Eurail Pass: Is It Worth It? (An In-Depth Guide)

Eurail Pass: Is It Worth It? (An In-Depth Guide)

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Whether you’re planning your first abroad journey otherwise you’re a veteran traveler planning your subsequent tour, you’re researching the numerous choices for how you can navigate Europe.

And you end up questioning, is the Eurail Pass value it?

With numerous choices for tactics to journey Europe, from finances airways, buses, vehicles and excursions to using the rails, deciding the very best path to take is usually a problem.

That’s the place this information is available in. Read on to be taught whether or not the Eurail Pass is the most suitable choice in your private priorities, finances and journey targets.

train through the countryside in Europe - Get views like this on your travels with the Eurail Pass to get from place to place

Eurail Pass & The Origins of Zero to Travel

Two a long time in the past, Jason, founding father of Zero to Travel, was roughly your common current school grad.

He had pupil debt, a fulltime job provide and had by no means traveled abroad.

He additionally had a dream of exploring Europe by prepare, and executing that dream not solely formed Jason’s perspective of the world, but additionally the course of his life.

“It was the catalyst for me basically revolving my entire life around travel,” mentioned Jason, who has now visited dozens of nations throughout the globe together with founding a journey web site, podcast, and on-line neighborhood centered on serving to others to make journey a actuality.

“Even my mom will tell you, when I came back she said I said something like, ‘What would you think if I lived in Europe?’”

Jason now lives in Norway, and all of it started with a mind-opening two-month lengthy journey by means of Europe by means of Europe’s elaborate prepare system, touring with an open ended ticket generally known as the Eurail Pass.

“Needless to say I was charmed, and a huge part of that charm was because of the way I traveled,” he mentioned. “I don’t think it would have been the same experience if I was just flying from place to place.”

Table of Contents

  1. What is the Eurail Pass?
  2. Is the Eurail Pass best for you?
  3. Breakdown of the Eurail Pass ticket choices
  4. Other transportation choices to contemplate
  5. Deciding in your Travel Strategy
  6. How a lot does a Eurail Pass value?
  7. Hidden prices and reductions
  8. How to Get The Most out of your Eurail Pass
  9. How to resolve if the Eurail Pass is true for YOU

What is the Eurail Pass?

Eurail Pass logo

A Eurail Pass supplies entry to greater than 10,000 locations and 115,000 miles of interconnected railways, permitting vacationers to construct their very own itineraries as they go.

“Eurail has been providing multi-destination train travel in Europe since 1959,” mentioned Nienke Geudeker, Eurail Communications Officer. “Today, with just one rail pass, travellers have the ability to travel in and through up to 28 different European countries.”

“Traveling by train brings you in an efficient and convenient way from country to country and from city to city, while enjoying the landscape passing by. The trip itself makes it unique and is incomparable with travelling by car or plane for example. Europe is packed with amazing places, be it world-famous cities or off the beaten path charming villages, there really is no better and more comfortable way to visit it all than by train… Eurail is the ultimate way to experience Europe, and a Eurail Pass offers more than train travel,” she mentioned.

So, is the Eurail Pass for you?

Let’s begin by noting that the Eurail Pass shouldn’t be your solely choice.

And, proper upfront, it’s best to know that the cross is probably going not the most affordable choice.

Europe is dwelling to quite a few aggressive finances airways, strong bus methods, standard group excursions and rideshare choices, to not point out you can too make the most of the rails community with out shopping for a Eurail Pass, so that you’ve obtained numerous choices in your travels that every one have their execs and cons.

But, relying in your general journey targets, regardless of its prices, the Eurail Pass might be the best choice.

Here are some questions that will help you resolve if it’s the best selection in your journey:

1. How lengthy is your journey?

If you may have a 10-day journey in Europe, your journey could also be too quick to expertise the carefree freedom of a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants (ride-trains-by-the-seat-of-your-pants?) journey by means of Europe that the Eurail Pass is greatest fitted to.

In this case, it’s possible you’ll be higher off to plan out an itinerary in your journey upfront and buy particular person prepare tickets and finances flights to maximise your money and time.

But, in case you have two weeks to 2 months, a Eurail Pass will offer you a level of freedom, consolation and a traditional European expertise you gained’t get another method.

2. What sort of traveler are you?

Deciding whether or not to buy a cross could require some private reflection.

Do you want the concept of displaying up in a metropolis with no plans for the way lengthy you’ll keep or the place you’ll go subsequent? Can you think about your self assembly a gaggle of vacationers in a hostel and deciding to go together with them to their subsequent vacation spot?

If that is the kind of journey you’re craving then, by all means, the cross shall be value it only for the sake of open-ended journey.

In distinction, in case you are the kind of traveler who desires to plan a day-by-day itinerary three months upfront, and you’ll really feel reassured figuring out your actual schedule, then the Eurail Pass might not be the very best worth to you.

