I rode the Amtrak roomette on my first lengthy train journey. Here are 14 things everyone has to be aware of when making travel plans.

Travel time changes are inevitable.

The time allotted for my train travel was 16 hours, and it actually took that long.

We were delayed by a medical emergency on board, passing freight trains, and a mechanical problem with one of the train’s wheels. We even went backwards to change tunes at one point.

I expected we would be late getting to Sacramento because there seemed to be frequent delays at the start of the route. But we managed to up the pace.

My car attendant informed me that we would be arriving in Sacramento close to an hour early before I went to sleep, so I set my alarm at 4 a.m. We weren’t yet in Sacramento when I woke up, and I still had plenty of time to get to Sacramento on the train.

Overall, it helped me recognize that there could be delays or early arrivals and that train schedules are never reliable. It’s best to enter the trip knowing you’ll just have to go with the flow because it’s undoubtedly a part of the experience.