8 Must-Have Train Travel Accessories
Compared to the stress of plane travel, travelling somewhere by train can be pretty chilled - since train stations are mostly quite central, there's no need to spend ages getting to a remote location AND also have to be there 2 hours before departure. Plus, there's more space to move around in the carriages and you can see the scenery from the window. To make your trip even more enjoyable and luxurious, here are the 8 must-have train travel accessories to bring on board with you. I have bought and extensively used all of them and found them very useful, so can genuinely vouch for and recommend every item on the list!
1. Bose QuietComfort 25 noise-cancelling headphones
I spent a lot of time going back and forth on whether I should splurge on Bose noise-cancelling headphones or not. The process involved trying them on, being put off by the price, then trying other brand headphones on and being disappointed with the noise cancellation. So round and round this went until I finally decided I deserved it and gave Bose QuietComfort 25 headphones to myself as a present. And I never looked back (in fact, I ended up getting a second pair for my husband, whose noise-cancelling headphones from another brand were nowhere near as good).
Whether I'm travelling by train or by plane, when I want to switch off from the world around me, the Bose QC25 headphones never fail. The over-ear design makes wearing them comfortable even for extended periods of time and with the noise cancellation on, it's so much easier to tune out conversations and train noise and just relax and enjoy the ride. The noise cancellation is powered by an AAA battery, but if the battery dies, you will still be able to use the headphones (unlike the predecessor model QC15, which becomes unusable).
A massive advantage of buying the QC25 model now is the drop in price since the new model, the wireless QC35, is also on the market. Unless you are particularly bothered by cables, I think QC25 offers significantly better value for money and will make a fantastic accessory for your train trip. You can have them in black or white and also optimised for Apple or Android. The headphones come with a hard carry case as well, which I always use - perfect for protecting them on the go as well as storage at home.
2. Stable standing case for tablet
When I got my iPad a good few years back, I also bought the Apple smart case. The one that folds up nicely into a triangle - if you own an iPad, I bet you know the one I'm talking about. And don't get me wrong, it was light and thin, so the portability was great, but apart from that it was pretty horrible. Whenever I wanted to watch a film and tried to place the iPad upright, it was incredibly unstable and would fall over all the time, whilst the only stable position, where the iPad is kind of lying down, didn't have a high enough angle to make watching a film comfortable. So I had to either try and lean the iPad against something or hold it for the whole duration of the film - not great...
Now I've done some research and invested in a case that allows me to securely place the tablet into various positions, horizontal or vertical, including 360-degree rotating, so watching films on the move has become a pleasure. None of this folding into a triangle nonsense! You can set it all up perfectly well on a proper table, a tray table or even on your lap and watch films in comfort.
The new case is heavier and thicker, but I've found that it's better to add a few extra grams to your bag than to get a sore wrist from holding the iPad. Definitely a must-have accessory for train travel, whatever brand or size tablet you have. The link below is to the case that I have, but the same brand makes cases for all sorts of different tablets.
3. Headphone cable splitter
Speaking of watching films on your tablet - if you are travelling as a couple or with a travel buddy, you will probably want to be able to enjoy the film together. I was so excited when I discovered that you could get a cable splitter to enable two separate headphones to be plugged into the same device.
If you're willing to spend just a bit more, you can also get a splitter with independent volume controls. Or, if there are three of you travelling together rather than two, there are also three-way splitters! How awesome is that?!
4. Travel-Sized Games
If you get bored of films, it's always nice to have an alternative. You can of course amuse yourself with apps, but it's good to give your monitor- and phone-tortured eyes a bit of a rest and get a good old board or card game going - especially handy if you have a table seat and are sitting across the table from your travel buddy.
So if you are like me and love board and card games, check out my list of top 10 travel games here.
5. Insulated Steel Bottle
Since travelling by train doesn't involve a liquid ban (even for trains where you go through a security scan, like the Eurostar), you don't have to wait to stock up on drinks until you're past security. There are three very good reasons why an insulated steel bottle is one of the best train travel accessories:
The first is saving money - the price for a bottle of water at a train station cafe is bound to be more expensive than in your local supermarket and filling up the bottle at home will cost you nothing.
The second is making a sustainable choice and not contributing to the disposal of single use plastic. Let's try and do what's best for the environment! Plus a steel bottle is BPA-free, so a healthier choice.
The third reason is keeping your drink at the perfect temperature - insulated steel bottles will keep a cold drink cold and a hot drink hot, so you can use the same bottle and enjoy cool water on hot days and a nice hot tea during the cooler months.
I prefer bottles to travel mugs because bottles have a screw-on top, so I can throw it in my bag and not have to worry about anything leaking. In fact, I carry a small 0.33l insulated bottle on my daily commute, not just when travelling - definitely a train travel accessory you can make good use of.
6. Kindle e-Reader
A Kindle e-Reader is the best invention for a bookworm since... well, ever! I used to be all about paper books and couldn't imagine enjoying something that didn't have the proper book feel and smell, but then I tried a friend's Kindle for a few weeks and was instantly convinced. If you like to read on the train (and off the train too), you need a Kindle in your life.
The size and weight of a Kindle is significantly smaller than say The Lord of the Rings trilogy book. It's one of those things that you can just pop into a handbag without thinking too much about the extra weight. Its readability is also a lot better than that of a paper book - you can adjust the font size to whatever is most comfortable for your eyes and you can also hold and turn pages easily with just one hand (using the other one to sip from your lovely insulated steel bottle perhaps? Or if you didn't manage to get a seat on the train, you can hold on to something.)
Because Kindle has an e-Ink display, it's also a lot better to read from than your phone or tablet. There is no glare from the screen, so it's a massively superior experience, especially in sunny conditions (plus the battery lasts so much longer!)
You can place the Kindle on the table and switch it off and the book will remain on the page you last read. And not just one book either! You can be reading several at the same time and the clever device will remember where you stopped in each of them. You can have tons and tons of books on it, so if you go through novels like I go through chocolate and need several to get through your holiday, a Kindle is really the best little gadget money can buy - and there are several different versions available for different budgets.
7. Suitcase lock
If you're travelling with a suitcase, chances are you won't be able to keep it next to your seat or even in line of sight. With people coming and going and getting on and off, I always feel rather uneasy when I'm not able to keep an eye on my belongings and so a suitcase lock is a must-have accessory for peace of mind.
Some suitcases come already equipped with a lock, but if yours doesn't have one, the great news is that you can easily buy a lock for very little money. You can either go for a lock with a key or a combination lock.
8. Folding handheld fan
This particular train travel accessory has made it onto this list due to the remarkable heatwave we've been having over the past month or so, with temperatures remaining in the high 20s Celcius. And the thing about train travel is that the trains are very different depending on where you are and what company you're travelling with. Some are super modern and have A/C, whilst others unfortunately don't (0r it breaks, like on my train the other day while if was 35C outside!)
So if you have the misfortune of ending up in a sweltering train carriage on a sunny summer day, you will be very very glad if you have a folding handheld fan to at least get some air moving. It's not going to make life perfect, but it certainly is going to make your train journey more comfortable.
Any accessories missing from this list that you've found particularly useful? Let me know, I am always eager to try new things!
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