3 Reasons to Take the Train

You and your spouse have planned a family vacation for this summer. Airplane ticket prices are through the roof and you can’t imagine driving your three screaming kids for two days across the country – what’s a family to do? Or perhaps you are a college student planning on traveling to visit your loved ones or significant other – but you don’t have a car and you’re on a budget. How will you get there? Try the train! There are three simple reasons why taking the train is the best option when vacationing: it’s affordable, it’s fun, and it’s comfortable. Read on for more details!

 

  1. It is affordable. Driving a few hours across the state and back to visit someone can cost you $50 or more. Gas isn’t cheap – and it’s even harder to drive somewhere if you don’t own a car! Short train trips are extremely cost-effective: tickets from Michigan State University to Western Michigan University are as cheap as $9 each way! If you’re planning on driving across the country, gas can be one of your largest travel expenses (not to mention the hotel rooms you’ll have to pay for as you go). Cross-country train trips can be booked on “sleeper cars” that eliminate the need for hotel rooms along the way.
  2. It is fun. Picture this: you’re whiling away the hours by reading a great book, as scenery flies by outside your big wide window. You can play games with your friends and family, visit the dining car, or watch a movie on your laptop. There’s plenty of sightseeing to be done, conversations to be had with your fellow travelers – and you can even get some work done on your computer, if you can’t bear to tear yourself away from the office. You could even hold an informal meeting on the train, as there are cars with “booth-style” seating that allow passengers to sit facing each other with a table in-between.
  3. It is comfortable. When compared to an airplane, trains seem like the most luxurious mode of transportation in the universe! They have food you can purchase at almost any hour of the day, there are miles of leg room between seats, and there are usually footrests. You can get up and walk around whenever you want to, without fear of falling onto your fellow passengers during a bout of turbulence. You can walk down to the dining car and enjoy a meal or snack while watching the world go by outside your window. You can even book a “roomette” or bedroom on the train and experience your train trips while horizontal!

 

If you haven’t yet considered it, give some thought to making the train your mode of transportation for your next vacation or business trip. You’ll be glad you did!

This post was written by a guest contributor for America by Rail, providers of rail vacations and guided train tours. 

 

3 Reasons to Visit Grand Rapids

If you find yourself in the Midwest with nothing to do, why not take a trip to beautiful Michigan and visit one of its most vibrant cities? Grand Rapids is an exciting, attractive place to visit (and it was recently ranked #1 on Forbes’ list of Best Cities for Raising a Family). There’s something for all ages within this Great Lakes gem (and it’s also just a short drive away from the beautiful sandy shores of Lake Michigan!). Here are several “reasons” to visit this amazing city that hundreds of thousands of people call home.

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5 Best Places To Visit In Scotland

Scotland is a small and beautiful country blessed with lots of culture and heritage. You will find some of the most iconic and identifiable symbols, the well-known golf courses and many amazing breathtaking places in Scotland. There is so much to do and see in Scotland. Below are the 5 best places to visit in Scotland.

1. Edinburgh

Edinburgh is the crown of Scotland. Your trip to Scotland cannot be completed without visiting Edinburgh. The city of Edinburgh is known for its history, the scenic beauty and the cultural charm. The Royal Mile of Edinburgh and the Edinburgh castle are the most famous attractions of Edinburgh. You will also find a lot of shops, galleries, museums and restaurants in Edinburgh. There are many other attractions to see in Edinburgh like the palace of holy rood, Edinburgh zoo, etc. You can book an apartment in Edinburgh, instead of a hotel, to enjoy the luxury of this city, on your own terms.

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Don’t Lose Your Luggage! Traveling Tips

If you’ve ever lost your luggage, or dealt with a delayed flight you know how frustrated and utterly helpless you feel when these situations occur. We all like to believe that when we go on a vacation, none of these things will happen to us! What happens however, when the unexpected happens? How can you be prepared for something that is completely out of your control?

