7 Essential Train Travel Tips You Need to Know For Your First Canadian Train Trip

Man and woman with big backpacks waiting for their train.

Posted by on 17 May 2023

Travelling by train in Canada is one of the best ways to see the country. A train ride across Canada will allow you to explore the country's vibrant cities and view the most scenic landscapes from the comfort of a train cabin.

But travelling by train for the first time can be intimidating—even in a friendly and welcoming place like Canada. So, we’ve put together seven train travel tips to ensure you’ve got everything ready for your Canadian railway journey.

What To Know Before Your First Canadian Train Journey

Go on shorter trips if you’re with kids

If you’re a family travelling across Canada by train for the first time, take it slow and steady. Don’t overwhelm your group with activities, especially if you have small children. You might end up spoiling the whole journey.

Instead, try out a quick two-day trip and see how it goes. For example, in two days, you can pack in iconic Canadian stops like the Spiral Tunnels and the snow-capped mountaintops of the Rockies.

Charge all your devices before the trip

Although most trains have power outlets onboard, charging all your devices beforehand is still smart. This is especially important for phones and cameras.

You never know when the train will pass by a majestic view. So, it’s best to ensure your battery is full so that you can whip out the camera and take the perfect photo.

Additionally, if you have a power bank, ensure it’s fully charged before the trip begins. That way, you can charge your phone and other small devices if you’re ever out and about at one of your stops.

Wear your most comfortable clothes

One of the most important train travel tips is to remember to wear comfy clothes aboard the train.

Just like on a long-haul flight, wearing light, breathable clothing you’re comfortable lounging in is best. Rocky Mountaineer suggests wearing casual clothes with comfy layers for their train trips across Canada.

Remember to bring a sleep mask if you're sensitive to light. You can also toss in a neck pillow to make sitting around and taking naps in the cabin even more comfortable.

Pack light so you don’t have to lug a suitcase around

If your Canadian trip by train has multiple overnight stops, pack as lightly as possible. The last thing you want to do is lug around a huge, heavy suitcase on and off the train daily. Plus, some trains only allow carry-on bags, so overpacking is unwise.

Try to fit all your things in a backpack, duffel bag or any bag that’s easy to carry and move around. Keep it to the essentials, like clothes, toiletries, cameras and your favourite book.

Pack seasonal clothes for each stop

Canada is notorious for ever-changing and unpredictable temperatures that vary in different parts of the country. For this reason, it’s important to know what type of clothes you need to wear at each stop on your journey.

For example, if you’re passing through areas like Jasper and Banff in the winter, pack lots of layers for warmth. But if you’re not going anywhere too cold, a light windbreaker is more than enough.

Make sure to plan outfits around the activities you want to do during your trip, like hiking boots if you’re going on a canyon trek. And if you plan on relaxing in some hot springs in the Rockies, bring some swimwear.

Know your train’s route and timetable by heart

Getting left behind by your train is a nightmare, as is boarding the wrong one.

For a smooth, hassle-free trip, make sure you know your train schedules and routes like the back of your hand. Review your trip’s route as often as possible in the days leading up to your holiday. Plan out your excursions in a timely manner so you can also get on your train at the right time.

Before your trip, make sure to double-check all schedules again. Train schedules can be tweaked depending on the weather or technical difficulties at the station. Always stay updated with your trip’s timetable so that it’s smooth sailing the entire holiday.

Bring things to entertain you

Even if train trips give you the most astounding views of Canada’s mountains and lakes, you won’t always have a scenic view by your window. You’ll also have some downtime without anything to do. So, bringing things to pass the time is necessary.

Try to bring non-electronic forms of entertainment in case the Wi-Fi stutters, such as books and card games you can play with other travellers onboard your train.

As a backup, you can also fill up your laptop and phone with movies and music to relax while you await your train’s next destination.

Make It a Holiday to Remember With These Travel Train Tips

It’s easy to get lost in the excitement of counting down the days until your first Canadian holiday by rail. However, remember all these essential tips to ensure your holiday is as smooth, fun and enjoyable as possible.

Want to add going on a great Canadian train trip to your bucket list? Entire Travel Group has you covered. Check out the best Canada rail experiences for your next holiday here.

When experience matters