Seven ways to make train travel a little easier

Post stroke it was a big goal of mine to get back on trains and start travelling again. My confidence had been knocked but once I'd done it was I was OK. My fears were under control. Over the past few months since I wrote that post about that first time changing trains, I've been travelling a lot more, both on my own and with friends, both with and without luggage. Today I thought I'd share with you my top few pieces for advice for train travelling that I've picked up over the past few weeks.

ONE: Sort out that handbag! Take out all the junk you really won't need at all. If you have a case with you, put anything you will need during the trip, but not the journey in there. Take a handbag that is the necessary size - I take a giant bag with me wherever I go so I put everything I'll be needing immediately on top, but if I only need to take a couple of things I would take a smaller bag.

TWO: Think of security. As much as I don't want to admit it, I don't trust everyone on trains. I worry that the person that goes to the toilet a few to many times is actually eyeing up the easiest target. So keep hold of your bags. Put a lock on your case if you have one to leave in the luggage department, and if you can sit facing the rack you'll be able to see it all the time. If you're thinking of falling asleep put your handbag on your lap, with the opening tucked away - if anyone wants your bag they have to get through you first!

THREE: Set an alarm. If you're thinking of falling asleep put your headphones in and set an alarm. The loudest tune blasting through your ears will have to wake you up before your stop. Setting it for 10 minutes or so before you arrive will allow for you to wake yourself up and gather your things without having to run off the train.

FOUR: Think about passing the time. I've been on some pretty long train journeys, and there is only so long you can sit and stare at the countryside. So think ahead, and put in your bag in everything you might need. College work? Uni work? Headphones? Ipad? Magazine?

FIVE: Keep an eye on those tickets. I used to shove my tickets in my purse and would never be able to find the right ones when they needed checking. So I invested in a little ticket pouch that I keep my current and future tickets in along with my railcard. I keep this in a pocket in my handbag, or in my jacket, and it's easy to grab whenever I need. The one I have was a couple of pounds from ASOS last year.

SIX: Know your journey. Once I downloaded the trainline app life became a lot easier. I'm able to work out how long is left on a journey, see if my train is scheduled to arrive on time, and if I have a connection to catch, I can see if it will leave on time, and generally from which platform. This makes life so much easier, and if you're in a rush, saves so much time. If you're a regular UK train traveller I would seriously recommend this app.

SEVEN: Get ready to get off. Personally I find there is nothing worse than realising you're arriving at your stop and having to quickly shove everything in your bag, grab your case and dash off the train before the doors shut. I give myself about five minutes to pack up my bag, get my tickets ready incase I need them to get out of the station, get my case and stand by the door. Yes - I am that annoying person that stands waiting for the train to pull into the platform, but if I'm off, I know the train can't leave with me still on it.

So that's it, they are my seven top tops for making train travel go a bit more smoothly. Hope you enjoyed this post, what are your tips for travelling? Let me know!

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