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Quick and Easy Guide to Eurail Passes - Inexpensive Travel Across Europe

By Edited Oct 2, 2015 4 7

Train Travel - Affordable Option in Europe

EuRail is one of the most affordable and convenient travel options that any backpacker will ever find in all of Europe.  Add in the option of buying a train pass and traveling across Europe becomes an affordable luxury for even the most frugal person.

There are hundreds of pass combinations that you could chose but it all comes down to five basic pass types

Train Travel in Europe - Affordable AND fun!

Their Global Pass allows you unlimited travel within 22 different European countries including Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

This means you can hop off in Madrid, spend a few days backpacking across Spain and when you finally get tired of talking Spanish, jump on a train and head for Paris.

Keep in mind that there are two options when it comes to the Global Pass -

1) A continuous pass which means you can travel anytime and anywhere within a set period (15 days, 21 days, 1 month, 2 months or 3 months).  If you don't travel for three days, you lose those days on your pass.
2) A flexipass which allows you to use the pass a certain number of times within a set period.  For example, one ticket option is 10 travel days within a 2 month period.  If you use this option, you will have to be a bit more picky about when and where you travel but it is much more affordable than the continuous pass.

There is also the Select Pass which restricts your travel to 3, 4 or 5 bordering countries (which you must pick ahead of time) and so many travel days within a set period of time.  This works well if you plan to only visit a few countries or want to use one country as your base and travel to the others on certain days.

EuRail's Regional Pass allows you to travel between two bordering countries  These passes are valid for two months and have a set number of travel days also.  This pass works well for anyone planning to really immerse themselves in a region of Europe.

The One Country Pass is pretty self-explanatory - you get to travel all over one country and on country only.  Like the regional pass, this pass has a set number of travel days but is only valid for a month. 

Train Travel In Europe - How Affordable Can It Get?

But what EuRail train pass should you buy? 

It all depends on where you plan to go and what you plan to do:

  • If you want to be able to hop on and off of trains or travel anywhere in Europe on a whim, then buy the Global Pass.
  • If you plan to immerse yourself in France, then the One-Country Pass would be best for you.
  • If you plan to use EuRail as a way to get in between large cities but then spend the rest of your time walking or depending on local transportation, it might be best to buy individual tickets as you need them.

No matter which rail pass you chose, make sure to activate it before you climb onto the train, follow any and all restrictions, and use up your travel days before the passes expire so you get the most bang for your buck.  You'll also want to make sure you store your pass in a safe place that is still accessible in case a conductor asks to see it.  

Train Travel in Europe - Fun and Affordable Travel Option
And most importantly, make sure to travel safe, have fun, and take lots and lots of pictures.  A European trip is a once-in-a-lifetime experience - enjoy it to its fullest!

For more information about the EuRail passes, visit their website.

There are also many other benefits to using a EuRail pass, like free ferry travel and discounts on museums and accomidations.  Visit the discount website for more information.


Jan 11, 2012 3:44am

Great article. Some friends of mine and I went backpacking last year and this would have been really handy. We found ourselves constantly checking to see which trains our passes were eligible for and not sure which ones needed an additional "reservation fee" and which ones we could just hop on. This article would have helped.
Jan 11, 2012 4:29am
Great tips Anne and perfect timing for me as I am going to go to Europe in a few months time. Clearly outlines the different types of passes in an easy to understand format.

Thank you!
Jan 11, 2012 12:39pm
Great article - rail travel in Europe is great, but it becomes quite difficult with individual tickets, as each country has its own rules. In France, for example, you need to stamp your ticket in a validation machine before boarding. There is a huge fine if you forget! One ticket that allows you all your transport is a far safer idea if you are doing a big tour.
Jan 11, 2012 12:40pm
By the way, congratulations on the feature!
Jan 11, 2012 7:16pm
Good suggestions for travel in Europe.
Jan 12, 2012 2:42am
Great Article! I am amazed how great the use of rail is utilized for everything in Europe. Makes me want to take a trip now! Congrats on the Feature!
Oct 19, 2012 7:03am
Great article!
I grew up in Europe and have been to different places by taking the train.
This time I would love to take a tour through Europe with my husband.

Thumbs Up!
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