Even the most seasoned travelers can get stressed when it's time to hit the road--and airports only make that worse. With long security lines, increasingly obscure rules about what you can and can't pack in your luggage, flight delays and unexpected cancellations, and tiny airplane seats, flying has become an increasingly miserable way to get from here to there.
What can one do to avoid the stress of flying? Here's my secret: take the train.
Yes, trains are slower than planes, so they're not great for cross-country business travel. However, if your destination is a reasonable distance away, taking the train instead of flying is a great option for business travelers. Why? The perks of riding the rails are plentiful!
It can save you time.
Even when you're taking a short flight, going to the airport is a time-consuming endeavor. You need to get there early to wait in line at the security checkpoint, and that can add hours to your travel time. Sometimes, even if a train ride is longer than a flight, the actual amount of travel time on the train can be the same (or even shorter) than flying, once you factor in all the waiting you'd have to do at the airport.
It can save you money.
Train tickets are usually cheaper than flights. When you weigh the costs and benefits of train travel over air travel you'll find that there are times when train travel wins out.
There's no security screening.
Tired of having to take off your jewelry and belt and dig your laptop out of your bag every time you fly? And what about your shoes? I really dislike having to walk the line in my stockinged feet, yuck! You could shell out for TSA PreChek. Or, you could take the train, where there's no security checkpoints to worry about.
Legroom is free.
Even economy class seats on Amtrak are spacious and expansive, especially compared to an equivalent airplane seat. On the train, you've got the space to stretch your leg, and keep your laptop open, without worrying that the person in front of you will suddenly recline their seat into your space.
You can be more productive.
With less time wasted in security clearance, and a reasonable amount of personal space, you can actually get some work done. To really be productive, grab yourself a seat in the designated quiet car, hunker down, and get working.
You can enjoy the view.
Sometimes, you might want to spend your travel time recovering from a meeting or a conference, rather than working on your next task. The train is the perfect place to unwind. I like to zone out and watch the scenery go by. When I take this quiet time for myself I always arrive at my destination feeling refreshed and ready to work.
Of course, not every business trip is manageable on the train. But for short trips, the train is an under-appreciated alternative to flying. Mix it up a little and give it a try!