I love travelling by train, it’s such a romantic way to travel and a relaxing way to really get to know a country. Many people overlook train travel, instead preferring to take short flights or even renting a car. While both of those methods of transport can be lovely, there are a few benefits to train travel that are often overlooked. Europe, Russia, Asia, parts of the Middle East and even the United States are excellent places to enjoy a train holiday. If you’re like me and dreaming of traveling the Trans-Siberian Tour then chances are you’re going to want to take a least some of the trip by train! Whether you are traveling as a couple, a group of friends, or a family, there are plenty of reasons to choose a train holiday for your next trip:
1. More Freedom While You Travel
As someone who blogs for a living, there’s nothing better than taking a train that has WIFI and being able to knock out a few hours of work while I’m changing cities or, even better, countries. While many airlines are finally catching up and providing WIFI while in flight, it’s often expensive or patchy at best. On a train you can choose to tether to your own mobile internet, or the train itself may have it’s own WIFI router and connections. Either way, the internet signal is stronger, meaning you can better focus on your work and be productive while you’re traveling, arriving at your destination feeling refreshed and happy because you’ve caught up on work, college homework, or even just updating your Facebook feed with all your travel pictures.
2. More Comfortable
I find trains to be a lot more comfortable than an airplane or bus, you tend to have larger seats that recline quite well. If you’re traveling overnight the route you’re taking may have the option for actual sleeping booths, allowing you the option to almost sleep as comfortably as if you were in a real bed. There’s a lot more space for restless toddlers to walk around, or to lounge on top of a parent’s lap. Trains tend to have proper bathrooms, unlike some buses, meaning you wont have to hold on for hours at a time. Some trains also have meal services, ensuring that you don’t arrive at your destination hangry and exhausted!
3. A Scenic Ride
I find that trains tend to travel through countrysides, rather than sitting in the middle of a main highway. You’ll hopefully be able to see a little more of the country you’re visiting than if you were just zooming past in a plane. You can also choose to visit small, cute towns you wouldn’t otherwise visit when traveling by train. I once took a train through Indonesia and it was absolutely stunning, I spent most of the trip with my nose pressed aginst the glass snapping photos from on the train. I got to see sides of Indonesia I doubt I would have seen traveling by car or plane, such as small kids barely clothed running towards the train to wave at it.
4. No Airport Drama
I find flying through airports quite a hassle: you need to arrive super early, check your bags, pay for extra bags and extra baggage fees, walk through security, scan all your things, take your shoes off, get to the gate around an hour before and then board the plane and wait for quite some time before take off. Airports are usually located far away from the city centre and likely far from your accommodation, meaning once you arrive you’ll spend a fair bit of time and money making your way to your hotel or guesthouse. On the flipside, many train stations tend to have a more centralized location – and if not – often you’re in the midde of a transport hub where you can easily take public transport directly to the city centre. I find flying to be a hassle and when traveling relatively small distances, such as 5 hours on a train, often you spend as much time with all the airport inconviniences when you travel by plane.
5. Really Affordable
Many countries and regions around the world offer specific train passes that make it more affordable to travel by train. In other countries if you buy your train tickets in advance, the prices can be extremely affordable. If you’re traveling in less expensive countries, such as India, you may find that because the train is so well used and affordable, you can snag great transit prices buying tickets the day before while still affording yourself flexibility in your plans. While this will vary dramatically from country to country, train travel is often extremely affordable with a little foresight.