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15 replies
Safety tips for night trains?
Rach
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Hi,

Does anyone have any safety tips for night trains?

I’ve only come across, Segac’s posting:

quote:On a night train, be careful of empty compartments where you’re the only woman, and try to get on early so you can share a compartment with other women. Make sure your valuables are safely stashed under your clothes in a money belt.

Should solo women avoid taking night trains? I was thinking of taking two (one between Nice and Venice, the other being Salzburg and Mainz). But if it’s seems too sketchy to travel this way, I may just spend extra time and travel during the day.

I’m a little anxious since I haven’t taken a night train before and have no experience travelling overnight like this. I’m thinking of travelling via couchettes. Does anyone have an experience they’d like to share while travelling on a night train? Any additional safety tips?

Thanks,
Rach

segacs
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It’s really not that sketchy. Sure, you’ll hear stories about night trains, but you’ll hear stories about everything; it doesn’t mean it’s the norm. Most of the stories are rumours or urban legends anyway. I wouldn’t worry too much about it if I were you, just take basic safety precautions. After all, your stuff could technically get stolen in a hostel dorm, too… both are pretty rare.

The problem with too many night trains is you really don’t get all that great a sleep, and you can end up being very tired if you try to take too many of them. Once in a while they’re convenient for long routes and you can save a bit of money for not having to book a hostel, but I wouldn’t recommend taking them regularly.

travelnchick
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I traveled night trains all the time all over Europe (and it was me and another girl) and we never had a problem. The trains in Germany and Italy, there are compartments of 6 seats that are great for sleeping, just be picky about the compartment you choose to sleep in. (also try to lift up on the front/bottom of the seat to see if it will stretch out to make a "bed" there were some trains we could turn 6 seats into a queen size bed, all in the free 2nd class car)

And when you are staying in the hostels, talk to the other backpackers, they might be going the same way as you and you can all tavel together- that happens A LOT over there!

One tip-
Just make sure if your feet are up on the seat- you don’t have shoes on— that is a BIG nono over there and the conductors will wake you up and yell in whatever language they speak until you move.

segacs
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quote:
One tip-
Just make sure if your feet are up on the seat- you don’t have shoes on— that is a BIG nono over there and the conductors will wake you up and yell in whatever language they speak until you move.

On ferries in Greece, if you’re in an economy lounge or have a deck class ticket, don’t even try to sleep with your shoeless feet on the seat. The ferry people will wake you up and yell at you that it is "forbidden to sleep". Then they’ll try to sell you stuff.

travelnchick
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I never had that problem with the ferries in Greece. But just watch were you keep your feet… in some cultures it is considered quite rude

zeeincredible
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How long are train trips from rome to florence? I thought it’s an overnight train where you can actually get a decent amount of sleep, like a 6hr train ride, but trenitalia website says its just a 3 hour train ride? So I planned to leave at like 5 in the morning and get to florence around 8 and settle in and start the day.

Jester
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That is correct, it’s about a 3 hour ride.

Have fun.

Zacshleigh
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I didn’t read anyone elses responses but here is my 2 cents:

I took a night train from Rome to Nice. We didn’t fork out the extra cash for a couchette, so my sister and I got seats. (worst sleep of my life), however, we also slept in a 4×6ft room with 4 males. It was a bit creepy, one of them got arrested in the morning for changing countries without a train ticket or passport and one of them looked homeless.

I took a night train from San Sabastien Spain to Paris. For this one we dished out the extra money for a bed and it was a great experience. We had so much more room (mind you it was first class) and our bags were close to us, I never felt unsafe.

I would always recommend paying the extra for a couchette or else you won’t sleep.

nivid
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Everyone needs to stop worrying about night trains. Nothing is going to happen to you. Just watch you stuff like you would when travelling anywhere, and just like you would during the day. Just relax and have fun!!

chryscrazy
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I took a bike lock and locked my bags to the luggage rack with it. I don’t think it was really necessary, but it gave me a lot of peace of mind. I never had any troubles on night trains, and I took several. I only paid for the couchette once, and I slept very well there, we even had a man in charge of the couchettes who looked after us and made sure we were ok, and we could lock the door. The other times we decided to be cheap and not get couchettes, we never worried about safety, but some of the times we slept well and some times only an hour of sleep here and there. I would suggest that you do take a night train, don’t be afraid of it, but splurge for the couchette the first time.

chryscrazy
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Sorry..I forgot to say we were 2 female travellers.

Jester
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The only spooky experience I had on a night train (and I took way too many) was when traveling from Italy to Hungary. The train controler took my ticket and passport and gave me a chain and a lock and said &quotut this on your door, don’t come out and don’t open unless it’s me. If you need to go to the bathroom, call me, I’ll walk you there".

I was sharing the compartment with a hungarian lady and her italian daughter, and when she saw my face she said it was rutine. It has nothing to do with gassing trains and whatnot, she explained in some countries in eastern Europe, it’s custom to go to your neighbours compartment to say hi. However, drunk guys sometimes don’t know when to leave, and they might make people uncomfortable, and there have been cases of molesting there, but it is not common. The chain does have a purpose

As for people stealing my bags and all, I really didn’t feel concerned.

simply126
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just curious, did the train conductor keep your passport until you departed?

i’ve always traveled with the assumption that your passport should never leave your side?

SweeetMel
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good question,
does anybody know the answer to that question?
Should your passport be given to the conductor?

Melanie

oldlady
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Give your passport to the conductor. It’s a whole lot better than dealing with a border guard when you’re dead asleep.

There are some other situations where you have to let go of your passport. In some countries hotels have to register each foreign traveler, so you must leave your passport at the hotel desk for a few minutes (or even a few hours if there are bunches of foreign tourists checking in). I’ve also had to give up my passport to get the key to my cabin on an international ferry. They kept my passport until morning when I gave the key back.

nick123
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Don’t carry anything you can’t afford to lose, and consider a small cable bike lock to chain your pack to something.