Choosing to train instead of plane is a powerful way for you to reduce your environmental impact and shrink your carbon footprint. You can cut your CO2 emissions in half by choosing the train, and by drastically more if it's a short trip. For example, the EuroStar train between London and Paris generates a 91% CO2 reduction over flying, according to independent research.
Lining up for airport security is one of the biggest pain-points associated with air travel. With most airlines advising you to arrive 2hr prior to your flight, they also add a big chunk of time on to your overall travel duration. Train travel definitely holds the trump card in this category. When traveling by train, there's no need to arrive at the station more than 30 minutes prior to departure. You can usually head straight to your platform and board your train without needing to unpack and repack your bag, or remove your belt and boots.
Most airports are located on the outskirts of major cities (or even further away), while train stations are usually in the heart of the city. This means that you can spare yourself the ordeal of figuring out and organising further travel by subway or bus into the city center from the airport. Furthermore, once you add the time for traveling to the airport onto the overall flight time, the difference in total travel duration between train and air travel starts to even out. Flying will often take the same amount of time door-to-door, but you will spend much of that time waiting in lines and hopping on and off various forms of transport. A straight shot by train will leave you feeling much more relaxed and stress free on arrival, making for a more pleasant visit.
Train seats provide more legroom than plane seats, and you have the added advantage of being able to walk around whenever you want to - not just when the captain turns the seatbelt sign off. If you travel in off peak times, it's highly likely that you will have a spare seat next to you too - which has become a rarity in the air travel industry.
If you're not a big fan of airline food, there's probably a very good reason for that - your perception of saltiness and sweetness decreases at altitude, which airlines usually compensate for by piling on the sugar and salt. Add to this the fact that airline meals are frozen and reheated, and it's little wonder they are often unappetising. Thankfully, this isn't a problem on many of the world's trains, with many operators serving high quality regional and local meals on board.
On the other hand, if you don’t feel like spending money buying food on board, you can bring your own along. Passengers are always allowed to take their own food and drink on board trains across Europe, so pack your own picnic!
With reliable mobile phone coverage it's easy to stay connected when travelling by train. Plus, almost all modern trains have plug-sockets at your seat, making it easy to recharge your devices before your next destination. Many trains also now have wifi coverage so it’s easy to work, stay updated on social media and keep on top of your emails.
Once on the train, children can move around more freely than on a plane, and you’ll have the space to pack all of the extra little things they want or need. As an extra bonus, many rail companies allow children up to four years old to travel for free if they don't require their own seat.
Riding the rails means that you’re freer to pack what you want, as luggage restrictions are more flexible than on planes. There are usually no extra baggage charges, and seat booking fees are very reasonable. You also won't get stung for extra fees at the last minute like is often the practice of budget airlines, which means train travel wins this category hands down.