First-time train riders in Europe might uncertain about the process of train travel and what should be done and what should not be done.
Buying a train ticket in advance is the first step to assure a smooth trip. Lines might be particularly long or there might be a problem at the ticket office. One should not have to worry about these troubles and should buy a ticket in advance.
When purchasing the ticket, ask the ticket office attendant if a seat reservation is necessary. For some trains, a seat must be reserved. If you are traveling with others, reserving a seat is wise choice if you want to sit together. Seat reservations may not be necessary depending upon the time and day of the train and the destinations.
Next, one should arrive at the train station about 15-20 minutes before the train departs. The track for the train should be displayed on a board at the entrance to the train station. Look for the track and walk to the track.
When arriving at the track, there should be an electronic board next to the tracks that says the destinations of the train. Make sure that this is the train that you will be taking. Do not be afraid to ask any staff to assure yourself that you are in the right spot.
If you did buy a seat reservation, each car is marked and the ticket will say which car you should find. When the train arrives, proceed to the car that has the seat that you have reserved. Find the correct seat and place your luggage either above you or in a designated section.
If you did not purchase a seat reservation, board the train and search for a seat that is not reserved. Seats that reserved are usually labeled above the seat. If the place where you have boarded the train is not the place where the train originally departed from, reserved seats may have been vacated and you may sit in those seats. Check the destination of the seat reservation and sit in at seat only if that destination has passed.
Some trains do not have loud speakers that announce future destinations, so when riding the train, be sure to check the names of the destinations when stopped at stations or ask fellow travelers for help. Some trains do not stay at stations long, so when your destination approaches, be ready to leave. You do not want to be caught on the train and do not want to inconvenience those who are boarding the train.