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May 22 2013

Airline-Free Travel

airline, train travel, eurostar

I like to think of myself as a responsible traveller but how I get from one place to the next often comes down to how much money I have.  Unfortunately, my budget doesn’t stretch very far so I tend to choose the cheaper option, which is often a budget airline.

With that at the back of my mind, whilst looking around for my transport options from the UK to Holland recently, I considered everything: buses, trains, and planes.  The bus seemed to be a long, drawn out process that I wasn’t too keen on.  That left me with budget airlines and train travel.  I found out that I could fly from London to Rotterdam or London to Amsterdam and get a train to Rotterdam but the total cost wasn’t that cheap.

I hadn’t really considered Eurostar as an option because it has always seemed prohibitively expensive.  Nonetheless, I thought I may as well have a quick look.  When I first saw the price, I thought, ‘yep, expensive’ but when I actually compared it for both the cost and hassle factor, it seemed to be quite reasonable.  The cost of a flight, including getting to and from the airport to my destination, wasn’t much different.  By hassle factor, I mean the ‘liquids saga’ and what I can and can’t take on the plane as hand luggage.  Once I’d weighed up the pros and cons of it all, I booked my journey with Eurostar.

To be completely honest, what actually swung it for me was getting a Standard Premium ticket which happened to be cheaper than a Standard ticket at the time of booking.  The thought of travelling in style was very appealing so I went for it.  Well, why not!

On the day, I boarded the train and found my allocated single seat which had a power socket next to it so I could charge my electronic devices.  Unfortunately, WiFi won’t be available on Eurostar until the end of the year (2013).  It’ll be fantastic when that happens.  I had a light lunch and some hot and cold drinks, which were included in the price of the ticket.  I could even have indulged in a glass of wine, if I had felt like it.

I alighted the Eurostar train at Brussels and boarded a Thalys train to Rotterdam.  I travelled first-class with this ticket.  It was great.  Again, I had a power socket but this time I also had access to free WiFi.  I got more food; this time it was some fruit, a beautifully presented cake, and a drink so I was more than happy.

The whole journey from London to Rotterdam took about 5 hours.  It was a really comfortable, stress-free journey and I was well-fed and watered.  It was much better than sitting on a cramped budget airline.  I certainly wouldn’t rule out Eurostar ever again on price.  It’s definitely worth it checking out and comparing it to the other modes of transport.

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Have your say

What’s your experience of travelling on Eurostar and/or airline-free travel?

About the author

Teresa Keane

Teresa has been to almost 60 countries. She started travelling independently at the age of 38 when she gave up her job, rented out her house, put her possessions in storage and spent a year travelling the world. It changed her life. She now creates, publishes, & promotes online travel content and is an experienced freelance trainer & EFL teacher.

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