The Ultimate Train Journey
All aboard the Trans-Siberian Railway…
Here’s an action-packed post from one traveler to another, full of travel tips and points of interest along the way during your trans-Siberian train tour!
Image by Damian Bere via Flickr
I had a blast when I did one of the Trans-Siberian railway tours, and after doing it 4 times I thought I’d write about it for my fellow travelers that are about to make the same journey. I’ll let you know what to expect, and answer some frequently asked questions.
1. Choose Your Own Adventure
The first thing you will need to do is evaluate your options. Among a long list of options, there are a number of routes to three key destinations. There are two routes to China, and one to Vladivostok. These are the routes I’ve taken, so they are what I am basing my experience on.
2. Go First Class
The price increase to go from 2nd class to 1st class is nominal, considering what you are getting out of the deal. When you’re traveling anywhere and sleep is involved, the benefits of a good night’s sleep come back in spades.
3. How Much does it Cost
I’ve only ever booked a 2-berth cabin, which start just under $500 USD each way although I know you can shave off $200 by going economy class.
4. Required Reading
Lonely Planet guides for Russia, China, and Mongolia are a great way to do a little bit of research if you’re nervous about taking the trip, but perhaps the most important reading will be found in between the covers of Thomas Cook’s European Rail Timetable and a Travelers Map of Europe.
5. Must-Have Travel Gear
USB Battery Backup
A simple chunky block of battery with a USB port: great for charging devices while on the go, or if you don’t have enough electrical outlets for all of your devices on the train.
You’re going to be on a train for a week so you never know what time of day you’re going to need a little shut-eye. Eye masks are perfect for an afternoon nap when you’re sharing your space and can’t cover up the windows.
Like we said, you’re going to be on a train for a week.
Train rides are a perfect time to binge consume an entire series of a television show or a podcast, or read that copiously long list of ebooks you’ve been downloading for a rainy day.
Binoculars aren’t just for creepy stalker people and bird watchers. I’ve carried binoculars in my pack for a year now and I am always finding new uses for them. Great for long distance views, hikes, long walks, and of course camping.
Clam Shell Bag
A “clam shell bag” is a bag which you can open up and have access to the entire thing in one shot –instead of first in, first out style bags. These are a must in small spaces and while on the go because they greatly reduce the effort in digging something out of your bag.
You never know who you are going to meet on that train, and whoever you do meet, you’ll be spending a lot of time in close quarters so clean breath is an absolute must.
Showers are cramped and are a generally unattractive bathing solution. Hygiene wipes and the cup rinse method at the sink would probably be much easier.
I forgot mine once. Woe is me. Never do that.