Essential packing list for the Trans Siberian Railway
One of our awesome Another World Adventures travellers Sally took the Trans Siberian railway journey last summer. We got chatting to her about her 3 week experience and her packing tips were so helpful and interesting we had to share them.
Long journeys are always hard to pack for and train journeys can be particularly difficult as you’re not sure what might be available on the train or when you stop. Here is Sally’s packing list for the Trans Siberian railway.
If you’re thinking of taking one large bag, please don’t! You won’t be able to get it up the narrow tight stairs of the train, through the corridor and into your compartment (if you have one) without annoying the rest of the passengers trying to board and giving yourself a hernia. Take less and in a bag that you can easily move on and off the train.
No need to pack food as there are plenty of supermarkets at the stops along the way (just outside of train stations). It’s better to eat local and one of the highlights of Russia are the ‘babuska’s’ who come on to the train to sell their goods – from wild berries and hot potatoes. I was advised not to eat the fish but just take advice from others as you travel. Most big stations have some sort of cafe / bodega / corner shop so you can take your fill there too. Last of all there is always the train restaurant car, I never ate there but did get a snickers and a few cans of beers while hanging out with my fellow passengers.
Take a small wash bag as you can wash on the train. It’s actually quite fun trying to achieve a full bath using a mug and a flannel. It can be done! Hand sanitiser is good for eating your yummy things (there is a lot of snacking). Wet wipes are handy too and it can get very hot – my train in Mongolia didn’t have air conditioning…
I took a pretty fast route along the Trans Siberian with fewer stops and therefore spent a lot of time on the train. I played cards and silly alphabet games but actually really enjoyed lying in my bunk devouring my three books. Warning though – don’t pick them all about gulags as I did, it becomes a little wearing after a time.
Take casual, relaxed clothes. It gets hot and sweaty sitting on the trains so you want to be comfortable.
Sleeping bag liner
In Russia the linen was immaculate, Mongolia, clean but definitely well used, China I’d rather not mention… This handy packing item lets you sleep in the comfort and peace of mind – silk ones are the best for hot or cold.
Are essential! But be sure to remove them if you are sitting on someone else’s bed.
Not required. I was totally surprised I saw no wildlife but thinking about it why would they hang by the train track when they has so much expanse to explore – there are a lot of trees in Siberia and a lot of grass land in Mongolia!
Take an open mind
It’s a trip of a life time, so take the opportunity to talk to different and interesting people – everyone has their own story to tell. Oh and be nice to your train attendants and they will look after you.
Don’t be in a rush
The train is slow, so settle into the life and pace of the journey. Check how long the stops are and make sure you check out the stations – some of them are incredibly beautiful.