Everyone jumps right on a plane when they have a long journey to go, but a train ride might be just as fun. Furthermore, it is immersive, eco-friendly, all in all, the best option for you and the planet.
We find train travel rather romantic. You have the chance to take your time, slow the pace, adopt a slower rhythm and gaze at the window. The greatest advantage if you choose a sleeper train, is that you can fall asleep in one country and wake up in another. You get to know your compartment-mates better, share food, sunrises and sunsets, and even life stories.
It is of course, quicker to fly. A train is an option for those who don’t rush. This means of transportation releases the least amount of greenhouse gases of all forms of transportation. Travelling by train allows you to better understand the connections that exist between places, see the segueing of scenery as cities become suburbs.
If you enjoy luxury and comfort, you’ll be happy to find out that these journeys can be done in style. There are luxe overnighting locos that channel the bygone glamour of the Orient Express or the opulence of a maharaja’s palace, their wood-paneled carriages toting pianos and butlers. But you don’t need such accouterments.
Here are several train routes you will really enjoy:
Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Chicago to San Francisco, USA
Hot desert, snowy mountains and a tonne of tunnels and switchbacks, these will be the wonders you’ll find on your epic 2400-mile journey.
Book early to get better fares. You may even book the ticket one year in advance. The Zephyr leaves Chicago at 2pm daily.
Brisbane to Longreach, Australia
After flirting with the coast the train turns inland to reveal a changing landscape as it heads into the outback. Most of Australia‘s overnight trains are multi-day journeys across the continent, such as the Ghan that runs through Australia’s “Red Centre” between Darwin and Adelaide, and the Indian Pacific that links Perth and Sydney. The Spirit of the Outback, however, is just over a day-long jaunt from Brisbane to Longreach.
How: You can book the tickets online. The train departs Tuesdays at 6.10pm and Saturday at 1.55pm and the journey duration is 26 hours.
Rome to Syracuse, Italy
This overnight loco has to board a boat in order to get from the Italian capital to the historic Sicilian city of Syracuse. Having traced the Calabrian coast, it’s lifted on to a ferry to cross the Straits of Messina, before being lifted back off to continue on its way.
How: There are two sleeper trains that leave Rome nightly at around 9.05pm and 11pm. You can book your tickets online.
Choose the train for your next journey. It will be an enriching experience and the best choice for the environment.