When travelling between two countries, it is always great if you can optimize your time and travel during the night to avoid wasting precious daylight hours. If your journey is long enough you may have the option of travelling on a ‘Night Train’. I took my first, proper sleeper train on my last trip and these are some of the definites to note when taking a night train yourself.20160922_075337

  1. Wear Warm Clothes.

Even if the country you are travelling through is a warm one, it’s always good to wrap up and ensure you’re not cold. I put on a pair of tracksuit pants and a long sleeve top and it did perfectly, especially when walking out to the toilet/into the hallway which is filled with open windows (aka people smoking!).

2. Bring Water/Food With You.

On the train I took there was no food on offer and it was twelve hours long! The same thing happens me on buses and planes, but I literally get hungry if I think I won’t be able to get food. You always want what you can’t have! So in these cases, it’s always good to have some water and a couple of snacks for the long journey.

3. Have Toiletries At Hand

Make sure you have a few things at arms reach such as sanitizer, baby wipes, moisturizer, etc to freshen up. We stayed in a 6 bed sleeper room so space was crammed and the toilets are absolutely horrible so having everything handy to prepare for bed definitely helps.

4. Stock Up On Toilet Paper

There is no two ways about it, the toilets will be disgusting – just like most transport toilets! So bring toilet paper to avoid the experience being completely traumatic, and a nose clip if you have one too. I actually found that if you go to the carraiges with the normal train seats and not the sleeper rooms the toilets got a lot nicer (but still pretty grim).

5. Passport Control Will Destroy Any Chance Of Sleep

You’re having a really great sleep… and then you’re rudely awaken by angry, sleepy passport control who are banging down your door and talking to you in a language you don’t understand. Best part is? You have one leaving the country AND one going into the next one! All in the middle of the night, happy days! So it’s best to have your passport at hand so you can sleepily grab it, hand it to them and collapse back asleep.

I have heard that some of these trains can be quite sketchy so I kept everything of value hidden towards the end of my bed (furthest away from the door, basically) but I felt completely safe the entire time. Aside from being woken by passport control, I actually got a pretty good sleep. They provide you with blankets, pillows, sheets, etc but it might be a good idea to bring your own pillow case if you are so inclined. They really are the perfect way to save on money for accommodation while getting the most out of your day and avoiding travelling in prime daylight hours. The train I took was from Belgrade to Montenegro but I’m sure there are some more higher class ones in wealthier countries. (the train we took was ANCIENT).


Have you ever taken a night train? And if so, how did you find it?

11 thoughts on “Night Train Necessities

  1. Good tips, from my own experience I’d also add “make sure you’re in the right bit of the train” – I once took a night train from Zurich to Prague, but the train split in the middle of the night (the other half went to Berlin) so it could be disappointing to wake up in the morning in the wrong city! I found sleeping in a standard train seat wasn’t too bad, but having a good supply of food and some warm layers definitely makes the journey more comfortable.

    1. Oh god, that is the last thing you would need after a night of travelling! I took a regular train at night too and found it wasn’t too bad either – just a small bit more uncomfortable to spread across two seats.

  2. I always get some flip flops out on a night train, so I don’t need to faff with proper shoes to go the bathroom. Particularly good if you wake up in the middle of the night feeling sick!

  3. One of the things I will have to lok into is night train/bus in Ireland. There are commercial bus companies which d Belfast-Dublin.
    But I am thinking if I travel say BElfast to Dublin (train) and arrive at 9am, I might get to Waterford and a few towns close by….but I might be back in Dublin too late to travel home.
    The key thing for me is to be warm and safe so a 24 hour venue eg Dublin Airport seems a good place to stay a few hours before an onward journey.

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