As my regulars know, I was recently sent on a trip to Italy by Rail Europe to explore the train system and blog about it for y’all—my lovely readers. I learned so many things (check out my top tips for taking the train) but I also confirmed what I already knew, which is that train travel is the best way travel in Europe. I mean think about it, the flight is usually the worst part of any trip (unless you’re in Premiere or at least in Premium Economy class of course). Your flight is the hurdle to jump before the vacation really begins—and I don’t think I am alone in believing this. That’s why I love to travel by train–especially easy thanks to Rail Europe. Here are my top ten reasons why I think getting a Eurail pass and taking the train is the best way to see Europe and far preferable to flying or even driving between destinations (let’s face it, Travelingpanties isn’t the best driver on her home turf, let’s not throw international driving regulations into the mix!)
Trains are Affordable
Trains in the U.S. aren’t that affordable in comparison actually. In fact, when I travel between New York and Washington D.C. it’s often less expensive to fly (which seems crazy to me). In Europe though, this isn’t the case—especially if you plan to purchase a Eurail Pass through Rail Europe. You can get discounts with Rail Europe for travelers under 26 years of age or if you’re traveling with 2-5 people (amongst others).
Trains Save Time
One of the biggest advantages, which may seem counterintuitive, is that you actually end up saving a ton of time when you take the train. Let me break it down. First, while flights are actually faster (of course they are), Europe actually isn’t so large so unless you’re truly going from one end to the other, with all the high-speed trains, taking the train isn’t always that much longer. And wait, there’s more–when you fly, you need to be at the airport at least a couple of hours in advance. And then there are the delays, which we all know are more than just a slight possibility these days. On top of that, when you travel by Eurail with Rail Europe you don’t need to spend your morning on line after line for check-in and to get through security. While trains can of course suffer delays (I was in Italy where trains are notoriously delayed), they are usually just for 10-20 minutes. The train also saves time because you don’t have to commute all the way back and forth between city center and the airport, bringing me to my next point:
Rail Europe Takes You from
City Center to City Center
Most airports are not in city centers whereas most train stations, which are smack dab in the middle of most cities, are exactly where you want to be. Not only does this save you the time of having to commute into the city, but it also saves you tons of money from having to take taxis into the city. In cities like Paris and London, cars to the airport can run you up $75 each way.
Trains Save Your Sanity
Airports involve a lot of waiting on lines, first you have to check-in, then you have to go through security, then you have to board—and that’s all if your plane is on time. The worst line of all is for a flight that has been canceled–am I right? Alternatively, train travel involves very little waiting (not to mention you can just get there 30 minutes before departure instead of 2 hours). You self-board, utilize self-service kiosks or e-tickets and there is no security line to go through.
You’ll Never Lose Your Luggage
Your luggage is never out of your site. While this can be annoying if you’re an overpacker like me (see my packing tips though–do as I say, not as I do!) since bags can be heavy having to drag them up and down stairs and on and off trains, but the plus side is your luggage never can be lost (unless its through your own stupidity haha)
It’s the Journey Not Just the Destination
Train travel allows you to relax and enjoy the scenic views. While I love some good clouds now and then, they simply can’t compete with the European countryside. The views are much more scenic and unlike travel by air, you can count this as part of your trip.
Rail Europe Trains Offer Comfort
Unlike planes that often experience turbulence, causing you to be buckled in your seat like a prisoner, trains don’t require passengers to wear seat belts the entire time so you aren’t as constricted. You can move around the train to different cars at your leisure. Stretch your legs, enjoy a bathroom break or go grab a snack without needing a flight attendant’s permission. Seats on the train are also usually roomier than on planes (depending on what ticket you purchase).
Something about trains has always reminded me of a bygone era. A time when train travel was indeed the start of the vacation. I love nothing more than enjoying a good cocktail aboard a train while the world is whizzing by. Call me nostalgic but I think the European trains have always retained this charm (unlike the U.S. trains—a la Carrie Bradshaw’s cross-country trip)
If you plan to travel overnight, unless you’re in First Class on a plane where your seat fully reclines, you can forget about catching any Z’s. However, on a train, with private cabins and full bes, you fare a much better chance of waking up refreshed and renewed. I know personally the train rides lull me to sleep whereas even if I choke down an Ambien, I am wide awake straight until my arrival.
Not only will there be no traffic, but you’re not the one driving so you can enjoy a calm, stress-free drive all the way to your destination!
No Hidden Costs
You won’t be charged additional fees for your luggage aboard a train. That said, you do need to carry your own luggage up and down stairs so I recommend packing lightly!
Many high-speed trains offer free wi-fi and even plugs at your seat so you can use all your gadgets to get ready for whatever fabulous destination you have in store!
I’ll leave you with these parting words, if someone offered me the choice to go on another free trip and let me choose whether I wanted to take the train or travel by air, I would definitely choose the train. It is the quickest and most reliable way to travel for all the reasons listed above.
Rail Europe Information
Rail Europe offers train tickets and excursions for almost every train in Europe. You can purchase tickets in advance through their U.S. Office or online at its website. Check out maps and interactive tools to help you plan the perfect European vacation. After using Rail Europe this summer, they are the only company I would use in the future. Please check out my helpful tips to know before taking the train though before booking your travel. I address Eurail passes, train tickets, train classes and every other question you might have.
For more information about Rail Europe, visit its Website. You can also find Rail Europe on Twitter,Instagram and Facebook.
Rail Europe paid for my trip including transportation, hotels and food. However, the views expressed herein are entirely my own. Rail Europe did not have any control over the post’s content. You can’t buy the love here people. I wasn’t paid to write anything specific about the company, just about my own personal thoughts and experiences.