How to Survive Riding the Trans-Siberian Express

Travelling the world’s longest railway isn’t always going to be peaches and rainbows; here’s how to make the Trans-Siberian Railway trip a trip to remember.

The most memorable trips are those where serendipity seems to intervene; the living is usually easy, and we’re open for new experiences to happen.

In order to enjoy your Trans-Siberian railway journey, here are a few tips to make it easy-breezy.

1. Don’t pack for eventualities

Packing light is a staple rule when it comes to travelling across Asia, or anywhere you’ll be on and off the road, packing and unpacking.

Simply put, you can find all your traditional toiletries and most necessities on your travels. You don’t need to lug around items you might use only once, if at all.

Sonderzugreise "Zarengold"

2. Bring the right tech

Another way to ensure that you have a safe, enjoyable journey on Trans Siberian express holidays by is to bring the right technology.

Forgo the laptop for a tablet or phablet. Consider a stand-alone eBook reader with e-ink (less battery used, keeps reading and communications separate), and bring a USB battery backup which you can use in a bind if you can’t seem to locate a plug to juice up your personal electronics.

If you download any apps for maps, translation and the like, make sure they work offline too.

3. Go first class

The price differential from second class to first class on affordable China tours and travel packages is completely nominal, especially when you take into account what you’re getting: more leg room, more privacy, and an epic night’s sleep. On the road, good sleep is a blessing –take it.

4. Must-have travel accessories

When you’re on a train, as long as you are travelling from point A to point B on the Trans-Siberian Railway, always remember to bring the following must-have travel accessories: sleep mask, ear plugs, insect repellent, and wet wipes to clean your hands or take a “dry shower” and spruce yourself up. (Wet wipes can work like a deodorant, sanitary napkin, and toilet seat cleaner!). Thank me later!


5. Flask and/or tin cup

For long journeys I always bring these two things; a flask of Jack Daniels can act as a disinfectant, or a knock-out after a long day followed by insomnia.

As for drinking water or even making simple meals like porridge or ramen noodles, a tin cup is a good idea. The drinking water on the Trans-Siberian Railway is served hot all day, as to keep it free of harmful germs and bacteria so a plastic cup simply will not do. A metal cup can also make standing showers a little faster too.

6. Clam shell bag

A clam shell bag is an absolute necessity. A clam shell simply means that the bag opens like a clam, and you can access any point of its contents from top to bottom in one shot. This is a big deal so you don’t have to sequentially unpack and repack everything just to access an object that is stored deep at the bottom of your backpack.

7. Chewing gum

Because you never know who you might want to know; strangers are merely friends you haven’t met yet. What kind of friends they become, well that is up to a number of factors, but I think a big deciding factor is how bad your breath is!


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