Last month, we took our first ever trip by train. We went all the way from Charleston to NYC! It was a twelve hour ride and we were in a group of ten. Needless to say, I was nervous since we had never travelled that way before! I searched online for tips and articles. I wanted to write a post sharing the things that I felt were MOST helpful.
We loved traveling by train and are already talking about when our next trip might be. It is so much more affordable than flying… and not to mention much more comfortable!!
Here are my favorite lessons learned:
1) Don’t stress about your luggage.
We did not want to check any of our bags. Like I said before, we were traveling with a large group and we were going to be gone for an entire week! We stressed to our students to make sure that their bags weighed within the carry-on limit. Our bags were never measured or weighed anywhere. We figured that our local train station was so small compared to Penn Station in NY, that they might weigh them when we were on the way home. They did not.
2) Bring Snacks for the ride.
You are allowed to bring your own food/snacks on the train. We didn’t take full advantage of this on the way there, but we did on the way back home! One of our trains had a full dining cart and the other only had a cafe cart. I had read people complaining about how outrageous the food prices are on board. We ate both times at the cafe cart, and didn’t find it too astronomical. I would find it comparable to eating at a sporting event. Our family of four ate for about $50.
3)Pack a few clothespins.
This is a tip that I read…. didn’t do… but wish I had. Our first trip was overnight, but this would’ve been helpful on both trips. The curtains on a train can be pulled to cover your window, but they don’t stay put. If you toss a few clothespins into your bag, you can simply clip your curtains shut and sleep in peace with no sunlight peeking through!
4)Buy a neck pillow!
Most people that travel a lot already have one of these, but I did not. As soon as we decided that we were taking a train, I knew that I wanted/needed to buy one! The best deal I found was at Ross. I was able to get one for each of us for about $8 each and they are memory foam. I cannot imagine taking that trip without that pillow! Seriously, it was a game changer!
If you have never traveled by train and have been thinking about it, I would encourage you to plan your trip! It is so much fun! The seats are so roomy!
They recline, swivel, have a footrest, and a table. There was so much leg room! I was so surprised when we first boarded. You do not need to buckle up and are free to walk around from car to car. Our trip took us through Washington DC and we could see the monuments as we passed through. It was so much cooler than flying!
It was surely an adventure!