The Trans-Siberian express is often described as the greatest train journey on Earth, so it’s no wonder the railway features on so many bucket lists. After recently celebrating 100 years since its completion, the Trans-Siberian express is pulling in more travellers than ever. The three routes that make up the Trans-Siberian experience are also convenient ways to travel for locals, and form essential parts of the Russian export infrastructure.
With the longest Trans-Siberian route from Moscow to Vladivostok spanning some 9,258km and taking up to 7 nights to complete, knowing what to pack for your rail cruise is certainly important. After recently covering what to pack for your trip to Mongolia and offering more packing advice for those travelling to China, our team are here to share their top tips on the must-have items you need for your Trans-Siberian rail journey.
Clothing for all seasons
If you complete the entire Trans-Siberian train route, you’ll travel across eight different time zones. This means you need to get your head around local time from destination to destination. Each region also brings its own weather conditions, which can vary dramatically throughout your journey. Whilst travelling by train offers wonderful creature comforts, you will have many opportunities to explore the outside world – so dress for the weather!
Layers work well outside the train. Make sure you have clothing items designed for summer and winter to tackle the varying climates with ease. Booked a summer Trans-Siberian trip? Don’t just pack shorts and t-shirts, as evenings get particularly chilly. Those looking to book a winter trip should go one step further, with a fleece lined coat or ski jacket, thermals, hat and gloves. Temperatures can drop as low as -30°C in some parts.
Think comfort with your footwear
Your footwear must also be prepared for your excursions outside the train. Hiking boots that are comfortable and broken-in are perfect for seeing the sights of the city, and exploring the great outdoors. If you intend to enjoy a few nights out, make sure you pack a pair of smart shoes, as many city bars and restaurants don’t permit entry for backpackers in hiking boots and jeans.
Lots of smalls
As Rosanna Bird described in this Her Packing List blog post, you don’t want to be spending your time doing laundry:
“The most difficult thing I had to deal with was doing laundry. There is little budget accommodation between Irkutsk and Moscow, so finding a place to get laundry done was impossible (one place charged $4 per item of underwear!!). Instead, plan on washing your inner layers (underwear, t-shirts, socks) regularly and save up the rest for when you’re staying at a hostel. The more underwear you bring, the less hand-washing you’ll have to do.”
A few more essentials
Keeping yourself occupied on your Trans-Siberian journey is important. Depending on the daylight hours available, the time for viewing the outdoors either on foot or from the comfort of your train seat can be limited. Take along a few things for entertainment purposes. Headphones, e-readers, notepads and even board games are great choices. Don’t forget to pack the chargers you need for electronic devices. Light sleepers will also benefit from packing an eye mask and ear plugs.