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Unusual train trips

With a travel choice of planes, trains or automobiles, what is your preferred mode of transportation? I easily choose the train, because it is romantic, scenic and relatively stress-free.

Train vacation in Canada

There are no risky takeoffs and landings, and you don’t have to do the driving, or endure the “Are we there yets?” wafting up from the back seat of the car. Yes, train travel offers a truly different view of the world — and one that, once you’ve experienced it, you won’t forget.

I was fortunate enough to take a lovely Canadian train trip a few years ago on the Rocky Mountaineer line. It was both relaxing and highly stimulating, and a wonderful way to spend time together in a comfortable environment while getting from place to place.

These three unique train trips sound very intriguing. Whether you’ve already experienced the pleasure of train travel or if you’re a novice, the lure of these fabulous destinations will surely pique your interest.

Rovos Rail: South Africa

Ravos Rail -- Victoria Falls

See Africa as never before in what’s billed as “the most luxurious train in the world.” In journeys lasting from 48 hours to 28 days, Rovos Rail offers three suite sizes, and guests dine on meals of fresh local ingredients and fine South African wines. With destinations including Cape Town and Victoria Falls, where you’ll visit Thompson’s Junction and Hwange Game Reserve and can spot wildlife from the train. Rovos Rail delivers top-tier service and unforgettable memories through its African vacations.

Foliage trains: New Hampshire

Featured in the New York Times and offering views of some of the most brilliant scenery in the country, these four unusual train tours take you from the banks of the Pemigewasset River to the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee, all in supreme comfort. Enjoy the fall colors with your choice of food, drinks and gifts available on board. Offering both day and evening excursions and choice of upgrades to first or president’s class, you can feel like you’re in the driver’s seat, without the burden of the actual driving, when you board one of these unforgettable foliage train tours.

Jazz, blues and rock ‘n’ roll by rail: Chicago, Memphis and New Orleans

If you or a loved one is a music lover, this train jaunt is right up your alley. The eight-day trip, on Amtrak’s City of New Orleans with hotel accommodations for six nights, includes highlights such as visits to Graceland, Sun Studios and dining on famous Beale Street. You’ll love the guided tour of the Chicago river, visit Memphis’ Staxx and Rock ‘n’ Soul museums, and enjoy a city tour with musicians on board. The intoxicating jazz of Bourbon Street, the French Quarter and Garden District are on the itinerary in New Orleans. Count on it — you won’t miss a beat on this train!

Vacations that include trains are memorable because you can often sight-see in a way that is not otherwise practical. It also provides an opportunity to be social and make new friends (or keep to yourself if you’d rather). A train trip is one you won’t forget and you’ll likely be encouraging others to take the plunge if they have not yet experienced this wonderful way of seeing the world.

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Photo credit (right): Rovos Rail Tours (Pty) Ltd.

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