3. What area of Europe is your precedence?

The worth of the Eurail Pass enormously will depend on the place you wish to go.

If you propose to go to some dearer areas such Switzerland or France, then a flat price for all of your transportation may simply develop into the most affordable choice.

For occasion, traveler Raphael Zoren used his Eurail Pass within the Swiss Alps, the place he mentioned the common value of a ticket is a minimum of two or 3 times as a lot as the value of a prepare ticket in different EU nations. “It is entirely possible to make back the entire price of the Eurail Pass in just a couple of days traveling in Switzerland” Raphael mentioned. “How crazy is that?”

On the opposite hand, if you happen to see your self spending a stable portion of your time in Eastern Europe, or perhaps a much less dear nation like Spain or Italy, it is possible for you to to place collectively a less expensive journey with particular person trains and buses.

On that be aware, the prepare methods in Eastern Europe usually are not what they’re in the remainder of the continent, so no matter value, in case your journey is concentrated on Eastern Europe it’s best to think about using buses as an alternative.

traveler waiting for his train

Despite all of the choices, for Jason, the choice to buy a Eurail Pass was a no brainer.

“I always had it in my head that I was going to do a train trip around Europe,” Jason mentioned. “I just thought that was such a cool concept to be able to just hop on a train and one minute you’re in one country in the next minute you’re in a totally different place — and the reality of that is so incredible.”

The prepare journey is about a lot extra than simply transportation, Jason defined.

“Something about taking trains is kind of romantic and also you get to share a nice space with people,” he mentioned. “There are a lot of relaxing things about being in a train and there is something about the sound of the rails… You can still get up and move around but you also have the countryside going past you.”

For Jason, selecting the Eurail Pass versus particular person prepare tickets was all in regards to the freedom.

“When you purchase the Eurail Pass, you feel like you’ve purchased the key to Europe,” Jason mentioned. “The key unlocks all of Europe and you can go pretty much anywhere, whenever, and that’s a great feeling.”

A Breakdown of the Eurail Pass Ticket Options

When it comes to picking a Eurail Pass, you may have two foremost choices:

The Global Pass

If you wish to really feel like Charlie within the Chocolate Factory, the Global Pass is your final golden ticket.

With entry in 28 nations, whenever you select the Global Pass, you decide what number of days you wish to journey on over a sure interval.

Eurail Pass - The Global Pass

For instance, you can select to journey on 5 days inside one month, or 10 days inside a two month interval, or you can select a month (or one other time period) of steady journey days to permit you the liberty to journey trains on on a regular basis of your travels if you happen to so select.

The One Country Pass

Are you extra thinking about an in depth exploration of one nation? Pick the One Country cross and select your journey size and days for inside that vacation spot.

Eurail Pass - The One Country Pass

So, how you can resolve what sort of cross is true in your journey? If you don’t have your coronary heart set on delving deep on Spain, or know you wish to see as many locations as attainable, this would possibly really feel like a tricky choice, so listed below are a number of elements to contemplate:

  • The Eurail Pass expertise is all about freedom, so if you wish to go away your journey plans open and never be locked in to a sure nation or set of nations, take into account the Global Pass.While the price of the passes will fluctuate primarily based on the pliability, if you happen to can think about your self attending to Europe and regretting being restrained to a sure area, it’s value forking up a number of additional {dollars} now.
  • However, in case you are settled on primarily exploring one nation however suppose it’s possible you’ll wish to add on a pair others when you arrive, keep in mind that simply since you personal a rail cross doesn’t imply you’re restricted to solely touring with that Pass. If you should utilize up your 10 journey days inside one nation, but additionally wish to see one other nation in one other a part of Europe, take into account — for instance — buying a One Country Pass for almost all of your travels however incorporating a finances flight to Eastern Europe and touring by bus on this area.

A ferry in the water on a European coastline - depending on the region, water transport can be a good alternative to the Eurail Pass

Other transportation choices to contemplate

From finances airways to on-line journey sharing networks, Europe has an enormous number of choices in the case of methods to journey. So, earlier than you resolve whether or not the Eurail Pass is best for you, check out what else is on the market.

  • Budget Airlines – Affordable and environment friendly for lengthy distances however you’ll miss what’s alongside the way in which
  • Buses – Cheaper and a greater choice than trains for Eastern Europe journey
  • Ferries or Cruises – Some locations can solely be reached by boat or underground by prepare
  • Individual prepare tickets – Good for brief Europe holidays and vacationers who prefer to plan far upfront
  • Group excursions – Expensive however nice for vacationers who don’t wish to plan or make choices
  • Rideshare – Good for vacationers who’ve ample time and adaptability
  • Driving – Efficient however demanding and probably isolating

While the choices for touring Europe are as assorted as the prices related to every technique of journey, selecting your means for journey will in the end have to be primarily based on the kind of journey you wish to take and what you wish to get out of your Europe journey.

