I love train travel and would happily always go on holiday via train. As someone who doesn’t enjoy flying If I can get to a destination via train I will! Whilst road tripping can be fun my first choice would always be to travel by train.
Over the years we have travelled extensively through Europe and the UK by train and loved every minute of it. Both myself and my husband have an ever increasing train journey bucket list and dreams of travelling on some of the most iconic trains will hopefully one day become reality.
So what are the benefits of using the railway and embarking on a train travel adventure? What advantages does travelling by train have that make it for many the number one way to enjoy exploring the world?
Well I believe that there are many reasons to travel by train and will be detailing all the advantages of train travel with you in this article.
1. REASONS TO TAKE THE TRAIN – ITS ECO FRIENDLY
In many ways taking the train is a more sustainable and eco friendly form of transport than either cars or airplanes. They use 30% less energy than cars and 20% less than planes per passenger miles. (1) Throughout the world train operators are constantly exploring ways of making travelling by train a highly sustainable form of transportation.
Trains produce less noise, use less energy and are much more sustainable in terms of CO2 emissions so the green option will always be to take the train!
2. ADVANTAGES OF TRAIN TRAVEL – YOUR HOLIDAY STARTS THE MINUTE YOU BOARD THE TRAIN
No hanging around for 3 hours at the airport. Arrive at the train station and board your train! Even if you are on a sleeper service the check-in time is not as long or as unpleasant as the airport.
And whilst your vacation only starts when you step off the plane the train journey is part of the holiday! Sit back relax and enjoy the views. Instead of endless empty skies you can enjoy the passing countryside and beautiful views as you travel which is impossible when flying or driving and concentrating on the road.
3. ADVANTAGES OF TRAIN TRAVEL – ITS MORE COMFORTABLE THAN OTHER TRANSPORT OPTIONS FOR ADULTS AND KIDS
This is one of my main reasons I take the train – it is so much more comfortable and spacious than driving or flying. Crammed into a metal tube in the sky with a few hundred other people with recycled air and limited leg room is my idea of hell.
On a train there are no seatbelts – you can get up, walk along the carriages and often alight at stations along the way for a stroll. In some more luxurious trains there are parlour cars, dining cars and even cinemas available during your journey.
First class travel is often a cheaper option than a first class plane ticket (of course there are exceptions to this when it comes to some of the world’s most luxurious rail journeys.)
Enjoy natural daylight through large windows made for viewing the passing sights. No small portholes with shutters and strip lighting on trains!
And if you travel with children the space and comfort of a train is always going to be more child-friendly than the cramped confines of a plane. Car journeys can be stressful too with bored kids constantly asking how far to go/how much longer.
4. REASONS TO TAKE THE TRAIN – BETTER FOOD/DRINK OPTIONS
On some train journeys (and definitely on the more luxurious options) food and drink can be fantastic. Dining rooms with china plates and silver cutlery is a vast improvement on airline food. (Though I hear that those who can afford first class air travel do experience this luxury!)
Even on regular train services restaurants or buffet cars will offer more variety than ever can be possible on a plane.
5. REASONS TO TAKE THE TRAIN – YOU ARRIVE IN THE HEART OF THE CITY
Most city train stations are situated in the centre of town. No transfers are necessary from airports which are often situated far out of town. Arrive in comfort and step off the train straight to your destination.
And with no car you are not contributing to the major traffic problems in most cities. Take an uber/taxi/tram with no worries about driving in the middle of an unfamiliar city or trying to park. Having seen the way they drive in Rome and Paris I would never consider it.
6. REASONS TO TAKE THE TRAIN – STAY CONNECTED
While some airlines are now introducing wifi options on some of their routes it is still not easy to stay connected when you are miles up in the sky. The availability of wifi (or even the ability to use your own data) is not such an issue when you are on a train (though I know this will greatly depend where in the world you are!)
7. MORE SOCIABLE ENVIRONMENT
I have always found train travel a more social experience than travelling my air. There were so many times on our backpacking holidays around Europe when people would strike up a conversation/offer food particularly when travelling with my daughter. I have met some amazingly interesting people on trains – from the Mennonites who boarded our sleeper train in Seattle to the transvestite with pet poodle I shared a carriage with on a trip from Milan to Venice.
8. ADVANTAGES OF TRAIN TRAVEL – GREAT FOR SLOW TRAVEL
If you don’t need to rush your trip then catching a train and enjoying a slower speed of travel to your destination is fantastic. This is how I dream of traveling the world – one train journey at a time. In fact if there was a way to travel around the world totally by train I would be working towards that!
I know in these times of limited holidays slow travel is a luxury but if you have the time I say TAKE THE TRAIN!
9. UNLIMITED LUGGAGE (AND YOU GET TO KEEP IT WITH YOU)
Do you struggle to fit everything you need into 20 kgs of luggage? Take the train and you can have as much luggage as you want! Though I do always advise that if you are planning to change trains think carefully about how you will manage if you have lots of cases!
TRAVEL TIPS – If you are planning to visit Venice on your train journey try to book a hotel near the railway station – that way you won’t have to struggle across bridges or on and off water taxis!
10. SLEEPER TRAINS
I love night trains and have taken quite around the world including the Amtrak Coast Starlight. If sleeping on an airplane is an impossibility take the sleeper train and pay for a compartment. Wake up refreshed when you arrive at your destination rather than tired and dehydrated after an overnight plane journey.
Although I have been on some bouncy train journeys I would rather be woken by the creak of a train then by turbulence at 38 000 feet!
Conditions are generally more comfortable compared to a flight with some train compartments equipped with double beds, toilets and on some luxury train journeys a bath!
Read more about the golden age of sleeper trains in Europe and one man’s attempt to relive that era by taking modern day equivalents! A highly recommended read for those who love traveling by train.
ADVANTAGES OF TRAIN TRAVEL : ADDED BONUS – SAFETY
Although statistically rail travel not as safe as air travel it is less anxiety provoking! I know many people with a phobia of flying but have yet to meet anyone afraid of train travel!
THE BEST SITES TO HELP YOU PLAN YOUR TRAIN JOURNEY AND BOOK RAIL TICKETS
CLICK HERE for RailEurope for all your train travel needs in Europe. This is the NUMBER 1 distributor of train tickets and rail passes in Europe.
CLICK HERE for The Train Line for all your train ticket needs in the UK.
CLICK HERE for Swiss Railways for all your Swiss railway tickets
CLICK HERE for Eurail – the official site for non-European residents to purchase train passes for Europe.
CLICK HERE for Interail – the official site for European residents to purchase train tickets and passes for rail travel across the continent.
And for the ultimate guide to train travel across the world the guru is “The Man in Seat 61” – do check out his website!
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Tracy has lived and worked in 7 countries on 4 continents and travelled to over 50 more. A qualified school teacher with an interest in history, reading, photography, nature and wildlife she is always planning her next trip (preferably by train)
With a lifetime of travel experience, and a network of friends all over the world, she is also able to share genuine insider guides, recommended best book lists and train journey inspiration to help you travel authentically to some of the most beautiful places on earth.
Come and join me as I travel the world one country (and train journey) at a time!