5 Advantages of Traveling by Train in the US

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As a traveler, you’ve got a lot of choices these days when it comes to the mode of transport you’re actually going to take. We’ve come a long way since the horse and cart, and the world has gradually got smaller and smaller as a result. There are advantages and disadvantages with every possible way you can get from A to B, but when push comes to shove, is there really anything better than taking a train?

Train travel is awesome – end of discussion!

Train travel is awesome – end of discussion!

Ever since we first put a steam engine on rails and made it go, we’ve been captivated by locomotives. There’s something inherently romantic about them, and even in the golden age of flight and on the cusp of the next leap forward in transport technology, humankind will continue to have a love affair with railways. And with loads of routes to choose from, even if you want to go from Chicago to Flint, you’ll surely find something to suit. Travel experts Agness and Cez take us through the advantages of traveling the US by train.

Comfort

It really doesn’t get much better than train travel for comfort. OK, we’re not talking about those ancient carriages with hard wooden seats here, modern trains can be so comfortable it’s like you’re traveling in your own living room! You’re likely to have much more space to stretch out as the seats aren’t built on top of each other like on an aircraft or bus.

Train stations can be beautiful places

Train stations can be beautiful places

And not only that, the transport itself is much less likely to cause you any physical upset. Turbulence in the air can be a problem for many people, and driving for several miles on twisty, winding roads will have you reaching for a paper bag in no time. And with sleeping and dining cars aboard, it’s a no-brainer when it comes to traveling in comfort and style – trains win hands down.

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Timing

Anyone who’s ever taken a flight will know that it can be a huge hassle actually getting onto the plane. Queues at the check-in desk, queues to get through security, queues to get a cup of coffee, queues to get into the departure lounge. Queues upon queues upon queues! One of the huge advantages of train travel is that for the most part – none of that exists!

Description: An empty platform – total bliss!

Which means that you can pretty much turn up to a platform at any time and simply board the train. No need to book months in advance, no need to leave several hours before your departure time, no need to do a yoga retreat just for all the stress it caused you! There are a freedom and flexibility you have with train travel that you just don’t get with anything else. Well, maybe on a bus. We’ll concede that one.

Price

We know that traveling by rail isn’t the cheapest option (unless of course, you’re risking jail, death or injury by train hopping) but it’s usually more budget-friendly than flying. Children go free on some routes around the US too, and you can always find great deals if you’re willing to scratch the surface and you’re flexible with your schedule.

Hitching a ride on a freight train is not eTramping approved!

Hitching a ride on a freight train is not eTramping approved!

Another advantage to factor in is there are no hidden fees, so the price you see is the price you pay. This is particularly useful if you’re traveling with a lot of luggage, as you won’t get slapped with hefty extra-baggage charges. That’s certainly a pet peeve when it comes to flying, especially if you’re trying to ship back hundreds of essential souvenirs stuffed into several suitcases!

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The beautiful scenery

Just as trains beat out the opposition when it comes to comfort, so they do when it comes to scenery. Train routes all over the world are famous for taking you through some stunning, often untouched landscapes (save from the tracks themselves) to places people rarely see. Every natural feature you can think of can be seen from some of the great train journeys of the world – and there’s plenty of them in the US.

A route in California. If that doesn’t make you want to board, we don’t know what will!

A route to California. If that doesn’t make you want to board, we don’t know what will!

The view from your seat window is wide and spacious, and many trains come with a viewing car, so you can take in the world from a near-panoramic vista. While there are some amazing road trips to be had across the US, you’re going to be concentrating on the driving or trying to see over several people’s heads on a bus. And anything you do manage to see on a plane is out of a tiny, pokey little window! For the sheer, relaxed enjoyment of watching the world go by – nothing is better than a train journey.

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The possible romance!

There’s no doubt about it, there’s something in the air when it comes to the whole package of train travel. Countless songs, books, and movies and been written about the sheer nostalgia and romance that boarding a train somehow sparks deep within us. Even if you’re only going a short distance or on a regular route, you can’t deny that fuzzy feeling you get from traveling by rail!

“What’s the fascination with lovers at the station?” A rhetorical question from British rock band, Elbow

“What’s the fascination with lovers at the station?” A rhetorical question from British rock band, Elbow

Perhaps it’s because of the history of the railways that it elicits such a powerfully emotive response, but you certainly don’t get one iota of that feeling in an airport or a bus depot. All you need to do to find it is step onto a train station platform shortly before departure. Yes, we know we’re being a bit touchy-feely here – but it really is magical.

All Aboard!

There you have it, folks, five solid reasons why you should choose a train over any other form of transport, and we haven’t even mentioned anything to do with how environmentally friendly it is too! Anyway, it’s all food for thought the next time you’re planning a trip across the US. But trust us, you could sure do a heck-of-a-lot worse than taking a train.

Agnes and Cez

Agnes and Cez

Guest Authors

Howdy from Agness and Cez who are creators of eTramping – a travel blog packed with plenty of useful tips on how to travel intensively while having unique experiences and collecting unforgettable memories. These two have visited over 50 countries since 2011 and they are not planning to stop with their upcoming journey across Europe, South America, and Antartica.

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