Tips When Using Your Eurail Pass
Using your Eurail Pass!
1. Make sure you write down your destination and date in your rail planner before boarding the train. This is very important. Unless you have a continuous pass, you can get in trouble and fined for not having these details written down for the train operator. You should write them down even with a continuous pass as well, as some conductors can be very strict about it.
2. Before you purchase your pass, have an idea of the countries you want to see and the routes you would like to take so you can reserve trains if needed. In the summer, trains will be busier, and you run a risk of not getting on the desired train on the desired date if you don’t reserve early. Especially on popular routes.
3. When mapping out your routes, check that the trains have both a first and second class. If many don’t have first class on your route, then it is probably not worth getting a first-class ticket. Most popular routes, long journeys, and trains in Western Europe have first class though.
4. Do not pack more than you need. It is great to travel by train and forget about baggage weight restrictions, but you also don’t want to be lugging around a super heavy case either. Some train stations do not have lifts, so you will be carrying your case up and down stairs.
5. Download the Eurail map planner app on your smart phone. It works offline and is hugely informative and beneficial in planning your itinerary.
6. You need to activate your pass within 11 months of receiving it. That is when your travel time will begin.
7. Most high speed and night trains all require a reservation and have a surcharge, meaning you will have to pay even with your pass. The reservation fees cost anywhere from 3 euro more to 64 euro, more depending on what type of seat or cabin you go for. So remember to book ahead.
8. If you take a train that needs no reservation, you just hop on whenever you would like and sit wherever.
9. The more time you spend traveling and more distance you cover really makes up how much money you end up saving in the end, in my opinion.
10. Take night trains to eliminate wasting days you could be sightseeing in the sunshine and get accommodation to sleep onboard your train. This is for longer journeys. Remember if you leave after 7:00 pm this will only count as one travel day and not two, thus saving more money and a travel day.
11. Consider the discounts ahead of time of the countries you’ll be visiting to know if you could be saving money on museums or buses to take full advantage of your pass.
12. Make sure you buy the right pass. Otherwise, you could end up spending more than if you just got individual tickets. If you have an idea of your itinerary, check the prices of the trains before getting the pass. Like I said, the pass comes in handier for longer trips and covering more distance.
13. Go off the beaten path. What I loved is I could visit all the random little cities that many people overlook or that don’t have international airports. They made a perfect day trip.
14. Take a window seat. You will love the scenic views.
15. Take bottled water and snacks onboard in case there happens to be no café.
16. I highly recommend the Glacier Express and Balkan Express for the beautiful scenic views, the Glacier Express is nicer than the Balkan Express as the Balkan is quite old. But the scenery is stunning aboard both.
17. Many train stations have luggage storage lockers. If you do want to stop briefly in a city, you can store your luggage safely. Remember to have coins as they don’t take credit cards. They can be a little pricey, but they’re worth it. It’s about 7-9 euro for 12-24 hours, which isn’t too bad if you’ll be out all day, I suppose.
18. If you will be traveling in countries in Western Europe then the first-class splurge could be worth it. It’s not much extra, and it gives you nicer seats, more room, and more space for luggage and it’s also less busy than second class, typically.
19. If you will be going somewhere where you need a lot of ferries like Greece, check that the rail pass will give you discounts on ferries. This can also be a big money saver.
20. Look at the trains and take the high-speed train. A lot of times there is no additional fee, and it’s quicker. I made the mistake from Brussels to Bruges in taking the city train, and it took me an hour longer stopping at every station in between; whereas, I could have gotten to Bruges in just 50 mins. So, make sure you take the quicker option. Both will have stops, but the city trains have a lot more.
21. If you plan on traveling around the Balkans, make sure to check the train routes. Some are not updated on the website. There are currently no trains to Bosnia. There is also no longer a route from Belgrade to Istanbul return
Q. Do I really need to reserve 2 months in advance?
A. In my experience, no. I reserved all my trains the day before or day of at the train station, as I didn’t map out my route until last minute, which I don’t recommend in summer months. I traveled all of March, so this is obviously a slower month. For summer travel, I would highly recommend booking as soon as you can to avoid any disappointment or hassle.
Q. Do all night trains need a reservation?
A. Yes, if you want a cabin. If you are traveling in slower months, then sometimes you can risk boarding and paying for your cabin on-board, but you run the risk of them not having a cabin and having to sit in a regular seat for the duration of the time, which could be uncomfortable.
Q. If I reserve a 4-person cabin as a woman, will I be with men also?
A. No. You will never be placed with men on a train. You stay in the same cabin as your sex. Women with women, men with men. If you are traveling with a boyfriend, for example, then you two will need to get a 2-person cabin or you will be split up. The 2-person is a higher fee, but is nice for privacy. Some come with bathrooms.
Q. With my pass, do I still need a ticket once I arrive at the train Station?
A. No. You simply find your train’s platform and board the train and sit wherever. You only need a paper ticket if the train requires a reservation.
Q. If my pass is lost or stolen do I get another?
A. No. Unless you buy pass protection for a small fee, you are out of luck. I recommend paying the small fee to be insured.
Q. Where can I buy a Eurail pass?
A. To get the best prices I would buy one directly from the website EURAIL.COM Buying at some train stations or third-party sites you will run the risk of paying higher fees for the same pass.
Q. If I have a continuous pass, can I travel more than once per day?
A. Yes. With the continuous pass, you can travel as much as you want within the time frame listed. If you have a month pass, you can take unlimited trains in that one month.
Q. If I buy a pass in a month with only 30 days, do I get an extra day?
A. No. However, many days are in the month you purchase a pass for is the days in the month. So perhaps choose a month with 31 days if you’re really worried about this.
The countries covered in an EURAIL Pass are;
Austria, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Montenegro, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and Turkey.
Order Your Pass Today at WWW.EURAIL.COM