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Giovanna A. Garlati
IgoUgo
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TRAVELING BY TRAIN A GREAT ALTERNATIVE TO EASE AIR TRAVEL FRUSTRATION

IgoUgo.com Editors Offer Train Travel Tips for the Summer of 2008

NEW YORK, NY, April 14, 2008

The editors of IgoUgo.com, one of the most popular online travel communities in the world, believe the summer of 2008 may be the summer for train travel for Americans. The U.S. airline industry received the worst score ever recorded in the most recent Airline Quality Rating (AQR) study. In the same study, consumer complaints were up 60 percent over last year.

Tapping into its community of savvy travelers, IgoUgo’s editors have pulled together tips, advice and itineraries for travelers looking for something other than the traditional fly-in summer vacation. This information can also be found by visiting the IgoUgo blog.

"Flight delays, schedule changes, cancelled flights, bankruptcies and mishandled baggage are pushing flyers’ frustration to an all-time high," said Michelle Doucette, Content Manager at IgoUgo.com. "The summer of ’08 just might be ‘the summer of the train.’ Not only does train travel provide a totally different experience, statistics show it is often better for the environment than flying."

Train Passenger Stats Growing Americans may be increasingly more open to the idea of train travel. In 2007, Amtrak reported more than 25.8 million passengers, representing the fifth straight year of record ridership. More than 70,000 people ride on an Amtrak train each day. IgoUgo editors believe in many cases, Amtrak is a convenient alternative – with intercity passenger rail services to more than 500 destinations in 46 states.

Train Travel More Energy Efficient The US Department of Energy has also given people an added incentive to traveling by rail, finding that Amtrak – on an energy-consumed-per-passenger-mile basis – is 18 percent more energy efficient than commercial airlines. IgoUgo editors suggest that while not every train trip is more energy-friendly than flying, it can be an added consideration when planning for a family vacation.

IgoUgo Train Travel Tips IgoUgo’s editors offer these tips, suggestions and advice straight from community members, to help those looking to travel by train.

Thinking about a train trip?
  • Consider taking the train on long trips when you have kids in tow; it can be much more relaxing than driving and a better opportunity to spend quality time talking or playing cards.
  • Check to see if you’re visiting a city with a historic or notable train station; if so, arrive by train. Whether you’re a train enthusiast or a total novice, it’s a special experience to roll into a landmark like Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station or Union Station in Los Angeles.
  • If your flight is cancelled, booking a spot on a train may be a good alternative.
  • If traveling a long distance, consider an air-rail trip: fly to your destination, then take the rail on the way home (or vice versa).
  • If you’re a nature lover, consider a US route participating in Amtrak’s Trails & Rails program, which provides educational opportunities to passengers, and research national parks and scenic areas serviced by trains. One example: Glacier National Park has two Amtrak stops with daily service in summer.
Booking your ticket?
  • Plan any train trip ahead of time; prices rise as departure dates near, and deluxe cabins sell out quickly.
  • Get a seat high enough to see out of the windows, and consider that choosing your seat’s class might make the difference between an open-air ride and a spot behind sealed windows.
  • Consider that different classes may offer vastly different amenities; if a Western-style bathroom is important to you on train trips abroad, learn which class offers that before booking.
  • See if your hotel accommodation at your destination will provide train-station transfers; you may be able to avoid renting a car or taking an expensive cab ride upon arrival.
  • Travel light. You may not have much storage space or much time to get organized and disembark at your stop.
  • Bring a sleeping bag or blanket; trains can get cold at night.
All aboard?
  • Make sure you know what time meals are served in the dining car, and arrive early to get a spot. You’ll most likely share a table with other passengers. If you don’t feel like being social or are a picky eater, pack your own food.
  • If you become frustrated by delays, remember to think of your train ride as a "trip within a trip" or “just as much a part of the vacation experience as the actual vacation itself,” in IgoUgo members’ words. Relax!
  • Do not lose your ticket—some rails will collect them well after you board.
  • Listen carefully to station and train announcements, or you might miss learning of delays or departures. Some announcements are made only once.
  • If you’re on a stopover or day trip, double-check the departure board when you arrive at the train station so you know at what time you must return.

IgoUgo Train Travel Itineraries For some people a train trip is their destination, but for those who need to plan a route, IgoUgo is also a great place to research train travel itineraries. Some of IgoUgo members’ favorite train travel trips are listed below. If you want to experience some of the ultimate trips in the world, or some great trips closer to home, here is IgoUgo editor’s "top" list:

For more advice, check out some more IgoUgo member suggestions and tips. To celebrate train travel, Amtrak is holding its first annual National Train Day on May 10, 2008. More information can be found at www.nationaltrainday.com

About IgoUgo

IgoUgo is one of the most popular online travel communities in the world. Its 350,000 members—world-seasoned and passionate travelers—share firsthand travel experiences, advice, and photos, with candid tips and inspiring stories covering more than 5,500 global destinations. Site users can search by keyword to find reviews by like-minded travelers, as well as destination guides and helpful links. Members can easily contact one another to ask questions, exchange information, and build friendships without geographic bounds. In return for writing reviews, IgoUgo members accrue valuable points redeemable for gift certificates and frequent-flyer miles. IgoUgo has garnered top industry honors, including being named one of Forbes’ “Best Travel Sites” in 2006, a Webby Award for “Best Travel Site in the U.S.,” a “Top Travel Site” ranking from USA Today, and “Best Travel Community” and "Top Travel Site" commendations from Yahoo Internet Life.

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