, especially in tunnels or remote areas. "Many trains have Wi-Fi available, but don't expect to find the same connectivity on board that you would expect at home, especially when traveling through rural areas," adds Koszler. "Bring your own hotspot if you really need to get online."

7. Do not bring snacks

Depending on the type of trip, the dining options on board may vary from the included mealsgourmet meals served in a dining carfor cars withsnacks for salebeing pushed down the center aisle toA coffeein a separate car. Madi Butler, field organizer for thePassenger Railroad Association, who has championed safe and improved train service for more than 50 years, suggests you pack your own snacks, as food or drinks often run out. "Bringing non-perishable or instant foods that only require hot water is always a good idea," she says.

8. Stay in your place

While the standard way on an airplane is to buckle up and stay in your seat, traveling by train allows you the freedom to move around on board. "Feel free to get up and walk over to the various cars and stretch your legs," says Clemens. On some trains there are specific cars to enjoy the scenery, such asAmtrak observation carsand Alaska Railroad GoldStar Servicesecond level observation deck. For those who are prone to motion sickness, sitting still may be best. "Looking beyond the horizon, rather than closer objects passing by, can help adjust the feel of the car's motion and roll," Butler advises, adding that using the onboard bathroom while the train is stopped can also help. .

9. Missing your stop

Make sure you are familiar with your itinerary and the full name of the city and the stop you will be getting off at, as some large cities have multiple stops. "Station stops are not always announced or may be in a foreign language," says Koszler. "Write down your scheduled arrival time and the names of the last stations before your stop, so you'll be prepared to get off the train when you reach your destination." And if you tend to doze off, setting an alarm 10 to 15 minutes before your stop will give you time to fully wake up and be ready to disembark.


10. Not understanding the local railway culture

As in any trip to any country, respect for the local culture is fundamental. "Trains in Japan are basically very quiet with almost no voices," says the Tobu Railway official. "There may be dedicated areas for talking on cell phones, so don't make too much noise and don't let the kids run around in the car." He adds that cleanliness is also expected: "You can eat and drink alcohol on the train, but remember to take your rubbish with you and put it in the bin inside the station; it's [good] manners not to leave rubbish on the floor of your car. ."


1. NEVER Make These Mistakes at Universal Studios Hollywood! (2022)
(World of Immersion)
2. How I'd Train if I started over from ZERO Gains (mistakes to avoid)
(How to Beast)
3. Don’t Drop your Tools in Space
(Real Engineering)
4. Committee on State and Local Government and Veterans - 03/16/23
(Minnesota Senate Media Services)
5. Do NOT Make These 5 Flight Booking MISTAKES: Expert Airline Ticket Tips for 2023
(Away Together w/ Nik and Allie)
6. 5 Dangerous Things to Avoid Saying In a Job Interview
(Don Georgevich)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Errol Quitzon

Last Updated: 04/19/2023

Views: 5697

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (59 voted)

Reviews: 90% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Errol Quitzon

Birthday: 1993-04-02

Address: 70604 Haley Lane, Port Weldonside, TN 99233-0942

Phone: +9665282866296

Job: Product Retail Agent

Hobby: Computer programming, Horseback riding, Hooping, Dance, Ice skating, Backpacking, Rafting

Introduction: My name is Errol Quitzon, I am a fair, cute, fancy, clean, attractive, sparkling, kind person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.