When I took a 16-hour Amtrak from Portland to Sacramento, I packed two bags of items for the trip.
I was thankful I packed plenty of snacks, water, and essential oils to make me feel more at home.
I wish I had brought something to help with motion sickness as well as a small padlock.
I brought two bags on the train.
When I booked a sleeper car for my 16-hour Amtrak ride, I could choose a roomette, bedroom, bedroom suite, or accessible bedroom. I went with the roomette, which was the smallest sleeping accommodation so I assumed I wouldn't have much space for luggage.
Larger luggage can be checked when boarding or stored on the first floor of the sleeper car in case you need to access it. With that in mind, I packed one rolling carry-on-sized bag and a smaller piece of luggage that could fit under a seat on a plane. I packed everything I'd need with me in my room in the smaller bag, including snacks, entertainment devices, toiletries, and clothes for sleeping.
I put everything else I needed in Sacramento in a larger bag. I ended up having space to keep both bags in my room but I was still glad to have everything organized and in one place.
I was thankful I packed plenty of snacks.
I booked a roomette so I had access to the dining car, which included complimentary meals.
I ate a salad for lunch and had dinner on the train. I thought the train food was decent but I wasn't a huge fan of dinner and dug into the snacks I brought with me instead.
I didn't eat everything I brought on the train but my own variety of snacks was helpful so I didn't have to spend money at the café.
Disinfecting wipes helped me feel comfortable.
Upon boarding the train and arriving in my roomette, the space felt clean. But for my own piece of mind, I was glad I brought a small package of disinfecting wipes.
Cleaning the armrests, door handle, and high-touch items such as the attendant call button and air-temperature dial made me feel more comfortable.
Having my water bottle was useful.
When I boarded the train, two small plastic water bottles were already in my room. Though I could've asked my car attendant for more water, I had already brought my own reusable thermos with me.
Bottle filling stations were also in the same car as my room so it was easier to get my own water than continuously ask my busy attendant for a beverage.
Bringing makeup-remover wipes was super helpful.
I didn't have access to my own bathroom in the roomette. A shared bathroom was just a few doors down from my room on the same floor and others, as well as showers, were located downstairs on the first level of the sleeper car.
Still, I was thankful I brought easy-to-grab makeup-remover wipes to use at night. The shared bathrooms were quite small so I thought washing my face in a public sink wouldn't have been a pleasant experience.
I cozied up with my own blanket.
Amtrak provided a blanket for each sleeper-car bed but I chose to bring an additional one from home.
It was nice to have a piece of home with me on my trip. Plus, I could better adjust my temperature and comfort throughout the night with two blankets.
I was entertained the whole way with a book and downloaded TV shows.
Some Amtrak trains don't have Wi-Fi, and in my experience, cell service can be spotty for much of the journey.
Though I spent a lot of time talking to other travelers, I was glad I packed a book to read in my downtime. I also downloaded a few episodes of one of my favorite shows at home to watch before I went to sleep.
A few items helped with my travel anxiety.
This was my first Amtrak trip so I didn't know what to expect. Because I sometimes get travel anxiety, I brought a few items that have helped me on other trips.
I packed CBD and essential oils and an aromatherapy mist to help create a calm space if I needed to.
I should've brought something to aid motion sickness.
The most important item I wish I packed was something to help with motion sickness. I'd never experienced motion sickness before so I assumed I'd be just fine on a train.
I was OK throughout the entire ride but when I arrived in Sacramento, I felt like I was still on the train and was nauseous for most of the day. I think having something on the moving train, like a travel wristband or some kind of medicine, would've helped to alleviate motion sickness.
Lightweight pajamas would've been more comfortable.
Though a temperature dial in the roomette controlled an air vent on the ceiling, it didn't seem to do much. Even with the dial all the way down to cool, I felt really warm in the middle of the night.
I'd brought heavier clothes to sleep in because I thought I'd be cold but now, I wish I packed lighter pajamas.
Next time, I'd consider a small lock for my door.
There was a latch to lock the roomette door from the inside, which I appreciated at night, but I didn't see one on the outside of the room.
When I was roaming the train, I carried my phone and wallet with me so they weren't left unattended. While walking around, I noticed that other travelers had used their own padlocks to lock their sleeper-car rooms.
Next time, I might bring a padlock so I can lock my room and leave my items without having to worry.
I didn't know I could bring my favorite bottle of wine.
After I boarded my train, I learned Amtrak passengers who stay in a sleeper car are allowed to bring their own alcohol on the train.
According to Amtrak's website, bringing private-stock alcoholic beverages are welcome, as long as they're kept and consumed in your own room.
Next time, I'll definitely bring my favorite bottle of wine or hard cider to enjoy while watching the sunset out the window.
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