In this new age of technology were becoming more and more conditioned to immediate gratification. Some things good, texting an emoji to order pizza…absolutely, freaking, mind-blowing. That pizza emoji has personally changed my life and waistline. Along with the good, there is some bad; like texting over actually connecting with people (Unless it’s to order pizza…that’s acceptable).

For better or for worse, technology is here to stay and it’s especially present in travel. We can get on a plane and in 12 hours be almost 5,000 miles from our home. That is insane! Just think, 100 years ago this same journey would have it taken weeks!

At one time, trains had the same impact on travel as planes do today, but few people know that train travel is still an option (much like those combo snacks at gas stations…remember those?). Trains were an upgrade to traveling by horse or foot. Today, trains are an after-thought for most people compared to their cooler, faster sibling…the plane. Planes are cheaper, faster and just better…right?

Well, let’s see what the numbers say.

A plane trip to Chicago for 2:

  • Packing: You have to make sure you can get as much in one carry-on bag as you can so you don’t have to pay for extra luggage or weight. After you’re done playing whack-a-mole with your suitcase and the ongoing worry about being overcharged by Bernice at the bag check, your total pack time is approximately 2 hours.


  • Airport time: Although you feel safe there’s this game called stand in a line and play finders-keepers with guys who wear gloves and touch everything in your nicely packed bag. Because of said game, you have to arrive 3 hours early. The upside there’s a whole host of coffee shops, restaurants, and those massive chocolate bars.


  • Flight time: After discovering that the hands under those blue gloves are about as warm as a frozen ice-cream cake, you’re more than relieved to be on your way. On your way to the cozy seat that reclines exactly 1.71 degrees…forward. But it’s okay, you get food, right? Haha…no soup for you! Well, unless you want to pay $13 for a fun size snickers and a can of soda. Good news is travel time only takes 1 hour and 30 minutes.


  • Arrival: You made it! After the packing, standing, and flight you see the light at the end of the tunnel. The only thing left is picking up your bag. You’re feeling optimistic and tell yourself that your bag will be there in 5 minutes, but reality hits just like the ending of toy story 3 and you start to cry. 1 hour and 30 minutes later you and your fun size snickers are getting into the Uber.

Total trip time: 8 hours.
Cost for both tickets: $760
Fun sized snickers and soda: $13
Total cost: $776
Interactions with Cold-Hands Carl: 2

A train trip to Chicago for 2:

Show up to your local railroad track and tip your hat 3 times. Then the train will stop, you get on and say “Onward, Good Sir!”. Boom…you’re done.

Just kidding. That’s not a thing…don’t do that.

  • Packing: You get 2, yes folks you heard me right… 2 free bags per person. The stress of packing decimated, just start throwing stuff in there.  30 minutes, 15 if you just don’t care.


  • Train station time: Depending on the location, you just show up and get on the train. Seriously. No finders-keepers with cold-hands Carl or awkwardly posing in the metal detectors. 30 minutes early, 10 if you’re a savage.


  • Train ride: 1 word…LEGROOM! Not only do you get legroom but these chairs are pretty big and they recline!! Now the ride can be a touch bumpy but that’s an afterthought when you realize that you can bring your own food! Yeah, no joke…it’s a real thing. Want to carry on a whole tote of those $1 candies you sneak into the movies? You can do it! The trip is a little long but you can walk around and see some awesome countryside. Travel time 12 hours.


  • Arrival: You step off of the train with your food. Total time: 5 minutes…you packed a lot of food.

Total trip time: 13 hours 20 minutes
Cost for both tickets: $360
A bunch of food in a bag: $20
Total cost: $380
Interactions with Cold-Hands Carl: 0!

Now you might save 5 hours taking a plane but the extra legroom, money saved and obvious ability to pack a picnic on the train seems to win in my book.

Let us know which you would prefer!