Before convincing you about the benefits of a Eurail Global pass, let’s take some time to explain more about this ultimate European rail pass. In short, the popular Eurail Global Pass is an all-in-one train ticket for non-Europeans which allows you the flexibility to explore all of Europe by train.
Which European Countries Can I Visit With a Eurail Global Pass?
Conveniently, this Eurail pass gives you access to the rail networks across 31 countries in Europe, including France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland. With this Eurail ticket, you can travel across Europe by train to the itinerary destinations of your choice whenever you want. You can choose to stay within one country or travel between countries. Generally, you can just hop on a train without reservation. Imagine the spontaneity of taking a train around Europe when you want and, if you miss it or your travel plans change, you just catch the next service of your choice without worry …
In addition to participating train companies, you can use your Eurail Global Pass on participating ferry and public transport companies. If you are visiting the UK, you can use your Europe train ticket on major railway providers such as Southern, Southeastern, South Western Railway, Great Western Railway, ScotRail, Gatwick Express, Heathrow Express and Eurostar to name a few! Some of these railway services will be invaluable in transporting you to and from UK airports to your various destinations. However, you can also use Irish Ferries and Stena Line. Think of the places you can explore! The possibilities are endless, and this is just within the United Kingdom!
How Long Can I Travel With a Eurail Global Pass?
The Eurail Global Pass has many options for European rail travel. Some tickets specify train travel within Europe on a certain number of days of your choice (eg. 3, 5 or 7 days within 1 month). You can travel in Europe with train back-to-back on these days or spread the days out during the month. Eurail also offers 10 or 15 days within 2 months.
Alternatively, you can by this European railway pass for a set period of time. Currently, you can buy this type of ticket for 15 days, 22 days, 1 month, 2 months or 3 months. With this type of ticket, you can take any number of trains whenever you want during this period without the worry of limited days.
How Much is a Eurail Pass?
The Eurail pass cost is basically dependent on 2 things: your travel plans and your age.
There are different types of Eurail tickets to suit different travel plans which allows you amazing flexibility when planning your trip. However, as a rough guide, here are some Eurail pass prices. An adult Eurail Global Pass with 3 days travel within 1-month costs USD $252 (USD $84 per day) whereas the rail pass for 7 days within 1-month costs USD $388 (USD $55 per day). A 22-day ticket will cost USD $598 (USD $22) and a 3-month ticket will cost USD $1,041 (USD $12). This Euro pass is a great way of securing cheap European train tickets!
In order to buy the right ticket, it’s important to plan your European itinerary and to work out how many days rail travel you will need within what time scale. This will help you save money and ensure you buy the right Eurail Global Pass.
You can buy Eurail passes for 1st and 2nd class travel. If budget is no barrier, Eurail first class tickets will obviously cost more and you may enjoy more comfort. However, if you are on a tighter budget, there are Eurail second class tickets plus a Eurail pass discount for rail travellers under 27 years of age (Youth Pass Traveller or Eurail student pass) and for those aged 60 and over (Eurail Global Pass for Seniors).
Once you’ve made the decision to purchase your Eurail Global Pass, you will need to activate it within 11 months of the date of issue to enjoy your rail travel in Europe. This is easily done at any European train station or, alternatively, online.
Will I Need to Make a Reservation?
In order to avoid making reservations and maintain optimum flexibility and save money, it is best to travel using regional trains. In general, you will need to make a reservation for all night trains in Europe and most international high-speed trains, and these will probably incur an additional cost.
If you are travelling in popular countries, like France, Spain and Italy, Eurail recommends that you reserve your seat. Seats on French high-speed trains and night trains can be reserved up to 2 months in advance. Reserving seats is also a good idea if you are travelling in peak seasons (June-September).
You can easily check whether your Eurail train needs a reservation by heading to the Eurail timetable and entering the following details: departure/arrival stations and departure date/time. When you click on ‘Find your train route’, different choices for your route will be displayed. If a reservation is optional or mandatory, text will appear in the ‘Reservations’ column.
The Eurail timetable can also help you identify Eurail trains which don’t need seat reservations. Enter the departure/arrival stations and departure date/time and check the box labelled ‘Avoid trains that require reservations.’ When you click on ‘Find route’, you should see a list of train routes which don’t need a reservation. Journey times may be longer, but you will save money.
For information, the average price of seat reservations is 15 Euros on international trains, 6 Euros on domestic trains and 20 Euros on night trains. Booking trains in Europe is easily done via Eurail reservations online.
What are the Benefits of Travelling by Train With a Eurail Global Pass?
We hope that you have already noticed some of the benefits that a Eurail Global Pass can offer when you decide to travel Europe by train. At Off The Tourist Treadmill, we always enjoy travelling by rail during our vacations because the train brings something special to your journey. From our point of view, travelling by rail is one of the best ways of going from one point to another. We love to sit next to a window and enjoy the view with a rewarding book. Train travel in Europe gives each passenger the opportunity to take time to enjoy some of life’s simple pleasures. We also love the fact that we can walk around inside the train. Who can resist heading to the restaurant carriage and returning with a cheap sandwich and coffee? However, the pleasure is enjoying them at your own pace without the stress of driving or rushing. You simply have time to eat and appreciate the sights which pass by on the train. Without noticing, you quickly find yourself feeling relaxed and daydreaming, telling yourself that you are well, and you are free.
If you are planning to visit Europe, you are in luck if you love trains! With the Eurail Global Pass, you can travel by train through Europe across 31 countries and visit many of the beautiful and historic European cities. Here are some of the main benefits when you travel to Europe by train with a Eurail Global Pass:
When train travelling in Europe, your holiday starts as soon as you board the train. All you need to do is sit back, relax and enjoy the view from the window. You can leave your worries behind because you’ve already mapped out your itinerary and purchased the correct Eurail Global Pass! You immediately feel like you’re on holiday!
