Who's ready to embrace the full traveling experience? All Aboard! Traveling by train is mildly outdated and under-appreciated in North America, but it's one of the most commonly used forms of transportation in Europe, and other parts of the world. Not only is it convenient and environmentally friendly, but there's something very charming and old-fashioned about riding along those tracks. If there's one thing for sure, traveling by train is definitely the most scenic form of transportation.
Here are some routes that will have you canceling your airline reservations in no time.
This train runs from Davos, Switzerland to Tirano, Italy at a blistering speed of 20 mph. The Bernina Express may be one of the slowest trains, but you won't be complaining as it runs through the Southern Alps, over 196 bridges and 55 tunnels! The staggering views from this zigzagged track are among the best in the world, so impressive that it has become a Unesco World Heritage Site. The Bernina Express is definitely one of the best places to travel by train. Forget the drama at the airport, and hop aboard this 4-hour train to Italy.
Hail to the Chief
The 2,256-mile Southwest Chief runs halfway across the US from Los Angeles, California to Chicago, Illinois via Arizona, New Mexico, Kansas, Missouri and Iowa. At around $300 a train ticket, the Hail to the Chief: Southwest Chief route is clearly not a bargain, considering the 43 hours of travel time, but this scenic route through middle America takes you into the lonely beauty of the Mojave Desert, through red-rock canyons, National Parks and Monuments, and passes through the backyards of quaint, little towns. A journey for those who want to experience every corner of the globe, forget the mantra, "Time is of the essence" for a second to take in true Americana. However, I would highly recommend a book, or two.
Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
This train runs from New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling, India and is nicknamed the "Toy Train." In another lifetime, this old steam train used to haul expats escaping the summer heat to Darjeeling for the summer. This route takes you alongside tea gardens and teak forests with breathtaking views of the Himalayas and the world's third highest peak of Kanchenjunga. This, too, is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This restored steam train really is the little engine that could!
Whether you're traveling in Europe, North America or Southeast Asia, always consider alternative forms of transportation, like trains. A lot of the time they'll be cheaper and all of the time they'll be more fun. Remember, traveling by train is an experience in itself!