Cross-Country in a Chair

Everything is finally booked for my Canadian cross-country trip!  Accommodation? Check. Tours? Check. Flight home from Calgary? Check. Train ticket? Check, except there was a snag with the train booking…

I had originally planned on booking a cabin for one for my train ride to Vancouver, but because of limitations for booking with a travel agent pass, I had to wait 21 days prior to departure to book my ticket. By the time I was able to buy my ticket all of the sleeper cabins were sold out with the exception of an upper berth in a cabin for two. So, my options were to take the upper berth in a cramped cabin with someone I don’t know, or book an Economy seat for myself. I opted for the seat. Here’s my reasoning:

  • although this trip has much to do with me growing my travel independence, it was also planned around things that students can do if they’re members of our student discount card program
  • students are more likely to avoid the costs of private cabins and would probably prefer to book a seat instead
  • it was more than $350 cheaper and I’m not only travelling like a student with limited funds but I have limited funds myself, so the cheaper option won out in the end

So, I’ll essentially be travelling from Toronto to Vancouver in a chair for four days. I’ll also have to pack food to ration off for my time aboard as meals are not included in my ticket cost (whereas they were for the cabin. Dammit.).

As a result of this change of events, I’ll also need to add to my packing list a neck pillow, a secondary small camping pillow, and a small blanket (I’m always cold). These items are available for purchase onboard, but would probably cost an arm and a leg. I am also going to have to bring food such as granola, Fibre 1 bars, apples, almonds, and a Nalgeen for water. I may also have to research tips on how to successfully sleep in a reclining seat for four nights. Let me also add Robax, Advil and ear plugs to that packing list…

Here’s a sneak peak at the seating arrangements aboard the VIA Rail Economy Car. I also found this photo on the VIA website which demonstrates how passengers sleep in Economy. Let’s just say I’m going to make good use of our stops en route in Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Edmonton and Jasper. I’ll most likely need a good stretch in each city.

20 more days until I leave on that train, which gives me 19 days to get my supplies, pack and possibly practice sleeping in my armchair for a night. Must get a neck pillow!


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