I have traveled two month long Eurotrips solely by train and I have gotta say that I am a big, BIG fan of train travel. Here are a few reasons why:

1) Location. Location. Location.

Train stations drop you smack in the middle of the city. I have yet to encounter a train station that puts you out in the ‘burbs, With an airport, it could take you an hour and a wad of cash to get anywhere of interest.

2) Selection

Sure you can go to major cities on flights, but what about the picturesque smaller places? Your choices are car and train, that simple.

Interlaken, Switzerland – try finding an international flight that drops you at this spot

3) Luggage

Trains don’t have luggage allowances, at least in my experience. There is no one sitting there measuring or weighing, just hop on the train and find a place for all your crap.

my first ever overnight train from Budapest to Prague

4) Seating

Some seats require reservations, some don’t. It all depends on which company, where to, etc. But that’s not my point. See those special seats in the background of the photo where four people can face each other? They are awesome – particularly since I always seem to be in a group of four. It makes conversing, playing games, drinking (see #5) more convenient and the ride more enjoyable. Additionally, seats are larger and provide more room than an airplane.

typical DB Bahn ICE 2nd Class Cabin Photo Credit | Photo Credit

5) Drinking

Why yes, yes you can BYOB and drink on trains. Someone told me it is actually not allowed, but after countless train trips problem-free, I partake complete unconcerned. Train trips can be long, so why not have some fun with it. We even once encountered a Bachelor Party who brought along several cases.

When I’m rich and engaged (two things that are not even fathomable right now), I will take all my bridesmaids to Europe and the party will begin on a train from Munich to some unknown location in Eastern Europe.

6) Night Trains

You mean you can go to sleep on one train and wake up in another faraway land? If you are a diva, you will probably HATE overnight trains so don’t even bother. I love them though.

Look how excited we are! Berlin to Copenhagen

7) Time Tables 

Do you want to leave at 8 am? Or did you party the night before and are thinking a noon departure sounds better? Oh heck, lets decide in the morning, because with trains, you can! There is usually a huge selection of route times and travel times to get you wherever you want to go.

Eurail 2011 Time Table Catalog

8) Train Stations Rule!

Stations are rarely a sight for sore eyes and always historical. You know what also rules? People watching.

São Bento Train Station, Porto, Portgual | Photo Credit

9) No Security, Therefore No Early Arrival Necessary

What! I don’t have to be at the train station 2-3 hours before the departure time? I don’t have to go through security? You mean I just walk on? I cannot emphasize the joy in this enough.

10) Cost

Train companies offer all sorts of deals. Whether you go for a rail pass (i.e., Eurail or Interrail), single trip tickets, weekend passes, or a frequent traveler card, train prices are competitive with other travel options, such as flying and driving (buses will be cheaper). Watch the train sites just like you would check an airline site for special deals, they’re alway there and changing.

Bonus Points for Train Travel

– environmentally friendly
– always free to “move about the cabin”
– reduced motion sickness (compared to cars, at least)
– trains are (almost) always right on time

What do you like (or dislike) about train travel?

  • elz

    ok, i am really really glad you posted this today because it has inspired me to check out cheap tickets. i love traveling by train, but sometimes the regular, inter-country tickets can be expensive compared to cheap airline deals, or driving (since PAB has a company car). BUT trains are awesome for all of the reasons you listed above, and I believe most allow dogs which is a major plus for us too.

    I need to start checking the deals more often & booking trips to all the "smaller" destinations when good prices pop up.

    thanks for such an inspiring post! oh, and i have a question: night trains, do you have a "locked" cabin, like, is your luggage safe while you are sleeping?

  • musingsofheather

    That looks like so much fun!! I wish I lived overseas and could travel by train! Great post!

  • Nikskie

    oh, i love train ride too!!!!
    it's my favorite so far. i love love love it.

  • Katherine

    ugghh – I Looooove train travel! It's so unfortunate that it is not a feasible option in the US. It is one of the best things about backpacking Europe; and it's so easy – after one train you got it down!

