If you are heading to Europe this summer, one of the best ways to experience the variety of cultures is to take the train. In America, trains are used by commuters and some travelers but there isn’t a huge train culture. You can take a train across the United States, but it may not have the same charm as a European rail.
I love train travel and make an effort to take a train on every trip, if at all possible. I’ve used a Eurail pass before, but it’s been a few years. At that time, I had no issues at all with seat availability, although I have heard from others that seats can be hard to come by without significant advanced booking. When you travel around Europe on a train you can explore at your leisure and discover places you may have otherwise overlooked. Rail travel is a slower way to go, but still efficient for those with limited holiday time.
Trains give you the sense of place by providing a close-up view of the land that you just can’t get from an airplane. Unlike car hire, trains take the guess work out of navigation. Even better, to me, are the variety of trains to choose from including: scenic, high-speed, night, or regional trains. Once you’ve decided to ride the rails across Europe, you need to get the best Eurail pass for your needs (time, destinations, cost). But who is Eurail?
It is a company headquartered in Utrecht, the Netherlands that has been designated as general sales organization for rail passes, including Eurail (for non-Europeans), Interrail (for European residents), and German Rail (for non-Europeans who wish to get unlimited train travel across Germany). Right, now that we know who we are dealing with, let’s get to the details of Eurail Pass options.
One Country Pass – This lets you choose a single country from among 22 and uses high-speed and regional trains.
2, 3, or 4 Countries Pass – As the name suggests, these passes let you choose 2 to 4 bordering countries from a total of 26. Offering up to 10 days of flexible travel, this is a great option to explore a region on a deeper level.
Eurail Global Pass – This is the choice for those with ample time to explore or a specific 5 or more countries on their itinerary. It is a single flexible pass that allows you to access rail networks in 28 countries. You can choose between 1st and 2nd class, Youth, Adult, or Family fares, and up to 3 months of continuous travel.
If you are uncertain about which pass best suits your trip, the nice folks at Eurail have a page to help you. They even have an app for that! Available for iPhone and Android, the Eurail Rail Planner app gives you timetables, make reservations, and even locate nearby train stations based on your location.
After all that fanfare and detail, you are ready to book your Eurail Pass, right? For more information, visit the Eurail website and start planning!! If you want a detailed first-person account of the value of a Eurail pass, read this 2013 article from Nomadic Matt.
NOTE: This is not a sponsored post for Eurail, it is just a post from a lover of trains and travel who wishes to share information to help you get the most from your trips!
What do you think? Is there a rail pass in your immediate future? Have you used one in the past? Let me know in the comments and happy travels!