OK. I paid $675 for a Global Pass but I'm reading that you have to pay extra and make a reservations. I thought it was like a "jump on jump off" as much as I want, all day, everyday. I think I can only use it for 15 travel days too! I'll be Europe trotting from 11/1 thru 11/23/07.I've read through the website backwards and forwards but things just aren't clicking in my brain! And how/where do I validate;on or off the train?
Certain classes of trains - In Italy, the whizzo Eurostar Italia (ES) and the Inter city(IC), for instance - require mandatory seat reservations, which are charged sparately - this is not true of slower regional and diretto trains.
I believe that other top-end European trains, such as some TGV (France) and Thalys (Germany) trains also involve supplements, as do all sleepers, couchettes, etc.
All Eurail passes I've seen are for x days of rail travel within y days total validity. I'm hoping you're not planning on more than 15 travel days in three weeks!
You will typically be charged about $13, IIRC, per seat reservation (at least in Italy) - I don't think that depends on distance, you'd bve charged the same fee for Rome -Paris that you would be charged for Rome-Florence.
Have a great trip!
Yikes! I just checked - is that a consecutive day pass?
If so, I fear you may have bought the wrong pass - that will be valid for only 15 days of your trip. If so, you may wish to anchor onto a 3-4 day period at either end i.e. start with 3-4 days in (say) Paris, and end with 3-4 days in (say) Rome, with the breakneck phase in between, or whatnot.
Otherwise, you probably want a 21 day pass - or do all you travel in the first or last week within one country - and buy a separate more limited pass for that.
Hope it works out!
You have your pass validated at any train station in any of the 18 countries for which it is valid before you get on your first train.
Do not enter your passport number yourself. This will be done by the train rep when he validates it.
Do not separate the ticket from it's folder. (Although you may remove the questionaire attached to it.)
Reservations/supplements are REQUIRED only for certain trains such as Thalys, TGV, and Eurostar Italia, and a few others.
If your pass is not a "flexi-pass" it will be valid from the date of validation until midnight of the 15th day. (Assuming yours is a 15 day pass).
You may want to stay in your first and last cities for 3 or 4 days each and buy point to point tickets for any day trips during those times.
During November in first class cars you'll have plenty of free seats in most circumstances. Don't worry about reservations unless using a reservations-required train.
The trains are great in Europe! Have fun!
Jennifer, when you say you've "read through the website backwards and forwards," do you mean this site (Rick Steves) or some other site? If you click on the Railpasses tab at the top of the page you're reading now, you'll find a very detailed explanation of the various kinds of passes and how they work.
If you have time and the place from which you bought the pass allows it, you could return the pass and buy the 21-day consecutive version. Or, if you won't be traveling every day, you could get a Flexi Pass. Or, since it's highly unlikely that you'll be visiting all 18 countries covered by the Global pass, you could get a Select Pass instead which covers 3-5 neighboring countries.
With a pass you can jump on and off all trains that don't require reservations. For those that do, like high speed trains, you can buy a reservation just before boarding. For night trains you'll have to pay a supplement for sleeping accommodations.
Thought you might like to know that a rail pass in Italy is really not worth it. It will cost about 47E to go from Rome to Venice in second class. All high speed trains in Italy - Eurostar and one other require mandatory reservations over and above the pass. You must get your pass validated at the first train station you are going to use it from and have the clerk stamp it prior to boarding otherwise you may be fined(up to 150E) over and above your reservation.
It is much simpler to use the regionale trains which are very inexpensive - ie Florence to Pisa is 4.60E
Hope this helps