Better by rail

Inntravel rail expert, Kylie Anderson, shares her top tips for how to make train travel work for you.

1. First up, cost. My advice is not to compare like for like; flights can appear dramatically cheaper at the outset, but don’t forget to factor in the many extra costs associated with flying, such as luggage surcharges, airport parking, carbon offsetting, and the cost of getting between your destination airport and hotel. Look out for any special offers, otherwise book early for the best deals (most high-speed trains go on sale at least three months before departure, but peak season tickets can often be made available up to 11 months in advance). Ultimately, it’s about comparing experiences as well as ticket fares: with rail travel, your holiday starts when you board your train, not at the other end of a flight.

2. If time is a consideration, why not travel just one way by rail? It’s a great way to dip your toe in the water and compare experiences. Travelling by rail saves around 90% of the carbon emitted by the equivalent air journey, so even if you take the train just one way, you will still significantly reduce your footprint.

3. To ensure an enjoyable rail experience, keep travel days to 10 hours or under. It’s also a good idea to limit the number of changes and think about the times of day you are travelling – if you arrive in the dark you might miss some of the best views.
4. When you need to break your journey, choose to overnight in fascinating cities such as Paris or Zürich. These stays can act as mini city breaks – enhancing your overall holiday experience.

5. If you’d rather not pause, sleeper trains can help you cover long distances – and offer an economical option given they cover both your travel and overnight stay. There’s something magical about going to sleep after leaving a major city and waking up the next morning to mountain views in the heart of the Alps.

6. Pack as lightly as possible – squeezing bulky cases down train aisles isn’t going to make for a relaxing journey. I always recommend a cabin case (one that would fit in the overhead compartment of an airplane), plus a small backpack with trolley strap, and a little day pack for your train snacks. At the end of your holiday, pack some gastronomic treats from the area you have visited to enjoy on the journey home. Better than any airline meal.
 

Easiest by rail

For certain Inntravel destinations, travelling all the way by rail is actually easier than taking a plane and onward train. Check out which of our holidays offer the easiest access by rail from the UK.

Top 10 by rail >

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