Private-rail discounts Edit Although Eurail and Interrail Passes are usually valid only on the national railway system of the participating countries; many countries also have private railway systems; some offer free or discounted tickets to Eurail or Interrail Pass holders. The discounts are normally between 25 and 50 per cent. All passes become available for purchase 11 months in advance. Youth Pass age increases to
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Are point-to-point tickets cheaper? Should you buy a Eurail pass or point-to-point tickets? Forgive me for saying so, but overseas visitors sometimes seem brainwashed into thinking that they have to buy a Eurail pass to make a train journey in Europe.
Anyone connected to the internet can buy the same cheap point-to-point tickets that we Europeans buy, at the same prices, direct from the same train operator websites that we use. If you have a pre-planned fixed itinerary, these cheap advance-purchase train fares are almost always the cheapest option.
Thanks to the internet, you can buy these cheap advance-purchase fares from any computer, tablet or smartphone in the USA or Australia just as easily as I can from the UK, following my journey-specific advice on the How to Buy European Train Tickets page. In a nutshell So is a pass the cheapest option? Click, click! Job done But does a pass still make sense? Because a pass is cheaper than the full-flex fare, and as it gives unlimited travel, you can make additional journeys that same day if you want to.
So now a day pass breaks even or saves over the cheap fare, and saves a lot over the full-flex fare. But you get the picture? My advice, without doing the maths A railpass is total overkill for a few short local journeys. Obvious, I hope Point-to-point prices always include any compulsory reservation. If you needed to go tomorrow, the pass might be cheaper!
A pass may well save money over longer-distance full-flex fares bought at the station, if you travel far enough each day, even if it costs more than cheap advance-purchase fares.
For many long train rides on an extensive or complex itinerary, buy a pass A Eurail pass removes this risk and allows you to flex your dates, trains or even routes as necessary. The day before our return journey a train crash in Belgium blocked our planned Milan-Paris-Rotterdam route. With our passes we easily diverted via Milan-Zurich-Cologne-Rotterdam. If you are under 28 years old, consider a pass Even if it costs a few euros more, the extra flexibility is worth it, giving you the ability to change your mind or divert via another route or train if something goes wrong with one leg of the itinerary.
Incidentally, the age limit for Youth passes changed in , anyone under 28 now qualifies for a youth pass, previously it was under If you have kids, consider a pass The free Eurail passes for children may swing the balance towards buying a pass, even for a pre-planned itinerary.
Now you really have to do the maths, as shown in the next section. Why not mix-and-match a pass with budget train tickets, to save money on pre-planned parts of your trip?
Or if the start of your trip is known and fixed, but you want to stay flexible for the rest, you could buy a cheap ticket for the first journey or two, then use a railpass. And if your plan includes a few short hops, use cheap local point-to-point tickets for those, and buy a cheaper pass with fewer unlimited travel days. To sum up Stands to reason, really. A pass giving unlimited flexible 1st class travel ought to cost more than a cheap budget ticket booked two months in advance direct with the train operator To work it out accurately , do the maths Step 1, see which Eurail pass is relevant to you and work out what it costs per day
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Are point-to-point tickets cheaper? Should you buy a Eurail pass or point-to-point tickets? Forgive me for saying so, but overseas visitors sometimes seem brainwashed into thinking that they have to buy a Eurail pass to make a train journey in Europe. Anyone connected to the internet can buy the same cheap point-to-point tickets that we Europeans buy, at the same prices, direct from the same train operator websites that we use. If you have a pre-planned fixed itinerary, these cheap advance-purchase train fares are almost always the cheapest option.
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