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I took a 52-hour train ride from Chicago to California. Here are 13 things I'm glad I packed.

On the left, the interior of the observation car, with large windows and blue seats. On the right, Several things this writer packed, like a laptop, medicine, socks, and a travel journal, on a brown table
Careful packing is especially important for long trips.

Packing is already a difficult, but necessary travel task - though, figuring out what to bring on your first long train ride is an even bigger one.

I traveled 52 hours by train from Chicago to California. Here are the 13 things that I'm so glad I brought with me on Amtrak's California Zephyr line:

Nausea-relief bands came in handy for motion sickness

A white pack of sea-nausea relief banks on brown table
Typically, sea-nausea-relief bands are used on cruise ships.

Motion-sickness remedies were one of my main concerns before the ride.

During my research, I learned about nausea-relief bands. Although they're traditionally used on cruises, these came in handy on day two when I woke up slightly nauseous. I simply put them on my wrist and applied a little pressure.

You can also wear them the day before to prepare yourself, but I applied them that morning and my nausea disappeared.

I also packed Dramamine as a backup remedy

A of Dramamine in pink and white box on a brown table
I specifically brought the chewable tablets.

I brought Dramamine, another motion-sickness remedy, as a backup just in case the nausea-relief bands didn't work.

I'd recommend bringing both if you are new to train travel to be prepared and figure out which one works best for you.

Cozy socks kept my feet warm at night

You never know if the temperature on the train is going to be what you prefer, and my footies came in handy when my feet got a little cold at night.

These are also the perfect alternative to packing bulky slippers in your carry-on for walking around your roomette.

I used my laptop even though there wasn't Wi-Fi

The writer's laptop with a view of the seat and back pack in front
You can load movies onto your laptop.

Even though there is no Wi-Fi on the train, I still recommend bringing your laptop or tablet.

You can download movies before you go and watch them when you want.

My laptop also came in handy for writing, even offline. Instead of using Google Docs, I made copies of any documents I wanted to work on in Microsoft Word.

I was surprised at how much I got done, plus it was very peaceful to not be distracted by the internet.

I'm glad I packed a book to keep me entertained

A long train ride is the perfect time to read.

I read in the observation car during less scenic parts of the trip and in my roomette.

Plus reading was a useful way to fill the time between meals and a good break from my laptop.

I always bring my personal-safety alarm on trips

Pink personal safety alarm on a key ring on a brown table
This personal-safety device makes me feel more secure.

While traveling, I bring my personal-safety alarm everywhere I go.

Thankfully, I didn't end up needing it, but as a Black woman traveling solo, I was happy to have it.

You never know what can happen on a trip, so it's better to be safe than sorry.

Portable, plug-in USB chargers are useful when there are limited outlets

Black portable plug-in USB charger on a brown table
I heard roomettes only have one outlet.

When I watched YouTube videos about the 52-hour ride, someone mentioned that there's only one outlet in a roomette. I normally travel with multiple electronic devices, so that wasn't going to work for me.

I brought my portable, plug-in USB charger that has multiple ports, which helped me keep all of my devices from dying.

Bringing my own snacks kept me from buying them on the train

The roomette price includes all of the meals, but packing snacks is always a good idea.

Bringing my own kept me satisfied between mealtimes and prevented me from wanting to buy snacks from the café cart.

And even though the Amtrak crew brought passengers snacks boxes when the train got delayed seven hours on the last day, having my own helped me stay fed.

Portable power banks remove the stress of finding a spot by an outlet

Rectangular black portable charger on brown table
I often used my portable charger for my cell phone.

As a solo traveler, I like to keep all of my devices as charged as possible, just in case of an emergency.

Sometimes I wasn't sitting by a plug in the observation car to keep my phone charged, so I used my power bank.

Plus you have more flexibility to sit where you like or move around if you can charge your devices from anywhere.

A travel journal is great for remembering your trips

Pink travel journal on a brown table with a cover that reads "Black girl, even the stars get jealous of your light -Bri Ari"
Journaling also helped me fill time on the ride.

I'm that person who writes down everything to remember and reflect on it later, so a travel journal is a necessity. Plus it helped fill the time on the train.

Surprisingly, it was also a good conversation starter because people in the observation car kept asking what I was writing about.

Bringing long and short pajamas meant I was prepared for any temperature

Every time I travel, I bring a pair of long- and short-sleeve pajamas. I didn't know the exact temperature of the train, so I wasn't sure which pair would be appropriate.

I ended up wearing the short pair because the train was a comfortable temperature for July.

Packing allergy medication is never a bad idea

A green and white bottle of Zyrtec on a brown table
I brought Zyrtec along just in case.

I took this trip during the summer when my allergies were at their peak. I had also never been to California before and didn't know how I'd respond to the air quality.

Packing my allergy medication gave me an extra sense of security, especially if I was unknowingly allergic to something in one of the meals - thankfully, I wasn't.

I'd recommend a portable hotspot if you need Wi-Fi

Since there is no Wi-Fi on the train, I brought my portable hotspot just in case I needed or wanted it, but I was so enamored by the scenery that I didn't even bother using it.

That said, if you need Wi-Fi, I would recommend investing in one.

Read the original article on Insider

I took a 52-hour train ride from Chicago to California. Here are 13 things I'm glad I packed.
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