Comparing train and air travel is a little like comparing a tortoise and a hare — but the views are unbeatable on the rails, and the cost is usually less. Here's the matchup for the 275-mile California trip from San Jose to Santa Barbara:
Airline: 65 minutes, $144 round trip from San Francisco, $279 from San Jose.
Amtrak: 7 hours, $76 discount coach, $109 full-fare coach round trip.
Car: 5 hours, $50 round trip (assuming 20 miles per gallon at $1.85 per gallon).
For schedules, fares and reservations: www.amtrak.com or 1-800-USA-RAIL (872-7245).