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Cheap Rail Tactics and Strategies

Getting around Europe can be tricky and expensive. Here are a few strategies to help you save money when riding the rails.



The Eurail Pass

Since the 1960’s the Eurail Pass has been the gold standard for backpackers and budget travelers in Europe. The pass allows you to freely travel within most of Europe for a certain number of days. It’s important to understand that it is not a point-to-point rail ticket and there are many different types of passes from which to choose.

1. The Global Pass
This is the most comprehensive pass. It allows continuous travel within 20 countries for anywhere from 15 days to 3 months. You can also choose to travel 10 to 15 days in a two month period. All of these options are priced accordingly.

2. Eurail Select Pass
Allows travel within 3-5 bordering countries and travel for 5 – 10 days in a two month period.

3. Eurail Regional Pass
Perfect for those traveling to a specific region of Europe. Provides rail travel for 3-10 days for two months.

NOTE: Not all European countries are covered by Eurail! Check the list of countries for more information.



The Eurail Pass Prices

Prices for these passes vary and the more travel days and countries, the higher the price. The Global Pass starts at $519, the Select Pass at $329, the Regional Pass at $179, and the One Country Pass at $49. Remember that these are starting prices, so any extra day, country, or goody you add on increases the rate.



Buying a Pass

Buy your pass before you arrive to Europe. Only a limited number of countries allow you to buy a pass in Europe and it will cost you up to 20% more. While we may be a bit biased, we suggest purchasing a pass from Eurotrip’s Eurail Booker. Here you can price, pick, and buy any one of the four types of passes.

If you are a resident of Europe, you will not be able to buy a Eurail pass. Fortunately, Europeans have the option to buy a similar style Interrail pass.



Point to Point Tickets

Sometimes a Eurail Pass is not the best option. For instance, if you are traveling within only Italy, you may do better buying point-to-point tickets when you arrive. If you know where you’ll be traveling, compare point-to-point prices with the Eurail fare. A good site to research ticket prices and schedules is the German rail site, Bahn.



More Advice

If you have any other questions about rail travel, be sure to visit Eurotrip Transportation Discussion Forum.

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faisalwrf
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what would be th best (budget effective) way to go from amsterdam to Berlin and back? Thanks!

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You might do best to ask this question in our transport forum Smile

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It can be plane or train depending on the date of travel..

I would use the search engine at Momondo.com because it includes both train and plane.

That way you will be sure to find the cheapest option.

Cheers

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I spent a long time, a few years back, trying to get this whole Eurorail ticket thing worked out and in the end gave up and just purchased my travel tickets (not always train) as I went. I can imagine that many people are a big nervous possibly in doing this but I had no trouble at all – well a little in France but that didn’t really want to help me with my non existent French. Thanks for the information, I have some friends who are planning to do a trip in Europe soon so will pass this on to them!
Regards
Michiel

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I have also had no problem traveling around other than in France?? I wonder if it really does relate to the language issues or is it just certain French people? Perhaps I was also young and out of control! Thanks for the tips on the Euro rail options.
Cheers
Adirec

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When I was living in the Netherlands for school (years ago) the best investment I made was a Eurail pass. It made weekend getaways as simple as getting to the train station, and I had all of Europe for my playground. It’s an even better investment for holidaymakers with no set destination. With proper planning you can spend most every night on the train – that will save you a lot of money in hostel fees with a little bit of planning!

Gary

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MIM link didn’t worked

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Thanks Anders. Should be fixed now.

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The benefits of the train far outweigh travelling by plane in my opinion. Firstly, all train stations are generally located centrally in the city where your accommodation is likely to be, therefore naturally it’s a lot easier to get to the train station than the airport – especially for budget airlines that often use airports a long way outside the city (in some cases they have poor transport to the city as well). I know that doesn’t sound like a big deal because you’ll save all that time flying, but there is a lot more time spent going through security/getting to the airport/finding out where you’re going etc . Flying certainly takes less time in total, but it certainly isn’t less stressful or more enjoyable as far as I’m concerned than a train (which also has nice scenery).
Second, you have more choice of where you go when going by train, not just in terms of your destination but if you have a train pass then you can obviously travel around the area around the particular city you’re staying in a lot more easily. For example I stayed in Copenhagen for 4 or 5 days last year and managed to see a large portion of Denmark by getting trains to other cities in the morning and coming back. Obviously it’s not practical (or possible more than likely) to get planes to small surrounding points of interest in the way that you can do very easily with a train pass and if you did use the train in this way without having a pass then it would cost a lot of money.

Daniel

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What do they mean by ‘‘5 – 10 days in a two month period’‘? Are those travel days?

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It means that you buy a pass for a specific length of time (in this case two months). In that period, you have a specific number of ‘train days’ to use on your pass. So if your trip was 45 days long and you were traveling in 3 neighboring countries to 6 cities, you would want to get a “3 country select pass with 5 travel days in 2 months”, assuming you were traveling rail on all the legs.

Since your trip may not be that straight forward, you may want to checkout www.railsaver.com and just enter your trip and it will tell you what pass to buy. You can also use the Eurotrip Planner functionality here on Eurotrip to add your trip and then find and book the best railpass for your trip. If you use the Eurotrip Planner you will also be able to book all of your hostels on a single screen which will make it easier to figure out what days you will be in each city.

Roger.W
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Your site makes obtaining a Euro-pass seem a lot easier. This is a great thing for those spending a long period of time in Europe. I was only there for 14 days and would not have had much use for it.

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wannabebp
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well my country is in europa but it’s not member of Europe Union …so my question will be if should i have eurail pass or interrail?

AprilRenee13
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I plan to buy a rail pass for my trip but I’m a little confused when it comes to traveling from London to Paris. I know the pass doesn’t apply in the UK. Do I have to buy a point to point ticket for this leg of the journey or does the pass somehow apply since I’m traveling to France? help!!?

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@AprilRenee13, purchase London-Paris from Eurostar.com. Look for the “Passholder Fare” but realize that another discounted, advance-purchase fare could actually be cheaper than the passholder fare. http://www.eurail.co…

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Thank you Don! I would of responded earlier but there was something wrong with my page- swill fixed it. I’ll be sure to look into that.

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Thanks for this! What is the difference between Eurail and Interrail? Can i go to Spain in europe and then travel to france, germany and poland with eurail?

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Hey what if I want to travel in Italy. Do they provide any discount for tow peoples.

Some years before I visit to roam whit my RV. That time I meet one old man who hang add on his house that RVs for sale so I buy one cheap rv. But now after 8 years it’s condition is too much poor so we decided to use local transport. That’s why I gathering the information about The Eurail Pass and it’s best deals.

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so…if you take train to go to 6 cities in one country, how many travel days is that?