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4 Things to Pack if You’re Nervous About Overnight Bus or Amtrak Travel

If you’re considering taking an overnight trip on a bus or train and you’re feeling nervous about about crime, these packing tips are for you. I’ve taken many overnight trips, and as a female in my 20s traveling solo, packing these items made me feel more comfortable.

These packing items help me be prepared and feel relaxed and I hope they’ll reassure you too. 

Read on to see what to pack if you’re nervous about taking an overnight bus or Amtrak train ride.

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1. Double-Sided Lock 

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I never go on a trip without this. It’s awesome for 2 reasons.

The first: You can lock your bag shut so no one can go through it. The loop is flexible, so if your bag doesn’t have those luggage pulls with the lock holes in it, you can still get this through.

The second: You can lock the longer loop through something else, like your seat or the overhead luggage rack, making it impossible to swipe.

With this, no one can rummage through your bag or walk off with it while you’re sleeping or in the bathroom.

With enough time and tools, a thief could still cut your bag, etc. but this is a great deterrence for opportunists. 

I bought my lock from REI, but they don’t make it anymore so here is the same thing for sale on Amazon.

I dive even deeper into bag security in my post 2 Techniques For Securing Your Backpack While You Sleep. 

2. Jacket With Pockets On The Inside

This is where I stash all of my most important things when I’m sleeping. That includes my wallet, passport, phone, ticket and Kindle. Don’t lose track of your ticket, you sometime need it to claim checked luggage and that’s a whole new problem if you lose it! I’ve also worn a small cross-body purse that I’ve put on under a jacket before.

You may look a little lumpy, but what’s important is that your things are on your body and no one can get to them.  

You may also like: Honest Amtrak Review: 4 Things You Should Expect

3. A Keychain Alarm

When I started taking overnight trips, I was told many times of some news story where a woman was groped on a bus and yelled for help and no one would help her.

First and foremost, I’ve never been on an overnight bus or train ride where I’ve felt that situation would occur.

But I do keep this little device on my keys in case I ever need to attract help. I carry it when I’m hiking (to scare off animals), when I’m traveling and in everyday life. When you pull the bottom off it makes an alarm sound (think of a small-scale car alarm). The sound comes out of the yellow piece, and the alarm sounds until you put the two pieces back together. 

When it’s pulled outdoors, it’s not ear-piercing but it’s still unexpected and draws attention. When pulled indoors it’s a lot louder and actually hurts my ears. This would draw a LOT of attention if pulled in small space like a bus.    

I’ve never felt like I needed to use this on any overnight trips, but I like it for the peace of mind that I could quickly draw a lot of attention to myself if I ever needed to. Here’s the one I bought on Amazon

4. A Hat

This may sound weird, but when I’m at terminals in the middle of the night, I appreciate a little discretion. I feel fewer people notice me. I keep it pretty low-key when I’m traveling overnight, and don’t dress in a way that draws attention to myself. 

A thick beanie (a real winter hat, not a paper thin one just for style) can also make sleeping more comfortable and keep you warm on cold rides.


If you’re nervous about taking an overnight bus or Amtrak train trip, I hope these packing tips can help you feel more confident and comfortable. 

Do you have any packing tips you’d add? I’d love to hear your thoughts and what you pack to feel safe when traveling! 

Just so you know, the Amazon link in this article are affiliated, but the recommendations are exactly the same! Every penny earned helps support this blog. Thank you for reading! It is SO appreciated.  

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Posted by:Kayla

Hello, friend! I'm Kayla. I help people shrink their footprint on the Earth and find freedom in owning less. On Writing From Nowhere, I share ideas on living more intentionally and sustainably.  

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