Deciding on Your Travel Strategy

“It’s not only about cost savings when you are choosing a travel strategy,” Jason mentioned. “For the right person, the Eurail Pass is also about the peace of mind of knowing you have your transportation and it’s all taken care of.”

Rather than wasting your journey time determining your transport on the fly, or committing your self to sure plans by reserving flights weeks upfront, you may journey with the reassurance of figuring out you have already got your ticket to wherever you wish to go.

“You’re also dedicating yourself to an amazing experience, which is a train journey through the romantic countryside, skipping from country to country,” Jason mentioned. “It is so liberating to just be able to hop on a train and go somewhere.”

When it involves planning the finances in your journey, it’s additionally reassuring to have one in all your greatest prices paid for upfront and never have to fret as a lot about budgeting cash in your transportation prices as you go.

As finances airways get increasingly standard, the ionic prepare journey by means of Europe continues to be an expertise that’s exhausting to get anyplace else.

Eurail Pass trip planner tool

Planes are a good way to get from level A to level B, however they miss every thing alongside the way in which, Jason described.

In addition to not including to your journey expertise, the method might be depleting with journeys to and from the airport, lengthy traces and safety checkpoints.

“On a plane the journey itself isn’t as much of experience, it’s more like ‘Hey let’s get this plane ride over with so we can get to the good stuff,’ whereas when you’re on a train, that is part of the travel experience.”

The structure on trains additionally tends to be extra receptive to interacting with different vacationers. In comparability to the rows of seats on planes or buses, trains have vehicles the place seats face one another, frequent areas the place you may meet others, and are conducive to strolling round.

“You are in transit but you’re still having a travel experience, you’re interacting with locals and you’re still experiencing that country,” Jason mentioned. “You’re also getting to be immersed in the scenery of that country, while sharing a physical space with other people from that country, in that culture and it really makes for a special way to travel I think.”

travelers on the platform as the train pulls in

How a lot does the Eurail Pass value?

If you resolve a Eurail Pass is best for you, there are a lot of value variables inside the system.

Pass choices begin at below $100 and may value greater than $1000, relying on any reductions and further expenses that apply primarily based in your age, group and the nations you’re touring in.

Here’s a breakdown of the bottom costs for every sort of Eurail Pass ticket:

Cheapest: One Country

You can have the liberty of a Eurail Pass for below $100 — you simply need to train that freedom inside one nation.

If going deep in on one location is extra your type than the traditional cram-in-all-of-Europe backpacking journey, you should purchase a Eurail Pass that can get you 9 journey days inside a rustic over a one month interval.

These passes begin as little as $59 for a lot of Eastern European nations in addition to a number of others.

In the pricier European nations, a single nation cross shall be dearer, however even higher worth. A cross for Norway begins at $192, and particular person tickets in these nations would add as much as that value in as little as three prepare rides.

Pro Tip: Just since you purchase a one nation cross doesn’t imply you may’t see different nations whereas in Europe. Purchase a cross for the costliest nation, burn up your journey days there, after which use a special mode of transport to discover cheaper European nations.

More cash, extra freedom: Global Pass

So you wish to see as a lot as attainable and have that final freedom? Try the alternative finish of the spectrum.

Global Passes enable you entry to 28 European nations, and can value you anyplace from $245 to upwards of $1000 relying on what number of journey days you need and the way lengthy your journey is.

The most cost-effective Global Pass comes with three journey days inside a one month interval touring in 2nd class, beginning at $245, whereas the costliest prices six occasions that however permits you to journey repeatedly for 3 months in top notch.

Travelers on the lookout for a contented medium can get a cross that features 10 journey days throughout a 2 month interval beginning at $600 in top notch.

Note: Prices fluctuate relying on if you find yourself touring and when tickets are bought.

traveler standing near arch in Barcelona

Hidden prices and reductions revealed

Now that you’ve got an concept of the fundamental prices of a Eurail Pass, it’s time to fill you in on a few of the hidden prices and reductions it’s best to take into account.

Hidden Costs

The prices listed above are the “starting” value. While you pay a flat price upfront in your cross, that’s not the one cash you can be spending in your transportation.

Many of the trains require you to make reservations,, which normally prices about eight euros per prepare, plus an extra seat reservation payment which on common fluctuate from 6 to 20 euros.

If you wish to keep away from making reservations, you may journey regional trains, which you’ll be able to normally simply hop aboard together with your Eurail Pass.

However, extra standard trains, evening trains, excessive velocity trains, and a few scenic trains would require a reservation, not solely including a value to your journey but additionally taking away a few of that final freedom we hold speaking about.

Many trains solely settle for reservations a minimum of eight days upfront.

