All of the folks at Restless Backpack have Interrailed at some point. It’s a great way for young people to explore Europe. The main drawback however is the train companion lottery. Most people who travel on trains are courteous and polite. Despite this there are some that treat it as their own domain. Most of the time they don’t even realise they are making everyone else’s journey a nightmare. We’ve compiled the list we think are the top 10 horror train companions.
10. The Washer
Trains aren’t clean places. Especially those the backpackers use. We get that. But the cabin you are sleeping in with three to seven other people is not your personal bathroom. We do not want to wake up with bum cheeks brushing against the end of our nose as you wet wipe your naked body down. And yes spraying your antiperspirant for 10 seconds is going to make me cough. We are in a cabin the size of a walk in closet.
9. The Know It All
The conversation normally goes like this:
“So where are you going?”
“Oh Berlin I know that city like the back of my hand.”
“Yes well I have this travel guide to help me plan what to do.”
“Oh nobody reads the right travel books. I could write my own travel books, they would be so in-depth Lonely Planet would probably try and buy me out.”
8. The Family
It’s a six person berth. Not a problem, they are rarely full. You’ll probably have a spare bunk for all your stuff. What’s that noise? Children screaming? You open the door to the berth and find yourself in a playground. The family of five has landed. The parents normally give you one of two looks. This depends on where in the world you are. The first is horror filled with embarrassment that they are unable to control their offspring and its mutually acknowledged that you will find another berth once the train sets off. The second look is one of confusion and anger. Who the hell do you think you are barging in on our personal family berth? The spare bed? That can’t be yours that’s where we are putting out bags full of shitty nappies.
7. The Eater
So you’ve had a long day you are just settling in to a nap or buried in a book. Someone sits across from you, there’s a rustle. Then the smell hits you. They are tucking into something potent. It may be a late night Burger King or it maybe a tasty tuna sandwich. But it’s a small compartment, people don’t need to smell what you are eating. Mainly because it makes them hungry, or maybe not everyone loves the smell of burger and chips.
6. The Perv aka The Starer
This is more of a female horror companion. Every move you make is observed mostly discreetly by your pervy companion. It makes you not want to reach high and get your luggage as it shows enough waist that they tremble a bit. It’s OK they are just reading a book, except when you look over their eyes aren’t on the page. Creepy dude on the loose. Find a new seat.
5. The Teenage Girls
High pitched giggles, a lot of texting, screaming about unicorns, you know the drill. They tend not to be wise to the etiquette on a train, and will only gain this with age. You can’t reason with them as they just don’t understand. Then the jealousy kicks in as you notice all their equipment is new and working unlike your beat up duct tape covered stuff. Their sleeping bag actually enables them to go to sleep as opposed to your manky one that leaves a mouse sized hole in the bottom you try and plug with a pair of pants.
4. The Farter
So the berth is quiet. The person opposite you has been polite, courteous and quiet throughout the journey so far. Pretty good compared to the weirdos you’ve had in pervious journeys. Just as you are settling in it starts. Was that the train? Was that someone outside. It sounded like a….. oh god they farted. It reeks. What HAVE YOU EATEN? Quick open the window! It of course wakes them up and you have to shut it again, because lets face it you aren’t going to shout at them that their bowel movements are causing you to convulse.
3. The Snorer
As a snorer I try my hardest to not sleep on trains unless I have to. Mainly because I have been on the receiving end of some snorers in full flow. Some sound like a chainsaw, others sound like an angry bear chewing on a sock. It doesn’t matter though one snorer in your area can just destroy a good nights sleep.
2. Smelly Feet
This is top of the list for most people. Nobody in their right mind should take their shoes off and put their feet on the seats especially next to where someone is sitting. I don’t care if you won the 2007 edition of “World’s Best Feet”, it’s a huge no no. I once walked into a berth to find 2 large middle aged men with their shoes and socks off airing them, with a pair on my seat. The smell hit me before I saw what they were doing. It took me all of half a second to say “Nope!” turn round and go find another berth
That’s right. You! You are the worst travel companion you just don’t know it. I don’t snore THAT much do I? Everybody loves the smell of an egg mayo sandwich right? I showered 30 minutes ago these feet are clean. Going to Vienna, I know everything about that city. We all fall foul of the things above even when we try not to. It’s just the way it is.