Eurail: Choose The Right Pass. Train Travel In Europe

Eurail is a brand representing 28 European countries and their national railway transport. Some people simply enjoy planning their travels, digging deeper, way upfront their trip starts to go over as much as offers they can and luckily for them they can save a lot on the way.

Whenever planning your trip, the sooner you start – the better the offers.

Eurail is no exception to the rule, but you can get a few discounts even if you prefer a more flexible and spontaneous approach to travel.

Europe is truly gorgeous for the scenery and natural surroundings to be seen and enjoyed from another point of view, in a more of a relaxed way when you take a railway trip with a train. So, why are trains the best way to travel?

Railway transport within some European countries is so well organized, with first-class trains, rides being so smooth that you won’t even notice when changing counties. Trains are very social, you’ll meet new people and travelers all the time. They are the eco-friendliest mean of transport and provide comfort as well. The only thing you’ll have to do is to activate your pass upon your first ride at the station or order one that is pre-activated. You won’t have to wait in lines for boarding or controls whatsoever. Just take your luggage, get on the train and let the ride begin.

Eurail Pass gives an opportunity to the non-European citizens or residents to purchase one pass for train travels way upfront, even 11 months, and travel in Europe by train as long as they want, changing as many trains and countries they like. European citizens can purchase an Interrail Pass instead.

The 28 countries participating in the Eurail pass: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Montenegro, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey.

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What makes that difference in the price of the tickets?

Depending on your flexibility and the number of countries to visit you should look at three offers that Eurail Pass has:

Global Pass is most flexible and you can travel in and between 28 European countries. It’s obvious that this pass is more for people that don’t want to plan much upfront, would need to change few countries before they reach the desired destination or simply their trips will last longer.

With the Select Pass, you only pay for the countries you want to visit, by choosing 2, 3, or 4. But, they have to be bordering which isn’t the case with the Global Pass when you can visit whichever country you like.

Lastly, you can select to purchase a One Country Pass if you’d like to explore more in-depth the beauty of one European country when you can travel in between the cities with regional or high-speed trains. Keep in mind that high-speed trains or travels to the bigger cities will require an additional fee for seat reservation that’s not included in your Eurail Pass ticket.

Next, the selected days for your trip can be used consecutively, meaning that you’ll have to travel every day to get the most of your travel and the value of the Eurail Pass ticket. In that case, your ticket will have continuous validity. The other more flexible option or the flexible validity of the ticket will be: to pick your dates and travel every second, third or tenth day, for example, spread in a significant period of time, like a month or two. You can choose to travel one day, and after a few days, you can travel again at your pace.

The bigger differences in railway transport are more between the train companies and train types and less between the 1st and the 2nd class.

This means that the differences in commodity and facilities in both classes of that same train aren’t so big. They distinguish for the privacy you’ll get since the 2nd class includes 6 seat compartment and it’s more of a social ride which isn’t a case with the first class. If you like to spend your time on the train more quietly, reading or use more of your electronic devices such as a laptop, a WiFi is included in the 1st class, while in the 2nd class only some cars have it. However, in the first class, you’ll get more leg room and comfort, but not that significant. The food and beverages will be served to you at your seat instead of going to the restaurant or at the bar, which is the case when traveling with 2nd class and is less crowded. But, the good thing is that on the trains you can also bring your own food and eat relaxed on the convertible tables available in any of the train cars. A 1st class Pass gives you access to both 1st and 2nd class compartments on every train while with the 2nd class Pass you only have access to the 2nd class cars.

Another thing is that price difference when traveling with high-speed trains, for which you’ll have to pay a reservation for the seats. Express trains provide more comfort and better service, they are faster than the regional trains (have more stops) and are a great choice for longer distances. That’s the reason why you should pay that extra fee – starting from 5 euros – for the mandatory reservation of the seats.

The best value for the Eurail Pass rail rides goes to the Youth Pass intended for those that don’t exceed the age of 27.

Anyone that is under 28 years of age gets 20% off the regular price for the pass and even more if tends to travel to many cities and change countries. You shouldn’t mix it up with the student pass. It is for anyone under the above-mentioned age limit. Moreover, if you don’t prefer traveling alone but in company of friends or family by purchasing the Eurail Saver Pass you’ll receive the 15% discount on the regular price. This pass can be purchased when traveling in groups from 2-5, in which case, you’ll have to travel together for the whole time throughout the journey since your names will be linked to the same ticket. 

What are the benefits of Eurail Pass?

One of the benefits when purchasing a Eurail Pass is that will save you a lot on your budget, up to 25% off the regular price than buying a point-to-point ticket. But, when traveling inter cities or between cities that are not too far, buying a ticket on the station will be a better solution which will save on your rides included in the Eurail Pass for the longer destinations. For some countries, when there is an option, Eurail includes additional free ferry travels in the chosen Pass.

Best advice for whichever option of the Eurail Pass offers you’ll decide upon, purchasing a Eurail Pass few months ahead will save you big time. The good news is that if you buy the standard Eurail Pass and you don’t use it and return it, the whole amount will be refunded to you. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for the Promotional Eurail Passes for which the amount is non-refundable if not used.

I found trains as a very family friendly mean of transport. If you are one of those people that prefer trains, and even better, if you’re not older than 27 years when traveling with kids and your family undoubtedly the Eurail Pass benefits will be in your hand. Not only you’ll enjoy the ride and the natural surroundings, you’ll get the best deals that Eurail has to offer. Not only you’ll get that great youth discount, but your kids will travel for free as well. For kids, up to 4 years, the train rides are for free and those up to 12 can travel for free with Child Pass, as long as they are accompanied by an adult with an Adult Pass. A maximum of two children can travel with one adult for free. For every other kid purchasing a Youth Pass is required.

Night trains. Finally, with the Eurail Pass, you can have unlimited rail rides with trains for the selected days of your pass. Reclining seats, sleeping cabins or single cabins with bathrooms are offered for every budget. Traveling with night trains can save you a lot of your time and money. Actually, if you’re on a budget you won’t have to pay for hotels and accommodation at all when traveling with trains. You can explore the cities in the daytime, resting and eating on the trains at night as long as you like. In fact, when you are on a free ride for the day you don’t have to leave the train at all if you prefer so. 

You can save a day when traveling on night trains. If you take one of the direct overnight trains that leave after 7 p.m. you’ll use only one day of your pass. The thing to consider is the additional fee that you’ll have to pay for the sleeping cabin. For families traveling with kids, even though they don’t pay for the kids up to 4 years in the regular destinations, when traveling in a sleeping cabin a mandatory fee for the child’s bed is required. All night trains require reservation made in advance.

If you prefer trains it’s a good option to look at since it can save you a lot on accommodation. On the other hand, when traveling at night you’ll miss out the chance of enjoying the scenic views and nature. That won’t be the case if you are traveling in the daytime. All in all, it’s up to our personal taste and needs.