Buy a Eurail pass online

Buy Eurail pass in the USA   Buy a railpass in the USA

If you live in the USA, buy a Eurail pass at www.raileurope.com or www.eurail.com.

   Buy a railpass in Canada

If you live in Canada, buy a Eurail pass at www.raileurope.ca or www.eurail.com.

Buy Eurail pass in Australia   Buy a railpass in Australia

If you live in Australia, buy a Eurail pass from www.raileurope.com.au or www.internationalrail.com.au

  Buy a railpass in New Zealand

If you live in NZ, buy from www.raileurope.co.nz or www.eurail.com.

  Buy a railpass in India

If you live in India, buy from www.raileurope.co.in or www.eurail.com.

If you live in any other country in Asia, Africa or South America buy from www.raileurope-world.com or www.eurail.com

If you live in Europe you qualify for InterRail, so see the InterRail page...

Eurail or InterRail?

Before we start, which of Europe's two great railpass ranges applies to you?

  If you live in Europe, you qualify for an InterRail pass, so hop over to the InterRail page.

  If you live outside Europe, you qualify for a Eurail pass so stay on this page & read on...

All about Eurail passes...

This page will talk you through how to buy & use a Eurail pass, and whether a Eurail pass or point-to-point tickets is best for you.  I'll try & tell it like it is, you may find cheap train tickets a better deal.

 

Why see Europe by train - train versus car, flight, bus

 

What is a Eurail pass & who qualifies?

 

The Eurail pass range explained - simplified in 2019

 

2019 Eurail pass types & prices

 

Where to buy your Eurail pass

 

Point-to-point tickets or Eurail pass? - read this before buying a pass!

 

How to use a Eurail pass - how Eurail passes work

 

When do you need reservations or to pay extra?

 

How to make reservations - online or in person

 

Other useful railpasses - Swiss Pass, Germany, Spain & Balkan passes

 

Recommended timetables, maps & guidebooks

 

Tips for booking hotels & accommodation in Europe

  Country-by-country guide:  Which trains does Eurail cover in each country?  When are reservations needed & how much are they?

Useful train travel information...

  General information for train travel in Europe

  Where to buy cheap point-to-point tickets

  1st class versus 2nd class

  Luggage on trains & luggage storage at stations

  Sleepers & couchettes explained


Why explore Europe by train?

Trains, planes & automobiles...

Whether you use a Eurail pass or buy cheap advance-purchase tickets, the train is the best way to tour the cities of Europe in comfort, relaxed, seeing a lot in a short time.  It's not just about transportation:  Train travel is part of the European way of life, and the train rides are an experience in itself - in some cases a highlight of your trip.  A Eurail pass gives you unrivalled freedom & flexibility, or you can buy 'budget train fares' by booking in advance from the relevant operator, just as you would with a budget airline  On this page I explain both options.

Europe with a Eurail pass: German ICE train at Brussels   Seeing Europe with a Eurail pass:  A 2-bed City Night Line sleeper as used Amsterdam-Prague or Paris-Berlin   Europe by Eurail: Restaurant car on an ICE from Vienna to Frankfurt   Europe with a Eurail pass:  Scenery from Milan-Paris TGV train
Speed & practicality...

European trains link almost every city & town at up to 200 mph, often faster than flying as there's no trek to the airport, no 2-hour check-in, no airport security hassle.  A '1 hour flight' takes 4 hours.  Paris-Amsterdam now takes 3h20 by train, Paris-Geneva 3h05...

 
Comfort, relaxation,
a chance to chill out...

...unlike flying, train travel is relaxed & hassle-free.  Unlike bus travel it's high comfort.  Aren't you on vacation?  On trains, you get space to move around, lots of legroom and often a café, bar or even restaurant.  Overnight sleeper trains cover huge distances such as Zurich to Prague or Paris to Venice, effectively faster than flying and it saves hotel bill, too.  The train journeys become a welcome chance to chill out between cities...

 
Scenery & the experience...

...and there's often superb scenery.  Your train journeys are an integral part of the European experience, something to enjoy for their own sake, giving you a ground-level feel for the countries you're visiting...

Above:  Scenery from a Milan-Paris TGV, feet up & glass of wine to hand.

Things to consider...

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What is a Eurail pass?

Eurail passes - freedom to explore...

Who qualifies for a Eurail pass?

The countries participating in the Eurail pass scheme are...

