How to Dodge Dodgy Train Mates

Trains provide an alternative mode of transport that bypasses long security lines, turbulence, and flight attendants annoyingly fixated on a) the length of your skirt b) your “less than enthusiastic” attitude c) your urinary schedule. However, while trains are fun and romantic, they tend to attract a brand of rider you don’t often see on planes: the crazies. What happens when the quirky people you’ve been watching from a distance become your seat-mate? Here are some polite ways to dodge your dodgy train buddy and continue your serene trip on the Hogwarts express…I mean your local Amtrak service.

If your seat buddy has diverted the conversation from the (un)pleasant weather to her racial views or how many cans of diet Dr. Pepper she consumes daily, a simple insertion of your headphones might tell her that the conversation should end. Telling her, “I have a great audio book I want to finish!” might take the sting out of literally being tuned out and hopefully she will get the hint.

Check out the “lounging car” or any other car for that matter
Not only is the lounging car a great place to revel in the scenic views that train travel has to offer, it can also provide the perfect escape from boisterous fellow travelers. Lock up your backpack with one of Pacsafe’s bag protectors and roam the train to your hearts content, just stay out of the engine room, the conductor usually doesn’t like that.

Out-Crazy the Crazy Person
If all else fails and that man pushing religious pamphlets does not seem to be taking the hint; fight back. You may start by talking about the parole hearing you’re nervous about, or how you have a sordid addiction to Red Bull and Law and Order marathons. Hopefully this last resort won’t end in an escalating competition between you and your train mate. Lastly, remember, there’s always air travel.

By Caroline Kellough