18 days in Europe. Should we buy the global eurorail pass?

Hi, we are planning on backpacking through London, Amsterdam, France, Switzerland, Italy and Spain in March. Is buying a global eurorail pass the best option for us?

Posted by Lee
Lakewood, Colorado
11274 posts

Nothing is always the best option. YOU have to do the math. If you are planning to make lots of giant leaps, probably. If you are basically making a bunch of short trips, not necessarily. Depending on the exchange rate, a global saver is about €30 per person per day, even on days when you don't use it. Eurail global passes cannot be used in the UK. Many express trains require supplements on top of the rail pass. Except for some city trains, rail passes are not valid for local transportation (S-Bahn, buses, trams, etc).

Posted by Daniel
Los Angeles
4 posts

Thanks for the response. We were planning on traveling within Italy, Spain and France via eurorail.. are you saying that might not be possible? Where can I find out if it is or not? Thank you.

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
10883 posts

You will travel on the local rail system. EuroRail is a travel agency selling train tickets to N Americans not a train system. In the old days a rail pass was a no brainer and you recovered your costs with a few rides. Not true today. The pass is much more exchange and with added fees it takes several long distance ride to break even. That is why we are telling you that you have to do the homework. We are not going to do it for you. Figure out your potential route and train ride, do p to p pricing and then compare the costs. Or you can just buy the pass and hope it saves you money. Also, spend sometime with guide books that explains the rail system for you.

Posted by Lee
Lakewood, Colorado
11274 posts

Eurail is to railroads as Ticketmaster is to concerts or as Expedia is to flying. Would you say, "I'm going to fly Expedia to Europe this year"? "EuroRail is a travel agency selling train tickets..." They no longer sell individual tickets, just rail passes. Eurail, www.eurail.com, is actually a company owned by the European railroads and organized for the purpose of packaging and marketing rail passes. Eurail should not be confused with RailEurope, which is a travel agency. RailEurope resells Eurail's passes and sells rail tickets, usually at a much higher price than you would pay in Europe.

Posted by Daniel
Los Angeles
4 posts

Well my understanding is that with a $475 15-day global Eurorail pass, I will be able to travel throughout Europe via train..given I have to pay supplement, reservation fees (not sure how much these fees are). I guess another option is to book train tickets individually, and I just checked on the eurostar website for london to amsterdam and it costs 198 pounds. That's just one route of many I have planned, and that's why I think the eurorail pass makes sense for me. Am I forgetting something?

Posted by Lee
Lakewood, Colorado
11274 posts

Although there is a discount on the Eurostar if you have a Eurail pass, Eurostar is not covered by the Eurail pass. Since you are looking at a 15 consecutive day pass, and you'll be there 18 days, three days won't be covered. I assume those are the first days, in the UK. Again, no one can tell you if it is the best option. Plan an itinerary, get fares, compare. Don't get fares from RailEurope; they are artificially high. Get them from Italian Rail (www.trenitalia.com), French Rail (www.sncf.fr), and Spanish Rail (www.renfe.es).

Posted by Tracy
Macungie, PA, USA
422 posts

i just today priced out the difference between point to point tickets for what i need and the pass that would best suit our travels (in our case, the benelux germany regional pass) and the difference is around $150 USD in favor of point to point tickets. this took a bit of math and a lot of online searching, but i'd do math and search for a half hour to save $150! but then again, that's just me. what a global pass will do for you is make it easier to do, and enable you to be more spontaneous. it's really about what matters to you and what kind of trip you want. also, i have to echo what others have said before. the eurostar trip from london to amsteram will not be covered. and if you are traveling in march, which is soon, you likely are going to be paying a high price having not booked as far in advance as possible. whatever you decide, have a great trip!

Posted by Daniel
Los Angeles
4 posts

Hi Tracy, thanks for your reply. I was wondering where did you look for point to point tix? raileurope.com? Thanks!

Posted by Tracy
Macungie, PA, USA
422 posts

noi didn't use rail europe. i don't know that you can even use rail europe for point to point ticketsand if you can, they are surely more expensive. i used thalys and bahn (as my travel was the the netherlands and germany respectively). there is always an english translate button somewhere on each page. best of luck!

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
8756 posts

There's a reason why Lee said not to use RailEurope for your point to point comparison. Because if you do you will get prices higher than you need to pay. He also gave you the websites of the national railways where you can get the real data. Use them. And for a good overview use the German national railway - Deutsche Bahn (DB) - which you can use for schedules throughout Europe. Find it here .

Posted by Tim
Minneapolis, MN, USA
8646 posts

If you book NOW at www.nshispeed.nl/en, you can get a promotional fare as low as €61.50 for London-Amsterdam. This includes a reserved seat for a specific departure time on the Eurostar from London to Brussels and a ticket on any IC train from Brussels to Amsterdam. Take the next available train to Amsterdam or stop over in Brussels for a few hours.