Are you thinking about vacationing in Europe and wondering if you should travel throughout Europe using a rail pass or just get tickets for the towns and cities you want to visit? Here are the questions you should ask yourself to help make the decision.
- What countries and cities do you want to visit on your trip?
- How long do you plan to travel in Europe?
- Do you want to travel every day, or do you plan to stay a few days in each city?
- Will you be traveling alone? If not, how many in your party will be traveling together?
- What are the ages of those in your party?
- What is your budget?
- What level of accommodations would you prefer; first class, second class, etc…?
- Do you generally travel with a lot of luggage?
- Do you have any particular hobbies or interests that will dictate which cities you may want to visit?
Generally, if you are travelling to several cities and will be spending at least 3 or more days using the train, you will want to look at the cost of a rail pass. With a rail pass you can take several train trips over the course of several days all for one simple fee. I would suggest that you check out http://www.raileurope.com/index.html to get an idea of your various options.
You should also keep in mind that there are many cities with more than one train station and you need to make sure that you are selecting the correct station or you could end up on the other side of the city than where you planned to go. Probably nothing that an expensive taxi ride cannot cure. Hopefully you are not too far off track that you miss your ship or plane or whatever. You may see different stations if you look on the SBB website vs the Eurail website vs the RailEurope website. For example, if you are going to Basel to catch the Rhine River Cruise to Amsterdam; Basel Bad Bf is the same as Basel Badischer Bahnhof but they are not the same as Basel SBB. Bahnhof Basel SBB is the same as Basel SBB though. Talking about abreviations, Bf means Bahnhof and HB means Hauptbahnhof. Both mean train station, as does Gare in France. FL means Flughafen which is airport, as does Areoporto.
Make sure to check with me before you make any purchases as I may be able to find you a special rate or promotion that can save you some money. Click here for a handy questionnaire that you can fill out before we meet. -> European Train Travel Questionnaire
Keep in mind that for some trips/trains, all you need is an open ticket. On other trains, you need a ticket and a reservation. The reservations are always required on the High Speed Trains and on Sleeper/Overnight trains.
Check out the videos below for some great information about trains and subways in Europe.
To better assist you with your train travel plans in Europe, I have completed the three courses offered by RailEurope.