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If you’re following travel news right now, you’ve probably heard that Europe is packed with tourists, more than usual.
You’ve probably also heard that a large percentage of these tourists are American, and travelers from the United States are flocking to European hotspots in record numbers this summer.
So with a plethora of sights to see and probably only two weeks to see it, the question arises as to how best to get around on a European trip. While low-cost airlines have a strong grip on the travel landscape in Europe, trains remain a popular option, especially among American travelers.
Recent reports have suggested that american travelers they are using trains more than ever to get around Europe on vacation right now. US user downloads of Trainline, Europe’s #1 train ticket booking site, are up 108% this year.
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What is interesting is that a new report from Green Peace has found that the price of traveling by train compared to flying in Europe can cost up to 30 times more. The data indicated that the UK, Belgium, Italy, France and Spain are the countries with the highest prices for train fares compared to plane tickets.
So, since it probably isn’t due to price, why are American travelers choosing trains over flights for their European summer trip this year?
Here are 5 reasons why train travel in Europe is all the rage with Americans this summer:
joy in the journey
One of the main reasons why many prefer to travel by train can be attributed to sustainability as travelers are now more aware of their carbon footprint. In addition to being environmentally conscious, most simply enjoy looking out of their windows at the passing scenery.
Of course, if it’s a long trip, you can get up and walk around, stretch your legs, and go to the dining car to meet the other travelers. Train travel is great for solo travelers for these very reasons, and many train travelers are happy to be there, as opposed to a plane full of miserable people just wanting to get to their destinations.
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No driving required
One of the main advantages of traveling by train is that train stations are often located in the center of a city, getting you from point A to B without having to drive anywhere or figure out expensive public transportation to an airport.
It’s been said that American travelers, especially, are happy to avoid navigating narrow and windy European roads, foreign road signs, and, of course, determining which side of the road to drive on.
Another point here is that Americans don’t really have the train travel culture that many countries have, with Amtrak being expensive and slow. The fact is that Americans generally have to drive anywhere if they want to go somewhere, so taking time off is a welcome reprieve on vacation.
avoiding the skies
It’s no secret that air travel is having a moment this year; and unfortunately, that timing is bad. Traveling by air at this time (no matter what country you’re in) can lead to delays, lost luggage, cancellations, and more headaches than we can list.
Of course, not all flight experiences are bad these days, but ask anyone who’s recently flown, and they’re likely to share a miserable story about rude passengers, cancellations, or long wait times at understaffed airports.
Train Travel allows you to avoid this entirely, and what could be better than that?
Views Views Views
One of the main reasons for choosing to travel by train over flying has to do with the views, and of course Europe has more than enough to go around. Climb into the Alps from the comfort of your seat, or speed along the Spanish coast with your train clinging to the cliffs as you try to capture the passing scenery on camera.
For example, the train from Edinburgh to Aberdeen takes you through stunning rolling Scottish countryside, with the sea lapping below you, making the journey an experience in itself.
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If you’re traveling across Europe by air, you’ll likely need to download a different app for each airline you fly on, and then book and display your passes on each respective app. If you are not a savvy smartphone user, this can get quite annoying and cumbersome. When traveling by train, most of your tickets can be booked on an app, like Trainline.
On an app like Trainline, payment is in USD, you have QR codes for your tickets, and everything is in one convenient location. Of course, there are plenty of other train companies across Europe that you can use for various countries, but many American travelers are likely to visit areas that Trainline covers.
Tip: If you’re traveling with someone else, buy a 2-person rail card from Trainline, it’ll save you around 30% on each trip, as long as you’re both traveling.
traveler alert: Don’t forget travel insurance for your next trip!
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com