We booked a shared sleeper on a night train while traveling from Austria to Italy.
We thought a sleeper train would be a great way to make the most of a day while exploring Europe.
A few surprises along the way changed my mind from lack of privacy to a restless night.
I recently traveled from Vienna, Austria to Venice, Italy by overnight train through four European countries over a period of two weeks.
When I decided to go see Germany, Austria, Italyand Switzerland first time in just 2 weekswanted to make the most of their time Explore each country.
When you realize that it takes 11 hours to get from Vienna, Austria to Venice, Italy, night train travel It seemed like the best way to set my days completely free, and the cheapest way to share a bunkhouse with a stranger.
I bought a Eurail pass for $477. european train for a set number of days. Some trains only require a Eurail Pass, while others, such as night trains, have additional discounts.
My ticket was $44 with a Eurail pass and included breakfast. Without it, it was about $84.
I traveled by night train OBB Nightjet connecting Austria, Italy, France and Holland.
OBB night jet train From Rome to Amsterdam, travel overnight to over 25 European cities and travel at 143 mph. According to their website.
I chose to book with OBB Nightjet as they are known to have the newest and best sleeper routes in Europe. According to Lonely Planet.
Nightjet trains have seat cars as well as sleepers with 3, 4 or 6 sleepers. The latter is what I booked.
Some routes have private cabins, According to OBB Nightjet, but mine didn’t. So he booked a six-seater bunk-style cabin that could be shared by up to five people.
Two days before my trip to Venice, I took another OBB Nightjet train from Berlin to Vienna. passenger car The cabin is a regular allotted 6 seat cabin with deep reclining.
We found the seat carriage too uncomfortable to sleep in, so we were hoping the bunk cabin would provide a more restful experience.
The ride from Vienna to Venice wasn’t our first experience on a sleeper train, but it was our first time traveling in a bunk-style communal cabin.
This was my first time in a sleeper car in Europe, but not my first time on a sleeper train.
i spent 60 hours on Amtrak night trains Stayed in October 2021. 20 square foot room and 45 sq ft bedroom accommodation, I had a private room to myself. I enjoy both experiences and A sustainable way to move around the world Unparalleled views along the way.
These positive experiences made me excited to try sleeper trains again while in Europe.
However, there were a few surprises along the way, and in the end, I thought this ride wasn’t worth the time saved.
When I arrived at the Vienna station, I paid $10 to access the OBB lounge. In contrast to the station where it was full and I couldn’t find a seat, I was surprised that there were no seats except for me.
My journey started at Vienna Meidling station in Austria. I arrived 90 minutes before the 21:35 train, but the waiting room was full and there was not a single empty seat. Then I noticed the OBB guest lounge.
lounge It’s free for first-class OBB passengers traveling during the day, and costs about $10 for all other OBB passengers who want to pay for access.
I thought the fare was cheap, but the station was full and to my surprise there were no other passengers.
The lounge had plenty of tables and chairs, as well as complimentary snacks from coffee to nuts and seeds. It was a smaller selection than what I saw in the Amtrak Metropolitan he lounge I visited. new yorkBut I wasn’t hungry, so I brought a water bottle and sat in a chair until it was time to board the train.
When I got to the platform, I was surprised at how confusing it was to get on the right train.
I went to the platform 20 minutes before the train was scheduled to depart at 20:35 and was shocked to see a screen that said the train was going to Zurich. This made me worry that I had booked the wrong sleeper train.
However, I learned at the information desk that, unlike Amtrak, the train cars are decoupled at various stations to go to different locations. I had to catch a train. Each has a number.
When the train arrived, I didn’t have time to check the car number before boarding. We went to the nearest car and had the attendant show us to the car and room.
I knew the cabin was small, but I was still shocked when I first saw it on board.
According to OBB Nightjetmy cabin is built to fit 6 people in 74 square feet of space.
I thought it would be small, but when I actually took a look, I realized that 74 square feet is smaller than I expected.
When I boarded, one traveler was already there and the other two arrived within an hour. The two got off around 5am and one of him was already past the stop. We greeted each other on arrival but otherwise it was quiet. Some of us were looking at devices, others were sleeping.
I was surprised that my personal space was so small even though it was just me and one passenger. I couldn’t imagine 6 people being crammed there, so I was grateful that the reservation wasn’t full.
But with 4 people, it felt cramped, especially with everyone’s luggage around.
I thought each bunk had curtains for privacy, but the bed was completely bare. This made me feel uncomfortable.
Since it’s a shared space with strangers, I was hoping there would be curtains in front of each bunk for some privacy, but nothing to block the space between me and the other passengers. There was no.
This made me feel more uncomfortable than I thought. Another traveler changed in front of me in the room, but I preferred to change in private and instead went to the shared bathroom at the end of the sleeper.
I didn’t feel like I had to wake other passengers to go to the bathroom. However, the room key was only accessible from the top bunk bed where someone was sleeping.
When I entered the cabin for the first time, I learned that the bunks are first-come, first-served. I chose the lower bunk because I once found the upper bunk on an Amtrak train to feel bumpy in the middle of the night.
But it never occurred to me that the person on the bunk bed would be the unofficial controller of the door locks accessible only from the bed.
When I went to the bathroom to change around 10:30pm, the passengers in the upper bunk had just arrived and were still awake. But around 2am, not wanting to disturb her, I found her awake with her bladder full. I woke up.
It was a little awkward and I felt bad for disturbing her sleep. I would rather have someone wake me up than have someone wake me up.
I thought I would get a good night’s sleep in a sleeper cabin with a reclining bed, but the ride was so bumpy and uncomfortable that I had a hard time sleeping.
The train has a flat bed, and sheets and pillows are provided on the train, so I thought I could sleep well.
But when it came time to go to bed, I was surprised that the bed and bedding weren’t that important.
I only got a few hours sleep and was woken up several times during the night by other travelers going in and out of the room and the bumpiness of the train and found the bed uncomfortable. I had a hard time sleeping, so I spent most of my time watching TV on my iPad.
“Providing our passengers with a high level of travel comfort is a key concern for us,” an OBB Nightjet representative told Insider.
“We are constantly working to improve our products and also consider customer requirements.”
Next year, the railway line will upgrade night trains, According to OBB Nightjet press releaseaccording to a press release, features a new, more spacious sleeper cabin that includes a seating area in addition to the bed.
When I got to Venice, I realized my expectations about shared sleeper cabins were wrong. I didn’t feel rested. That’s the reason I booked it.
When I got off the train in Venice, I was exhausted from lack of sleep. The reason I booked this train was to rest, so that was probably the most amazing element of my ride.
Through these surprises, I learned that shared cabins night Train It wasn’t the right choice for me.
Sometimes it’s a journey rather than a destination, but in this case you want to arrive feeling refreshed so you can enjoy your destination. To reserve.
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