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Train across Europe or drive across America?

(46 Posts)
TaggieCampbellBlack Tue 05-Mar-13 18:20:23

If I win the lottery before next summer or unearth hidden treasure I'd quite like to do one or the other or both!

I'd take the (teenage) DDs if they promise to be good.

Would it be fun or stressful?

Camp or cheapy hotels?

Or should we go to India? Or drive across Africa?

Tee2072 Wed 06-Mar-13 07:36:45

I gotcha now NL. I was thinking New England, which is what most people mean when they say 'the east coast'. You mean the southern east coast!

::New England born and bred girl::

NorthernLurker Wed 06-Mar-13 07:51:10

I would like to see New England too grin but yes that's what I meant

Iaintdunnuffink Wed 06-Mar-13 07:51:51

I've done the train and the US twice, some great scenery! We got Amtrak month tickets. If I were to do it again with children we would hire a car at some destinations. I met a family last year who had taken a month to drive across Europe, they managed to include Denmark and Spain!

I would do a US road trip because we done loads of touring around Europe and done train across the US. If I won the lottery I'd book one of the Iceland cruises.

greenplastictrees Wed 06-Mar-13 08:21:24

It's a tough call. Train across Europe is so much fun.. I grew up only going by train on holiday and as a child it is such an exciting experience. We went to Spain, France, East/West Germant, Czechoslovakia - all sorts of random places. Then when I got to 18 I went interrailing with friends which was great fun. Most recently we visited some of former Yugoslavia which was an excellent experience and made for some quite odd tales about border guards on trains.

I've never been to the USA but am considering it for later this year. We would road trip for 2.5 weeks but are torn about where to go. We like the idea of Nashville, Memphis and New Orleans, but also fancy San Fran, Vegas and some random other towns in the West. I'd also love to visit North and South Dakota one day. Oh and Maine, Vermont, Conneticut (they remind me of the books I read).

India I recommend. We went there for 3 weeks a few years back an did a bit of a tour, mainly using trains (very exciting experience) although with a few flights thrown in. I had never visited somewhere with such a different culture before. It was a fascinating place. We really want to go back.

I would love to go to Vietnam too and travel down the reunification railway.

greenplastictrees Wed 06-Mar-13 08:28:01

Oh the train travel can be quite stressful as well by the way. I think you definitely need a sense of adventure! Some people I have been with hated it - one friend was very used to the package deal style holiday where you are met by a coach, luggage taken, e.t.c.., and the carrying everything with you on the train thing wasn't for her at all.

You also have to be willing to accept the slightly osd situations you find yourself in which may take you out of your comfort zone. In India we were sat in a compartment on a train ment to seat 6 people - they were 10 in total plus more in the luggage racks above, all staring at us (in a friendly way) because we looked different.

msrisotto Wed 06-Mar-13 08:30:10

I'd choose Europe. People romanticise driving across America but it's fucking boring to drive solidly for days. I'd fly to places in America though.

bigTillyMint Wed 06-Mar-13 08:33:26

I would love to do both.

I think America would win. But I would only take the DC if we had a mahoosive American wagon with loads of space and gadgets to stop them getting bored and moany!

BegoniaBampot Wed 06-Mar-13 08:45:54

Have done Europe and it was great. Never done the US and would love to do NY up to Boston and then to New England and do Martha's Vineyard and cape Cod and all that. Also wan to do San Francisco, Yosemite, down the coast drive Carmel a d Monterey, see the vineyards and down to LA or San Diego. Catch Death Valley. One Day.

NumericalMum Wed 06-Mar-13 08:48:14

I would love to do the European trains! I have done a bit of driving in the US but unlike here there is bugger all to see for miles between places!

I have also been to India. If you go whatever you do avoid the roads! Trains were good but the scenery from the trains was dire (squalor, litter and people having their morning poo!) everything is chaotic and as a westerner you will stick out and be hounded for money constantly and not in a subtle way! I am glad I have been but wouldn't go back too soon. I guess if you go on a very organised tour it would be better but you would miss out on a lot of atmosphere. We had our 4YO with us and she loved it. Thankfully only DH got sick (but he was miserable for weeks after).
I found it hilarious as so many people were "so jealous" before we went but so many on return said they would never go again!

FuriousRox Wed 06-Mar-13 08:59:33

Drive the west coast of north America in a camper van! No contest. Vancouver to San Diego. Your dds would love it. We drove Harvey the RV from San fran to Yosemite to LA a few years ago and loved it.

FuriousRox Wed 06-Mar-13 09:05:51

Or go by train from Beijing to hong kong with all sorts of detours.

Or Berlin to Beijing by train, if you really really love trains!

Or of course the adventure that is clapham junction to Waterloo - ooh the stories I could tell!

Ok I'll stop now I think.

HappyJoyful Wed 06-Mar-13 09:15:50

Ask the teenagers!!

My parents took me and my two younger sisters on a 'holiday of a lifetime' across America - I was an ungrateful, moody cow of a teenager and found a lot of it 'traumatic'. Embarrassed to admit, I think it was the concept of being on a tight budget and sharing rooms at times was hard. Camping is fun, if they like that sort of thing, but as I say, I'd certainly get their input.

Nancy66 Wed 06-Mar-13 09:30:17

Not India if it's a stress free time you're after. the constant hassling really starts to get to you and, depending on where you go, it's hot, noisy, crowded, smelly and dirty. You'd have to be somewhere really remote to avoid all that.

TaggieCampbellBlack Wed 06-Mar-13 09:53:37

Or train across America?

My geography is sketchy at best. I think I need a map.

I don't think DH woul come. He likes trains but doesn't do roughing it.

Tee2072 Wed 06-Mar-13 10:38:05

I don't know if you can train across America any more. Amtrak, the major cross country train service, has cut a lot due to no one using it. And what there is, is very expensive.

Amtrak Website

ophelia275 Wed 06-Mar-13 10:43:14

Drive across America!!!

That would be my absolute dream holiday.

TaggieCampbellBlack Wed 06-Mar-13 11:10:33

I don't think I can be arsed to drive myself. I'd miss gazing at the scenery. Which is why i thought train.

I'm veering towards Europe. Maybe north, like holland, sweden, um.... Denmark? Germany?

Lueji Wed 06-Mar-13 11:16:58

If I won the lottery, I definitely wouldn't camp or go to cheap hotels. wink

I wouldn't recommend driving across Africa.
And India...

More seriously, I prefer driving because I can more easily get quickly to more difficult to reach spots. I love going through back roads along small villages, stopping at beauty spots, etc.

Chopchopbusybusy Wed 06-Mar-13 11:34:53

We drove from Texas to the west coast and back again in a loop. New Mexico, Las Vegas, Death Valley, monument valley, lake Powell, Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon, San Francisco. Los Angeles. Palm Springs. We stayed in hotels and motels of various prices. We loved it and I'd go again.
It does depend on the teens though. We did our trip pre children. I'm not sure mine would be happy with the amount of time we spent in the car. I know DD2 would hate Europe by train or any camping. DD1 is quite happy lugging around a rucksack and sleeping in a tent.

mathanxiety Thu 07-Mar-13 04:27:36

My dream is doing a loop all around the Baltic, probably beginning and ending in Belgium (more North Sea and then Baltic therefore, but who's counting). I would end up seeing Netherlands and Denmark twice but I can't see a downside to that.

monsterchild Thu 07-Mar-13 04:44:44

I've done both, both have good and bad can still take Amtrak around the us, they even have an auto train where you're car comes with you!
Id ask the teens because they could make itmiserable
And holly there's lots of history and culture in north America it just isn't all based on European history and culture!

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