If you’re thinking of traveling around Europe as a family or group this summer, you might want to consider pitching planes.
Taking trains is becoming the transport of choice for eco-conscious vacationers, and new research suggests it can also be a cost-effective option.
Opting for rail also means dodging airport delays and summer travel chaos.
Here are the train routes around Europe that could be kinder to your wallet than flying.
Traveling by sleeper train saves money
A new study by Which? Travel has found that families and groups can save money by using sleeper trains rather than short-haul flights in Europe.
The research calculated that a family of four could save almost £100 ($125) when traveling by sleeper, while a larger family could make savings of over £250 ($313).
The sleeper train routes to book for a budget vacation
which? looked at the travel costs of three European and two UK sleeper routes compared to flying.
In Europe, the company compared the price of the cheapest private compartment in the first week of August for the routes Paris to Vienna, Brussels to Vienna and London to Berlin with the most affordable flights and overnight accommodations.
Although flights often seem cheaper at the outset, once you factor in the extra night in a hotel and the cost of baggage, it’s not always a money-saving option.
The Paris to Vienna and Brussels to Vienna services are part of the Nightjet network, Europe’s leading sleeper train company.
On these two routes, tickets for a couple are not cheaper than flying. But when traveling with two to four children, it would save money to choose the train.
“Groups of four could save £94 ($118), while a bigger group could reduce their holiday bill by a whopping £267 ($334),” Which? found.
The London to Berlin sleeper service starts on May 25 and is operated by European Sleeper. The ticket for this route is slightly more expensive than the equivalent flight and a night’s accommodation.
In the UK, Which? analyzed the prices of GWR’s Night Riviera from London Paddington to Penzance and the Caledonian Express from London Euston to the Highlands.
Cornwall’s sleeper train is roughly the same price as a flight, although you could save around £50 ($62) with a UK railcard.
The famed luxury Caledonian sleeper costs more than it would for two people to take a plane, while a family of four or six would pay a similar sum.
Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel, acknowledged that prices for rail services are still beyond the budget of many vacationers.
“While new sleeper train routes have been launched across Europe, fares are prohibitive for many travelers,” he said.
“Our research found solo travelers and couples would have to pay significantly more to choose the train over the plane. But the good news is that there are savings to be made for families and larger groups who can share train compartments.”