Tacky, Touristy Choo-Choo Trains

I know, those little touristy choo-choo trains you see all over Europe are tacky. But they are cheap and easy: You can just hop on, pay the driver, enjoy a (skimpy) recorded narrative in English, and get to places you wouldn’t want to trek to on your own. Here in Collioure, in southern France, I hopped on one to get out of town and up to a little castle overlooking the coast. (You never know who you’ll be sitting next to on these little trains. Here in France…it just might be a little pooch.)

By the way, here, as in so many cases, you’ll be given cheap little disposable earbuds to hear the audio. If there’s a standard jack, you can get better sound (and a longer cord) by using your own earbuds instead. In museums, audio tours are more and more common and, rather than holding the “wand” to my ear for an hour, with my own buds I can be more comfortable and hear better. And if you have a splitter, you and your travel partner can share — cutting your costs by 50 percent.

Stow a set of buds (a pair that fits into a standard headphone jack — not the kind that plugs into an iPhone’s Lightning connector) and a splitter in your day bag. They’ll come in handy more than you imagine.

(Heading to France? You can pick up a copy of our guidebook at https://store.ricksteves.com/shop/p/france-guidebook.)