In countries other than the U.S., making a decision between taking the plane or train is worth a cost comparison. While we do not have that luxury here, a quick review of some other countries reveal some good cost comparisons.
Most of us know about the great deal in Europe, the Eurail pass. I bought my first one back in the Seventies. Then a few decades passed before I bought a four country pass: Hungary, Austria, Germany, and Slovakia. I may buy another for an upcoming trip in October, that will include: Poland, Germany, Hungary, Serbia, Croatia, Austria, and perhaps Greece.
Only a few of you will remember the old Pan Am world pass. The version I am familiar with allowed unlimited travel on their network for two weeks!! I used a mini version of this on my last trip to SE Asia, where I used Air Asia to traverse Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, and Vietnam.
So, take a look at the two maps, one for rial, the other for air travel. Logically, Denmark would have the most expensive domestic network, while Thailand has the most reasonable domestic routes.
Here is the methodology that was used: Transportation-focused tech company Fleet Logging came up with its Transport Price Index by calculating the average cost of domestic flights, train trips, and bus rides in scores of nations using popular travel websites such as Skyscanner. In the case of plane tickets, researchers considered flights between each country’s first and second-most populous cities; rail and bus routes were selected for destinations 100km (about 62 miles) from each country’s capital city.
The goal was to calculate the price in U.S. dollars of each mode of travel per 100km in any given nation.
As expected, the U.S. ($60) had the second highest rail travel cost after Peru ($69.14 per 100 km). Yet Norway has the world’s cheapest domestic airfare of $6.52 per 100 km. You would not expect Russia to have the cheapest domestic airfare, at $4.23 per 100 km.
African nations have very affordable rail rates, with countries like Egypt, Mozambique, Madagascar, Namibia and Kenya all under $2 per 100 km.
Bus trips produced some surprise fares: Malta was the most expensive, followed by the U.S. and Canada, perhaps due to our open spaces.
For most Americans, whether on business or leisure, time is a big factor. Since I have retired, I often prefer the train. In fact, I rode the Trans Siberian Railway across one-third of the earth’s surface back in 2012.