Monday, June 17, 2013

What’s so great about train travel in Europe?

Would you believe everything?
Train travel in Europe is nothing like it is in the U.S. In Europe, trains aren’t considered a secondary form of transportation; it’s how most Europeans travel. So they’re modern, dependable and in some cases state-of-the-art. At the heart of European rail is an extensive network of high speed trains, with travel times that can occasionally rival the airlines. But unlike flying, there’s no hours-long security check, no baggage limitation, no hidden fees, and dare we say no stress?
More importantly, there’s none of the stay-in-your-seat, 30,000 feet view of whatever that is down there. Because the wonder of the train is that it instantly surrounds you with the very landscape you came to visit. You’re immediately immersed in European life, while traveling amongst friendly locals and fellow adventurers like yourself. Plus, unlike the boonies of most airport locations, the train takes you from the center of one fabulous city or town to the center of another. Consider the Chunnel, the engineering marvel that unites Paris to London. You relax in sophisticated splendor, both inside your train and out. Even the most basic second class train accommodation is roomier and more comfortable than any coach seat on a plane. And most trains are air-conditioned and non-smoking, with plenty of space to store your luggage (and, hallelujah, no baggage fees).
Thinking of driving? Why not? Everyone has this romanticized version of pastoral motoring. But the reality is you’re in a strange place, with road signs you probably won’t understand. And that’s in the country. In the city, well, it’s not just all roads that lead to Rome. It’s all cars. Or so it seems. Navigating foreign traffic can frankly be quite …difficult. Not to mention the price of gas. Of course, a car is the perfect solution for some excursions, but ask yourself: do you want to spend most of your trip watching the road, or the scenery?
Plus the ever-increasing popularity of the train has meant many good things. Like more frequent departures and more flexible travel. More creature comforts including inviting bar-buffet cars and the growing availability of on board power outlets and WiFi. And train travel has always been a cost effective way to travel. Offering discounts for advance booking, as well as rail pass deals to groups, youths and seniors. But nothing beats the budget-stretching opportunity of a night train. They allow you to get to your destination while you sleep, saving you the cost of a hotel night. Perhaps we haven’t even discussed the best part of the train yet. How comfortable it makes your caboose. You sit, rest, relax… your time is just that. Yours. To spend how you like, with whom you like, and enjoy every minute as quality time. You arrive at your destinations refreshed and ready to see the sights. Really, the train is kind to you. And just as importantly, it’s kind to the environment, using electricity to have a much smaller carbon footprint than planes or cars.
Obviously, you’d expect we’d love train travel. But we’d like to remind you of the millions of repeat visitors who choose it every year -those are endorsements euros can’t buy.


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