Long Distance Train Travel Essentials

by - October 09, 2018

I am a train person over a flight person (well simply because I cannot afford flight tickets). So whenever I have to travel outside Maharashtra, I prefer the train, especially the three-tier AC compartment. My train journeys are overnight most of the times and so I have to carry additional essentials. I am someone who cannot do without having all the things by me so I spend some more time packing essentials and having additional 'train backpack and pouch' is a requisite. It can get a little annoying when I'm listing down things to pack and when actually packing my bags, but as I mentioned above, having all the essentials next to me is crucial. 

I am listing down all the things you would find in my 'train backpack/pouch'. 


Facewash is an important item because travelling can make your skin oily. Washing face with a soap thoroughly takes off all the dirt and grease. I carry a travel-size facewash whenever I travel.

Toothpaste, toothbrush, mouthwash
Dental care is a must even when you're travelling on a train. The tip here is to carry a mouthwash, especially if your halt comes early in the morning or if it is too cold to brush teeth. This may happen on winter days when you simply cannot withstand the temperature and the cold winds coming from the door numb you further. During such times, you can use a mouthwash instead of brushing teeth. 

Hand soap
No matter if you visit the loo or not, you still require a soap to wash hands. And what's better than using paper soap? They are cheap (read Rs. 8) plus eco-friendly. They lather well and leave a nice fragrance after.  

Lip balm
Not quite essential and I don't always use it, but you know, you can. Travelling dehydrates you and the air conditioning can be quite drying. You can use a balm to soothe the lips. I use a lip balm only once when I freshen up before getting off the train. 

Brushing your hair can really help you look put together after a nasty 24-hour journey on the train. I recommend a comb over a brush for detangling. I usually comb my hair once in the morning after I freshen up or before getting off the train.


Movies/tv-shows & earphones
I think oldies are the only ones who might not be entertaining themselves watching a movie or a tv show on their mobile phones. Even kids whine and end up watching Chhota Bheem on their mom's phone and when the kids are fast asleep, their mommas watch tv serials. So you see, the younger generation is not the only one glued to their phones; almost everyone travelling on a train have earphones plugged in. I recommend downloading the files before you get on a train because the network is unstable during the journey. 

Laptop (optional)
If you're like me, who hates watching videos on a small screen, then a laptop is the best bet. (Even a tab works well but the laptop has a larger screen.) I use my laptop to blog, edit vlogs, and watch movies and tv shows when on the go. I carry my MacBook Air which has a long lasting battery so I never worry. Plus, even if the battery drains, there are charging ports in the train.

Book (optional)
Reading can be challenging as the train moves. If you have sensitive eyes then it can really get troublesome. However, if you're amidst a thick Sherlock Holmes, then I know you can't give it a miss. 


Hand sanitizer
You simply cannot touch food without sanitising your hands, no matter what. Hand sanitiser is a super important essential when you are travelling – be it on a train or a flight. I suggest keeping it in an open pocket (maybe the bottle pouch of your backpack) because you want it handy. 

Having food on train equals spilling, a lot of it. So carrying tissues is a must. Keep it in the same bottle pouch as your hand sanitiser. 

Dry food (parathas, theplas, sandwiches, idlis)
My go-to travel food is something dry. I'm not a fan of potato chips or similarly packaged snacks. The food item I definitely pack is cheese sandwiches. They're easy to make – all you need is bread and cheese slices and tomato ketchup to make them. They taste delicious plus are pretty filling. The next food item I'm sure to pack is either aloo paratha or a methi/palak thepla. Aloo parathas can stale quicker so I avoid carrying them on a long journey. However, methi parathas taste amazing with pickle or ketchup. 

I have never carried a newspaper but I think I should start carrying it. Just lay a newspaper on the seat and then place your food on it. This prevents stains or oil to get on your seat.


Flip-flops or slip-ons
You can't simply walk around wearing your sports shoes or hiking shoes. You need an additional pair of flip-flops to quickly wear and remove, not just on the train but even when you reach your hotel. I recommend packing them in your bag while you wear your heavier shoes until you reach the railway station; once you're in the train, take off your shoes and wear flip-flops. 

Chain, lock and key
Can a long distance train travel be complete without this pair? You can't just trust anyone around you, especially if you're travelling solo. I can't do without chaining my luggage. 

Even though you have carried enough food and water, there's always gonna be something you buy on your journey. It could be a cup of steaming elaichi chai or simply a pack of chips, you need a wallet in your train backpack, no matter what. 

Anti-acidity and anti-diarrhoea pills
Well, if you are too unlucky to taste the food on the train, God forbid, but you might end up feeling acidic or perhaps might increase the visits to the loo. Anti-acidity pills (pudin hara) or anti-diarrhoea pills (bi-quinol) are important when you're travelling on a train.

A light bedsheet or something to wrap yourself is one of the things I carry. The train can get cold and sometimes you don't feel like trusting the blankets provided to you. During such times, you can simply draw in your bedsheet/shawl/scarf. 

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