‘I like trains. I like their rhythm, and I like the freedom of being suspended between two places, all anxieties of purpose taken care of: for this moment I know where I am going.’- Anna Funder
Rail holidays are not just holidays that you take on a train; they are an experience by themselves, where you enjoy every single moment and every single sight. The vast expanse of the blue horizon, seemingly never ending farms and grasslands that greet you, and that occasional deer that pops his head out of the tall grass; all this and much more is what awaits you on a rail holiday. We have for you here the top 10 reasons why you must plan a rail holiday the next time you decide to pack your bags for a vacation.
1. Panoramic delights all over
Strapped in your seat with the belt running across your lap aboard an airplane, you would spot an occasional green, blue or a white patch but that’s about it. A train journey lets you feast on the natural beauty which dots the landscape between towns and cities or even within the towns as it passes through rows of buildings and trees, giving you a glimpse into the life of that city. You behold vistas seen previously only on Instagram or travel journals as the train cuts through green pastures and over milky blue lakes.
2. Social journey
A journey that starts from exchanging books and newspapers to even business cards, with rail holidays you’ll spend long hours with fellow travelers, some who are going to the same destination as you and some to destinations that you have either been to already or are on your travel wish list. You get to exchange travel notes, itineraries and even accommodation recommendations from your fellow passengers aboard the train. You can always talk to people on a plane too but it is the warm vibe created by the chugging of a train that makes people feel more relaxed and open to conversations.
Rail holidays run at a leisurely pace and give you a breather as you move from one point of your travel itinerary to the other. The number of formalities you need to complete on a rail holiday are far fewer and less cumbersome than you would have to endure on an all-flight holiday, not to mention the hassle of catching connecting flights. You also get to save a lot of precious travel time since there are no long queues for security checks at the train station.
4. Relax and stretch your muscles
When you feel the need to take a stroll through your train compartment between admiring snow-capped peaks or lakes filled with yachts, you don’t need to look up to check if the seat belt signage is still blinking ominously. You can simply get up and walk! Most short destination train rides give you the flexibility of sitting anywhere in the compartment as long as you have the right ticket ticket. Rail holidays don’t tire out your legs since there is ample legroom; a luxury you enjoy on the plane only if you travel first class.
5. Travel light? Maybe not
A train journey allows you to be a little relaxed as far as your luggage is concerned. There is no restriction on the number or weight of luggage that you can carry. You also don’t need to separate your luggage as per flight travel guidelines which require you to pack certain items in check-in baggage only. Splurge on as many souvenirs as you want since you can take them all with you easily on the train. Loved the doughnuts or bagels in the city you are now? Pack a bagful to relish on your train journey while you sit looking out the window. Make sure you buy sturdy luggage for your rail holiday though.
6. Easy logistics
Most train stations are located right in the center of the town and you save travel time, a commodity that depletes fast when you are on a holiday. If you alight in the heart of the city, your holiday begins immediately rather than after first collecting your luggage and then coming to the city from the airport which is generally on the outskirts of any city. Most travelers are on a tight budget. Savings from expensive cab rides from the airport are always welcome and don’t even get us started on the expensive airport food!
7. Stay connected
A good wi-fi network, charging sockets at your seat and a good mobile network is what you find in almost all trains in Europe, USA and all the countries that have an extensive train network. There is no need for you to take a digital detox and you can stay connected with the rest of the world easily. Upload pictures of the Niagara Falls or the Eiffel Tower right from your seat on the train as you click some more of the scenic views from your train window.
The amount of money you save on your flight tickets that are more expensive than your train tickets can easily be spent on a multitude of things; souvenirs, adding more stops in your rail holiday, eating at plush restaurants and eateries to name a few. You get to save not only on your point to point tickets on your rail holiday but a train pass also lets you explore the country of your holiday with ease. Take the case of the Eurail pass in Europe for instance. There are discounts available for children and elderly members on train services like Amtrak that run in the US.
9. Explore the unexplored
A lot of destinations that you wish to include in your travel itinerary may not have air connectivity and this where a rail holiday scores brownie points. Most locales, even small quaint towns and hamlets today are connected by trains and they give you a chance to have a holiday you have been dreaming about. These untouched and remote places can only be explored when you take rail holidays. In several countries, some regions have a faster and more efficient train services than a flight service.
10. Experience some old-world charm
The clink of silver cutlery against fine bone-china is something you can experience only on a rail holiday. Most overnight trains provide a luxury meal setting complete with uniformed staff. If you are traveling with kids in tow, they will find the whole experience quite fascinating as they sit by the windows wide-eyed and awe-struck by the natural beauty outside.
A rail holiday gives you something which is beyond transportation. The journey becomes a destination in itself, one that creates sweet vacation memories. So when are you planning your next rail holiday?