Making it to Europe was one of our goals when?we came up with the crazy idea of quitting our jobs, creating a website and starting full-time travel. While our plans have detoured significantly, we?managed to make it there more than once in our first year of travel but unfortunately, were unable to experience train travel in Europe. Though we managed two road trips, our other favourite method of travel, we were disappointed not to experience Europe by train.
In fact, while we love travel, the method of transportation we’re forced to take is not always?pleasant or easy. We’ve found there are a few more preferable ways we like to travel and some of them even allow us to experience more of the country and culture as we are in transit!
Planes, Trains & Automobiles
Throughout our travels, we?ve travelled by plane, bus, bike, scooter, train, boat, our own legs, taxi and song thaew. We?ve had some crazy adventures (like the time we rode our scooter on the treacherous path from Chiang Mai to Pai) and have crammed ourselves in budget airline seating, bumped along with no sleep on an overnight bus and rode our scooter for hours on end through the rain, fog, and unexpected swarms of bugs. Even though these sound horrible, we?ve loved every minute of travel and wouldn?t change it for the world. Our favourite method of transportation however, and the one that has yet to give us any strife, is train travel.
We?re looking to do as much travel by train as we can while in Europe, and even while in Asia, we tried to maximize our time on these locomotives. Why?
Our Top 8 Reasons Why Train Travel Is The Way To Go
1. Immersion in the country and culture. You get to watch the landscape pass, rather than jumping from one point to another, and surround yourself with the language and culture through your fellow passengers
2. Comfort. Compared to most methods, it?s usually pretty darn comfortable. Cushioned seats, space to move around, dining carts and, in sleeper trains, beds for sleep. You can get up and walk around unrestricted and stretch out easily. We?d rather take a whole night while sleeping in a bed on a train, then take 10 hours during the day, door to door, waiting in lines at the airport and squeezing ourselves and our luggage into small spaces
3. Speaking of luggage?…You can actually bring what you want and need! Restrictions on liquids, weight of baggage and number of bags is not an issue.
4. Time saved.? Yes, even with overnight trains, you can save significant time travelling. Think about the last time you flew. There was the preparation to leave, getting to the airport 2, or 3, (or 4) hours early, delays, the flight itself, and then waiting for your luggage and transferring to your final destination. Sometimes, the entire process takes a lot longer than an overland trip and it certainly can be a lot more stressful.
5. Cost. Depending on where you?re going and the train options available, travel can be significantly cheaper by train than by plane. There are also more options for passes, group discounts, and deals
6. Location, Location, Location.??Typically, train stations are centrally located which means there aren?t any ridiculous airport taxi fares or long periods of lugging your suitcases around with you.
7. Eco-friendly.??If you?re concerned about your own ecological footprint, trains offer a better option than travel by air or automobile. Carbon emissions are lower and less damaging and trains are considered relatively energy-efficient.
8. It?s just plain fun!? Watching the world pass by through the window as you enjoy the gentle sway of the train gives an almost pleasantly nostalgic feel. It?s as if – regardless of the cell phones and music devices being clung to throughout the cabins ? there still exists segments of history and connections to the past – a thread from explorers and travellers from ages long-gone, forming a tangible bond to those of us in the present.