Traveling by train can be one of easiest and most enjoyable ways of getting around Europe. It is also relatively affordable. Whether you are traveling for one week or a month, visiting one country or eighteen, Eurail has an option that will likely fit your needs. There are numerous types of passes available, and familiarity with these types will help you choose wisely.
Here is information to help you get around on your next trip:
- Decide where you are going: One of the first things you will need to do after buying your plane tickets to Europe is to decide on where to go once you land. Are you visiting just one country, a few, or many? Or, will you be limiting yourself to a specific region?
- The Eurailpass allows for train travel between 18 countries.
- Eurail Selectpass allows you to choose between 3 and 5 bordering countries.
- Eurail Two Country Passes allow for train travel between two countries or unions, such as France- Italy, Italy-Greece, and Germany-Benelux.
- Eurail One Country Pass allows for travel within one country, such as Spain or Italy.
- Map your route for your European train travel: Once you've decided which countries you will be visiting on your trip, it's time to sketch out a basic route. Which country are you visiting first, next, and last? Remember that if you choose the Eurail Selectpass, it allows you to choose only bordering countries or regions. The Eurailpass allows travel to any country, bordering or not.
- Estimate your flexibility and time before buying your European train tickets: How long will you be traveling for? Is your itinerary set in stone, or can you be more flexible? Consider how many days you will be traveling by train, and if you will be traveling every day by train (consecutive) or will be spending some time off the train and then traveling again a few days later (non-consecutive).
Take into account who you are traveling with before buying train tickets: You may be able to save some cash if you are traveling with one, two, or even five people. The Eurail Saver Pass, Eurail Selectpass Saver, as well as others, allow for discounted travel. Remember that the names of your travel group are printed on only one ticket, so you must travel together at all times.
Don't forget your age when buying train tickets: Something many forget to consider when learning how to buy Eurail tickets is that people that are under the age of 26 will save a huge chunk of money by purchasing either the Eurailpass Youth, Eurailpass Flexisaver Youth, or the Eurail Selectpass Youth. There are also special discounts for children under the age of 11. Certain passes are also available to seniors over the age of 60.
Traveling in style...or not: The Eurailpass and Eurail Selectpass allow for luxury with first class train travel everywhere you go. The Eurail Selectpass Youth (for those between the ages of 12-25) allows for second class train travel. One Country and Two Country passes allow for the choice of 1st or 2nd class train travel.
- The Eurailpass allows for only consecutive day train travel, with options of 15 days, 21 days, 1 month, 2 months, and 3 months.
- The Eurailpass Flexi allows for either 10 or 15 days of consecutive or non-consecutive travel in 2 months.
- The Eurail Selectpass allows for up to 15 days of consecutive or non-consecutive train travel in 2 months.
- The Eurailpass One Country or Two Country passes allow for either consecutive or non-consecutive days of train travel.
Where to buy: If you decide to purchase your Eurail tickets over the Internet, you may do so from the official Eurail website. There are many other websites that sell Eurail passes as well, including Rail Europe, and the student friendly STA Travel. If you wish to purchase your tickets in person, your local travel agent can assist you.
In conclusion: Listed below are some final tips for helping you decide which pass is the right one for you.
- Eurailpass: If you are planning on visiting most of Europe.
- Eurailpass Flexi or Eurail Selectpass: If you are visiting up to 5 countries, and will be doing only a few international train trips.
- Eurailpass One Country: If you are only visiting one country or region, but will be traveling to many cities by train.
- Eurailpass Two Countries: If you are visiting two neighboring countries or regions and visiting many cities within.