Steps for safer and more efficient train travel.
TRAVELING BY TRAIN
In many parts of the world, traveling by train is the most efficient way to get around. The frequency and/or accessibility of service varies from country to country. Here are some tips that will serve you well wherever you travel:
- Most frequently used rail systems in the world, especially those in Europe, have timetables available on the Internet. The International Rail Union (http://www.uic.asso.fr) has links to passenger rail timetables around the world. It also has a single databank for all available European timetables.
- Train travel may be better than flying for getting to the center of a city.
- If travel by train and/or transit is to be your regular mode of travel while in the country, obtain a pass permitting multiple trips and/or unlimited travel over a designated period of time. Some rail and transit systems have developed passes allowing you to use both services.
- To avoid being misrouted, make sure the destination of your particular train car matches your ticketed destination. In some countries, the final destination of the train is not the same destination for all of its cars.
- Consider traveling by train overnight to cover mileage while you rest and to reduce lodging costs. If you choose a sleeper car, consider the top bunk to get better sleep and more shelf space.
- Use the washroom facilities on the train to avoid fees for these facilities at some train stations.
- Do not lean out windows. In many countries, train stations are very narrow, and the tracks are located next to buildings, trees, utility poles, etc.
- On long train rides, stock up on sandwiches, snacks and beverages prior to boarding the train. On board, food may be expensive, limited in selection and of questionable quality.
- Whenever possible, book reservations to ensure getting tickets and avoid delays. Unfortunately, even with a reservation, you may not be guaranteed a seat.
- To avoid scams, purchase tickets from an official ticket agent and pay only upon receiving an actual ticket.
- Carry cash in small notes and change. Many rail systems, especially in small towns, require payment in exact change.
- Verify that the price of the ticket includes all supplement charges for specialty cars or trains. Supplements are often marked in red ink.