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train travel, train traveler

Holiday Train Travel Inspired by “Everybody’s Fine”

December 04, 2009 03:00 PM
by Sarah Amandolare
"Everybody’s Fine” is a new Robert De Niro film that highlights the joys and challenges of train travel, particularly during the holiday season.

De Niro Encounters Train Travel and Family Strife

The sound of a train rolling into the station, and subsequent feel of cozying into a window seat for a long, scenic ride, are among travel’s greatest pleasures. But train travelers’ motivations and the situations they encounter en route are often unpleasant or uncomfortable, making for some of the more interesting travel tales.

“Everybody’s Fine” is a new film starring Robert De Niro that captures the intrigue of train travel—as well as the rifts and secrets that can develop within families and often reveal themselves during the holiday season. The trailer, which can be viewed on the movie’s official Web site, shows Frank Goode (De Niro) embarking on a solo jaunt to visit his three grown children. The Goode daughters, played by Drew Barrymore and Kate Beckinsale, and their brother, played by Sam Rockwell, all cancel their holiday plans to visit dad at the last minute, which prompts the plot. Also pushing Frank is his realization that his family has drifted apart since his wife’s death, according to The Internet Movie Database.

Kirk Jones directed the film, which is a remake of the Italian movie “Stanno tutti bene." In an interview with Cinema Spy, Jones said his discussions with people about the film often resulted in “quite emotional” responses. “(Many) came up to me and said ‘I know my parents aren’t proud of me. I absolutely know that is a fact,” Jones said.

Holiday Train Travel Tips

Jaunted’s “Guide to Surviving Holiday Train Travel” includes five articles with tips for making the most of confinement on a train; there’s room for exploration, if you know which car to look in, one article suggests. Jaunted also recommends long train ride accessories, and helps you decide whether upgrading to a private room on the train is worthwhile.

All travel during the holiday season is rife with potential for delays and annoyances, regardless of whether you travel by train. Maintaining a sense of appreciation for simply being able to travel—and keeping your cool—is key to enjoying your trip. In an essay for World Hum, Matt Gross, the Frugal Traveler for The New York Times, extols the virtues of non-dramatic travel: the flat tires, airport confusion and language barriers that could either be looked at as inconveniences or blessings.

Train Travel Resources

According to Jennifer Magulis in an article for Disney Family Travel, “While many dinner train and performance train rides tend to stretch a family's budget, holiday rides are usually priced affordably for the whole family to enjoy.” Margulis outlines a few holiday train travel specials throughout the U.S., including a Christmas train past Casco Bay in Portland, Maine, and a train running through the Smoky Mountains in North Carolina.

The Daily Telegraph Journeys by rail landing page links to the U.K. newspaper’s feature articles on traveling by rail, and includes helpful insider tips from travel writers. Although some of the features are strictly for U.K. travel, such as one on saving money on trail travel in Britain, most are internationally applicable. Learn about new books on train travel, such as “Last Call for the Dining Car," and read articles on enticing rail treks in Italy and New York. Take note of Nick Trend’s article on ways to save money on train travel around the world.

Find a few more budget train travel Web sites in findingDulcinea’s Budget Travel Web Guide.

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