WARNING- At these stops KEEP AN EYE ON YOUR BAGS/BACKPACKS (Read below)!
Taking a night train?
Many Europeans travel during the weekends, so play it smart and reserve your spot. You will find backpackers sitting in both 1st and 2nd class seating.
Sometimes the train that you will be traveling on will be full in 1st class seating so you will have no choice but to sit in 2nd class seating even though you have a 1st class pass.
Don’t worry, the seats there are comfortable to.
Take your valuables in your daypack when going to the restroom and restaurant car.
I was on a night train to Lisbon from Madrid once, and during the night when they turned off the lights everyone was trying to get some shut-eye. There was a stop between the two cities during the night. During that brief stop I saw 2 people walking through our train car very fast carrying a backpack between them very low so no one can see what was happening.
They exited the train at the door at the end of our train car. Right after they hurriedly exited there were 2 train security guards walking through looking around. It’s easy to see what happened and all I could say is that there was one unhappy backpacker in that night. I saw all of this as it happened because I am always aware and suspicious of strange activity. European countries are notorious for acts of theft to tourist and backpackers as we make great targets to them.
I’m sure this happens throughout the entire day, and not just nights, as thieves don’t have timecards that they use to login their working hours,. Know what I’m saying?
Pay attention! Here’s another tip you should remember when traveling on train:
Every train car will have luggage racks by both entrance doors in every car and luggage racks running along the top above all the seats on both sides of each car(like in an airplane, but racks and not bins).
When you first get on the train SMILE & SAY HELLO TO YOUR NEIGHBOR. Look at it as cheap train travel insurance.
I know this is common sense, but it’s kind of like the elevator deal. You get in an elevator with a bunch of strangers and you know you just want to say hello to whoever is in there with you (and they most likely want to say hello to you too!), but for whatever reason, you just don’t.
It only takes a second, but it’s to your benefit…so do it!
Where’s the best place to store your backpack?
ALWAYS STORE YOUR BACKPACK ABOVE YOUR SEAT and NOT on the racks by the train cars entry ways UNLESS you lock your backpack to the rack or plan on keeping an eye on it at all times!
This way it is exposed to everyone in the train car and they can keep an eye on it (especially your neighbor) while you are in another train car(with your smaller daypack). When you are sleeping, clutch your daypack with you or use it like a pillow to rest your head on. This will protect it from thieves.
And because you made friendly contact with your seat neighbors, most likely they’ve got your back if they notice anything suspicious.
Also, all the trains that I have been on had a food car so don’t worry about what kind of food to bring on the train, just bring a little extra dough.
So if you plan on traveling by way of Eurail, this is more or less, the process that you will be repeating until you use up all of your Eurail Pass days. You’ll get the hang of it and see that there is nothing to it. Play it safe and make your reservation a day in advanced either by calling the local train station or by going directly to the train station.
And if these tips proved to give you peace of mind, send us a “success story” to firstname.lastname@example.org