Why travel by train

10 Reasons Why You Should Take Trains before Planes

With sustainable travel becoming the next big thing in the travel world, its no wonder that people are starting to lean towards trains as a more environmentally friendly way of getting from A to B. But it’s not just the ‘green’ factor that makes train travel a fantastic transportation option. We have come up with just a couple of reasons why you should take trains before planes.

1. Environmental Factors

There’s no denying it, our world is falling apart and we need to do our best to find ways to try and save it. The aviation industry contributes to between 4-9% of total climate change impact of human beings so choosing not to fly is a powerful way to help shrink your carbon footprint.
Eurostar recently conducted research to compare taking the train from London to Paris as opposed to flying there and it came back with outstanding results. Taking into consideration actual passenger loadings, power consumption, actual aircraft fuel consumption and aircraft loadings, the conclusion showed that travelling by train cut the CO2 emissions per passenger by 90%!

2. Time-Saving

Who loves standing in line at customs? Waiting for your bags to be shoved onto the carousel? How about arriving at the airport 3 hours before you depart just to find out your flight has been delayed? Let’s face it – flying takes time. When you’re travelling and time is precious, who wants to spend their holiday in an airport? Train travel requires no long check-in or time wasted waiting for baggage so you get to spend more time actually exploring the place you’re in!

3. Centre to centre

Airports are often way out of the city centre so taxis and public transport feel they can charge an ‘airport tax’ simply because of the distance. Train stations are generally located in or near the city centre meaning it’s not only cheaper to get there but quicker as well! Step off the train and straight into sightseeing and you’ll never look back!

4. More space

No tiny seats, no strict rules for bags and a magical thing called leg room – train travel is comfort plus! We highly recommend travelling business class (which won’t cost you an arm and a leg unlike our friends in the sky) for reclining seats, quiet carriages and generally just more space to yourself. Travelling in the offseason also has its perks – we very rarely had people in the same carriage as us, simply because it was the high season.

5. Charge up & get connected

Addicted to social media? Obsessed with a show on Netflix? Or just have some work that you need to finish? (travel agents this one is for you!) Don’t stress, WiFi is available onboard as well as charging points so you’ll never run out of battery. Snap your selfie, share it straight away and let’s make #trainsbeforeplanes a thing!

6. No hidden costs

Have you ever been caught out at the airport having to pay additional costs because your bags are too heavy or you forgot to print off your ticket (Ryan Air we’re looking at you). With train travel, there are no strict luggage restrictions, no extra fees for seat selection or extra legroom. Once you pay your ticket, that’s it. Often companies don’t charge for children under four and concession and student prices are also available.

7. You get to see more of the country

Yes flying in a plane over clouds is magical but catch the train through the Italian countryside or the Swiss Alps and you may never take a plane again! Travelling by train is the epitome of slow travel. If it's not glorious mountains or landscapes, it’s the tiny towns that tourists rarely visit that give you an insight into the local way of life.
We loved our time of the train going from one city in Italy to another. It was the perfect time to rest our feet, look out the window and unwind before reaching our next destination.

8. Forgot jetlag and turbulence

The trains throughout Italy were so smooth we almost couldn’t tell we were moving. There was no seat jolting turbulence meaning you could take a nap and not have your head bang against the window! While jetlag probably doesn’t really exist in the train travel world, we’re putting it in here anyway because it’s an excellent reason why trains are better than planes!

9. Train stations are beautiful

Most train stations have been around for YEARS! They’re a huge part of a city’s history and are often some of the most stunning architecture you’ll see. Milan Central, St Pancras in London, Jungfraujoch in Switzerland and Antwerp Central are just a small handful of the most beautiful train stations in Europe. We were blown away at Milan Central at the decadence of this ancient structure. The marble floors alone were enough to impress us. Just knowing how many millions of people have walked through these stations over the years seems just a little more impressive than a newly built airport.

10. It's cheaper

Yep we said it. While the outlay of a Eurail pass might seem like a lot at first if you compare it to how many flights you end up booking on your trip, you’re better off with your train pass. Add in taxis or public transport to and from the airport, additional fees for baggage etc. and meals and snack that you buy while waiting for hours at the airport – the train wins hands down.
That’s not the only thing, your train passes often have extra inclusions that an airfare just don’t offer. Free or discounted travel on participating buses and ferries, entrance to sightseeing attractions and museums and discounts on hotel rooms are just some of the benefits of using a Eurail pass

The 10 reasons were written by Jess and Amanda, two travel agents who spend some time exploring Italy as Rail Europe reporters.

Not convinced? There are more reasons to choose trains!

FAST

Many trains travel at 300 km/h allowing you to move between cities quickly and efficiently avoiding traffic congestion on motor ways. What does this mean? Well particularly in Europe it allows more time to be spent at your end destination. Over a three week holiday this may mean four more hours at the Vatican City, three more hours at the Eiffel Tower or five more hours strolling through Venice. Travelling by train simply buys you more time!

NO WAITING

No lengthy airport check-ins, down time, possible flight delays and cancellations. A great feature of traveling by train is arriving only 15 minutes prior to departure. Already there is a substantial saving of time opposed to flying where check in is required two hours prior to departure. Also once you’re at your end destination there is no need to be delayed waiting for luggage and arduous immigration procedures, you simply get out and generally stroll or take a short taxi to your accommodation.

HEART TO HEART

Most railway stations are in the centre of the city which avoids expensive taxi fares getting from airports to accommodation. This once again saves time and allows more time exploring.

EASY WAY TO BUDGET & PLAN

With no need to pay for motor way tolls, fuel or parking a rail pass allows you to know exactly where you stand financially before heading off on your adventure.

Did you know? Driving between Paris and Nice return costs over $200 in motor way tolls.

RELAXING

There is no more relaxing method of travel than train travel. On a train you can you read a book, have a sleep, talk to the locals, move freely between carriages or have a drink in the bar? On many routes you can also hop off on and off at towns along the way and catch the next train. (subject to traveling in the same direction) Driving, especially through Europe can be mentally draining and stressful as you are continually referring to maps and trying to read streets signs in foreign languages.

FLEXIBLE

Europe has over 250,000 kilometers of train tracks at your finger tips. Coupled with the frequency of departures (The Eurostar departs 16 times a day) you can always find a service that suits your needs.

PANORAMIC

The scenery from trains is absolutely spectacular and in many instances you are traveling through terrain which is not accessible by car or foot.

SAFETY

Taking a train in Europe is a very safe method of travel. When you consider driving a left hand vehicle on the opposite side of the road in regions you have never laid eyes on before you can understand why. In a northern winter icy conditions also make for interesting driving for Australians who as a rule don’t normally experience these conditions.

MEET THE LOCALS

In Europe an average 93% of passengers on trains will be locals going about their daily life be it to and from work or on their own holidays. Trains a wonderful way to meet new people (including fellow travelers) learn about their culture and country.

TRAVEL TOGETHER & SAVE

Many rail passes offer a discount if you are traveling with two or more passengers. Rail passes are also good value for money as there are no high season prices and remain the same price all year round.

SENIOR & YOUTH DISCOUNTS

In most cases seniors and youths are eligible to heavily discounted rail passes to further encourage rail travel by these two markets.

TRAVEL AT NIGHT

Why not consider the option of traveling overnight on one of the many night train services offering a range of sleeper accommodation from single or twin berth private sleepers to couchette carriages offering excellent value for money beds for 3 to 6 people. Arrive refreshed and ready to explore a new city.

Whether you choose to buy a rail pass or individual train tickets, you’ll have access to the easiest method of transport on offer.