European Rail Passes

Europe's modern rail network makes travel easy, efficient and environmentally-friendly. And regarding the fact that Europe is packed with lovely must see places, the hop on, hop off method is the best. I managed to visit up to 3 towns in one day, as they were 1 hour of less far from each other by train and had only one or two sights of interest. If you travel on a budget you might want to take into consideration writing down a list of priorities and don´t waste time wondering on the streets of a village that you know nothing about after visiting the up hill castle.

The European Rail Passes are specifically designed that you can literally explore Europe by train. The Rail Passes are the alternative to buying several Europe rail tickets. The most outstanding advantages are that they are cheaper than buying individual tickets, you don´t have to cue anymore in every train station and you don´t have to validate you pass before getting on the train, the time pressure is gone, if you miss a train, there´s always another one coming usually in the next hour or so, you don´t have to worry about the train connections, you can change trains as often as you like as many time as you like. Now there are supplements you have to pay from time to time, as if you want to use the super fast French TGV or if you want to cross the channel to Great Britain or to cross the sea by ferry to Denmark. For all the local trains thou you don´t have to pay an extra dime.

There are up to one month Interail Passes and up to three months Eurail Passes but if you have time and money left in your pocket you can buy yourself another and another month of Europe until the only thing everyone will ever remember about you is that you are a full time traveller.

The European Rail Passes are divided in two categories: EuRail and InterRail. The main difference is that the EuRail Pass is for Non-European residents and InterRail Pass is for European residents or persons which stayed the last 6 or more months in Europe. The InterRail pass is not valid in the pass holder's country of residence, meaning that once you start your journey your first stop must be outside of your country of residence.

The InterRail Global Pass is valid in all of the following countries: Austria, Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Ireland, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, Turkey, Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina. The Eurail Pass is valid in all the countries above except Bulgaria, Great Britain, Poland, Macedonia, Serbia, Slovakia, Turkey, Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

You can chose between a consecutive-day pass, a flexipass or a saverpass to suit your needs. Just remember that you travel on a budget and you want to make the most of your trip to Europe.

Consecutive-day passes: If you plan to travel nearly daily and cover a lot of ground, a consecutive-day pass is the right choice for you. You get unlimited train travel for the duration of the pass. If you have a 15-day pass, you can travel 15 consecutive days, taking trains many times each day. If you have a one-month pass, you can travel, for example, from June 10th through July 9th. But remember, more travel days on a pass equal cheaper costs per day.

Flexipass: If you like to linger for a few days in each place, a flexipass is the best choice. You have a certain number of travel days to use within a longer "window" of time (for example, any 10 days within a two-month period). You can sprinkle these travel days throughout your trip or use them all in a row. You can take as many separate trips as you like within each travel day. Flexipasses are cheaper than the Consecutive-day passes because they cover fewer days.

Saverpass: Designed to save money for groups, a Saverpass is a single ticket printed with all the names of two to five travelers. Members of each pair or group must order the same pass together and all must be present to validate the pass in Europe. Part of the group can use the pass while others stay in town or fly home early, but those sharing a pass cannot split and go different directions by train. If you are a group of four, you can give yourselves more flexibility by ordering a separate pass for each pair.

One pass is usually better than two. To cover a multiple-country trip, it's usually cheaper to buy one Selectpass or Eurail Pass with lots of travel days than to buy several single-country passes with a few high-cost travel days per pass. If you decide to travel over a border (e.g., France to Germany) using separate France and Germany railpasses, then you will use up a day of each pass.

Being young is all about advantages. If you are 25 years old or younger on your first day of travel a Youth Pass will save you some money. Youth Passes are valid in second class and give a 35% discount on the Adult first class fare. Youth travelers who prefer 1st class train travel can buy an Adult Pass.

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