So that can take a bit away from the train-ride-by-the-seat-of-your-pants factor.

“We advise travelers to book well in advance; seats can be in high demand, especially in the peak travel season — July through August,” Eurail consultant Nienke Geudeker mentioned. “On a few trains, the number of available Pass holder seats can be limited. But most of the time you can just show up at the train station and hop on the next train.”

But, Nienke additionally famous that your reservation may embrace some perks, akin to a meal and a drink served at your seat, a complimentary newspaper or free Wi-Fi, relying on the prepare and sophistication.
Speaking of perks, let’s get to that excellent news.

Hidden Discounts

Age: Eurail has a number of reductions it’s best to take into account primarily based in your age.

For occasion, youngsters below 11 journey free, and in case you are age 12 to 27, you will get a youth low cost of 23% cheaper than the usual grownup cross. Also, a 10% senior low cost is on the market to adults 60 and older.

Partnerships: The Eurail Pass additionally affords perks and reductions on different issues like European City playing cards lodging, points of interest and extra.

train in station

How to Get the Most From Your Eurail Pass

Embrace the journey

When planning a visit to Europe, many vacationers set their sights on the large identify spots just like the Eiffel Tower and Sistine Chapel. But whenever you journey by prepare, you get to absorb all of the issues alongside the way in which that you just by no means even knew you wished to see.

“It’s great to see those big sights of course, but it’s also just these magical places in between that can make a journey great,” Jason mentioned.

Staying versatile and being open to new locations that weren’t initially in your itinerary can add depth to your journey and is simply one of many some ways to extend the worth of your Eurail Pass.

Travel extra, save extra

“With a Eurail Pass, the general rule is the more you travel, the more you save,” Nienke mentioned. “Therefore, to make your Eurail trip a real success, we recommend including a palette of experiences as diverse as possible.”

If you solely wish to go on a number of prepare rides, the Eurail Pass won’t be in your greatest curiosity, however if you need the liberty to journey repeatedly all through your journey, the extra occasions you employ your cross the cheaper every prepare journey will get. This is very true in dearer areas the place you can simply rack up the price of a Eurail Pass on particular person tickets.

Overnight journeys

Taking benefit of in a single day trains, not solely to maximise your journey time, but additionally to avoid wasting on an evening’s keep some place else.

“Not only are you not having to pay for accommodation, you’re still getting to your next place and getting a decent night’s sleep,” Jason mentioned.

Insider tip:

“It’s very useful to know about the 7 p.m. rule if you have a Flexi Pass (e.g. Global Pass – 15 days within 2 months) as it can save you precious travel days,” Nienke mentioned. “The rule means that you only need to use one travel day when you travel on trains that depart after 7 p.m. and arrive at their final stop after 4 a.m., even if you leave the train before 4 a.m.”

Think exterior the rails

The Greek Island Pass was just lately added to the Eurail Pass choices and consists of 6 ferry connections between Italy and Greece or between the Greek islands inside one month, and is usually a welcome boost to your Eurail journey.

Eurail Pass - Greek Islands Itinerary

So, is the Eurail Pass value it for you?

So how do you are feeling? Now that you’ve got all this information, do you suppose it’s best to you employ a Eurail Pass in your European journey?

Ultimately, the reply will depend on your particular person targets in your journey, however if you happen to need assistance finding out your priorities, we’re right here to assist.

If you end up aligning with the statements within the left column, it’s time to order your very personal key to Europe.

Yes, completely:

  • Your precedence is seeing as a lot of Europe as attainable
  • You gained’t accept something lower than the long-lasting Europe expertise
  • Extra freedom is value paying for
  • You need to have the ability to make final minute plans
  • You have greater than two weeks in Europe
  • You would quite pay for transportation upfront than finances alongside the way in which

Not a lot:

  • You’re spending lower than two weeks in Europe
  • You wish to discover the most affordable transportation attainable
  • You don’t thoughts planning your journey upfront
  • You solely anticipate touring inside a small area of Europe
  • You have the time to analysis and purchase particular person tickets
  • A big portion of your travels shall be in Eastern Europe

Pass or no cross, journey

“The most important point is, whether you get a Eurail Pass or not, go on the trip,” Jason mentioned.

Sometimes wading by means of data, making choices and constructing a plan in your journey can develop into such a giant burden that journeys by no means get off the bottom — or on to the rails.

Don’t miss this chance for a life-changing expertise.

“The trip that opened up the world to me was a Eurail trip through Europe,” Jason mentioned. “I just remember this buz of energy and feeling high for 2 months straight. It was a spectacular feeling. I met so many people on the way that were travelling the world in all these different ways and I realized, this doesn’t have to be a one time thing — I can keep doing this. I realized I could make seeing the world my life, and essentially, that’s what I’ve done.”

You’re virtually there!

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