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The Eurail pass range explained

How to choose the right pass...

It's really quite simple, even simpler from January 2019 as selectpasses & saver passes have been discontinued, leaving just One-country or Global Eurail passes, in 1st or 2nd class, for each passenger age group:  Adult, youth, senior, child...

Who is going?

Where are you going?

How long for?

You can buy Eurail passes giving unlimited train travel for various periods of time.  But you need to get your head around two different concepts.

1st or 2nd class?

Other railpasses worth considering for Switzerland, Spain & Germany...

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Eurail pass prices 2019

They're priced in euros, but obviously you can buy in your own currency.  You can check these prices and buy online at the official Eurail website www.eurail.com As I write this, 1 USD = €0.88, 1 AUD = €0.61.  Check current exchange rates.

 Eurail global
 pass prices
2nd class 1st class

Adult

(aged 28-59)

Youth

(under 28)

Child

(under 12)

Senior

(over 60)

Adult

(aged 28-59)

Youth

(under 28)

Child

(under 12)

Senior

(over 60)

3 days in 1 month (flexi) €217 €168 €0 €195 €290 €223 €0 €261
5 days in 1 month (flexi) €281 €216 €0 €253 €374 €288 €0 €337
7 days in 1 month (flexi) €334 €257 €0 €301 €444 €341 €0 €399
10 days in 2 months (flexi) €399 €307 €0 €359 €531 €409 €0 €479
15 days in 2 months (flexi) €491 €377 €0 €442 €654 €503 €0 €588
15 days continuous €441 €340 €0 €397 €587 €452 €0 €528
22 days continuous €515 €396 €0 €464 €686 €527 €0 €618
1 month continuous €667 €512 €0 €600 €888 €683 €0 €800
2 months continuous €727 €559 €0 €655 €970 €746 €0 €873
3 months continuous €897 €689 €0 €808 €1,196 €919 €0 €1,076

You can check one-country pass prices at www.eurail.com...

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Where to buy a Eurail pass

Pass prices vary only slightly between retailers, although you also need to check delivery costs as some retailers deliver for free, others charge a delivery fee.

If you live in the United States

  www.raileurope.com or www.eurail.com

If you live in Canada

  www.raileurope.ca or www.eurail.com

If you live in Australia

  www.raileurope.com.au or www.internationalrail.com.au or www.eurail.com

If you live in New Zealand

  www.raileurope.co.nz or www.eurail.com

If you live in Singapore

  www.raileurope.co.sg or www.eurail.com

If you live in India

  www.raileurope.co.in or www.eurail.com

...in any other country:

 

www.raileurope-world.com or www.eurail.com

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Are point-to-point tickets cheaper?

Should you buy a Eurail pass or point-to-point tickets?

In a nutshell...

My advice, without doing the maths...

To work it out accurately, do the maths...

Common Eurail pass example:  Rome - Florence - Venice...

Common Eurail pass example:  Berlin - Prague - Vienna - Budapest...

Common Eurail pass example:  London - Paris - Brussels - Amsterdam...

How do I find out what the point-to-point fare would be?    Use the advice here...


Using a Eurail pass

How do Eurail passes work?

Validating your Eurail pass...

Using your pass...

Filling in the travel diary...

Overnight trains - only one pass day required...

What trains can you use with a pass?

Do I need to make reservations?

Can I avoid paying reservation fees?

What if my Eurail pass doesn't cover a city I want to visit?

How can I find out more?  Where can I buy a pass?

Personal 'Travel architect' service:  DiscoverByRail.com...

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How to make reservations

Make reservations at the station...

The Railplanner App...

How to make reservations online...

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Other railpasses

Other passes worth knowing about...

Eurail is the main pass range for overseas visitors to Europe, but several countries also have their own national railpasses which can be worth knowing about as they can often be better value if you are just visiting that specific country.

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Guidebooks & Timetables...

Thomas Cook European Timetable -  click to buy onlineThomas Cook Rail Map of Europe - buy onlineThe European Rail timetable has train, bus & ferry times for every country in Europe (eastern and western) plus currency and climate information.  It is definitely worth buying if you're planning an extensive tour with a Eurail pass - having your own comprehensive timetable puts you in control of your own trip, and will save you hours in queues for station information desks or struggling with station timetables which show only the most basic information.  It costs around £15.99 from www.europeanrailtimetable.eu.

