America By Rail Blog

posted on March 06, 2018

Sometimes the process of getting to your destination is the worst part of a vacation. Trying to sleep on a crowded plane or in a packed car is difficult and can leave you tired for your first full day of exploring. Taking an overnight train tour is a great option for travelers looking to start their vacation as soon as they board. If you’ve never slept overnight on a train, it can be hard to know what to expect. Here are some tips on how to catch your beauty sleep on an overnight train tour

Coach or private sleeper rooms?

Your first decision when choosing to take an overnight train tour is where you will sleep. Reserving a sleeping car room is the most comfortable way to go, because you’ll get your own private quarters and experience accommodations similar to a hotel, including access to a shower with your dining car meals included. However, private quarters are a pricey option that not every traveler wants to splurge on. Traveling in coach class is much more affordable and is not equivalent to traveling in the crowded coach section on a plane. Your seat will be much larger and will recline and you will have access to a tray table for when you want to eat or watch a movie.  

Bring a pillow and a blanket

This may seem obvious, but bringing a pillow and blanket is essential to getting a comfortable sleep and it is easy to forget them while you’re packing for your exciting trip. Choose a mid-size and mid-weight blanket even in the summer months to make sure you can easily adjust to anything from air conditioning to balmy outdoor air.

Comfortable clothing

While pajamas are not required, having a comfortable outfit to wear to bed should be. Make sure to pack clothes that you can sleep in, opting for items like sweatpants, joggers, leggings, and hoodies.

Snacks and bottled water

If you often find yourself getting up in the middle of the night for a glass of water or a snack, it might be a good idea to pack a few bottles of water and small travel-friendly food items. You can eat your meals in the dining car, where you’ll get a chance to chat with your fellow travelers. The train is also equipped with a snack bar, so make sure to visit while it’s open.

Bring the essentials 

Don’t forget the essential toiletries you’ll need to get ready for bed! Make a list of the items you use daily, including your toothbrush, toothpaste, facial wipes, hairbrush, and more. For those traveling in private quarters, the list gets longer and should include the items you use in the shower.


If you have a difficult time sleeping without complete darkness or in new places, you may want to pack eyeshades. With your eyes covered, it’ll be much easier for you to start snoozing in a new place. They can also be great if you decide to take a mid-day nap.


Before you go to sleep, you’ll want to bring plenty of things to keep you busy on the ride. The scenery alone is enthralling, especially if you’re traveling with friends or family and have someone to share the views with. You can also bring cards, movies, books, and games on your tablet or phone. While reading is an excellent way to pass the time before the sun goes down and we highly recommend bringing a few novels, movies are the best option for when it’s too dark to read. Be sure to either bring your favorite DVDs or download them to your laptop or tablet. Don’t forget your charger and headphones!

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