The growing popularity of eco-tourism has resulted in an increasing number of travellers choosing environmentally friendly modes of transportation. There are several reasons why more people are choosing to travel by rail in Europe, such as the positive impact on the environment and the absence of issues typically experienced at airports.
But, are you also aware that train travel can be a cost-effective option? According to Which? Travel‘s recent research shows that families can save money by choosing sleeper trains instead of short-haul flights. This post will discuss the benefits of sleeper trains and how you can save money while travelling comfortably through Europe.
The night train linking Berlin and Brussels wants to be the harbinger of a revival of the overnight rail lines.— POLITICOEurope (@POLITICOEurope) June 2, 2023
A boom in demand for transport with a lower carbon footprint than flying, and the attractions of slower travel, is sparking this resurgence.https://t.co/OT1xlpC29f
What did Which? Travel Research Show?
Which? Travel analysed the travel expenses for three sleeper routes in Europe and two sleeper routes in the United Kingdom, and compared the price of the cheapest private compartment, with the cost of the cheapest flight and a night’s accommodation.
Nightjet, which is Europe’s largest sleeper train company, operates the services from Paris to Vienna and from Brussels to Vienna. For these services, it would be cost-effective for a couple to choose flying. However, if a couple is travelling with two or four children, taking the train would be a more economical option.
However, the UK has two sleeper services, Great Western Railway‘s (GWR) Night Riviera from London Paddington to Penzance, and the Caledonian Express from London Euston to the Highlands. It was found that the cost of Cornwall’s sleeper service is comparable to that of a flight. Though, if you have a railcard, you can get a discount of approximately £50, making your travel less expensive.
Moreover, The Caledonian sleeper, which is known for being luxurious, is more expensive for two adults compared to flying. However, a family of four or six would pay around the same amount.
With the news that you’ll be able to get a sleeper service from London to Berlin from May 2023 (change in Brussels), I wanted to share our experience of the London to Penzance sleeper, The GWR Night Riviera, that we did in the Summer of 2022. It was awesome. 🧵 pic.twitter.com/eLwegxhPsI— Simon Harris – Man Behaving Dadly (THAT’S DADLY) (@simonharris_mbd) December 28, 2022
Benefits of Sleeper Trains
Sleeper trains provide several other advantages over traditional planes, in addition to saving costs. Firstly, there is no limit on baggage, which means you can pack without concerns of additional charges and the pre-boarding checks are less strict, which means that you will spend less time waiting in lines.
Also, sleeper trains provide a roomier and cosier journey as they have seating that can be transformed into a bed. This ensures that you reach your destination feeling refreshed and better rested.
Furthermore, travelling by train provides a distinctive viewpoint, as it enables you to observe stunning landscapes and cities from a closer distance, while meeting fellow travellers and locals during your trip is a fantastic opportunity for a unique cultural exchange.
And finally, sleeper trains often have onboard amenities, such as restaurants serving delicious local cuisine, entertainment, and even showers, which many flights do not provide.
How does Opting for Train Travel Lower a Carbon Footprint?
By avoiding air travel, you can significantly reduce your carbon footprint. A single passenger on a flight from London to Berlin produces approximately 242kg of carbon dioxide emissions, which is equivalent to the amount of emissions produced by an average citizen of the Democratic Republic of Congo over a period of three years.
However, when travelling by train on the same route, it only emits approximately 32 kg of CO2 per passenger, which is seven times less than the amount released by a flight.
What’s more, compared to rail travel, domestic flights within the UK have a higher carbon footprint. When travelling by rail from London to Aberdeen, it emits 50 kg of CO2 per passenger, which is less than half the amount of emissions produced when travelling by air, which is 119 kg per person.
Potential Disadvantages of Sleeper Trains
Though sleeper trains offer a lot of advantages over traditional air travel, there are some potential drawbacks. Firstly, sleeper train journeys can be quite lengthy and require multiple stops along the way.
Secondly, depending on your destination, you may have to switch trains or transfer at a different station in order to complete your journey. Furthermore, although onboard amenities such as restaurants and entertainment are available on some sleeper trains, these are not available on all routes.
Finally, although the cost of sleeper train travel is usually cheaper than flying, it can still be more expensive than traditional rail travel if you need to book a cabin or seating space with beds.
Whether you’re travelling solo, with family, or a group, sleeper trains are a great alternative to short-haul flights. Not only do they offer a more comfortable and unique experience, but they can also save you money. In addition, the carbon footprint of train journeys is far lower than that of flights, making it an even greener alternative.
With the recent research by Which? Travel, it’s clear that sleeper trains are a smart choice for families that are taking short-haul trips in Europe. Additionally, they offer a comfortable and luxurious journey, making them an attractive option for many people.
It’s worth taking the time to think next time you’re planning a trip, and consider catching a sleeper train. By doing so, you can arrive at your chosen destination feeling not only refreshed, but also ready to explore.