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The Short Version: After years of traveling the world by train, Mark Smith decided to bring his knowledge of the railway to his fellow travelers and ensure their trips ran more smoothly. He built and launched Seat61.com in 2001 as a resource for train passengers everywhere. Seat61.com has ticket information, hotel recommendations, and destination-related advice to guide singles, couples, and families looking to make memories abroad. You can book a romantic excursion in Europe, North America, or Australia by consulting Seat61.com’s extensive resources.
Mark Smith, aka “the man in seat 61,” began his journey as a self-taught web developer over a decade ago. He was in a U.K. gift shop at a stopover between trains when he saw a book about learning HTML. His curiosity piqued, Mark picked it up and boarded his train feeling eager to learn how to code. “That was the best £2.95 I ever spent,” he told us.
In 2001, Mark combined his passion for technology and trains by launching Seat61.com, an informational website dedicated to train travel. The website’s name is a reference to Mark’s favorite seat on the Eurostar — so chosen because it lines up perfectly with the window and offers a pair of seats facing one another over a small table.
Mark has sat in seat 61 for countless trips across Europe and around the world, and now he brings that wealth of experience to his travelers website.
“A train is a romantic form of traveling,” Mark said. “I even got engaged on a train to Italy.”
Mark and his girlfriend, Nicolette, embarked from London on the celebrated Venice Simplon Orient Express in October 2003. Mark said the train created a “powerful magic” because when they got off car number 3245, they were an engaged couple. Today, they have two children, two cats, a dog, and a mortgage. To this day, they still enjoy going on train rides as a family.
Traveling by train can be a magical and romantic experience, and it can also save you a few bucks along the way. While a train ride may not be the quickest way to reach a destination, it offers a much more scenic, relaxing, and comfortable journey for a fraction of the cost of an airplane or car, and it’s a much greener option, too.
Since its launch, Seat61.com has picked up steam by delivering reliable travel advice to train lovers far and wide. Couples can use this resource to get their travels on track and book tickets for an unforgettable journey by train.
Seat61.com has seen runaway success since its launch nearly 20 years ago. The site can have as many as 1 million visitors in a month, and it reaches people all over the world. About 50% of visitors hail from the U.K. and the U.S., and the rest come from all parts of Europe, Asia, North America, and even Africa. The allure of train travel seems to be universal, and people are eager to learn how they can make their trips more enjoyable and long-form.
Mark’s website supports an all-encompassing railshop with direct links to buy tickets for the most affordable price. Its listings include tickets for trains in Europe, North America, and Australia. Due to popular demand, Mark has also added tickets for Singapore, India, and South Africa.
Seat61.com reviews different train operators and routes to help people make sense of it all and create an itinerary that suits them. The site even has a section for buying ferry tickets in Europe, in case traveling by sea strikes your fancy. Once they’ve made their travel arrangements, visitors can book hotels through Seat61.com as well.
“This is absolutely the best website for information on train travel in Europe,” said American Rob Lipman in a review. “It answers every possible question you could have.”
In addition to ticket information, Seat61.com answers common questions about specific destinations. Mark has written detailed reports on the cost, train times, and other useful information about popular train trips. Many of these travel guides include pictures and videos that highlight what it’s like to travel by train along a certain route.
Seat61.com began as a resource on U.K. train travel, but it has expanded to include hundreds of exotic destinations across the globe. Whether you’re planning a romantic escape to Barcelona or Toronto, you can do your research on Seat61.com and plan your journey with the help of an expert.
Mark works full time to ensure the site stays up to date and offers correct information about a world of destinations. “It’s a monster to update,” he told us. “I’m continually adding tips, photos, and details. I don’t think the process will ever stop.”
If you’re all aboard for a train trip, Seat61.com can help you find your way to somewhere special. Mark has personally gone on many of these trains, and, as a frequent passenger, he draws from his own experiences for many of his travel recommendations.
Mark also listens to feedback from travelers and uses their input to inform his travel guides. He encourages travelers to research train times and ticket options ahead of time and book early if they want certain seats or cabins.
Every country has its own train system and railway operators, and it can be a hassle to navigate them all on your own. Seat61.com provides shortcuts to ticket portals and descriptions of what each train and trip is like. Its in-depth reviews are invaluable to couples planning to travel by train on their next day trip, weekend getaway, or long vacation.
Seat61.com invites people to trade their plane tickets for train tickets and take the scenic route on the way to popular destinations, including Brussels, Beijing, Moscow, Chicago, and Sri Lanka.
“If you love to travel, the journey is as important as the destination,” Mark said. “It’s important that you’re treated like a human being along the way and not stuck in a cramped seat. On a train, you can actually walk around and interact with people or sit and gaze out big picture windows.”
Mark has taken his passion for train trips and turned it into a website where people can discover the joy of train travel for themselves. Seat61.com prepares individuals to embark on romantic journeys from London to Barcelona and from Toronto to Victoria. Wherever you want to go, you can use Seat61.com to make sure you have the best experience from start to finish.
Every day, Mark hears from dozens of travelers who say they fared well thanks to his website. With page upon page of updated information, Seat61.com advises and informs couples so they know where to go and how to get there.
“It’s great to see people getting more out of their travels,” Mark said. “My website is all about telling travelers how to get the right tickets for the right journey, so they can make the most of every visit.”