Rail passes are widely used by travellers looking to experience as much as they can when visiting Europe. By knowing the advantages of a rail pass you will also understand how it works.
One or more countries: You can choose to buy a rail pass covering one country, two neighbouring countries or multiple countries. You can even visit 28 countries with the Eurail Global Pass!
Unlimited travel: Take 1 train or 5 trains a day or travel 50km or 400km. With a rail pass, you can travel as much as you want.
Flexibility: Travel whenever you want, wherever you want. No need to plan ahead! A rail pass offers unmatched freedom to make multiple journeys.
Seat reservation at a nominal price: A rail pass offers a special passholder fare to travel on board all trains which require a seat reservation. This means that you will only pay a small fee to travel on board premium trains like the TGV, Eurostar, Thalys, TGV Lyria and more.
Rail pass activation
Rail passes must be activated within 11 months of the issuing date at a railway station in Europe.
Make sure to bring along your travel documents as a railway official will fill in your passport number before stamping your rail pass to validate it.
Before boarding it is mandatory to write down the date of travel on your rail pass as well as recording your trip in the Travel Report on the rail pass cover.
Train ticket vs Rail pass
A train ticket is cheaper if you book in advance and plan on doing only 2 or 3 trips.
A rail pass is better if you want the freedom to travel extensively in one or more countries.
Finding out what is the best product for you, will save you money and time.
Answer these three short questions to know whether a train ticket or a rail pass is best for you:
1. Will I be taking a train three or more during my trip? If the answer is no, then just buy tickets for rail travel as you need them.
2. If the answer is yes, answer the question, do I have set places, dates and times already planned?
3. If the answer is yes, look and see if the places you plan to visit are all within a single counrtry. If they are, we recommend you purchase a Eurail One Country Pass for that country. If they are not, but are all with a ceratin region, eg. Eastern Europe, we recommend you purchase a Eurail Regional Pass if you plan to visit two countries by train, or a Eurail Select Pass if you are visiting four bordering countries to visit by train.
Eurail Select Pass
With a Eurail Select Pass, you can pick 4 bordering countries to visit by train. Remember, when travelling on board local or regional trains, you often do not require a seat reservation. Take your valid rail pass, hop on board the train, sit back and relax.