Travel is something many people strive to do throughout their lives. It’s an adventure, a challenge, an opportunity for growth and discovery. But when the time comes to book that trip you’ve always been wanting to take, will train tickets be the first thing you look for? Will they even be something you consider?
After reading this article, you will understand why we think trains are the most underrated mode of transportation – and why they should be the first thing you think of when you plan a vacation.
It’s not crowded
This is a simple, yet highly underrated reason why train travel is the best travel. Sure, trains are a popular mode of transportation, but it’s nothing compared to air travel or other types of transport.
In fact, the Bureau of Transportation Services reported that a study from 2001 found personal vehicles to be the most popular form of transportation for long-distance trips made by U.S. citizens. Are you scratching your head? Well, keep in mind that they defined long-distance trips as spanning only 50 miles or more, and as the distance increased so did the preference for air travel.
Which is why travel via plane came in second place, followed by bus, then followed by train. They conclude that trains make up less than one percent of total long-distance travel.
This means fewer lines, more space, and less annoying crowds.
And you don’t have to worry about driving! Say goodbye to the copious amounts of coffee keeping you alert at the wheel, to spending money on gas, and to all that added stress.
And say hello to saving money
It’s no surprise that train tickets are cheaper than plane tickets. They offer more kinds of discounts, better deals, and prices that won’t rise and fall by the hundreds based on when you check them.
This will, of course, come with its setbacks. In most cases, trains will take longer than planes to get you where you want to go, but the good it does for your wallet might just convince you that those extra hours in your seat are worth it. After all, you’ll probably spend them kicked back reading a book, or listening to music, or chatting with a loved one. What’s the harm in a little more time to relax? You’ll have plenty of space to stretch your legs, and no annoying turbulence making you sick to your stomach.
Then, when you do arrive at your destination, you’ll have all that extra cash to spend on food, souvenirs, or even more nights at a hotel. So settle in and enjoy the atmosphere.
Train travel has a certain romance to it
Unless you’re used to getting around by metro when most people think trains they think of railroad transportation’s heyday back in the 1880s-1920s. This recalls old-school dining cars filled with nicely dressed people and a haze of cigarette smoke. It’s a far cry from train travel today, but it’s something that will add romantic nostalgia to your trip – much more pleasant and interesting than getting a pat-down by airport security.
Just think about it, most people see transportation as simply a precursor to their vacation. It’s a necessary nuisance, a logistical headache, a pain in the neck. But with train travel, your adventure starts the moment you enter that railcar. Especially if you’re someone who has never traveled by train before, you will already feel like you’re someplace new. You’ll be creating a novel experience and expanding your horizons.
Don’t be afraid to branch out into unknown territory. You’ll be setting a positive mood of adventure that will last for the rest of your travels.
The views can be incredible
Arguably the biggest reason you should consider traveling by train is the sights you will see along the way. There are routes that will take you through mountains, forests, and valleys, offering the best-uninterrupted sights of nature. Some of them go far into the wilderness where signs of human life are few, so animals like bears, mountain lions, and moose are much more likely to be out and about.
Take a look at this list put together by U.S. News of notable train rides hailed for their spectacular views. Unlike a plane that zips you from one place to another where all you see are clouds, a train will let you appreciate the distance you’re traversing. You will actually see just how impressive and diverse the Earth really is.
Seeing all of that beautiful nature, you’ll feel good knowing you’ve chosen the most environmentally friendly option. The environmental benefits of train transport have been widely recognized: The Guardian reports them to save on CO2 emissions compared to cars, even despite a shift towards greener automobiles.
There is so much land in the United States – and abroad – that people don’t often get the chance to see outside of movies. So take the opportunity that train travel provides, and keep your eyes open along the way. You’ll be surprised at the things you can see.
Even though train travel has its own downsides (as all transportation does) hopefully these points have convinced you to give it a shot the next time you’re feeling adventurous. You don’t have to go across the country; grab a friend and tour a neighboring city, make an excuse to visit family a couple of states over. You’ll be glad for the new experience.