I have always loved trains,so when I happened across some great tips to make the most of a rail trip, I just had to share them with you. I may feel a tad old to go interailing across Europe these days but I still enjoy the thrill of a ride from London to Edinburgh, or an alpine mountain rail journey. If you’ve not considered train travel, these tips for making the most of a rail trip may encourage you to ride those rails.
1. Booking Your Seat
Once you know where you are going, start looking for deals. Booking in advance will be a lot cheaper in many countries and you can find great deals on websites, just like for flights. Sometimes single tickets will be best, but there are times when it will be to your advantage to get a pass. If you are flexible about traveling there will be further savings made as off peak tickets will be a lot cheaper than peak time ones. Make sure that you will be comfortable throughout the journey, and the best way to make the most of a rail trip is to research the levels of comfort in the country you will be traveling in. First class can be very different from place to place, and sometimes first class is what you expect in standard back home.
2. Travel at the Right Time
There can be issues with peak time travel. Carriages will be full and it can be hard to get a seat. It is bound to be noisy and the person next to you could well fall asleep on you or make your journey uncomfortable. Unless you need the security of knowing that the stations you will be using are going to be included in the peak time journey you may be better waiting for a later train. If you have to make changes, try to work out how to get to the right platform and whether or not you will need assistance. Allow for certain countries having animals on board, poor seating and long unexpected delays. Being prepared will help you get the best from a rail trip.
3. At the Station
If there are shops, everything is likely to be more expensive than other places and you might also be expected to pay for access to the rest rooms. Double check the stations you will be going to as there are often numerous stations in a destination. If the language of the country is not one that you are used to, be careful as there could only be a small difference in the names, but they can be a long way away from each other. You may have to use link-up stations to get to where you need to be so allow for this when booking and see if you can get the ticket included. If not, make sure you have coins as there may only be ticket machines available at unattended stations.
4. Paying Extra for First Class
There are advantages to first class as it can be a lot quieter and less crowded, and travelling this way is one of the ways to have a great rail trip. Working will be easier as there is often free WiFi and meals are sometimes included. They will offset the price of the ticket and also prevent you queuing for items you would rather not eat. In some countries it will also prevent you from being hassled by people leaping on the train to sell their home made food.
5. Selecting Where to Sit
Wherever possible reserve a seat. In some cases it’s compulsory – no reservation, no travel. This is true of the TGV in France, but just because you have a seat it does not guarantee you having your luggage close by. Consider if you want to face backwards or forwards and if you want to sit alone. When traveling in a group, a shared table can be fine but can be awkward if you don’t know the others. Make sure you are not in the last carriage if the whole train does not make the full journey.
6. Manners and Etiquette
To get the best from a rail trip, act as you would want others to act. Would you like to end up next to someone eating strong smelling food and making sure everyone hears the music they are listening to or their phone call? If you are loaded with bags don’t expect others to accept you using all the storage space or hitting them with a rucksack.
7. Eating on the Train
There will be different options in different countries and not all will be suitable for you. Eastern countries can offer a lovely meal for the equivalent of a few bucks, yet in Europe you can pay a hefty price for a basic sandwich or greasy burger. In Europe and the United States, it will be best to have your own food just in case as you don’t like the train company’s offering and there are no homemade food sellers. A good meal and peace and quiet will help you make the most of a rail trip.
Commuter travel by train is no fun, but when going on a trip or vacation, it can add something special to the experience. You can sit back and let lovely scenery roll by until you reach your destination. How about you? Do you like train travel? How do you make the most of a train trip?