The Eurail Pass is one of the most popular train options available to travelers planning a European trip, but it can also be a source of confusion for some travelers. Below are key things to know before you decide whether or not to purchase a pass.
It’s Not Ideal for Limited Point-to-Point Travel
If it’s your first visit to Europe, you may have the misconception that a Eurail Pass is the best way to go regarding your train travel. It can be, but that depends on the type of trip you’re taking. If you’re going to be traveling to many destinations throughout Europe, it’s almost always going to be your best option. On the other hand, if you’re just planning a trip that’s primarily in one city and might include a day trip to one other location, it’s most economical and reasonable to purchase a point-to-point train ticket. You can use a resource like GoEuro to compare different itineraries and the prices, and you may be surprised at what you find in terms of individual trips being significantly less expensive than a Eurail Pass.
Go For the Eurail If You Want Flexibility
If you want flexibility in how and when you travel, you might opt for a Eurail Pass. If you do the math, and it would be less expensive to buy separate point-to-point train tickets, if there’s even one issue that causes a disruption to one of those routes, it can ruin all of your other plans. You can avoid this by picking the Pass since it’s aimed at travelers who want flexibility.
There Are Different Eurail Passes
Many travelers think their only Eurail Pass option is the Global Pass. While this is the most popular because it provides travel to 28 European countries, it’s not the only one available. There is also the Select Pass, which is great if you want to go to two or three countries that are neighbors of one another. Also available is a one-country pass, which lets you go for an in-depth exploration throughout one country. For example, there is a Eurail Italy Pass so you can go throughout the country with flexibility.
Pricing, Discounts, and Use
Eurail offers discounts for two primary groups: people who are traveling with two to five other people and travelers who are aged 12-25. Groups of two to five people receive a 15% discount, and youth travelers between the ages of 12-25 get a 35% discount. This can make a big difference in the price of traveling for youth travelers.
Also worth noting is the fact that a Eurail Pass is something that can only be used by non-European citizens or residents. European Citizens use Interrail Passes. If you’ve waited until the last minute to plan your travels, a Pass can be valuable because booking individual last-minute itinerary can be significantly more expensive as compared to tickets booked ahead of time.
As a final note, if you’re considering a Eurail Pass you should also realize that you’ll most likely have to pay reservation fees in addition to the cost of the Pass, particularly when you’re traveling between large, major cities.