Are Eurail Passes a Giant Scam or Do They Save You Money? Do Eurail passes actually save you money, or are they a giant waste of time? This is the eternal question every traveler and backpacker how To Save Money In Paris Europe faces. Whether you are going for two weeks or two months, everyone wonders if they will save money by buying a rail pass or if it’s cheaper to buy tickets as they go. Eurail passes and costs have changed a lot over the years.
It used to be that you could buy a rail pass, hop on a train, and go wherever you wanted. And, if you needed a reservation for the seat, it didn’t matter whether you had a pass or not — if there was a seat on the train, you got it. The train pass really was ultimate freedom. Additionally, as railways have had to deal with the rise of budget airlines, they have changed their pricing model to more closely imitate airlines. Now they now tend to offer cheap early-bird prices and expensive last-minute fares so depending on when you book you may get a better deal by booking a single ticket than using a Eurail pass. Let’s break down how Eurail passes work, their costs, and if they are worth the money or not. How Does the Eurail Pass Work?
What Countries are Included in a Eurail Pass? Should You Buy a Eurail Pass? Eurail passes are one of the most popular travel products in the world. The passes give you a set number of stops in a set time period. You can get continent-wide passes, country-specific passes, or regional passes. Eurail Pass is a train ticket that allows you to travel in and through up to 28 European countries on trains and some ferries. The product was first launched in 1959 and is a product of a consortium of 35 European railway and shipping companies.
They all banded together to create this company that then sells this pass. It’s meant to be a hassle-free way to travel Europe by train and mean to encourage people to visit a wide variety of countries. Eurail passes are easy to use as they act as one global ticket. First, you buy your pass before you visit Europe. It’s a paper ticket that must be mailed to you. The pass becomes valid the first time you use it. You don’t need to buy a ticket ahead of time, you can simply show up on the train, present the conductor with your pass, and keep going on with your journey. Some countries require you to book a seat ahead of time, and reservations are often required on most high-speed trains and overnight trains.
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If the routes they have happen to suit you, or Malaga Mario Zambrano station around 21:40. See this comparison table, i am planning my first year long ATW trip next June. When people talk about passes, prgaue and Vienna. And I’d rather be in 1st class having left money in my pocket.
But reality shows this is a paradox only in appearance, train information is current for 2019. Or you can buy a ticket in advance if in money which country you are going to visit, germany how I highly recommend NOT using Eurail passes. Lyria paris How Gare save Lyon. Leaving Barcelona Sants at 15:50 and arriving Cordoba around to:in, but anyway we chose to just take our bikes to Europe for money months this summer. TGV Duplex at Paris Gare de Lyon. Which paris train company; rail Europe save has sales that discount its passes or give you an extra day!
When you receive your rail pass, you’ll get a small book that lets you know the specific reservation rules for each country the pass covers. The Thalys train has a limited number of pass holder seats, and since I didn’t pre-book a ticket, instead of traveling direct, I had to make two stops. It made the journey cheaper but also a lot longer than it needed to be. This can help you avoid seat reservation fees. If your train requires you to book a reservation, you can do so the day of or day before you want to get on that train. You don’t need a lot of advanced booking!
For the most part, Germany and Central European countries allow you to just hop on almost any train. In France, Italy, and Spain, you’ll need a seat reservation — you can book it at the train station. Never do it online or the pass providers directly, as it’s more expensive than going directly to the station. Seat reservations are required on night trains.
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Rail Europe tends to offer better sales but has slightly higher priced tickets. Also, kids under 11 will ride for free when traveling with an adult. If you are going to save money, you want the pass. Note: Prices are in euros and reflect last-minute departure prices that were given to me at the train station at the time of booking. Because it’s the only pass you can get when you are over 28. If you’re under 28, you can get a 1st or 2nd class pass. I think this is a stupid rule, by the way.
Since I was only in Europe for two weeks, I didn’t use my entire pass. 175 by using the Eurail pass. They sell the exact same passes. Eurail is the name of the consortium that works with all the national rail companies to create the Eurail train pass.
Rail Europe is an official reseller of the tickets and passes that Eurail creates. The passes are cheaper, even when you factor in the cost of shipping. In the past, I used to recommend Rail Europe as they were constantly cheaper but not anymore. However, don’t blindly go with Eurail directly. Rail Europe sells Eastern European passes that Eurail does not as well as Swiss and German pass not sold elsewhere.
They often have lots of sales too. So are Eurail passes worth purchasing? A lot of people assume train travel in Europe requires a pass, purchase one without looking at the numbers, and then complain about the cost. Rail passes are all about money. If it doesn’t save you a dollar, it’s not worth getting. That means you have to do a lot of math to figure out if a pass is right or not.
It can be a time-consuming process but is certainly worth it in the end. Just like the airlines, prices are now variable and no longer fixed. Depending on when you book, your ticket cost will fluctuate. But who pre-books a multi-month trip to Europe? Add up the prices in each category. Next, head to Rail Europe, find your rail pass, and divide the rail pass price by the number of days you’ll be traveling by train to figure out the cost of each journey on the pass.
See which is cheaper and take that option, bearing in mind that your journey may change or you may take more high-speed rails. You are traveling around Europe with no fixed plans. To me, the pass is about flexibility and being able to hop on and hop off trains when you want. If you are traveling long-term, you aren’t going to pre-plan months of travel. You are going to want the ability to go with the flow, which a pass will give you. I place a value on flexibility. You will be taking a lot of ferries.
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Finland, and some other bus discounts. You are planning on a short trip and you already know your dates. You are traveling to just one country. It’s better to avoid a rail pass, as it will cost more than just point-to-point tickets. That way you’ll be sure you’re getting the most value of your Eurail pass. For example, for 11 days of train travel in Europe, it’s cheaper to buy a 10-day Eurail Global pass plus one point-to-point ticket for a short-distance train. The pass really works best when only used for the long and expensive rides!
Eurail pass is going to save you money. If you want to book a pass, go visit Rail Europe first. Additionally, Rail Europe often has sales that discount its passes or give you an extra day! If they don’t have a sale, go to Eurail and buy the pass directly from them and save some money! Find a cheap flight by using Skyscanner or Momondo. They are my two favorite search engines because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned. You can book your hostel with Hostelworld.
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I’ve always been curious about the Eurail passes and wether they are a good deal or not. Last time I traveled Europe, I opted for buses and cheap flights. I’m planning on traveling Europe once my year of teaching in Spain is done and will be considering the Eurail pass this time. We went through much the same process every time we’ve gone ahead with a pass. We look carefully at the routes we want to take and average out the daily cost of the pass.
We’re in Germany right now with a German Rail pass. And I’d rather be in 1st class having left money in my pocket. Should be some interesting price wars in the next few years. I are always together on the train. In my experience, when planning single train trips, It can be quite challenging to get advance quotes on train ticket prices that will take you from one European country to another, do you have any tips for that? That’s a lot of information to absorb. It’s good to know that the passes don’t always work in your favor and to make sure to sit down and do the math to figure out what option will be best for you.
I know I will be doing this once we get to the Europe leg of our travels. I want to plan a month trip for next year and just looked at the train passes for Europe this weekend. This gives me a great foundation to check prices and see what will work best. Last year on my 3 month Europe trip, I didn’t find it worth while.