Train travel holds a special allure. There you sit in a comfortable chair, facing a large window, watching the beautiful scenery roll by. A waiter passes by and brings you drinks and food. Your room is mere steps away – no driving, no packing and unpacking. When it’s time for bed, the gentle rumble lulls you to sleep.
While train travel has certainly changed over the years, it still draws people as a way to get from point A to point B or simply for sightseeing. From standard trains to luxury liners, options abound for travelers wanting to take to the rails.
- It’s a great way to see the land without the hassle of driving – i.e. no gas, no traffic, no parking and no danger of driving off the road because you’re looking at a herd of elk instead of the road ahead!
- Some trains travel through areas you can’t see any other way (i.e. mountain passes, remote areas).
- Train travel can be cheaper than other modes of transportation.
- Traveling by train means everything is in one place – your room, meals, etc.
- There are also immeasurable benefits, such as history and nostalgia, which draw travelers to trains.
Planning Your Trip:
- Decide on what you’re seeking – i.e. a cheap way to travel Europe, a luxury train experience, a historical experience, or an abundance of scenic nature and wildlife. There are train travel options to meet all those desires and more. The links below will help get your research started. Think about what amenities are most important to you too, such as dining options and the comfort of sleeping compartments.
- Once you’ve narrowed things down, you can consider other aspects, such as where the train passes through by day and where it passes through by night. This will impact what you see. If you’re interested in learning about the areas you’ll be passing through, find out if there are onboard guides or brochures, or begin your own research online or at the library. Like cruises, some trains focused on experience offer off-train excursions – another consideration when choosing which operator to travel with.
- If you want to find the best deal, look for discounts, such as age-related discounts or discounts for booking early or going last minute. Don’t forget to visit AARP’s Discounts & Benefits page. You can also save by traveling in the off-season. Off-seasons vary by location, but it often means avoiding the busy summer months when kids are on break.
If you’ve always dreamed of a train-based vacation or are already hooked and looking for your next great rail adventure, 2014 is your year and the perfect time to add a fun trip to your New Year’s resolutions!