Train Travel: A Unique Vacation Experience

by Gina Blitstein · 0 comments

The most popular means to travel to vacation destinations are generally airplane and motor vehicle. That’s mainly because most vacations are planned in and around a destination and those two means of transportation are the most obvious and straightforward. Want to get there fast? Take a plane. Want to make some stops along the way and sightsee? Go by car. Another, often overlooked, travel option is the train.

Travel by train is obviously slower than by airplane but it allows vacationers the luxury of sitting back and experiencing the sights and attractions along the way without driving or being cooped up in a car. You’ll enjoy a more social journey and be rewarded with a chance to relax, socialize, move around and sightsee while you travel to your destination.

While at first glance train travel appears pricey, much of the cost depends upon the accommodations you choose. In general, there are two ways to travel by train which primarily have to do with your sleeping and dining arrangements:

First class
First class accommodations are considerably more expensive and include a private sleeping area with bathroom facilities and meals.

Traveling coach is far more economical and means that instead of a private bedroom, you’ll sleep in a passenger car on a reclining chair with elevated foot rest. You must buy your meals on the train separately.

Both first class and coach accommodations may include admission to a variety of local attractions and activities along your journey. Stops may be frequent, giving passengers the opportunity to experience some sightseeing, dining and, in the case of an overnight stopover, a motel stay.

Where can you travel by train?
Trains go to – and through – some of the most beautiful sights in the world. When it’s not, it allows you to travel on relaxing “auto-pilot” past some not-so-scenic areas so you’ll be refreshed and ready to enjoy the sights when you get to them.

Train travel offers you the ability to plan a little or a lot. Many carriers offer packages with a set itinerary as well offering the vacationer the freedom to travel more independently. Some popular train tour packages are geared to a certain vicinity (the Northeast U.S. to view fall foliage), holidays, like Christmas or New Year’s, or specific destinations, like cities or National Parks. Tours can even be family oriented or be taken with a larger number of people as a group. For those seeking a unique train travel experience, look for a carrier that runs elegant, antique Pullman cars.

Those with disabilities should find train travel very comfortable. Carriers provide accessibility to the train itself, seating and restroom facilities. They allow both powered and manual wheelchairs, oxygen tanks and service animals when needed.

Because train travel is much like an extended airplane flight, it’s a good idea for the first time train traveler to bring along some things to ensure a pleasant journey, like:

  • A bag of personal toiletries
  • Loose-fitting, comfortable clothing
  • Travel pillow and throw blanket
  • Bottled water
  • Snacks
  • Entertainment (laptop, e-reader or tablet with movies or video games, magazines, books, a deck of cards or other travel games
  • Earphones
  • Cash (in case you encounter a location where credit cards aren’t accepted)

There are situations when paying more to travel by train – rather than flying with bargain airfare that’s a hurried, inconvenient, uncomfortable hassle – may be the wisest way to spend your vacation dollars (there are, of course, coupons that make travel less expensive as well). Train travel makes “getting there” a part of your vacation itself, and that can make for greater relaxation and a more authentic vacation experience.

Have you traveled by rail?

Bonus Tip:

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