Training Yourself

After getting off a plane and wanting to be ground-level for a while, taking a train is a worry-free choice.  There are many different types of train services that include high-speed, continent-wide, local, trams and subway/metro.  The choice of rail line to use all depends on the destination.  Going cross-country, and wanting to see some sites, a regular train or high-speed option shall suffice.  If traveling a short distance, a more localized train may be sufficient.

rock of cashel
Rock of Cashel, Ireland

To ensure you have a seat reservation, it’s always a good idea to reserve your tickets in advance.  Buying in person is usually not a problem, but it’s always better to have the comfort of knowing that everything is secure upon arrival.  Trains may sometimes be a more cost-effective way to travel and it’s nice to see the scenery along the way without having to pay attention to driving.

TGVfx
TGV Train

If you need to get somewhere quickly, the high-speed TGV trains are perfect.  They may be costly so do some comparing and contrasting depending on your travel schedule.  Also, look on sites such as EuroRail for various rates and schedules.  If traveling within 1 country or between cities, some countries have their own rail sites and they are usually cheaper than EuroRail.  Also research the local train schedules and fees.  When traveling to Spain a few years ago we came across Renfe, Spain’s rail service.  We found the English site, which even had an US toll-free number to book.  This was the best way to go since our tickets were much cheaper than getting a EuroPass.

Local trains work well in most areas.  However, I noticed that you need to be more aware of your surroundings on them.  While hopping a train from Naples to Pompeii, I backed myself against the wall of the train while wearing my backpack.  I noticed a man standing with his back to the rail doors.  I saw two men get on the train for a few stops and right before the doors opened they pickpocketed a man because he was open.  On commuter trains such as these, keep your distance from the doors and stand against a wall to make it more difficult for pickpockets to target you.

A lot of cities use the tram (above ground) transit system.  This is an alternative to buses or the metro.  Many tourists use the tram systems because it may go where the metro or subway does not, or they want to see some sites while traveling to their next destination.  Try to get your hands on the schedule and map of the stops to get a better idea of which type of transportation works for you.

Metros or subways are a great way to get around a city.  Most fares are inexpensive and travel is quite efficient.  Most large cities have some sort of subway or metro system and downloading a map ahead of time may help when planning your transit stops.  Most of these maps will also show points of interest to help with your planning.  These types of local transit will save you money so you’re not spending all your cash on taxis or ride share services.

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