In contrast, flying creates so much stress because of everything you need to do before you even board the plane. For example, you must be at the airport 2 or 3 hours before, then queue for check in, pass security and after that wait until your departure time. Although to make our plane travel more bearable, we like to wait in one of the airport lounges. It’s easy to do this for free and you can learn how to do this in our article ‘How to Travel for Free’.
2. Save Money
Travelling by train allows you to save money and the Eurail Global Pass has many different priced packages to suit whatever your travel plans. Flying from one European city to another will soon add up and you will miss the landscape from high in the sky! Take advantage of the Europe train system and experience just how much you can see for very little transport costs. Travel in Europe by rail suddenly becomes very affordable.
3. Spontaneity & Flexibility
The Eurail Global Pass allows you to be spontaneous because you are in control of whether you take the train within one country on one day or whether you will travel across several of the 31 European countries covered by this rail ticket and Eurail routes.
Although you may have mapped out your itinerary with the Eurail map, this EU train pass allows you to change your plans without incurring any costs. This flexibility is great for travellers. If you learn about a tip from a fellow passenger, you can alter your plans without worry.
The fact that you can buy a Eurail Global Pass for a certain number of days in a time period or for a block of travel time, means that you can tailor-make your travel plans to do and see whatever you want in Europe. You can go everywhere by train and at any time. You have plenty of choice of routes and departure times with high speed trains linking city centre to city centre almost 24 hours and 365 days a year.
You can also use your Eurail Global Pass train to go off the beaten track rather than sticking to European city destinations. The train system in Europe is extensive and regional trains serve a lot of small towns and villages in the countryside which are worth visiting. With more than 240,000 km of track connecting all the European cities, your choices are endless! It’s easy to train travel through Europe and see city highlights and less well-known towns along the way.
Train travelling Europe is more sustainable and eco-friendlier than flying. Did you know that trains use 20 % less energy than an aeroplane per passenger mile and, in general, trains also produce less noise? Purchasing a Eurail Global Pass can have a positive impact on our environment, so save the planet, ditch the plane and take a train!
With a Eurail Global Pass, you will immediately start your journey in the heart of one European city and travel directly to the centre of another. This is because most railway stations are found in city centres. In contrast, most airports are located outside of city centres, so you are obliged to pay to reach the city itself. In addition to saving money, a Eurail Global Pass will also save you time on arrival and departure. Another advantage is that your visit can start as soon you leave the train. Don’t forget that railway stations are often interesting architectural buildings which you can enjoy before heading off to get a taste of the city vibe. The main thing is that you have time to relax because you have travelled direct to the city centre with no immediate need for further lengthy taxi, bus or rail transfers.
6. Personal Comfort
Travelling by train is a considerably more comfortable way to travel. As an adult, you may have more leg room than inside an aeroplane and children are happier being able to move and walk between seats. For a family, it is very appealing to have seats with a table in the middle for eating and entertaining your kids with activities. On top of that, you often travel by train in real daylight, rather than being confined in a bubble of artificial light.
Food is also much better on trains for two main reasons. Firstly, you can by refreshments and snacks of your choice before you board the train. Unlike travelling by air, there are no stringent security rules on trains about what you can carry on board or not. Secondly, some trains have restaurant coaches and you may be surprised at the meals you can get.
7. Internet Access
Rail travel allows you to stay connected. Some trains have WiFi on board, or you can use your mobile data. Time spent relaxing on a train is perfect for planning your onward journey and exploring the options of where might stay overnight.
Trains are a very friendly means of transport. Forget your commuter trains where nobody looks at you and everybody has their eyes on their mobile phones or laptops. We’re talking about the conviviality of having locals and fellow travellers traveling with you in the same train. Undoubtedly, they will be curious about you. Are you are going to take advantage of this opportunity and share experiences with them? Travelling with a Eurail Global Pass means that you will have many opportunities to learn from the locals and other travellers. Why not ask them for directions on how to get somewhere? Alternatively, ask them about the best things to do in their city and where they usually eat.
If you reserve an overnight train with your Eurail Global Pass, you will also benefit from the experience of travelling in a sleeper train. It’s fun to find a bunk bed to sleep in and don’t forget, you will also be saving on a night in a hotel by combining transport with accommodation. In Vietnam, we used a night train to travel to the north and it was amazing; we met some friendly Vietnamese people who shared a meal and drink with us.
9. No Luggage Restrictions
When you travel with your Eurail Global Pass by train, you will be able to carry as much luggage as you like. There will be no restrictions on weight or size. Nobody will ask you to pay any extra money for one more kilo! It’s great to have the freedom to take as much luggage as you want on the trains across Europe. However, if you are backpacking like us, you will need to travel light and purchasing the best backpack to stay organised can be tricky. We’ve written a review of some of the best backpacks which may help you to make the right decision if you need to buy one for your trip.
Although trains are slower than planes over long distances, your Eurail Global Pass will enable you to sit back and enjoy the countryside of each European country you visit. For short destinations, trains are much quicker because you don’t need to be at the station hours in advance of departure time and your Eurail Global Pass will take you straight to the city centre of the European city of your choice. Within Europe, there are also high-speed trains which make distances much, much closer!
11. Weather is No Problem
If you’ve paid for a Eurail Global Pass in advance, you want to know that the trains will run. Thankfully, trains experience almost no problems with weather. They are much less likely to be affected by adverse weather conditions or exceptional conditions like volcano eruptions. We’re sure you remember the huge ash clouds which closed all air traffic across a major part of Europe some years ago!
If you decide to use a Eurail Global Pass to discover Europe by rail, we would love to hear about your adventures and experiences in the comments section below. If you’ve found this information helpful, please share it!