5 Reasons To Travel By Train In Europe

Trudy sums up 5 reasons that you should consider travelling by train when in Europe.

If I had the choice I would make every journey by train. As the technology improves and the high speed trains become ever more like something from a science fiction movie Tom and I continue to dream of zipping between Europe and The States (think Paris to New York in a matter of hours on some super fast futuristic train). For now though we need to make do with our beloved train travel just throughout Europe.

I will always opt for the train and here are 5 reasons why I think train travel beats plane travel.

1. Time

Yes, looking at a flight time it may seem faster to jump on a quick flight but have you factored in how long it takes you to get to the airport; check in; go through customs then sit at the gate in uncomfortable seats while you wait to board? Many airports are actually situated quite some way from the city centre so don’t forget to factor in transport to AND from the airport to figure out your full travel time. Air planes are often more susceptible to delays than trains as well, in my experience anyway!

There is something so wonderful about rocking up at the train station, sitting down and not having to go through check in or security – ahhh so relaxing!

2. Cost

Again, it’s worth taking the time to add up the full cost of your travel. I’m planning a trip to London in November and because budget is always a consideration for us I decided to look at three different options – bus, train and plane. There was a sale on EasyJet so at first glance it appeared that would be the cheapest way but I decided to plot it all out to make sure.

Now the bus from Rotterdam to London takes 11 hours so that was already a huge disadvantage but even disregarding travel time this is what I was looking at:

Train – Thalys $$$ Plane – EasyJet $$$ Bus – MegaBus $$$
Return Rotterdam Blaak – London St Pancras €100 Flight: Schipol Airport – London Stanstead Return €75 Return Ticket Amsterdam – London €37.70
Train Ticket to Schipol Airport Return €13.20 Train Ticket to Amsterdam Return €16.40
Bus Ticket from Stanstead to Central London -Return €18.90
Total €100 €107.10 €54.10

For not even half the price, I definitely don’t think it’s worth taking the 11 hour bus and the train actual ends up cheaper than an EasyJet Flight!

If you factor in comfort, price and time train is clearly the best option here.

3. No Baggage Restrictions

Because we all know how picky those budget airlines can be! If I want to have a bottle of water in my handbag, I don’t need to throw it away!

4. Comfort

Trains are always so much more comfortable than sitting in a cramped budget airline flight. Thalys is a great example of this, I’ve only ever travelled second class with their trains in Europe and I can tell you they boast sumptuous velvet armchairs, eating lounges and even power points! Sitting in an armchair watching the French countryside flash by is also incredibly romantic.

5. Carbon Footprint

Most importantly the carbon footprint that you leave on our beautiful Earth can be reduced from 50-90% when you choose to travel by train over plane. I’ve been trying to do some research as to just how much it is reduced and the information I found all varies but what it does agree on is that the impact to the environment when choosing to travel by train is remarkably less.

I found this site to be quite fascinating – you can add in all the variables of your journey and it compares the different impacts your journey will have on the Earth. I only wish I understood the science a little more.

So those are my arguments for why train travel is better than plane travel and when it is feasible I will always choose the train.

Even though in my example used above the train ended up being cheaper, if the train option happened to be a bit more expensive, if it’s still within my budget it is always something I will try to choose over a flight.

Do you agree? When possible do you travel by train?

19 Responses to “5 Reasons To Travel By Train In Europe”

  1. Laurence says:

    I love train travel, as long as the train isn’t overcrowded, although that seems to be more a British thing than a European thing. It’s so nice just to be able to get on and relax and enjoy the countryside whizzing by. Plus you feel like less of a cattle herd compared to flying 😉

  2. Vera says:

    Cool post! …It’s very true that often you don’t save time or money by taking a plane over a train. And on a train you can walk around, switch seats (if it’s not crowded), get an impression of the country-side you’re travelling through, and how it changes, depending on where you’re headed. Also, weeing on a train is far more adventurous than weeing on a plane! And over-night trains are brilliant!

    • Tom says:

      Haha, weeing on a train is definitely more exciting 😛

      I love trains as well (this is Tom here btw :D) – I reckon you really feel like you’re travelling when you’re on a train and the countryside is whizzing by.

  3. Rohan says:

    Great article and totally agree!
    After flying from Aus to London Renee and I decided to take trains for the rest of our trip. Large comfy seats, easy to get to, power points on all seats so I could charge my phone. Best way to travel across Europe!

    • Tom says:

      Yeah, training in Europe is niiiice 🙂 Nice of you to stop by Rohan! I hope you and Renee are having a blast on your EuroTrip. I was so bummed we didn’t get a chance to catch up in Amsterdam :-/

  4. Audrey says:

    I love train travel but I haven’t tried it in Europe yet. I always end up paying for a cheap flight, but I’d love to see the countryside as I travel, so I may need to correct that in the future. 😉

  5. I enjoy travelling by trains. I love the scenery behind the window. You should try to travel from China to Lhasa (Tibet), the view is spectacular and the price is much cheaper than flights. Great post.

  6. I love train travel so much. It’s probably my favorite way to travel. I absolutely love just sitting and watching the scenery go by and I feel that you see better countryside from a train because when you are in a car you just see the road and the other cars around you. From a train you tend to see more nature and beautiful little towns.
    Also, trains are so comfortable. When Lee and I were going across Canada we were on a train for 35 hours and we didn’t really mind because we had lots of room and it was comfy.

  7. Danyelle Franciosa says:

    Traveling by trains is really fun. You can see many beautiful views of nature. If I will have to choose between a train and car I will definitely choose to ride on trains.

  8. Diego says:

    You forgot to mention that the train ride from rotterdam to london takes 3.5 hours on train so it’s a big difference from going on bus! I will definetly use the train to travel through europe!!

  9. sarah says:

    my partner and i are planning to go traveling in europe for 2 months in apr, then heading over to Aus for a month. we are thinking of purchasing the Interrail ticket. does this include travel on local lines for travel between towns ( in the EU) or just the main rail lines between big cities??
    sarah – uk resid

    • Tom says:

      Hey Sarah! Thanks for stopping in 🙂 The Interrail and EURail passes are for the national railways for each country, so yep, they are good for local lines and between towns as well as the longer international trips! To check each country specifically have a look at this: http://www.interrail.eu/countries

  10. Jack says:

    i’m planning on going to Europe for a couple of weeks in the summer and was wondering if a interrail pass would be a good idea or to just book individual train tickets, which would be cheaper?
    i’m thinking of going to 3 countries

    • Tom says:

      Hey Jack! You have a couple of different options, it depends a little on which 3 countries you plan on visiting. If you’re going to Germany, for example, definitely go for a German specific railpass as they hardly use buses at all and the trains are mega expensive (but more bearable with a pass). If you’re visiting a country like Spain, where the bus system is really good you might want to opt for buses there as they are reasonably priced and cheaper than trains. Or to keep things easy just grab a global pass and train the 3 countries to your hearts desire 😉

      To address your question specifically, it depends again on the country (I know that’s not the best answer but it’s really true!). Do some quick research by going onto the country’s national rail website and checking the prices for some individual tickets. Then do a bit of math and see if an interrail pass will be more beneficial for you. If you plan on moving around a LOT in each of the 3 countries then a pass can be a great option.

      • Jack says:

        Thanks alot Tom!
        I think i’m going to opt for a global pass, i’m planning on going to Germany, Italy and France and would love it if you could give me a really good place to visit in France. I have Paris obviously but can’t think of anywhere else that really takes my fancy??

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