Whether you are planning a trip up north, or heading across the channel, chances are, when it comes to booking travel, flying is what automatically springs to mind. And when you plan your journey by plane once or twice, you tend to switch to autopilot (pun intended) and not consider the alternatives. Take the train for example.
Now we may be biased, but for us, when it’s possible, train is the way to go. There are all the silly reasons why… the romantic nature of train travel, the visions of rolling countryside…. But if those aren’t convincing enough, we’ve got some rather practical factoids that might convince you to switch off from autopilot and switch onto the wonders of train travel…
You can keep calm about luggage allowance
There are several reasons why train knocks plane right out of the park when it comes to luggage. Firstly, you don’t have to pay extra for your suitcase – which is a major plus. Next, you’ve got no weight restrictions – so say farewell to awkwardly balancing your case on a dodgy set of scales the night before you travel (and praying that the scales at home were accurate when you arrive at the check-in desk).
You also don’t have to wait around to get your luggage back at the end of your journey – ideal. Of course, not all trains are totally unrestricted. The Eurostar for example, limits you to two pieces of luggage, plus a piece of hand luggage. But that is so much nicer than the 10kg budget airline allowance… am I right?
You can enjoy sweet, sweet internet…
With news stories sending people into a frenzy about whether we’ll soon even be allowed tech in our hand luggage, it’s a relief that this is not an issue for train travel. Bring along as many devices as you wish, with many train routes now allowing you to plug in from the start to the end of your trip.
Wi-Fi is also more readily available than ever before and mobile data is pretty accessible too. So you don’t have to go through the internet withdrawals that flying brings and you can keep your friends up-to-date with snaps and instas of your trip… Now, what’s the perfect filter for that ‘coffee and intellectual book’ shot?
…And carry all the liquids you desire
Staying on the subject of luggage, how good is it to not cram all your liquids into those silly clear plastic bags? You can pack all your creams, liquids and lotions without the fear of them being swabbed or confiscated at security.
You’ll don’t need to hang about for hours
‘You must be there two hours before departure’, the airport overlords cry. But us frequent train travellers can laugh as we perfect our nifty commute from door to train seat in an hour or less. The only hanging about we do is waiting for our Starbucks order to be called (invariably by the wrong name, but that is part of the fun).
We may have to factor in 30 minutes for the Eurostar… but that is something we can live with compared to the security lines that airports bring.
And trying to find a socket isn’t an issue
Did you know? Trainline does mobile tickets? We know that most airlines offer this feature too. But we have the upperhand when it comes to number of plug sockets at your disposal. We’ve all been there. Battling with fellow travellers over the one available plug socket in the departure lounge at the airport. On the other hand, many train stations now have payable chargers for when you are a bit unlucky in the temperamental-battery department. And as we mentioned before, many trains now offer free sockets onboard. So battery worries can be a thing of the past.
Seat-belt sign? What seat-belt sign?
And once you are on the train? The freedom. No fasten seatbelt signs here. No middle seat issues. You can walk freely through the aisles if it takes your fancy without fear of turbulance or drinks trolleys.
And when you arrive, you are there!
And when that train pulls in? You’ll be right in the heart of the action. No security checks. No luggage collections. No airport buses (how annoying are they!?) and no queues. It’s just you, your case and your destination awaiting. It’s glorious. God bless train travel.