Here are Ten Things I Wish I had Packed for a 52 Hour Long Journey from Chicago to California

About 52 hours will be spent on the train trip from Chicago to California.
It would have been ideal if we had brought along a few things that would have made the trip from Chicago to California much more pleasant.

Ginger chews

It’s possible that the ginger chews helped with the motion sickness. I realized too late that I should have brought ginger chews. Ginger is a natural motion-sickness treatment, and I wish I could have tried it instead of the artificial Dramamine and sea-nausea relief bands.


For more relaxation, I should have taken my pillow. In retrospect, I wish I had brought along an extra cushion in my roomette because it was a bit on the stiff side. A simple neck pillow would have been appreciated. However, if you book a roomette on Amtrak, you won’t need to carry your bedding because the company will supply a pillow and blanket.


For rides in the fall or winter, I always take along an extra blanket. An oversized comforter is one of my favorite ways to go off to sleep at night. Amtrak blankets are just the right thickness for a cold night on the train, but they’re not as warm as a comforter. To stay warm and comfortable on rides in the fall and winter, I think I’ll bring along a little blanket.

Downloaded movies

There were a couple of movies I could have downloaded and watched later.
It would have been nice to have downloaded some Netflix shows before boarding the train, given there is no Internet access. I had to write, so I tried to devote my attention to that, although I could have used the time more productively by watching a movie (or three) in my studio apartment.

Playing cards

The cards would have been entertaining to play. I regret not taking a deck of cards because I enjoy playing card games. It would have been nice to have something to do when I needed a break from my computer and mobile device. Also, in a post-COVID-19 era, I hope to take a long train voyage where I can socialize with strangers through games of cards.


I’ll be sure to bring along my favorite wine the next time we go camping. I wasn’t aware that roomettes typically allowed guests to bring their alcohol. The wine Amtrak served with dinner was excellent, but I wished I had packed my own to savor in my compartment afterward. On my next trip by rail, I will be sure to pack my go-to bottle of red or white wine.


I brought some food, but now I wish I had brought more. The meals on Amtrak were above and beyond my expectations. However, it would have been wonderful to have some variety in the snacks available.

Air freshener

When I saw someone with a small cooler, I wished I had brought one so I could have brought more perishable food options in addition to the packaged ones. I wish I had a jelly air freshener to perk up my tiny apartment. I wish I had brought an air freshener, but I know that some people have sensitivities to specific smells while traveling.

The train didn’t smell bad, but I longed for a more pleasant aroma after a few days. The roomette would have benefitted from a jelly air freshener or spray, which could have been brought along.


When riding a train, it can get quite noisy; earplugs might have been helpful in this situation. Even if the other riders weren’t annoying, the train’s jolting and background noise made for a restless night’s sleep. On the first night, earplugs would have helped me adjust to sleeping on a train.

Eye mask

Bring an eye mask if you need total darkness when sleeping. Sleeping on the train was relatively easy for me, and I did so, but there was a small amount of light that seeped in through the door at night.

On the second night, I figured out that I could block most of it by placing my backpack in front of the door, which served as added protection, but I still would have appreciated an eye mask to ensure complete darkness.

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