I spent 60 hours on Amtrak trains with a carry-on bag and a backpack. Here are 7 things I regret not packing and 9 items I’m glad I brought.

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the author hold Poo pouri on the left, her open duffel is on the right
The author traveled 60 hours on Amtrak trains. Here’s what she did and didn’t pack.

  • I recently traveled from New York to Miami and back in Amtrak sleeper cars. Each train ride was 30 hours.
  • For 60 hours of train travel, I brought a carry-on duffel bag and a personal item, my camera backpack.
  • I was glad I brought some odor-eliminating spray, but I regret not bringing flip flops for the shower.
I recently traveled round-trip from New York to Miami on Amtrak trains. Each ride was about 30 hours long, and my tickets included a private room with a bed, access to a bathroom, and complementary meals.

Left: Author relaxes on the train with a window opened on the left and her duffel on the right, Right: author takes a selfie with the train in the background
The author rides in sleeper cars to and from New York and Miami.

On my way to Miami, I booked a Roomette, a private space with a door and blinds to cover up the windows. Inside, there were two seats across from each other, a table that folded out in-between, and a bed above the seats that pulled down. The seats also pulled out into a bed. Some Roomettes also include a toilet and sink.

On my way home, I booked a Bedroom, which was twice the size of a Roomette with an additional chair and a shower.

For my week-long trip to Florida, I packed a duffel bag and my camera backpack, both of which I kept with me on the trains.

The author sits on a wood floor with two bags
The author sits in her apartment with her bags packed.

I had the option to check a bag, but I decided to keep all my belongings with me throughout the trip.

Knowing I’d be staying overnight in sleeper cars, I packed some travel essentials I thought would be helpful for sleeping, eating, working, and relaxing on a train.

Inside a duffel bag packed for a long haul train ride
A view inside the author’s duffel bag shows some of her travel essentials.

I made sure my duffel included all the items I’d ever want to ensure a comfortable and entertaining 60 hours of travel.

Since each ride was an overnight trip, I was glad I packed a comfortable outfit separately from my clothes for the rest of my trip so they were easy to find in my bag.

Clothes for the train on the right and the rest of the trip on the left.
The author’s clothes for the train are on the right. The clothes for the rest of her trip are packed together on the left.

I packed comfy pants and shorts since I was traveling south to warmer temperatures.

I was glad I packed various forms of entertainment, especially some that didn’t require an internet connection, which could be spotty at times.

The author plays a Nintendo Switch on the train
The author plays Mario Kart on the train to pass the time.

I brought a Nintendo Switch, a tablet, and a book to pass the time. I made sure to download a bunch of podcast episodes to my phone in case I lost service and internet at any point during the trip.

While traveling in a pandemic, I always keep a disinfecting spray with me to make sure the surfaces I use are clean.

The author holds up lysol disinfectant in front of the train window
The author carries a disinfectant spray.

Even though Amtrak sanitizes rooms between visitors, according to its website, as Insider previously reported, bringing my own disinfectant gave me peace of mind and made me feel more comfortable relaxing in my rooms.

Every time I travel, I also pack some Vitamin C for an immunity boost.

Vitamin C is seen in a container with greenery in the background
The author carries Vitamin C with her.

This packing tip comes from my mom. She always brought some sort of immunity-boosting chewable to keep us protected from germs while traveling. And as Insider previously reported, Vitamin C can help your immune system fight off some infections.

One of the most important items I brought was my comfiest pair of shoes – they feel like pillows under your feet.

The author holds up her comfy shoe
The author’s shoes were an important choice.

I picked up these memory-foam babies at T.J. Maxx for only $20, and they slip on and off very easily. This was great for being able to leave my room quickly with shoes on.

I tried to make the train feel like home, and at home, I dance pretty much all day, so I’m glad I brought a pair of headphones with me.

The author dances in her room in two side-by-side photos
The author dances to music with her headphones on.

I took frequent dance breaks in my room, where I closed the curtains and blasted music in my ears. This, of course, required a pair of headphones.

