Has anyone traveled through Eurail before? and if so, how does it work?

Question by julie: Has anyone traveled through Eurail before? and if so, how does it work?
-How many countries can I go to and how much?
-How does the traveling work?
-Where are the trains? Do I still have to pay for the air trip?

Tell me about your experiences!

Best answer:

Answer by Dart
You go to their website, and look at the map to find out which countries are involved. I know it has changed since my day.

Traveling: You get on the trains, and go…wait! Most runs require you to book seats. Again, a change since my day. You have to reserve the seats at the ticket windows. And they cost. Many runs also have surcharges which you have to pay for at the ticket windows. I’m sure you get packages that explain those things when you buy the pass.

How much you pay depends on how old you are…If you qualify for the Youthpass, it’s much less expensive, much more worthwhile, and you travel second class. They are pretty strict that you can’t sort of overflow into the first class compartments.

Yes, when you buy a train pass, you still have to buy an air ticket, unless you plan to walk/swim to the first train station.

Give your answer to this question below!

{ 1 comment }

Steven June 17, 2014 at 8:20 pm

Lots of good questions. To start off getting information, take a look at http://www.raileurope.com as they sell the rail passes for Europe. You can also purchase through a travel agency, but they just resell the passes from Rail Europe anyways.

To know where trains go to – where is mostly everywhere in Europe – I recommend you use a good train search website like the Deutsche Bahn (German Rail) website at http://www.bahn.de . You can choose “English” from the top menu. The website will let you search for any rail trip anywhere in Europe – even if it does not involve Germany. If you click the arrow at the left-hand side for a route when it comes up with search results, it will even show you the type(s) of train, and if reservations are required.

The rail passes come in different formats. You may purchase a pass for a single country (say just for rail travel in France), travel for two neighbouring countries (perhaps France and Germany), a pass for 3, 4, or 5 neighbouring countries, or the Global pass which gives you travel throughout most of continental Europe (the UK is only available in a single-country pass). If you have a valid pass for your travel, then you only need to show your pass to the conductor when you board the train. Unfortunately, trains with mandatory reservations require you to have a reservation prior to you boarding the train. Reservations are primarily required just for high-speed and overnight trains, and it is a bit of an incorrect wording for the fee as it is more of an “upgrade fee” than just a reservation fee. Yes, it guarantees you a place on the train but it is more often a way of paying to get a nicer-quality train (as the high-speed trains usually are) or for a special service like getting a bed to sleep in on a night train. To get an idea of how much these fees are, take a look at the handy chart at http://www.ricksteves.com/rail/pdfs/reservations.pdf

I have used Eurail passes before and I really enjoy them. I will freely admit that often inexpensive flights through low-cost airlines like http://www.ryanair.com , http://www.easyjet.com , or http://www.airberlin.com are often a better idea if you are travelling a fairly long distance between two major cities. If you are making shorter trips or travelling to smaller towns and cities, then I find rail to be the best way to go. As a recommendation, consider night trains for longer trips, especially if you are heading to an expensive city like Venice, Rome, or Paris. Rather than flying in and spending money on what is usually expensive accommodations (even for hostels), you can sleep on the night train. Yes, it is more money than a standard train ride, but often you can save money by not needing to sleep in a more expensive city one extra night.

Finally, I would recommend that you have an idea of where you are going. I know you are in the early planning stages, but there are two ways to do a trip. Either you are going to spend a few months in Europe and you just want to go where you want when you want. If this is the case, consider a Eurail Global pass as you will have the freedom to go most anywhere at anytime. If you are going to be more limited in travel time then it can be best to pre-set an itinerary. If you know exactly where you are going, you can purchase a rail pass that is closer to your needs. So if you will only be going to France and Italy, you can purchase a France-Italy rail pass rather than the more expensive Eurail Global pass that covers almost all the countries.

Have a great trip, and a great time planning!

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