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  Train or Car?

    It has always been a mystery to those of us who love Europe why so many Americans elect to travel through Europe by train. In the '60's and '70's, it was common for Americans to buy a Eurailpass and travel the Continent by train. For many American college students, backpacking through Europe with a Eurailpass became a rite of passage.

Indeed train service in Europe is precise and secure. Unfortunately, however, when traveling by train, you are tethered to the tracks, as it were. You move based upon train schedules; you most often arrive in larger cities via less-than-beautiful surroundings; you must carry everything you own with you; generally the hotels around the train stations are "rustic" and "colorful" at best; and once at a major destination, you must figure out a way to see the local sights (hopefully without all your luggage) and then get back to the train station.

Today's Eurailpass for one adult is $498 (Eurailpass Saver Fare). Assuming that two people travel by car, a Peugeot lease can be less expensive than the price of two Eurailpasses!

By car, you have the freedom of uninhibited exploration on your own schedule. You have the benefit of staying at hotels and inns that you yourself can pre-select by surfing the Internet before you go. You are able to jump around to more important sights more quickly than train or local transportation travel allows.

When all the cost benefits and calculations are added up, there is one thing that a car provides you that is simply unequaled when compared to public travel: freedom. You'll be able to shop in the suburbs with the locals, pause along the freeways with European travelers, and truly feel you're a part of Europe while there.