Riding the rails through Europe is an often-romanticized journey – unless, of course, you’re referring to a subway system. In that case, the only time people bump into each other tends to cause annoyance, with most choosing to sit alone and stare at a book or advertisement in a desperate attempt to avoid eye contact with fellow travelers (not to mention buskers).
But an initiative by the Prague public transport system intends to change the way people feel about getting from here to there by introducing singles-only “love trains,” Spiegel Online is reporting. A spokesman for Ropid, the city’s public transport authority, told the news outlet the initiative is part of a long-term campaign that aims to bring to light activities you can do while riding public transport that you cannot do inside your car (like reading or playing games on your cellphone … or in this case, getting to know a complete stranger). Ropid plans to work with dating agencies to help facilitate the program, which will only operate on nights and weekends – cause as GOOD points out, you don’t want to risk running into Mr. Right before you’ve had your morning coffee.
If you’re a traveler, then you’re a Kayaker. Not a paddler, but a devotee of Kayak.com, the airline (and hotel and rental car) search engine that makes booking the lowest fares a breeze. If you’re a traveler, then you’ve also probably cursed the fact that a similar site doesn’t exist for bus and rail travel.
We can now count our blessings, thanks to Wanderu. According to Thrillist, this ingenious domestic search engine offers “hundreds of routes, operators, and schedules into a free, trip-aggregating database.” You can even make bookings, which is like a giant gift from the Travel Gods.
As soon as Wanderu or a competitor makes this info available for international travel, budget travelers won’t have anything left to complain about – except maybe the quality of their guesthouse banana pancakes.
[Photo credit: Flickr user DavidDennisPhotos.com]
Long-distance train travel is making a comeback with Eurostar announcing plans to expand its services. The high-speed train, which primarily serves London, Brussels and Paris, has its sights set on new destinations across the European continent.
Eurostar says its entire system is undergoing an overhaul – from the booking process, to the routes, to the trains themselves. The company’s website has been given a facelift in order to create a more user-friendly booking portal, and brand new uniforms have been designed for the crew. Updated trains are also in the pipeline and are expected to be up and running by 2015.As far as network expansion goes, Eurostar says it has its eye on a number of possible routes including London-Holland and London-Germany. Eurostar’s Chief Executive Nicolas Petrovic says he will be looking closely at routes that currently have a lot of air traffic. He told CNN he hopes travelers will eventually come to think of train travel the same way they think of flying.
Eurostar’s overhaul comes in the wake of stiff competition from German train line Deutsche Bahn, which has said it will offer trips across the Channel Tunnel starting in 2016.
[Photo credit: Flickr user Mike Knell]
Planes are often the first thing to come to mind when we think of terrorist attacks, but this morning in Taiwan a bomb hidden in a train bathroom nearly detonated.
Passengers reported smelling gas on a high-speed train Zuoying to Taipei. Upon further investigation, a piece of luggage emitting white smoke with five liters of gasoline and an activated timer trigger device was found. More than 600 people were evacuated, and police so far aren’t releasing any information on a potential suspect.
The truth is, there have been dozens of terrorist incidents onboard trains since the 1970s, far more than have been documented on planes. For now, all we can do as passengers is remember to take the “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign seriously. These Taiwanese passengers did, and it saved many lives.
[Photo credit: Flickr user Haziq Noor Ariff]
The Northern Territory of Australia is inviting travelers to explore the Outback Your Way with limited-time promotions designed to make it easier and more affordable than ever to visit that famous part of the world. The promotions include a variety of great options such as free flights, discounted accommodations and other upgrades designed to enhance the experience.
The Outback Your Way program is designed to give travelers flexibility when exploring the Northern Territory without emptying their wallets in the process. For example, one of the most popular destinations in the Outback is Uluru, also known as Ayer’s Rock, the iconic sandstone formation that has been sacred to the Aboriginal tribes for thousands of years. As part of this new promotion, when visitors book a three-night stay at the Desert Gardens Hotel, they receive a free tour of Kata Tjuta National Park, the location of that landmark. Similarly, travelers who book three-night stays in the Crown Plaza, in either Alice Springs or Darwin, also receive free touring options as part of those packages as well.
Those looking to explore the Outback in a completely different way can travel from Darwin to Alice Springs aboard the legendary Ghan Railway. The package includes two nights stay in both cities, a wildlife tour and a visit to the West MacDonnell Ranges, as well as a number of other activities. Traveling by train across Australia’s countryside is an unbelievable way to experience the natural beauty of the place and when booked six months in advance, travelers receive a $500 discount.
Other special deals that fall under the Outback Your Way promotion include a free helicopter flight over Uluru, complimentary internal flights when booking a comprehensive Australian travel package, a free sunset dinner cruise and much more.
If you’ve been planning an Australian vacation for some time but have been waiting for just the right opportunity, then you’ll definitely want to check out the Outback Your Way website. This is the perfect time to head down under and experience everything Australia has to offer.
[Photo Credit: Huntster via WikiMedia]