Sometimes talking to our friends about their travel plans reminds us that are great travel alternatives we may be neglecting. Case in point: this morning a friend was on Facebook wondering if he should take the Surfliner or rent a car in order to make the trip from Los Angeles to San Diego.
The answer is obviously, “Yes.”
Yes, you should take the Surfliner and yes, when you get there you’ll want to rent a car.
The reasoning isn’t sound if you are one person, if you are two adults looking to stop along the way or if you have a rigid timeline. The reason one would take the Surfliner from Los Angeles to San Diego and then wait for a car rental agency to fetch you from the train station is because the train ride is part of the trip. It’s no longer a commute, it’s a journey. Travel isn’t just going somewhere, it’s getting somewhere.
Parents and kids spend a good bit of time together in cars. We drive them to school, activities, sports, errands and back home again. There isn’t a heck of a lot that’s special about talking to your kids while glancing into the rear view mirror. It is particularly lovely to hop aboard a train with your kids, sit next to them, maybe play cards, watch the Pacific Ocean do her thing and to begin your vacation the moment you hop on the train. As an added bonus parking is free at many train stations.
Having this appear in my timeline reminded me of a bus that I’m looking into for this spring’s East Coast College Tour. There’s a Luxury Bus called the LimoLiner that operates between New York City and Boston. For $89 each way we’ll be able to stretch out on a wi-fi enabled leather recliner and be served snacks and hot or cold meals. It’s a non stop bus and it’s not prohibitively expensive yet it’s pricey enough that the guy next to you won’t ask for a sip from a hip flask.
If you’re like me and you’d like to ride the LimoLiner and have some quality time with the kids be sure to check ahead of time for special fares.
Airline travel is dreadful in the US. The only thing we can do at this point is try and buy ourselves into a higher class of service either with cash or points. Families like yours and mine want to arrive at our destinations relaxed and already in vacation mode. Let’s not forget the buses and the trains. We’ll skip the commuting and skip right to the fun part, the family time.