5 Reasons for nighttrain travel

Lizet Wesselman - 14/09/2023

5 Reasons for nighttrain travel

Lizet Wesselman - 14/09/2023

It is no secret that I am a fan of train travel. I’ve already written an article about my reasons for doing so. But travelling by night train again has its own charm. While you sleep, the train takes you comfortably from one destination to another, and you wake up in a new location, ready to go on an adventure. If you still have doubts about the charm of night train travel, read on because here are five compelling reasons to opt for the night train on your next trip.

Time saver

One of the biggest advantages of the night train is that you save precious time. You can head straight to the station after work and have yourself transported to your destination. You have to sleep anyway, so why not on the train? You hardly notice you are travelling a long distance and usually have enough hours to spend on the train to get a good number of hours of sleep.

The night train is therefore precisely a good flight alternative on a slightly longer route. The route that would be about 4 hours of flying, but about 10 to 12 hours by train. That’s a hefty distance during the day, but at night it actually gives you quite a few hours of rest. Moreover, you usually arrive at your destination in the morning, giving you a whole day to enjoy your holiday destination. A morning flight would swallow up half your day and means early rising and poor sleep. An evening flight means a late arrival or you have to leave work earlier for it.

Trip plan stress - Me struggling with multiple Lonely Planets to plan my next trip

Money saver

Night trains can also be a cost-saving option. If you do opt for that evening flight after work, to enjoy a full day the day after, you have double costs. You have your flight costs, but also the cost of accommodation. If you take an overnight train, you have the cost of transport and accommodation for that night in one. Often, you also get breakfast included. Sometimes night trains are pricey, but if you look at the cost of that extra night’s accommodation, you often end up cheaper anyway. For example, this summer I had a night train to Paris for €45. At that time, even hostels were on average €48 a night and the daytime train cost at least €67. That’s a total of €115 while just that night train, which was already cheaper than both separately. That’s a saving of €70.

How do you find the best price for night trains? Book early. 3 Months in advance, you usually get the best price.

Comfort and roomchoice

Night trains have a variety of sleeping cabins. From shared cabins for 6 with a bathroom in the compartment, to private rooms with private bathrooms. So you can make it as luxurious as you want and as your budget allows.

Beware though, many night trains also have compartments with only seats, which you cannot turn into beds. This is especially the case if the departure time is early or the arrival time quite late. This is because then people can also board for a few stops and just choose a seat. If you do go all night and choose a seat, that means you have to sit all night. If you can sleep anywhere, that’s a great budget option. But if you really want to be able to lie down, so double check that you book a bed and not a seat.

Slow travel

Of course, this is an advantage of train travel in general, but train travel is the perfect way to enjoy slow travel. I love slowly reaching my holiday destination. Despite not seeing anything of the surroundings at night (and therefore I don’t always think night trains are the best option), you wake up in the morning to new surroundings. You drive leisurely towards your new destination and have plenty of time to acclimatise and take your mind off the busy work week behind you, to the wonderful holiday ahead.

Of course, the same goes for a long flight, although I always miss the lack of sight on the plane in the morning. But on a short flight, I miss that feeling of driving slowly towards your destination, having to get off the plane in no time. You mainly spend a lot of time checking in, passport checks and finding your way to the exit at your destination. The slow rocking of the train has something soothing and romantic about it. Night trains add even more to that calm and relaxation.