Europe by Train: England to Sweden, Return

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This past December, I took the train from London to a small town in Dalarna, Sweden. About a year before, I made the same journey by plane. Travelling on land wins hands down; not only was it doable, it was easier and more fun than anticipated.  First of all, I’m not new to train travel.…


Fantastic! This has been a dilemma for me over the last few months as I travel around Asia. I’m not completely flight-free (I flew here from the UK) but I try to minimize traveling by plane whilst visiting different countries in Asia.

I’ve found it’s totally feasible and very enjoyable to travel by rail in South East Asia. Most countries here have rail networks, they are not so fast but there are overnight sleeper trains. Sometimes I’ll take a bus instead. Man in Seat 61 has been a fantastic resource, with the information there I have found it no more difficult than traveling by rail in Europe.

In addition to choosing rail where possible, I am also trying to order my travels to minimize the overall distance traveled. This kind of happened naturally once I took the decision to prioritize traveling by rail… it’s just not feasible to hop from country to country every few days as people often do when flying.

Unfortunately I have found many travelers will take flights without considering alternatives. I’ve met digital nomads have been flying around the world for years and barely seem aware of the environment impact.

But there is hope… when I get chatting to people about my experiences of traveling by rail, it seems to open eyes and I’m hopeful that after some of the conversations I’ve had with people, they’ll consider the rail options.


Thanks for sharing, Justin! People tend to forget that when they travel by plane they’ll have to add an extra 3 hours to the total journey, because they need to be at the airport early on and go through security checks etc. So it’s not always the fastest option, neither the most enjoyable. It’s great that you were able to travel by rail in Asia. Did you find it safe to do so?


Yes, the trains feel safe. The trains and stations are usually better staffed than in Europe, often with a staff member for each carriage. The sleeper trains can be quite basic, and sometimes you’ll find families sharing bunks or people sleeping in the corridor, but this is all is part of the adventure! I’ve always been able to book a bunk or seat so I know I’ll have a reasonably comfortable journey.

Absolutely agree about people forgetting to factor in the airport experience - it also applies to cost, it’s easy to forget when booking a flight about having to pay for a train or taxi to get to an out-of-town airport.


Wow! Asia! A friend traveled by train this December from Edinburgh to Hong Kong. I try to convince her to write about it.

You see more when you’re traveling by train in new countries and you interact with locals, etc. And yes, ordering your travels to minimize the distance traveled is so important.

@justin, I’m so happy you are sharing this :slight_smile: I also noticed that when I tell people about my own experiences they are more receptive than when I discuss facts, numbers, graphs or quote someone else.

I know there are exceptions and situations when it’s hard to take a train, especially for those with families in other countries, etc. But in Europe traveling by plane in many cases is an indulgence (can’t help thinking about this: “About half of the flights taken last year by 20-45 year-old men were for stag dos”), it’s not like warming your home or eating, which are necessities.

Anyway, these are good numbers :point_down: Let’s hope the tide is turning. I think mainstream media abuses “flight shame”, I think this is so much more than guilt :slight_smile:

The numbers are from here.