Preparing for a train adventure – Girl on a Train

Preparing for train adventures

Being prepared for my train adventure, I’ve packed every possible item I might need (much more than I need). I am always ultra prepared for any and all situations. I think I got that attribute from my mom. I also make sure I have plenty to share in case we get stranded and are days away from food. I have saved many people the discomfort of not having a band-aid, snacks, or water. Even though I do not have children, I’m always the “mom” figure prepared to meet whatever the need. I just shake my head and laugh at the odd figure I make with all of my bags, wrapped up in layers and ready to start my adventure.

Other travelers gawk with amazement at the amount of stuff I’m carrying with me. They ask how far I’m traveling and are always surprised that this leg of my journey is less than a day. Don’t worry, I’ll share with you if we derail.

Thankfully the Amtrak conductors were so helpful in hauling my mass up into the train. They were polite, personable, and accommodating throughout the ride. As I look back I can see the value of having many of the items that I brought along.

I didn’t know how hot or cold it would be on the train so I took along layers as well as some comfort sleep items. We had times of being very warm, but at night it is chilly. Even though the seats are comfortable and spacious, with the ability to recline and raise my legs up, I’m glad I brought some items along for comfort. Many people traveled with similar comforts.

Recommended Essentials for the trip:

Several bottles of water. The train has water stations and they do get refilled, but by the end of the journey the water was running low – I took 3 -1.5 liter bottles of #TraderJoe’s alkaline water with electrolytes (highly recommend traveling with this. It is worth the bulk and weight) https://www.traderjoes.com/fearless-flyer/article/2222

Snacks – I primarily ate fruit, Lara bars, Kind bars, and Aldi gluten-free breakfast bars. The California Zephyr offers both a snack bar and a dining room.

I was able to enjoy a nice half bottle of Zinfandel while lounging at night. For dinner, be prepared for some steeper prices as it’s difficult to get the food stored and prepared on the train. Breakfast was tasty and more reasonably priced. I sat across from a couple traveling by sleeper car. All of their meals were covered in the cost of their tickets.


I am pretty sloppy, add to that the motion of the train and I was glad to have secure beverage containers for both water and hot tea.


It does get chilly at night so be prepared with layers and socks. For comfort, I brought: an eye Mask, small blanket, pillow, shoes to slip on and off. An electronics bag to store cords and accessories is a lifesaver. I did see they sold headphones on the train, but I’m not sure about chargers. Personal toiletries and comfortable clothing are a must on a train. The bathrooms were small, but there were also showers, and a changing lounge available.


Leisure items are essential. There isn’t wifi and limited cell spots. Be prepared by downloading movies and music ahead of time. I also brought along art supplies, books, and a journal. Now that I am all prepared and comfortable, let my journey begin!

Girl on a train…

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