31 December 2014

7 Top Tips for travelling by train


Being in a long distance relationship with someone in Cumbria and having both my sisters living in London, means I am on the train, a lot!  In fact, it's become something of a running joke at work, every Friday I leave the office running for the train station with a suitcase in tow heading somewhere.  Traveling to see my boyfriends usually takes 4-6 hours of train travel and I usually go on a long journey every other weekend, so here are some tips I have picked up to make your journey much more comfortable.  I know they work for me!

1.Dress for travel
When you fly we all think about comfort, but not so much when we travel by train, even though we still have to lump our stuff around and can often be sat for around the same amount of time!  Wear layers and keep it comfortable.  Also you can go from being too warm from lumping your suitcase/ bag around to cold very quickly if your too near the doors!  You need to be able to keep switching positions to stop having a numb bum without flashing your knickers!

2.Book directly with your train provider, not a discount website, it's cheaper!
If I'm traveling to Cumbria I always book with TransPennine Express, and honestly, you won't get train tickets cheaper than booking direct.  There are loads of travel companies who claim to get tickets for less but the best price can only ever match booking direct and then they stick booking changes on the end!  I always go direct, I can't stress this enough!  Some train providers also have loyalty schemes and TransPennine Express will also post your tickets for free, which is another weight off your shoulders on the day!

3. Choose your own seats
When you book online, if you can book a seat (which is free by the way) always do, but look beyond what they initially offer.  You can choose a preference (I always pick a window seat) and they will provide a seat to match.  Train companies will try and fill the train a carriage at a time, however, if you view your reservation you can move your booking to another less busy carriage!

4. Appreciate the view
Such a simple one but often over looked, some of the best views I see all year come from train windows!  Especially with the snow at the moment, everything looks extra beautiful, and make sure you instagram it!

5.Pick up a fancy coffee and some snacks
This has become part of my routine for long journeys and it's something I actually really look forward to.  I grab a latte from the station ( there's almost always some sort of coffee shop, my favourite is Starbucks) and I sit on the train with that, snacks, and my book, complete contentment.  Which brings me to my next point...

4.Bring something to read
For me the best part of train travel is being able to sit and read a book, it's not for everyone but you can take along some magazines or whatever you fancy.  Best part is they don't take up much room and won't run out of batteries!

5. Take a separate bag for your travel essentials
All those things you think you'll never need, but actually will.  Tissues, lip balm, wet ones, travel cards and train tickets all need to be within easy reach.  If the train's busy you might end up far away from your luggage and so having everything you need on hand can be a real god send (and stops the conductor getting annoyed while you try and rummage through your backpack!

6. Bring headphones
Preferably sound cancelling headphones if you have them, then even if you don't want to listen to music you can at least get some peace!  Personally I love listening to the Skyrim soundtrack as background noise, it makes me feel like I'm going on an epic adventure!

7. Tablets, phones and all your charges!
One of the best ways I have found for passing the time recently is playing games in my tablets.  Most of the larger trains have plug sockets too so you can charge that and your phone on the go (another reason I always opt for a window seat).  I love playing board games so Monopoly, Settlers of Catan and Worms are my current go to tablet games of choice, but of course there are plenty of casual games if you want something a bit quicker to play.

So there you have it!  I am a serial train traveler ,and I'm not afraid to admit it!  Do you have any travel tips?

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