Traveling by rail, not necessarily high-speed rail, doesn’t hold the allure and necessity that it did decades ago. Air travel has become ubiquitous over even short distances. Airfares have become significantly cheaper, and traveling by rail just doesn’t make sense in terms of time economy.
It seems that enjoyable train travel and experiences such as South Africa’s Rovos Rail are one-off rarities that stand as odes to the past. However, for those willing to travel by rail offers a truly magical experience. Not only will you have enough time to catch up on a book or your music, but you also get to stick your head out of the window, smell the clean air, and take in all the beauty.
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Every Trip Is an Immersive Experience
Air travel limits one’s view and visual perspective of nature and the grandeur outside. Windows can’t be opened, and you are limited and confined to some extent in your seat. With trains, more movement is possible and you can open windows. This allows you to feel the different scents and scenes of the areas you pass. Trains pass through both metropolitan and rural or peri-urban areas, thus allowing an all-around visual experience.
You Get a Front-Row Seat to Nature
One of the best parts about traveling by rail is that you get to experience an array of scenic backdrops. You may see wildlife roaming in their natural habitats, streams, and rivers meandering across plains and mountains in the background. This not only makes for a pleasant experience but is also therapeutic.
You Get a Lot More Baggage Allowance
Trains can allow as much as three to five times the normal baggage weight accepted by airlines. You don’t have to worry about your luggage exceeding any weight restrictions, or needing to make an unplanned payment for the extra weight. So if you are traveling in bulk or with a huge party with lots of luggage, trains are not only cheaper, they are also more comfortable and don’t require too much haulage.
There’s a Lot More Legroom on Trains
Trains are much more spacious than cramped airplane cabins. This is ideal for claustrophobic people or folks with way above average height. Many trains also have a table in between some seats, making it easier for you to work on your tablet or laptop or read a book comfortably. You can also move around more freely on a train compared to an airplane.
Rail Networks Are Often More Extensive Than Air Networks
Not all areas are covered by a landing facility for airplanes. For some remote areas, it may be quite difficult to move around, unless by road. Rail networks, on the other hand, are usually more extensive and cover a wider array of remote or difficult to access areas.
Countries are also starting to standardize rail gauges, thereby enabling intra-country travel by rail. An example is the Euro train, where travelers can purchase a single ticket for traveling through 33 countries.
Train Travel Has a Lot Less Hassle and Time Compliance
Security checkpoints are some of the most frustrating parts of the airplane experience. For local rail stations, security, while beefed, is more relaxed than in airports. No need to get to the train station three hours before departure time and move through multiple body scanners and x-ray machines.
Train Travel is a Lot Cheaper Than Air Travel
While air travel is cheaper in terms of long-haul economy, the cost does add up over shorter flights. Train travel is cheaper over both short and long distances. This is especially handy for backpackers who might be traveling on tight budgets.
Train Travel Makes for an Experience Unlike No Other
From spectacular scenery, comfort, economy, and some good old-fashioned charm, train travel holds the key to a rewarding travel experience. Social traveling groups can chat and have a good time in train cabins compared to squeezed airplanes. Your journey on a train would be the perfect opportunity to pick up a conversation with a friendly stranger.