Q: So, Abi, why rail?
It keeps me in a job! No, seriously, there are so many excellent reasons to travel by train. Climate change concern is probably the most powerful, but rail travel is also great for the stress levels. There’s no queuing, weight limits or baggage restrictions – even on the Eurostar – plus trains are so much roomier than most aircraft, and they generally offer great views! Another advantage is the flexibility: the tickets we book often enable customers to catch a later train if connections are missed, or to re-book if plans change.
Q: That brings us onto our next question: why should customers book their rail travel through us?
We consider each booking individually and put a great deal of thought into making sure our customers’ journeys are as relaxing and enjoyable as possible. Detailed background information and sensible connection times play a huge part in this – we want our guests to be well informed and not to have to rush – and we also plan journeys so that the scenery can be seen at its best. For example, customers travelling by rail from the UK to Austria are encouraged to spend a night in Zürich en route so that the most spectacular part of their journey – the Arlberg Pass – is undertaken in daylight.
Q: Tell us about the most interesting journey you’ve booked recently.
Recently, it’s been all about Scandinavia – I’ve just put together an itinerary for a customer who is going to Norway and was keen to travel by rail. After some research, I established it would be best to take the train to Copenhagen then continue by overnight ferry to Oslo. She can’t wait!
In the summer, the majority of requests I receive are for southern Spain, Italy and Portugal – it’s definitely not the case that travelling by rail limits you to destinations such as France and Switzerland, lovely though they are. I mean, you can even travel to Sicily by rail – the entire train is ferried across the Straits of Messina, quite an experience!
Q: One final question – how has rail travel at Inntravel changed over the years?
I’ve been closely involved with rail here for over seven years, and there are at least twice as many customers travelling to their holidays by train now compared with when I started. In the last three years the increase has been exponential. Growing environmental concerns are a factor, of course, but I also think people are gradually becoming aware of the wonders of rail travel!