  • Alyx

    I love train travel, but hate how long it takes to go anywhere.
    It also sucks that tickets are getting more and more expensive.
    A lot of times I can travel somewhere with Ryanair way cheaper than I can by train.

  • Alex Butts

    I am not positive, but if I remember correctly you can lock your door. The good thing is your luggage is usually right under your bed or right above your bed, so I never worried about it much!

    There are always 30€ or something train deals from Karlsruhe to Amsterdam that I'm SO tempted by.

  • kimberly rae

    omg, i love this! i grew up in florida and we dont.have.trains. … anywhere!! the only train tracks you see are for cargo trains. imagine my delight when i moved to NYC and realized all the destinations i could get to from right here. i think my first train trip was to boston and i was instantly in love … for all the reasons you mentioned! however, like alyx pointed out, tickets are redonk! to go from nyc — > boston it's $130 one way! that's more expensive than a flight and a bus ticket is $1 on the megabus! what the heck! one of my collegues is afraid of flying (and also just a big man!) but he's from new orleans so he takes the train from NYC to new orleans every year for spring break. that's 24 hours on a train! are you kidding? i dont think even i could do that!

    i really just want to go to europe and ride the train through every country. let's find someone who will both pay for my ticket and pay me to do so, that's feasible right? hehehe

    have a good day!

  • Leanna Vera

    I started traveling by train last year and I absolutely love it! If you book early enough you can usually get a good deal. I'm notorious for buying a half bottle of wine and drinking it by myself whenever I take the Amtrak! haha

  • Barbara

    I couldn't agree more with everything you said!! I took a trip a couple of years ago from Frankfurt, through Heidelberg and down to Switzerland (including to Interlaken!) all by train and it was fantastic. So convenient, especially being dropped in the city centre every time!
    P.S. yes, punting is like boating! Don't worry, I'd never heard of it either until the day I got there – it must be a British thing haha

  • Jenni Austria Germany

    i agree with every single one of these!
    this is such a great post. i just might have to link it. 😉

  • TriGirl

    Oh man, I so want to travel by train now. But, I feel like it is better in Europe than North America. So now I want to fly to Europe so I can get on a train 😀
    Stopping by from the Not Mommy Hop.

  • Ada

    I always wanted to get a Eurail pass and do the whole backpacking around Europe thing. Haven't gotten to it yet, but this post is excellent inspiration. I love train travel!

  • Bailey@Lost&Found

    You just got me way too excited! I think i'm going to love the train! I may be calling you for advice on this subject after I get to Germany! Plus, we're going to have to meet up anyway!

  • lilywanderlust

    I love traveling by train, the bachelorette party is a fun idea too. The longest ride I've been on was from Helsinki to the arctic circle of Finland. Cool blog by the way, I was also an au pair in Holland where I now live with my boyfriend. What an adventure! :)

  • Katie @ Chicken Noodle Gravy

    Alex, this looks like so much fun. I can't even tell you how much I'd love to travel by train. And your ten reasons gave me even more reason to want to go to Europe and make it happen.

    Fun post! Thanks for linking up with Not Mommy Hop.

  • Alex Butts

    Wow! Did you get to see the northern lights? That is something I would definitely love to do. I can't believe you were an au pair! So neat, can't wait to read more from you on your blog!

  • Alex Butts

    Oh my gosh we definitely need to meet up! Hurry and get here!

  • Alex Butts

    I've never been on a train in the U.S. but hope I can get up to the northeast and have a train riding, city hopping adventure!

  • Alex Butts

    WHO KNEW YOU COULD TRAIN NYC TO NOLA? That is nuts! Homeboy needs to conquer his fear. And if you find someone to pay for that ticket, see if they can throw in an extra for me 😉

  • Simply Valorie

    There is NOTHING to dislike about train travel! It's the best! It's why I wish I lived in Europe – it would be so great. Every time I've been to Europe (last time to Prague and Munich) I always looked forward to those train trips – so much more relaxing and classy than airplane travel.

