Business travelers are turning to train travel as the inconveniences of air travel reach record levels with no solutions in sight. Exasperated business travelers are opting for rail travel in increasing numbers after getting fed up dealing with lengthy airline delays, jam-packed flights, cancellations, heightened security checks, cranky personnel and mountains of delayed and lost luggage.
U.S. travel by train (which is generally Amtrak train travel) does not match the world-class high-speed train service available in some other countries, but there are options worth exploring. You'll need to understand how U.S. train travel routes work-including their limitations--cross-country, regionally and locally.
In foreign destinations, especially in Europe, train travel is giving air travel a serious run for its money. There, trains are generally sleek, quiet, economical, on-time and very fast. As an added bonus, convenience features like at-seat audio, laptop and cell phone charging ports and even wireless Internet are boosting the benefits for international business travelers.
To get the most out of train travel, you'll want to:
1. Research train travel routes to your typical business destinations.
2. Scout out options for rail travel, such as commuter train and regional train systems.
3. Find online sources for booking train passes and train travel discounts.
4. Use those air miles to travel by train.
5. Earn rewards when you travel by train.
First, determine if U.S. train travel will work for youIf you live in the northeast U.S. and routinely travel within that corridor and to parts of Canada, you'll find plenty of train travel options. Other population-intense regions of the country like the Chicago and West Coast regions benefit from Amtrak rail travel service as well. In all, Amtrak serves more than 500 destinations in 46 states.
Foreign train travel can be a breeze for business travelersForeign train travel, especially in Europe, across Canada, and in parts of Asia has a lot to offer the business traveler looking for efficiency. High-speed trains that whoosh through rural and urban areas are known for their on-time performance, comfortable amenities and reasonable fares (and they serve food too!).
Book train travel and train passes on the InternetOnce you know where you're going and how you want to get there, it's easy to book both domestic and foreign train travel online and track down the commuter train options at your destination too.
Use your air miles or earn new rewards for travel by trainJust because you choose to travel by train instead of wrestling with the hassles of air travel doesn't mean you have to let your air miles lay dormant, or lose out on the opportunity to earn more rewards for your days on the road.
- Several of the frequent guest lounges for train travel match or rival airport clubs for features favored by business travelers.
- Wireless Internet access is becoming increasingly available on rail travel in Europe. Plus, many European train stations offer free or for-a-fee wireless Internet access.
- Amtrak recently added luxury train cars to some routes in a bid to attract more business train travel customers and leisure travelers.
- Train travel prices in general can be comparable to or less than air travel between the same destinations. European rail passes in particular are a boon if you are traveling across several countries over an extended period of time.
- Devotees of train travel emphasize the "green" benefits of rail travel vs. travel by air or car.