While I danced throughout the day, I was glad I could listen to music as loudly as I wanted without bothering my neighbors.

I was especially glad I brought my odor-eliminating Poo Pourri spray with me when I saw that my Roomette’s toilet was next to my seat.

The author holds a bottle of Poo Pouri on the toilet
The author poses with a bottle of Poo Pourri.

In some Roomettes (mine included), there’s a side table that swings open to reveal a toilet. Above, there’s a folding sink and mirror.

I may have had a bigger problem with having a toilet so close to my bed, but, thankfully, I had packed some Poo Pourri, a spray that goes in the toilet just before you poop to eliminate odors.

While my train tickets included meals, I was glad I brought my own snacks for the in-between times.

The author holds trail mix on the train
The author’s trail mix of choice.

I thought many of my meals on the train were decent, but there were times, like when I tried and disliked a salmon dish, that I was thankful for this bag of trail mix with my favorite ingredient, coconut chips.

But it turns out that I missed a few key things when packing, too. While I’m glad I brought a water bottle, I wish I’d brought a smaller one that would fit in the Amtrak’s cupholders.

The authors water bottle is seen next to a cup holder that's too small
An aerial view of the table shows just how large the author’s water bottle is compared to the cup holder.

An Amtrak attendant brought me disposable water bottles every few hours, but I was still glad I brought my own, pre-filled water bottle. When I have access to a private toilet during my travels, I like to stay hydrated and drink lots of water.

But my bottle was too wide for the provided cupholders, which were just big enough for 12-ounce bottles. So I wish I had brought a smaller reusable water bottle.

One thing I missed the most on this trip was medication for motion sickness. Both train rides felt as bumpy as a flight while the seat belt sign is on.

Close-up of unrecognizable aged man in casual shirt holding bottle of water and taking dramamine pill in bus
The author didn’t bring medicine to combat motion sickness.

I figured this would only be temporary, but I thought the whole ride was shaky. I ended up feeling motion sickness for the majority of both trips and kicking myself for not bringing any remedies.

On my way home, I stayed in a Bedroom with a private shower. I would have used it, but I forgot my flip flops to keep my feet safe from germs.

Left: Amtrack shower floor is green with brown marks Right: A pair of gray flipflops
An aerial view of the shower on the left and the author’s forgotten flip flops on the right.

I planned on showering during my 30-hour ride home from Miami, but I decided not to when I realized I had forgotten my flip flops. I usually wear them in public showers, since experts say that it’s pretty easy to pick up germs from places where many people have walked around barefoot.

Since there weren’t many visible outlets in the rooms, I wished I had packed a couple of outlet splitters to charge more than a few devices at a time.

left: outlets on the train right: two outlet splitters stacked on top of eachother
There weren’t many outlets in the rooms.

I only saw a couple of sets of outlets in the rooms. With several devices to plug in, I should have brought an outlet splitter or two.

For the same reason, my portable charging battery would have come in handy had I remembered to bring it.

Left: outlets on the train Right: portable battery
The author forgot her portable charging battery.

I could have sworn I packed this and was so disappointed when I wanted to use it.

I usually bring my neck pillow with me when I fly, but I didn’t think to take it on my Amtrak trek, since my tickets came with beds. But I think it would have made the waking hours more comfortable.

The author leans agains a plane wall with a blue neck pillow on
The author uses her neck pillow on a long-haul flight.

This specific neck pillow wraps around 1.5 times, making it easy to adjust to various long-term sitting situations.

While the train beds and blankets were much more comfortable than I expected, the pillows weren’t as cushy as the ones I have at home. So I wish I’d brought my own.

Left: The author lays on the train pillow Right: the author lays on her bedroom pillow
The author lies in bed on the Amtrak (left) thinking of her pillows at home (right).

The bed on the Amtrak was firm and slightly cushy on top, just the way I like a bed. But when I was drifting off to sleep each night, I thought of my fluffy, dense, soft pillows at home.

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