This Barrie 360 feature is brought to you by Canadian Tire.
In recent years, trains have been experiencing a renaissance in Canada as new lines are introduced and more travelers seek alternative modes of transportation for their next adventure. Combine this with stunning landscapes, cozy compartments to relax in, and the freedom to explore multiple destinations without the hassle of airports, and it’s no wonder that train travel is regaining its popularity.
But as you plan your upcoming train adventure, it’s essential to consider the unique challenges and requirements that come with this mode of transportation. While packing the usual essentials is crucial, there are also unexpected items that can significantly enhance your experience onboard. These unassuming items can prove to be incredibly handy, solving everyday problems and making your train journey more enjoyable and comfortable.
So, if you’re contemplating a train adventure across Canada or venturing to far-flung corners of the globe, we’ve compiled a list of 14 unexpected things that will undoubtedly come in handy on the train.
1. A COMPACT MIRROR
Maybe this seems unnecessary, but if you need to clean up in the morning or are traveling to multiple budget hostels or campsites then I promise a mirror is something you’ll want.
You don’t need anything big, which is why a compact is perfect. If your mirror isn’t in a compact case, you can wrap it in a towel to keep it from breaking.
2. A DECK OF CARDS
I don’t care if you are going across Canada or to the other end of the globe, playing cards are a relatively universal way to socialize with other travelers and locals at your destination.
Whether you’re playing a familiar game, or being taught a new one, cards are an easy way to make friends. If cards aren’t your idea of fun, peruse the isles at local travel, drug, and dollar stores for compact games and entertainment to keep you busy.
3. A MICROFIBER TOWEL
While any towel will do when you travel by train, micro-fiber towels are especially handy. That’s because they’re more compact and dry faster than a regular bathroom or beach towel, so they are perfect for small bags and trips with multiple stops.
4. A COLLAPSIBLE WATER BOTTLE
When you’re travelling by training and making multiple stops, you want to be sure you have beverages on hand to stay hydrated. To help save space in your bag consider grabbing a collapsable water bottle. Just fill it when you need it and roll it up when you don’t.
5. PORTABLE CHARGER/POWER BANK
Trains may not always have easily accessible power outlets, so carrying a portable charger or power bank ensures you can keep your electronic devices charged throughout the trip.
6. A LAUNDRY BAG
If your trip is long you will probably need to do laundry. Keep the wine-stained shirt and dirty underwear away from your fresh clothes by bringing a small bag to keep the dirty items all together.
It also makes transportation to the laundromat a breeze.
PRO TIP: Grab some detergent pods or sheets to use on your travels instead of having to buy liquid detergent from the laundromat.
7. BRING ON THE SAMPLES
Everyone loves free samples, and now is your time to put them to use!
Mini versions of your perfume, cologne, hair product, and makeup can be found at your local drugstore and makeup shops. This is an easy way to bring your favourite products with you and saves tons of space in your luggage!
If you can’t find any free samples, check the travel toiletry aisle for mini versions, or buy some empty travel bottles and fill them up at home. Just don’t bring full-size bottles. They’re heavy, they cause issues if you need to fly, and then there’s the risk of a big mess if they come undone.
If you don’t feel like spending all your travel savings on going out for dinner every night on your trip, you can grocery shopping along the way.
To avoid awkward situations when you forget to grab cutlery, bring some travel utensils. These little babies are perfect for backpackers or anyone who is roughing it in the woods.
Plus they’re good for the environment!
9. A SHOWER IN A CAN
Depending on where you are headed, you may be on the train for a few days before you can have a shower.
To avoid looking as gross as you feel and grossing out your neighbour with greasy hair be sure to grab some dry shampoo. Just spray a bit on your roots, brush or shake it in with your fingers, and you’ve got fresh-looking hair!
You can even find travel versions at various retail stores.
10. A FIRST-AID KIT
Accidents happen. To make them less of an issue, always have a first aid kit with you.
Stores everywhere have pre-made first-aid kits in various sizes or you can through together your own using a pencil case from the dollar store.
Be sure to pack any prescription medications you need as well as pain relievers and motion sickness aids in case you need them.
11. EARPLUGS OR NOISE CANCELLING HEADPHONES
Trains can be noisy due to the sound of the engine, announcements, or other passengers. Earplugs or noise-canceling headphones can help create a peaceful environment, allowing you to relax or sleep.
12. A TRAVEL BLANKET AND PILLOW
Trains can get chilly, especially during overnight journeys or in air-conditioned compartments. Packing a lightweight travel blanket or shawl will keep you warm and cozy.
Similarly, having a compact travel pillow on hand can be a blessing in disguise when you have the sudden need to catch some Zs, whether on the train or off it.
13. A MULTIPURPOSE TOOL
A small Swiss Army knife or a multi-purpose tool can be useful in various situations, such as opening packages, cutting food, or making minor repairs during your train journey.
You may also want to think about packing a sewing kit. Include a few needles, buttons, spools of thread, and safety pins. It can be handy for quick clothing repairs if a button comes loose or a seam tears.
14. A FOLDABLE TOTE
A collapsible tote bag or backpack takes up minimal space in your luggage but can be handy for carrying essentials, souvenirs, or extra items you acquire during your trip.
Packing For Train Travel
Remember, the items you bring with you when you travel by train will depend on the duration of the train journey, the facilities provided on the train, the climate, and your personal preferences. But taking the time to consider what unique essentials you may need will help make your train ride more enjoyable!