The European Rail Map of Europe is easily the best and most comprehensive map of train routes all over Europe.  High speed and scenic routes are highlighted - well worth buying to go with your rail pass!  Buy online at www.europeanrailtimetable.eu (with worldwide delivery).  There are other maps & even two good European Rail Atlases, see here.

The all-Europe online timetable:  You can check train times for almost any European train journey online at www.bahn.de/en.  This is an extremely useful resource for trip planning, provided by the German Railways.

Recommended guidebooks...

If you're planning a grand tour, I strongly recommend investing in a European Rail Timetable for in-depth train information, and the relevant Lonely Planet Guide for in-depth country information on the sights to see, places to stay, places to eat.  Alternatively, the Europe by Rail guide combines basic train info with country information.

Click the images to buy online at Amazon.com (USA) or buy from Amazon.co.uk (UK)...

Europe by Rail - click to buy online at Amazon   Lonely Planet Western Europe - click to buy online   Lonely Planet Eastern Europe - buy online at Amazon.co.uk   Rough Guide to Europe - click to buy online at Amazon   Lonely Planet Europe on a shoestring - click to buy online

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Booking your hotels...

Tips for booking hotels in Europe...

    

Favourite hotel search & price comparison: hotelscombined.com

www.hotelscombined.com checks all the main hotel booking sites at once to find the widest choice of hotels & the cheapest seller.  It's been named as the World's Leading Hotel Comparison Site in the World Travel Awards and I recommend it to find hotels in even the smallest places and to check that another retailer isn't selling the same hotel for less.

Favourite hotel booking site: www.booking.com

www.booking.com is my favourite hotel booking site, and unless HotelsCombined throws up major price differences I prefer doing my bookings in one place here. 

You can usually book with free cancellation - this allows you to confirm your accommodation at no risk before train booking opens.  It also means you can hold accommodation while you finalise your itinerary, and alter your plans as they evolve - a feature I use all the time when putting a trip together.

Other hotels sites worth trying...

Backpacker hostels...

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Travel insurance

 

 

Columbus direct travel insurance

Take out decent travel insurance, it's essential...

Never travel without proper travel insurance from a reliable insurer with at least £1m or preferably £5m medical cover.  It should also cover loss of cash & belongings (up to a limit), and trip cancellation.  An annual multi-trip policy is usually cheapest even for just 2 or 3 trips a year - I have an annual policy myself.  However, don't expect travel insurance to bail you out of every missed connection, see the advice on missed connections here.  Here are some suggested insurers, Seat61 gets a little commission if you buy through these links, and feedback from using insurance for rail & ferry travel is always welcome.

In the UK, use www.confused.com to compare prices & policy features across major insurance companies.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over 65, see www.JustTravelCover.com - 10% discount with code seat61.

        If you live in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland or the EU, try Columbus Direct's other websites.

  If you live in the USA try Travel Guard USA.

Get an EU health card, it's free...

If you're a UK citizen travelling in Europe, you should apply for a free European Health Insurance Card, which entitles you to free or reduced rate health care if you become ill or get injured in many European countries, under a reciprocal arrangement with the NHS.  This replaced the old E111 forms as from January 2006.  The EHIC card is available from ww.nhs.uk.  It doesn't remove the need for travel insurance, though.

Carry a spare credit card, designed for travel with no currency exchange loading & low/no ATM fees

Taking out an extra credit card costs nothing, but if you keep it in a different part of your luggage you won't be left stranded if your wallet gets stolen.  In addition, some credit cards are better for overseas travel than others.  Martin Lewis's www.moneysavingexpert.com/travel/cheap-travel-money explains which UK credit cards have the lowest currency exchange commission loadings when you buy something overseas, and the lowest cash withdrawal fees when you use an ATM abroad.

Get a VPN for safe browsing when you travel.  VPNs & why you need one explained...

When you're travelling you often use free WiFi in public places which may not be secure.  A VPN means your connection to the internet is encrypted & always secure, even using unsecured WiFi.  In countries such as China where access to Twitter & Facebook is restricted, a VPN gets around these restrictions.  And lastly, you can select the geographic location of the IP address you browse with, to get around geographic restrictions which some websites apply - for example one booking site charges a booking fee to non-European visitors but none to European visitors, so if you're not located in Europe you can avoid this fee by browsing with a UK IP address using a VPN.  VPNs & why you need one explainedExpressVPN is a best buy and I use them myself.


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