Survival Carry-on

Your carryon should always include a stash that you can live on for at least a couple of days. This should include a couple of spare outfits, all of your important travel docs, and cash. CASH. Not just debit cards, but real cash. You never know when you’ll find yourself in the one place that American Express, Visa and Mastercard aren’t accepted and needing to buy items desperately. You’ll also want to be sure to include your camera in this bag. Keeping your camera close at hand will insure you don’t miss out on a single moment of your vacation, regardless of what happens.

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Free Things to do in New York!

Going to New York always leads to a great adventure. To the ill-prepared, it may end up being a very expensive one at that. There are some fabulous attractions that cost a pretty penny and if we’re being honest, they are often worth it, but if you are a poor, starving student or running a little low on family vacation funds, there are plenty of fun, FREE things to do throughout New York that will ensure a memorable and unique experience.

Staten Island Ferry

If you go to New York City and don’t see the Statue of Liberty at least sort of up close, there is something seriously wrong with you. It’s like an unwritten law that you must see it when visiting NYC. Luckily, there is a free solution that should not be passed up. The Staten Island Ferry is completely free, and it takes you right past the Statue of Liberty. Since 1905, the ferry has been a go-to form of transportation for people commuting between Staten Island and Manhattan. And if tourists hop on to check out the sites and enjoy the ride, so be it.

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Tips to Planning a Road Trip

When you have decided to take a road trip, it is important that you know how you are going to be wise about the planning stage. There are a lot of people that do not understand how important planning is. When you take the time to plan, you can avoid a lot of problems that are often associated with road trips.

Gather the Troops

First, you want to make sure that you take time to get everyone together that will be going on your road trip with you. You should be sure that everyone feels like they have a voice in the plan. You want to make sure that everyone is on the same page throughout the planning process. It is important that you know what everyone is looking for. Some people plan their road trip to get to their destination as quickly as possible, while other people choose to stop throughout their trip and enjoy the scenery. While you are deciding what kind of road trip you want to take, don’t be afraid to ask everyone’s opinion.

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Before Your Cruise, Helpful Tips

Planning to explore the ocean blue on a cruise in 2014? Then these helpful tips are for you:

Check the Deck

The first place to start is by looking at the deck plan of the ship. When you choose your room make sure you know what is around it. If there is a club right below your room or a casino above it you may have to put up with noise all night long. Also make sure that you are closest to the amenities that you seek most. If you want to go to the pool every day you will probably want a room near the rear of the ship but if you are an early riser and want to beat the breakfast rush choose a room close to the dining area. Be aware of what is around you so you know what to expect.

Get to know your ship before you ever leave port. Know the perks and where things are. It will save you a lot of time and hassle as you make your way around the ship with ease. You could print out your deck plan and make notes on it or better do it electronically so you just need to whip out your phone.

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A New Way to Welcome the New Year

Families want to celebrate New Year’s Eve with a bang. Perhaps at Times Square to watch the ball drop. Or go up to Wisconsin for a skiing holiday and fireworks on the mountains. Well, my family and I beg to differ because for the first time in years, we are going to the antithesis of New York City. A small town that looks like it came right out of a Norman Rockwell painting—Lexington, VA.

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Benefits to Family Reunions at Beach Resorts

When you’re planning your next family reunion, you may wonder what the next stop is going to be. Three years ago it was the cabins in the woods when half of you got poison ivy. You went to that one amusement park 2 years ago and the moms missed out to take care of their whiny tots. Last year you all visited Grandma’s house and played Bingo nonstop. Looking back on these memories, it may not be encouraging to think about the next “adventure” for the family. However, one great idea may be to visit The Reef Residences at Atlantis or another beach resort. These resorts offer all sorts of advantages if you think about it.

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Planning the Perfect Caribbean Vacation

In the midst of planning the perfect vacation, it can sometimes be challenging to put together the perfect itinerary. Let’s assume you’ve chosen a Caribbean vacation in an exotic place like Anguilla. Obviously your first decision should be on accommodations. Whether you’re looking for a cozy room or a full service five star hotel, there is no shortage of beautiful Caribbean luxury villa rentals available for you to choose from.

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