Anyone who knows us, or reads our blog often, will know that our style of travel is that of the slow moving kind. As travel nomads we like travel that’s low stress, smooth and allows us to really explore and absorb destinations.
A huge part of this is the mode of transport we choose for travelling to and from each destination. As told in the story of my 954 days of amazing travel around Europe without flying, if we can walk or hitch a ride then this usually takes preference, but for those longer journeys when we have a deadline travel by train is always our first choice. It’s that low key, chilled type of travel that is not only often cheaper, but as travel search engine GoEuro has found, it can also be faster than flying: 2 hours 16 minutes from Paris to London by train, compared to the 3:57 by flight; 2:51 VS 3:50 from Rome to Milan and 2:30 VS 3:35 from Madrid to Barcelona just to name a few.
You might be asking how a train could ever be faster than flying? Firstly Europe’s high speed rail network is outstanding with trains that travel up to 320km/h, but of course this isn’t enough to outspeed a plane. The real time absorber with flying is the commute to the airport, which can add an additional one to two hours to your trip. Then there is the early check in time, which has been increased from one hour to three hours in Brussels since the recent terrorist attacks, explaining why 5 of the 14 routes GoEuro found to be faster involve a transit from Brussels. Beyond this there is then the security checks, boarding, baggage claim and of course the transit back to the city upon arrival.
Just the act of explaining all of the above makes us anxious. Train travel is a favourite of ours as it’s incredibly stress free. When catching the train you simply book your ticket, arrive at your platform and jump aboard, pack away your baggage, locate your seat and relax back into your comfortable seat ready to go. As explained, airports in comparison involve ample more time, and stress. The thought of airports alone makes many people anxious, with 25% of Brits claiming airports are more stressful than moving house!
Travelling by train not only is more sustainable on our environment but also gives you more occasions to enter in contact with locals and their authentic culture! Would you be able to see otherwise local people riding a train on the roof in India? Well that's not happening in Europe, bt you get many chances to discover hidden detaiks you couldn't see otherwise.
The same can also be said for driving. While we personally don't support using the car as a private mean of transportation, there are people finding a beautiful freedom in driving.
But later they would also remember the many moments where navigating a foreign place by car has caused us a lot of stress, especially when trying to find a park in a bustling city!
And that takes us to the real crunch with train travel. As explained by Forbes travel writer Larry Olmsted, the single biggest advantage of train travel is that it takes you from city center to city center. We love sitting in a street side cafe enjoying a cup of tea before strolling to the train station and moving on to our next destination, arriving again in the city center and ready to explore. Amsterdam is one of our favourite train stations, stepping outside you’re immediately welcomed by the beautiful canals, and of course in London and Paris you’re avoiding a huge commute to and from the airport when travelling by train.
One last honorable mention must be made when explaining our love for trains. The view. Trains offer travellers an abundance of rolling landscapes, climbing mountains, sandy sea shores and quaint towns as a visual feast to absorb whilst on the move. As they say, life is not about the destination, but the journey itself. The joy of train travel is a perfect example of this.
Disclaimer: This article was sponsored by GoEuro, the search engine to compare cheap overland travel options almost everywhere in Europe