updated 5/5/2009 4:44:39 PM ET 2009-05-05T20:44:39

Book by: ASAP

Travel by: Through June

The deal
There's something romantic about traveling by rail. Perhaps it's the promise of unknown adventures just around the next bend, or nostalgia for the golden era of train travel, when it was more about the journey than the destination. Whatever it is that fuels our love affair with the locomotive, one thing is for sure: Train travel is now one of the most affordable ways to vacation. To help you get on board-and save-we've tracked down seven great rail tours across the U.S., Peru, Italy, and more, starting from just $155!

Cape Cod Railroad Package from $155
Adults traveling with small children should consider booking this affordable Cape Cod Railroad Package on offer from the Tidewater Inn, a charming 4-acre property overlooking scenic Lewis Bay in Yarmouth, Mass. Starting from just $155, the package includes accommodations for two in a spacious guestroom with a balcony or patio and a fun-filled, 2-hour train ride from Hyannis to the Cape Cod Canal. Kids will delight as the train whistles and you chug along past cranberry bogs, lush woodlands and scenic marshes. The package is available from May through October and also includes breakfast at Helen’s, the Tidewater’s 50s-era diner with black-and-white checkered floors.

Amtrak California Rail Pass from $159
California’s storied railroads have played an integral role in the state’s history since the days of the Gold Rush. Today,  trains remain one of the best ways to explore the scenic Golden State. From spectacular Redwood forests and vineyards to the breathtaking scenery along the Pacific coast, you can see and experience more of this great state with Amtrak’s flexible California Rail Pass. This affordable pass allows customers up to 7 days of travel over a 21-day period, but you must obtain hard-copy tickets in advance for each leg of your journey. Available year-round, the coach-class rail pass costs just $159 for adults and $80 for children ages 2 to 15.

Amtrak USA Rail Pass from $389
Cover more ground across the country with Amtrak. The leader in American rail travel now offers passengers an excellent option for exploring the country from a unique vantage point. The USA Rail Pass allows you access to any destination within the Amtrak rail system and will even let you decide how long you want to travel. Passengers can choose from 15-day, 30-day, and 45-day passes. You just have to pick up your tickets before boarding any train. USA Rail Passes start at just $389 for adults and $194.50 for children. Advance reservations are recommended on all routes to ensure available seating.

7-Day Florence & Rome Vacation by Rail from $459
A romantic journey through Italy is guaranteed to leave you with many amazing memories to last a lifetime. So why not make the trip between two Italian cities equally as memorable? When you book a 7-day "Florence & Rome by Rail" package with Gate 1 Travel, you’ll be privy to either first-class or standard seating for the 2-hour train ride between the cities. This special rail package also covers daily breakfast and choice of hotels with 2 nights spent in Florence and 3 nights in Rome. The tour departs on May 19, and costs just $459 for the land-only tour; and $1,299 with airfare from New York. City tours of Florence and Rome and guided excursions to Naples and Capri are also available at an additional cost.

Hiram Bingham to Machu Picchu from $588
Mystical Machu Picchu no longer mandates four-day treks along the challenging Inca Trail, or aboard overcrowded backpacker trains. Instead, the Hiram Bingham luxury rail — named for the American explorer who awakened the lost city’s existence worldwide — ushers travelers to and from the steps of the sacred site from Cusco, six days a week, in just 3.5 hours.

Along the way, passengers will enjoy views of the surrounding Sacred Valley, the Urubamba River, and the quiet villages of the Andean foothills. The trip includes brunch on your outward journey and dinner on your return trip, plus bus transfers and entry fees into Machu Picchu. The train runs year-round from Cusco at a cost of $588 per person.

Luxury Train Tour of Beijing & Shanghai from $622
Travel to two of China’s most popular and historical cities with a 5-night train journey from China Highlights. Starting in Beijing, you’ll enjoy once-in-a-lifetime guided excursions to amazing sights like the Great Wall, Ming Dynasty Tombs, and Tian'anmen Square. Next, you’ll board an overnight train to the bustling city of Shanghai, where you’ll enjoy guided excursions to ancient Jade Buddha Temple and the scenic Bund, where you’ll discover some of the best shopping in all of China. Rates for this 5-night package start at $622 for a group of 2-5 persons traveling together and include complimentary breakfast and daily lunch.

Canadian Rockies and Whistler from $1,028
Experience two remarkable trains, the Rocky Mountaineer and the Whistler Mountaineer, in one memorable 4-night voyage. Your adventure will kick off with an overnight stay in Vancouver. After exploring the city on your own, climb aboard the Whistler Mountaineer for the breathtaking journey to Whistler, the resort town hosting all alpine ski events during the 2010 Olympic Games. Along the way, enjoy remarkable views of the Coast Mountains, Shannon Falls, and Mount Garibaldi. From there your journey continues aboard the Rocky Mountaineer, which will whisk you away to the amazing towns of Quesnal and Jasper on a scenic ride through the Canadian Rockies. This package includes 4 nights’ hotel, station transfers, and five meals. Rates start at about $1,028 ($1,249 CAD) and are based on double occupancy.

The dollars
Taxes and fees are additional.

The catch
Airfare is not included unless otherwise noted.

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