Part I: Listen and Read: Read along with the audio recording.
This summer, I'm planning on taking a trip to Europe, and I want to be able to get around easily, so I'm looking into buying a cheap train pass or tickets to make travel a little easier. My first step is to talk to a friend who is a travel agent to see how much train passes cost for a two-week trip. I'm looking for some kind of pass that allows me to get on and off the train at any stop during my trip. I also don't care if I ride first class or not; I'm most concerned about saving money, and some discount train pass would be best. My friend also suggested looking online for Internet specials on train passes. Train fares often drop in price depending on the season, so if I end up traveling during the off season (not a time when most people are vacationing), I might be able to get a better deal on a train pass. However, because I only have a limited amount of time to travel, I don't want to get stuck on a slow-moving train that makes stops at every station.
Part II: Discussion
What are the advantages and disadvantages of traveling by train compared with other means of transportation? Come up with at least three supporting ideas for each position, rank them in order of importance, and summarize your opinions.
Part III: Online Investigation
You have a two-week vacation coming up, and you are considering traveling overseas in Europe or Asian (or another area of your choice). Use the Internet to find the best deal on train passes in terms of price, convenience, train amenities, and scheduling.
Online Listening Practice (from www.esl-lab.com and www.trainyouraccent.com):