HELLO and welcome - over the coming months I'll be looking at how to get more out of your holiday by wandering off the beaten track or doing something a bit different.

This year, it’s not the destination that’s so unusual.

Myself, partner and 4 year old daughter are going to Croatia. We'd long fancied the Adriatic coast with its idyllic islands.

The unusual bit is how we're getting there. By train.

Why? Flying is an ordeal, to be put up with in order to get from A to B.

Before you've even left A you have to suffer dull waits in vast, unfriendly halls, shuffling shoeless in endless queues, hoping that your liquids have been decanted in to 100ml bottles to the satisfaction of security.

Then you sit in your barely big enough seat and endure sales pitches from airline staff.

By contrast, if you take the train, you turn up and, get on, and, er, that’s it.

You also sit back and let views of mountains, lakes, towns and fields sweep agreeably by. If you're hungry, you wander to the restaurant car, when it's time to turn in, you pull down your folding bed and let the train rock you off as you sweep across a continent.

We first travelled long-haul on a train, with some trepidation, when our daughter was two. We needn't have worried. Another family with four girls was in a neighbouring compartment, and so the happy group spent most of the 48-hour journey running up and down the corridor and being spoilt by other travellers.

Sure, you're not getting there quickly, it might take you two days to do a journey you'd fly in four hours. But on a long-distance train journey, your holiday starts the moment you step onto the carriage.

Even better, you could even start your journey at your local station. Imagine rolling up with your cases at Rogerstone, getting on a train and knowing that the next time you walk out of a station you'll be in Riga.

So try putting a bit of romance back into your travel and let the train take the strain.

  • To find out all you need on taking long-haul trains – go to a website called 'The Man in Seat Sixty-One’ at www.seat61.com.