Train travel

Should You Consider Traveling By Train Instead of By Plane?

If there’s one aspect of traveling that can really put a damper on the experience, it’s the stress and frustration of dealing with airports. They are often crowded, the food is usually overpriced and mediocre, and going through security is a pain. Air travel generally involves spending long hours sitting in airports, where access to electrical outlets is limited, cellular data networks are congested and sometimes fail, and free Wi-Fi is nowhere to be found. And the experience is not much better once you get in the air; seat sizes have been steadily decreasing over the years to fit more people onto planes, in-flight entertainment options are usually limited, and meals are generally limited to bags of chips and small cups of soda. Nevertheless, plane trips are widely regarded as a necessary evil when traveling to sufficiently distant destinations, and are generally more bearable than a long car trip.

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In many cases, however, there is a better way to travel, which is to take a train. There are several benefits to doing so. For instance, the drive to a train station is often much shorter than the one to an airport, and train tickets are nearly universally cheaper than plane tickets. You don’t have to go through security when boarding a train, nor do you have to deal with long waits in airports, and selections for food and beverages are often better. Also, trains happen to be a more environmentally-friendly form of transportation than planes, which have recently been found to pollute more than previously thought, and cell phone reception on trains is generally better than at airports and in the air. Of course, for sufficiently long distances, taking a plane can be your only option, but for a trip that would take one hour by plane it may be a better idea to take a five-hour long train trip when all factors are taken into consideration.

The quality of the time you spend on a train is often better than the time you spend in the air travel process, as you often have more legroom and opportunities for relaxation or work.

One such factor is the hidden additional time it takes to fly beyond the time spent in the air. Regardless of how long your trip to the airport is, you generally have to wait at least a few hours in the airport before boarding the plane, and it’s always recommended to arrive extra early as a precaution. The disembarking process also takes time, as you find your luggage while navigating an unfamiliar airport, and then you’ll often have to wait to be picked up by a taxi service or a relative. All of this time adds up, and a one-hour flight can quickly become a five-hour affair, making a train trip of similar duration more appealing. Furthermore, the quality of the time you spend on a train is often better than the time you spend in the air travel process, as you often have more legroom and opportunities for relaxation or work.

The New York Times writer Elaine Glusac compared details of traveling between various popular Americans cities by train and by plane in order to test the theory that train trips are often more desirable than plane trips. Her results, surprisingly, argued that for many trips we tend to imagine as necessitating air travel, trains were a superior form of transport. The trip from Boston to New York City, for instance, is both cheaper and faster by train than by airplane, as is the trip from New York City to Washington. The trip from Boston to Washington, however, is a better deal by plane. The trip from Seattle to Vancouver, British Columbia, was recently made easier by the signing of an agreement between the United States and Canada to allow travellers to clear customs and immigration before leaving a country, and taking a train instead of a plane allows travelers to save both time and money on this trip.

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With the advent of the Internet, it’s never been easier to do research on travel opportunities. One popular online resource is Hipmunk, which allows users to input the details of their journey to compare prices and travel times between different airlines and automatically includes details for taking a train instead. Before embarking on any trip, you should look into the various rules and restrictions of your travel method of choice, as both airlines and planes impose limitations on the size and type of luggage you can carry, among other rules. When planning a trip, make sure you take all eventualities into consideration, as a thoroughly-planned trip is much likelier to be a successful one than a spontaneous journey.