Do's and Don'ts: The Night Train


How to Survive the Night Train

Taking the night train is quite the experience. Especially in Eastern Europe. Thanks to the Trans-Siberian railroad, taking the night train is glorified. Well let's just say that there's nothing to glorious about it. Between the constant bumps from the click clack of the tracks, to the not so comfortable couchettes, there is nothing glamorous about the night train. But it's inexpensive and it gets you to where you want to go without losing a day of sightseeing. So if the opportunity presents itself again, I would do the night train again, but there are a few things that I would do to make it better. 


Don't forget to eat. Unless your paying top dollar to stay in a train that has a dinning car and legitimate beds, don't plan on getting a meal on the train. Sometimes there are bar cars but many, even day trains, don't have one. So plan on eating dinner before.

Night Train Cabin


Avoid the free croissants. The train did provide us with water bottles and croissants for breakfast. Don't eat the croissants unless you'd like to throw up or want your intestines cleaned out. The staleness of the "bread" mixed with the chemical chocolate are not how you want to start your day. Instead bring your own breakfast.


Don't assume you'll get a shower. Most of the sleepers have a tiny sink in them and they recommend not putting the water on your face. So brushing your teeth with that water is out of question. Each car has a toilet but most don't have showers. So pack accordingly.


Bring blankets and pillows. The sheet that they give you is nothing if it's cold out. And the pillow is a joke. So while I'm not one to pack pillows and comfortable sleeping items, for a night train I would since it feels like sleeping on a slab of wood.

Arriving at 6am in Vienna, Barely Awake


Don't forget the entertainment. Depending on what time your train leaves, you're not going to go to bed right away. And these trains don't have internet, so that means bring books, games, or movies on your tablet. Because staring out the window only works for so long.


Think about how you'll get the best sleep. That means wear yourself out that day. See as much as you can of the city. Come to the train tired. Also think if you'll sleep well bunking with five other strangers. It is possible to pay for individual sleepers or share with just your friends. Sometimes paying more money for some shut eye is worth it. 

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