Sleeping on overnight trains
You can sleep for free on many European trains: Just pick an empty compartment, pull out all the facing seats to make a big romper room of a bed, slide the door shut, and hope no one decides to spoil your nap by climbing in with you
I go into a lot more details on the technique in that other section, but in brief, here's how it works. While you do have to pay about $20 to $30 if you want a guaranteed bunk in a proper sleeper car couchette, there is a way to use overnight trains to sleep absolutely for free (so long as you're using a railpass and didn't have to shell out extra for a ticket). You just have to be prepared for the chance that you will have to share your sweet free sleeps spot.
It mainly involves finding an empty compartment—preferably one that looks like the one in the photo above, where you can pull out the seats to make it into a big, albeit lumpy, bed—staking it out as your territory, and defending it from all comers.
You should note, however, that this technique is getting a bit harder these days, now that straight-through, commuter-style train cars are becoming more frequent than the old-fashioned compartment-style cars.
Still, I've spent many a long train ride in Europe ride cadging a free night's sleep while simultaneously getting to where I was going. This is the other major benefit to sleeping on an overnight train: if you're facing a journey of six hours of more, it's basically going to cost you a full day that you could be spending sightseeing in sheer transportation—plus, you'll have to shell out money for a hotel once you arrive in your new destination.
With overnight trains, you save time, get where you're going while you sleep, and save yourself the cost of one night's lodging. Not a bad deal. Too bad it's not the most comfortable way to catch some Zzzs.
Free Sleeps Sections