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If you’re planning to travel around Europe on a budget, then you may find that traveling from city to city by sleeper train is a much more affordable alternative to flying.
Traveling by train can be a great way to explore lesser-known destinations, discover how local people really live and travel in a greener way.
A new report by UK-based consumer magazine Which? found that traveling by train can not only reduce your carbon footprint, but it can also cut costs.
This is how:
How much money could you save?
At first glance, budget flights may seem like an affordable way to get from city to city in Europe. And they can be cheaper than sleeper trains when compared directly.
But when you factor in the baggage costs of low-cost airlines and the extra overnight stay that can be mitigated by traveling on a sleeper train, getting on the rails is much more cost-effective.
Which? The study looked at the price of the cheapest private compartment on a sleeper train in the first week of August compared to the price of the cheapest flight and overnight stay for three different routes.
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If you share a couch or sleeper cabin with other passengers, then the prices for traveling by sleeper train will be even more affordable.
What’s more, the more people you travel with, the cheaper your train journey will be.
Which? investigation found that the savings available increase with the size of your group. A group of four can save about $118, while a group size or more can save up to $337.
For solo travelers or those traveling as a couple, the price of the train remains more expensive than the price of travel on a low-cost airline.
Why travel by train?
Night trains are enjoying something of a renaissance in Europe. Traveling by train feels like an adventure and is a unique experience for a generation accustomed to low-cost air travel.
Traveling by train is more intimate than traveling by plane.
Using a night train can also save you time if you don’t have long to explore each city on your route. You won’t waste time checking in at airports or lugging your luggage from hotel to hotel. Instead, you can spend a full day in each city and sleep as you travel from one to the other.
Train travelers don’t have to worry about turbulence or chaos at the airport and can enjoy great views of new countries as they travel.
If packing is difficult for you, another advantage of traveling by train is that your luggage is not weighed, meaning you can take as many clothes or souvenirs as you like.
From an environmental perspective, it’s worth noting that flying from London to Berlin emits seven times more CO2 per passenger than traveling by train.
The most popular routes
Some of the most popular European sleeper train routes are Paris to Rome, Milan to Palermo and Brussels to Vienna.
The Milan to Palermo route is particularly noteworthy because it offers passengers the opportunity to board a train that will board a ferry: a truly unique experience.
The three journeys analyzed by Which? for their investigation were Paris to Vienna, Brussels to Vienna, and Brussels to Berlin.
These are incredibly popular routes for international travelers taking a train in Europe. And there are many European rail companies that offer great deals on routes for international passengers.
It’s worth noting that if you’re planning to travel extensively in Europe, it may be even more affordable to invest in an Interrail card, which offers travelers significant discounts for multi-day travel.
This will also allow you to get off the train if and when you see something you want to explore and change your plans at short notice.
Warning for passengers: Don’t forget travel insurance for your next trip!
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com