Are Trains Better Than Planes? Exploring the pros of rail travel in Europe over budget airlines.
There has been a lot of hype lately about train travel and I have seen a huge rise in backpackers and travellers opting to journey by train in Europe over flying despite seeing some recent drops in air fares. But why are people choosing to take a slower mode of travel over a fast and reliable (most of the time) mode of transport? I take a look at the top five reasons why people like myself are opting to travel in Europe by train than by aeroplane.
It is more convenient
While train travel can never compete with flying for international travel, travelling via train in Europe is becoming the most convenient mode of transport for leisure travellers and business travellers. Why? Because it often takes you directly from city center to city center without the fuss or hassle of travelling to the airport, passing through security and then often travelling further on the other side. Plus you can turn up just a few minutes before you depart so there is no hanging around at airports for two hours prior to your flight!
Also if you are like me, nothing gets you more stressed out before flying then making sure your suitcase is the correct weight, height and width for budget airlines regulations and ensuring your toiletries are all the correct measurements! The benefit of train travel is that most train providers do not carry a restricted luggage policy allowing you to take on any shape or size bag, as heavy as you want and with as many toiletries as you want!
It is comfier
I have yet to take a train journey where I was as squashed or as uncomfortable as I have been when I fly. Every single train journey I have taken in Europe (and outside) have provided me with plenty of leg space and a wide enough chair that I am not squished next to my fellow passenger (with the exception of commuter trains in London! They suck!) You are also able to freely walk around, up and down the train as much as you please without disturbing anyone. Plus you’ll find less wait for the toilet!
It is cheaper
While you can still grab a bargain flight with a few budget airlines, most long term travellers find that purchasing a Eurail Card for example, is much cheaper than purchasing multiple flights around the continent. It certainly provides better value for money, although note that purchasing your rail pass months in advance may save you even more cash, since some train companies are now issuing last minute rail passes that are on par to flight prices. But once you add up the costs of luggage many still opt for the flexibility and ease of taking a train for the points above!
It is tons more flexible
There have been a number of occasions when I wished I had purchased a flexi fare on my flights. In almost all occasions, changing my flight date or route would cost almost if not more then the original ticket cost. Eurail passes or similar give you the flexibility that you can travel on any day you want. Decide to stay in a city for longer? Not a problem! As long as you are still travelling inside the validity of the pass you can choose what route you want, what day you travel and the time.
You can stay connected
This is a feature I love about travelling by train. Not only can I often find a seat with a spacious table, but more and more trains are providing power sockets, USB charging points and free wifi, which allows me to work on the go saving money and working hours lost when I fly. I have found airports to charge extortionate rates for wifi in the terminals and it is often very slow, unless of course you pay for lounge access when the wifi is not only better but you can enjoy a leisurely drink of champagne and far comfier seats! I
However I have noticed some airlines are adding on board wifi which is great, but I think the added comfort, space and charging points in the train still far out weighs taking the train over flying. Sorry easyjet!