Flights are one of the most obvious ways to travel when you’re making your way to new and exotic locations, but that doesn’t mean that they’re the most affordable, comfortable, or even the most memorable. In fact, there are many other methods of transportation, and one of the best is by train.
Train travel is the most underrated form of long-distance travel out there; a solution to all of your inter and intra city travels. Wherever you want to go, and however long you want your journey to take, international train tickets might be just what you need.
The following are 5 reasons you should travel by train.
A scenic train ride is often a vacation in itself, and many people take the train because it means they have access to more of the country than they would if they had caught a plane.
Flying between cities means you’ll see nothing of the place you came to see. You’re at 35,000 feet. However riding the train gives you a picturesque backdrop along the way.
Depending on your route, your window seat view may include towering mountain peaks, bustling metropolises, desert vistas, or rolling prairies and plains. Taking the train is is the best way to maximize your sightseeing.
Photo CC by James Wheeler
Keep Your Sanity
One of the worst things about air travel is the actual act of transiting. It involves ridiculously long queues at check-in, security, and boarding, and those lines alone can drive any innocent traveler insane.
But you don’t have such delays with train travel. Most railway services don’t make you check-in, and you certainly don’t have to go through a TSA-style security check.
The only line you’ll ever stand in for a train is the line to board, though this goes quickly. For the most part, you just arrive and walk on to your train. There’s also no take off, landing or seat-belt signs, and you’re not stuck in your seat for endless amounts of time.
Taking the train offers more flexibility than travel by plane. You generally need to book flights at least 8 weeks in advance if you’re looking for a great deal on flights, though if you choose to travel by train instead, you enjoy both flexibility and cost savings with a rail pass.
These passes are fantastic in that you can choose the duration of your trip and the countries you’d like to include, and then jump abroad trains going to and from any location in the countries you’ve selected at your own whim!
One of our top tips for cheap travel is to have the ability to move slowly. A rail pass allows you to do this.
Photo CC by korgmatose
Pro Tip: Take note that some trains do require pre-booking and additional fees for reserving seats.
Still Cheaper Without a Rail Pass
If the idea of purchasing a rail pass is not really your thing or you’re not sure you will use it enough to cover the cost, we’ve still found that booking trains as you go is a cheaper option than last minute flights.
No Hidden Fees
One reason we hate airlines is for the excessive amount of hidden fees. Everything from comfortable seats and WiFi may be worth the extra charges when you fly now, and airlines seem to go above and beyond to charge passengers for everything from the aisle seat to printing a boarding pass.
But when you’re on a train, there are no hidden fees. They’re not picky about how much luggage you bring on, as long as you can handle it yourself, and the fares tend to be the same day to day for each specific route.
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Photo credits: Featured photo by Mariano Mantel.
I love taking the train! We took a trip a few years ago with my son and he absolutely loved traveling by train :)
So glad to hear it Tanya! Thats a great point too, that it’s a really fab method of transport for kids too. Much more to keep them entertained than being stuck in a seat on a plane!! Happy travels :)
I find train rides to be relaxing and scenic :)
Glad to hear that Carla! They really are a fab way to get around :)
Hi! It’s refreshing to read a post promoting taking the train instead of just routinely going by air. I agree with all that you’ve written, it is far more comfortable to go by train than flying. When calculating the time difference between the train ride and the flight, you tend to forget the time you need before the actual take off and landing.
There is also the environmental aspect. Going by train is far better for the climate than flying, there’s no getting around that.
So glad you enjoyed the post – totally agree with you re miscalculating the whole time involved when you’re flying. From the time you wake up and have to leave for the airport, and the time it takes to clear customs and get out, you always have to add at least 4 hours onto the journey for an international flight. And that’s not even counting layovers!!
Environmental aspect is a great point too – thanks for the great thoughts! Happy travels :)
We love travelling by train too! Like Luggage Girl mentioned, the environmental impact of planes is definitely a reason to opt for a train every now and then. I actually also used trains as a time and money saver in Eastern Europe – rather than pay for accommodation, I slept on some night trains. It was a long time ago, but it was fun and I would do it again!
Glad to hear it Freckles! Great point re saving money on accommodation with overnighters. I’ve done that on buses before and it didn’t work out so well lol though maybe I would get a better night’s sleep on a train!
I was totally hooked on train travel after my first trip to Europe. What a way to go! Relaxing and the views!! Fast forward many years to me being a travel guide writing mom of two kiddos I find train travel even BETTER than I did before.
Trains let the kids stretch out, snooze, use the bathroom, talk, write in the travel journal…it is a very relaxing way for traveling families to get around. I have not done an overnight – the one time it was scheduled the Italian train system went on strike and the overnights were cancelled, but…..we would just love to do an overnight train experience. With trains, parents get to relax!
I can absolutely see how all of the perks of train travel would translate into an excellent form of transport for families … I’m always impressed by kids who manage to sit through long haul flights, but trains give them the opportunity to move around and as you said, stretch out. Train travel beats flying by a mile in terms of comfort in that sense!
Good old Italian train strikes – I’ve experienced a couple of those myself actually while traveling through Europe with my mum a few years back … hopefully your family has the chance to experience an overnight train at some point soon :)
Thanks for sharing the valuable information, very helpful indeed. Keep on writing the similar articles. waiting for your next articles.
Glad you enjoyed the post … Thanks for following our blog :)
Train travel is so relaxing and a perfect way to see more of a country. Inn the cities you arrive mostly in the center and not at an airport far away.
I share youre thought concerning the rail pass, except for the high speed trains in Spain. Here, I were happy that we bought a Renfe Spain pass, because it is much cheaper for long distance travel by high speed train. You book the number of journey (4,6,8 or 10) and you can use them within one month. Then you have to make a reservation in advance, but no extra costs.
That’s very true – we just arrived in Melbourne, and it turns out that the airport is an hour out of the city; the train on the other hand is right in the center of the CBD!! Seems to be a common theme in cities throughout the world, so that’s definitely a huge win in favor of the train!
Thanks for the tip on the Renfe Spain pass – will be sure to keep that in mind when we visit Spain again. It’s fabulous that there are no extra costs when you go to make the reservations :)