You’ve booked the trip of a lifetime, a multi-country itinerary through Europe with plenty of time to explore. But how are you getting from point A to point B? Sure, there are lots of budget carriers that will fly you between countries at a reasonable fare, but they just can’t come close to all the advantages that rail can offer. Read on to see why you should consider hopping on board the train!
Travel by rail offers many options for those who are more budget conscious and those who would like a little more privacy to enjoy the trip. Prices can vary, but are always comparable to airfare and costs to upgrade to a higher class of service are much more reasonable.
Budget airlines can seem like a great deal, but factor in other costs such as getting from the city center to the airport and you are already looking at a huge cost difference.Train stations are easy to get to from the city centers, so no matter what hotel you’re staying in, there’s a good chance there is a station nearby. Trains also charge no baggage fees or other hidden costs, unlike budget airlines for in-country flights. Also worth noting: most European trains are spacious and modern, making them a very comfortable option to get where you are going versus a tiny 18” airplane seat.
Night trains are a great way to travel too. If you don’t want to spend the better part of your day trekking through airports, try taking the rail by night and wake up in a whole new city as the sun rises. Train cars are often equipped with actual beds and there are several options ranging from dorm-style compartments to private double beds. If safety is a worry, be assured that a train guard is stationed in each car and keeps close watch so that you can relax and catch up on some Zzzz’s (which I find to be easier to do than on a plane).
You never hear people say, “That flight was epic…!”, however the romanticism of a train ride through the European countryside is an iconic experience. It’s a perfect chance to plug in those earbuds and gaze longingly at the gorgeous scenery streaming past your windows, which would be pin-dots on a plane ride. Let your mind wander as the train winds through the trees and rolling hills, past castles and cathedrals, rocky beaches and fields of colorful flowers.
Oh, and don’t eliminate the possible chance of meeting a handsome stranger at the cocktail bar or sharing your compartment. “Oh what a coincidence, Mr. Right, this is my stop as well…”! Which brings me to…
Flexibility. For our more free-wheeling travelers, you cannot beat the opportunities to be spontaneous when traveling by train. Want a few more hours to explore a city? You have the freedom to take a later train and take your time to enjoy your surroundings. Passing through a cool new city you didn’t consider visiting? Hop off and have a look around! There are lots of different passes available depending on your personal style of travel.
Don’t feel limited, just enjoy the ride!