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Train travel in Europe – Do I need a Eurail Pass?

 

Are Eurail passes worth purchasing? Maybe. Taking the train in Europe is a fun, easy way to get around. But, there is only value in purchasing a Eurail pass, as opposed to individual tickets, depending on where you travel.

What is a Eurail pass?

Eurail passes can only be used by non-European citizens. They work in popular countries, including France, Spain, Italy, and Germany.

Options include: the Global pass, which includes 28 countries; Select pass, which counts for 4 bordering countries of your choosing; Regional pass, which allows users to choose from 2 popular country combinations; or One Country passes.

Typically, it shouldn’t take more than 1 travel day to go from one European city to another. For example, it takes 1 travel day to get from Berlin to Paris, or Paris to Madrid.

The Eurail website provides users with a “Plan Your Trip” function that includes a timetable, railway maps, reservation information and other useful links.

Although your Eurail pass will serve as a ticket on most trains run by National Railway Companies, many European high-speed and night trains require reservations. When travelling on one of these trains, visitors need both their Eurail pass and their reservation.

Who should purchase a Eurail pass?

Those who plan a two-week trip months in advance will not need a rail pass. Because rail lines are attempting to compete with airlines, prices are now variable and no longer fixed. By pre-booking months in advance, travellers will easily find bargain deals. However, tickets are non-refundable.

Travellers who wish to go to Europe without a plan will best benefit from purchasing a pass, as the overall cost will likely be cheaper than same-day point-to-point tickets. Those who are travelling long term will want the ability to hop on and off trains as needed.

One of the best ways to use a Eurail pass is to combine it with individual cheap tickets.

Although many people assume train travel in Europe requires a pass, obtaining one without first computing the value may be a waste of precious travel funds.

Train passes also come with assorted perks, including discounts on ferries and buses.

Those who wish to travel through Europe should not assume a Eurail pass will save time or money. By conducting research beforehand, and weighing the pros and cons, travellers will see if there is a monetary benefit to purchasing a pass.

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