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  • Writer's pictureNathaniel Mellor

What To Do if You Missed Your Train in Italy

Don't panic, everything will work out fine!


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If you've just missed your train, click here to scroll down to the pertinent information.

Trains in a station.

Missing a train is almost a rite of passage to a world traveler. In fact, on my first ever trip throughout Europe, I genuinely don't know if I caught more than one correct train. I was either always on the wrong train ("Well, it said track 18 at 10:50. This is track 18 and it's 10:48, this must be my train." It wasn't mine was behind it.) It can also be a fairly scary experience, especially if you're in a country where you don't speak the same language.

One of the most important things to remember is: you're not alone. If you just missed your train, chances are, someone else also just missed the same train. This always makes me feel a little better because it's not a "personal" problem anymore, but a "group problem."

Another thing to remember is: you're going to be okay. No one at the train company wants you to miss your train (I mean, maybe they do, because of reason$); they want you to get home, or continue your vacation.

There are two ways to miss a train. It's someone else's fault, or it's your fault.


It's Your Fault

For your sake, I hope you never miss the train due to something you could have avoided, but I would like to ease your fears and tell you: you will 100% miss the train due to something you did wrong if you travel long enough. Darcy and I have missed our fair share of trains fora variety of reasons, whether it's confusing two different departure times (5:30 and 5:45, for instance), getting to the station late due to any number of reasons (traffic, a strike, non-running metros, it be

g it out.

It's Not Your Fault

This is ideal. The train or bus you were coming in on was delayed, so you missed your connection. You somehow got bumped due to a full train. Or, as it once happened to us, there's not "seat 28 A/B" on that model of train.

Anytime I miss my train due to someone else's fault, I almost feel wrapped in a self-certainty that everything is going to be okay becasue I'm protected by four words: the train was late.

You've missed your train, now what?

Empty train station.


This information will be almost entirely based on train travel within Italy, hence this blog. However, if you've stumbled on this page and you aren't traveling in Italy, I hope this will still be useful information.

If you missed your train, and you don't mind buying a ticket for the next train, then that's the easiest way to solve the problem. However, sometimes you miss a €100 train and you can't afford another one. In which case, read on.


Step 1: Go to the ticket office

Your first destination should be the ticket office and try to talk to someone face-to-face. Explain that you missed your train, but I recommend not giving too much information. Some train companies will allow you to catch the next train if you missed yours because of a delay, but they won't if it's your fault (and this includes if you missed the train because your transportation to the train station was late, such as a regional bus).

Chances are, the person in the ticket office will give you the ol' non ti preocupare (don't worry) and send you on the next train to your destination.


Step 2: Explain the situation

If you aren't given the immediate "don't worry" by the ticket agent, then I recommend that you explain the situation. If your regional bus was late, say that, and use your hands to express "Can you believe what I'm dealing with here?". If the metro or city bus was late, give them the classic "can you believe the transportation in the city?" It doesn't matter where you are [in Italy], everyone complains about the public transportation (even though it's cheap, effective, and easy to use).

While I don't encourage lying, some train companies are like American cops: if you implicate yourself in your reason for being late, you're not getting on the train with your expired ticket.

Step 3: Get on the next train

Sometimes, the ticket agent won't be able to help. They might have their hands tied by a boss, or they can't give you a new ticket for free becasue the system won't let them.

In this case, the ticket agent might suggest you try your luck on the train. In many ways, the train conductor is the little god of the train. A handful of times, I've gotten on a train in Italy with the wrong ticket (whether I accidentally swapped the dates, or I missed the connecting train) and the conductor will simply wave it off and tell me to grab an empty seat.

There are two tricks to asking the conductor if you can come aboard.

Choose a similarly-priced train

If your ticket is for an regional train, then get on a regional train. Don't try to get on a high-speed train; no official will believe you. In Ital, this means if you don't have a ticket for Frecciarosssa, don't get on the Frecciarossa. Get on a train similar, or the same, to the ticket you have.

Get on, then ask

The best way to ask the conductor is when you're already onboard. Don't ask them as you're getting on. They're stressed out and trying to make sure the doors are clear; they'll tell you "no" just to get you to stop talking. Once you're on, get a seat near the seat you were supposed to have (ideally in the same train car). If your seat says "2nd Class" then just grab any seat in 2nd class. Chances are, the conductor will see the mistake and let you stay for free—as long as you aren't in someone else's seat.

If you missed the train because of a late connection, tell the conductor, and you're fine to stay onboard.

In the rare case that the conductor is forcing you to buy a ticket, just smile and buy the ticket. If you make a fuss/try to fight, they can and will kick you off at the next station.

The most important thing throughout all of this is to remember to remain upbeat. Jovial. Laugh. Make jokes. I can't tell you often often conductor and ticket agents have to deal with someone yelling at them, like it's their fault personally they missed the train. If you have a smile on your voice, and you're laughing with them about the situation, there's a really good chance they will do everything they can to help you out.

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