    I found your blog today though Adventures of an American Girl and I'm totally a new follower. :)

  • Susi

    I so agree with you about train travels, and getting right into the city centre. I love that. AND, it's nice to see someone else who lives the small places. I don't even like big cities, I prefer to go out in the country. I'm going to England soon and I'm so happy to not have to go through London this time!

  • ashley // chasing heartbeats

    i heart the train… even if sometimes the deutsche bahn is real overpriced :(
    and Baden Baden train station is way outside of town. but right across from a pretty awesome bowling alley :) just in case you were wondering. or like to bowl.

  • Vanisha @ Vanishas Life In…Australia

    I've done train travel but nothing overnight, the most has been about 12 hours. Long train rides across Europe are now something I want to do thanks for this post!

  • Alex Butts

    12 hours not overnight? Holy moly! I've done overnights shorter. My longest ride was 14 hours I think from Prague to Amsterdam

  • Alex Butts

    I've actually been a couple time since it is so close and it is WAY out of town. What the heck? I think and friend and me will go to Baden-Baden soon and be brave and try the baths, if so, post definitely to come.

  • Courtney B

    WOW! I want to travel to Europe someday and when I do? I will definitely be taking train rides to certain destinations! What a FUN experience!

  • ashley // chasing heartbeats

    the caracalla is amazing… and everyone there is fully clothed fyi (if that is what you meant by being brave) it is really relaxing and nice. The friedrichsbad on the other hand are the naked baths, but also really nice and relaxing if you are comfortable. I went with some girlfriends and I loved it because it was super pampering, they offer a full body scrub…. but my one friend freaked out a bit when it came to the co-ed pool (there is only one).

  • Miyan

    i love train travel too! so convienient, promt and budget friendly. especially when you live in a country where gas = $8/ gallon! yikes…


  • Michelle (Confessed Travelholic)

    One of the first times I was on a train in Germany, I remember seeing a bunch of drunk guys drinking at 11 am. My German friend said that this was completely normal, haha.

    Anyway, I just stumbled across your blog, and I'm definitely a new follower! I love Germany, and am planning on moving there in about 6 months! :)

  • http://www.truecoloursblog.com Casey

    I love traveling on trains, especially in Europe! So efficient and easy!

  • Dana

    Just FYI, “hybrid” is misspelled in your banner.

    • http://speaking-denglish.com/ Alex, Denglish Speaker

      Ah, dang typos. Thank you Dana for point that out. Fixing now…

  • http://emthennowwhen.blogspot.com/ Emily

    Alex! Loving your blog change! Great move :)

    • http://speaking-denglish.com/ Alex, Denglish Speaker

      Thank you, Emily, that means a lot!

  • Tilman Baumann

    My dream. Take a train into Russia one day.
    Night trains are amazing.

    Best trains are the Swiss, where even kattle-clsss regional trains are luxurious. (In car service and push seats)

    What I hate on trains. People partying. Henns Nights, Bachelors Parties and Football fans are the worst things you can encounter on trains. (Yes I’m talking to YOU!)

    My favourite thing to do on a train. Get a seat reservation for the price of a beer and then sit in the bistro carriage for the duration of the trip.

    • http://speaking-denglish.com/ Alex, Denglish Speaker

      We try to keep the partying to our own private cabins, we shouldn’t bother you too much :)

  • HippieInHeels

    niceeee I posted about train travel today too! Train travel trumps basically everything. I like your new blog set up. It took me a second to see what happened because on bloglovin’ I though, hmm I don’t remember following this blog! Glad I didn’t unfollow :)

  • http://theannabelleblog.com/ Anna Belle

    I agree 100% – and nothing is worse than the lame airports that service easyjet or ryanair that are way out in the country and have no amenities for your 2 hour wait. Trains are so much easier!!

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  • Laurel L. Russwurm

    Train travel could be great in North America too, but for the most part governments here prefer to subsidize roads and keep gas prices artificially low rather than committing to public transportation.

    I love trains. #wishiwasthere