One of my favorite things to do is travel. Domestic or international travel is good in my book, as long as I get to visit new places, try new things and be inspired by different locales.
If you are traveling without a car, there is a very good chance that you will be using the train system. Navigating a train system can exhausting, especially if it is in another country. But don’t fret, you can come out on top by becoming a train afficiando.
First, figure out what trains are available. In Europe, most countries have their own public transit system. It usually can go into neighboring countries, but most functions within itself. In addition to public trains, some countries that have privatized train systems. While it might seem complicated to compare two train systems, this can actually be to your advantage. More competition for customers will create competitive prices, which can mean extra dollars in your pocket.
In addition to international trains, most big cities will offer a metro system (technically a train if you think about it). The metro will give travelers a great way to get around the city with many stops throughout. Train availability is dependent on country and location. For example, traveling by train through Italy is ideal, until you get to the small hill towns in Tuscany. You will have to use other forms of transit throughout that region.
Next, you need to figure out the options to purchase the train tickets. Thankfully, most developed countries will offer train sales online. Sure, you can buy train tickets at the station, but there can be advantages by purchasing in advance. Some train companies will offer discounted fares in advance. Make sure to read the train company’s policy on how to redeem the online train tickets. If you have to purchase your train tickets at the station, give yourself plenty of time to purchase the tickets and to find the platform before the train departs.
When purchasing your train tickets, notice that all train tickets are not alike. Examine travel times, how many stops and the types of trains. Cheaper tickets will be for older and slower trains. If you want nice amenities, be willing to pay for them.
How you plan to travel will greatly impact what kind of train you want. There is sometimes a very big difference between 2nd and 1st class tickets. 2nd class often does not have reserved seating, which means you could potentially stand for the duration of your travels.
For long train excursions, consider booking a sleeper car. In a sleeper car, the seats convert into individual beds, often in bunk style. For an extra cost, you can get a private sleeper with a private toilet. Sleeper cars are ideal for any train travel more than 7 hours.
While it can seem overwhelming, train travel is one of the best ways to see a region. Instead of focusing on the road you can sit back, relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery.