||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.