G Adventures is launching its new rail travel program with 25 itineraries ranging from 7- to 54-day trips in more than 20 countries within Africa, Asia, and Europe, as well as North America. G Adventures created this new program to meet the demand for affordable train-based trips.
“We recognized a hole in the market for this particular type of train travel—avoiding the high-end tourist trains and offering something more authentic and local. However, offering the logistical support, expert knowledge, security and sociability of a group is a really enticing alternative to planning and executing a trip yourself,” says Rachel Wasser, innovation manager, G Adventures.
The trips include cultural encounters as well as homestays, home-cooked meals with local families, and visits to projects run by the operator’s non-profit organization, Planeterra. Unlike its rail travel competitors—which are usually aboard “made-for-tourists” trains and tend to be a little more high-end offering onboard accommodations and meals—G Adventures’ version of rail travel looks a little more like its tour itineraries. The company uses local trains that the residents of each destination use for daily or holiday travel, which presents opportunities for travelers to interact with the locals.
For instance, travelers get to spend a few days off the train in each destination while staying at either a local hotel or experiencing a homestay. This allows travelers to learn more about the history, culture, and way of life in each destination, while also tasting the local food. “[Travelers] have the opportunity to get a feel for the place we’re in before moving on to the next location. This superior authentic experience is typically a fraction of the price of the upmarket, sterile tourist train experiences,” says Wasser.
Agents can market G Adventures rail trips to a wide variety of clients. Wasser points out that some of the routes, such as the 54-day India Rail program, would be a good fit for the independent traveler with a lot of time on their hands—a recent college grad, someone on a career break, or those who are retired. “It’s a traveler that’s looking for an immersive experience and meaningful cultural exchanges with locals,” adds Wasser. Other itineraries appeal to a more mature clientele looking for scenic explorations, such as the Scandivania programs or the Vancouver to Alaska route. “I really expect to find travelers of all ages and nationalities on these trips as train travel, beautiful scenery, hands-on immersive experiences like local meals, Planeterra-project visits and homestays, as well as visiting historical highlights, really appeals to everyone,” she adds.
G Adventures rail trips are similar to the company’s group tours of up to 16 guests. Each trip is led by a Chief Experience Officer who offers local insight and adds a unique personal perspective to the experience. “Travelers come from all over the world so it’s a great opportunity to make life-long friends with like-minded people,” adds Wasser. For more information, call (888) 800-4100 or visit gadventures.com/travel-styles/rail.