Rocky Mountaineer train traveling through the Rocky Mountains with luxury dining on board.
Avoid Making These Common Mistakes When Traveling By Train
A short, regional ticket can be bought same-day with a similar price to an advance ticket, but for a TGV (high-speed) train, the fares could be doubled or tripled.
Research as far in advance as possible and check hypothetical dates to see if there's a big difference in price buying same-day versus a month or more in advance.
You don’t have to buy immediately, but if advance booking looks like the best option, make sure to book flexible tickets in case your plans change.
Booking websites like Rome2Rio, Omio, and Trainline are helpful for research, but once you've picked your route, go directly to the rail operator to buy tickets.
Websites And Apps
Only book on an alternative provider if there is a huge price difference or your departure is soon and you're unlikely to cancel or adjust the ticket.
You won't always get the same rights on a third-party ticket as you would for one booked directly with the rail company, and often, other sites charge a fee to adjust ticket times.
Many high-speed and long-distance trains have dining cars to sit and enjoy a meal or grab a coffee and sandwich to bring back to your seat, but this is not guaranteed.
Sometimes, a train that is supposed to have a dining car may not have one due to technical issues. It's best to bring your own snacks and water just in case.
The Wi-Fi connections on long-distance or high-speed routes can be slow. It's best to bring a hotspot or download entertainment in advance.
Additionally, there might not be a place to charge electronics on-board. If being online or using electronics during your journey is necessary, bring a portable power bank.
Train travelers commonly err by not reading itineraries carefully, missing indicated connections, and not realizing many cities have multiple train stations.
While rare in North America, in Europe, even smaller cities like Lyon have a few stations. Double-check your return route and connections to ensure there isn't a station change.