Years ago I was on a long train ride from Oregon to southern California. On this trip my train hit a semi truck and I have been hesitant to take a long train trip again. I have done numerous short train trips overseas including riding mass transit trains and bullet trains but somehow I could not plan another long train trip in the US. Train travel in the US became a fear.

Recently, my family wanted to do a train trip in Alaska that involved several train segments so I figured it’s time to get over these fears and not worry about it any more. I mean, how often do trains get into an accident?

After many years of avoiding train travel in the US I can see that it does have some advantages over other modes of travel.

What’s good about train travel?

  1. No one in your group has to drive including you! You all just get to stare out the window and enjoy the view. Maybe even cuddle together.
  2. You only have to pack a lunch if you want to. Most trains have snack cars as well as full service dining cars that treat meals like a fancy restaurant.
  3. Depending on the length of your train trip you’ll probably traverse some parts of the country that you can’t see in a car. Parts that only a train can get to.
  4. It’s pretty darn comfortable. There’s more legroom than a car or airplane plus you get to get up and walk around. If you’re lucky like I was on my Alaska train there were whole empty cars to relax in.
  5. If you have kids you don’t have to be confined to a small box, you have a whole train to roam. Maybe you can find a table to play games at or just let them pop up when they get antsy.
  6. There’s almost no lines or waiting to board. It’s easy to get your boarding pass, check your luggage and get on board. It’s easier than TSA unless you have pre-check. Plus, train stations are usually located centrally in a city versus an airport that can be an hour away by car or metro.
  7. Some say train travel is more environmentally friendly than a car or plane so if you care about the environment it might be something to look into.
  8. There’s multiple bathrooms and they aren’t a shoebox. Almost every train car has a restroom and usually you don’t have to wait in line.
  9. It can be cheaper than driving or flying. I know that in Thailand a short train ride cost us 60 cents. You might even be able to get a hop on hop off ticket. I know I did that in Europe and loved all the random stops I made along the way.
  10. In Alaska (and maybe other places) you get open air vestibules. This is great for taking photos or getting some fresh air. Much better than all that recycled air on a plane for 10 hours.

All that said, you can’t take a train across the ocean. So that’s one downside. Another is there are no movie channels but this might also be a positive. I’d highly recommend checking out train travel for your next vacation. You might have a great time and maybe even conquer your fears. Ok, maybe the fear part was just me.

I hope you enjoyed this post that was inspired by the image I always wanted to create on a train. Now, I have some wonderful happy memories that stick out more than the train wreck.

Train travel by Roux Roamer